Northwest Voices | Letters to the Editor
U.S. embassies should not be bunkers
Risk is part of diplomacy
Kenneth H. Torp is absolutely correct — Foreign Service officers cannot do their jobs abroad if huddled behind the walls of bunkers [“Don’t turn U.S. embassies into bunkers,” Opinion, Feb. 10].
I did not know Ken in the Foreign Service, but there are similarities in our experiences. We both served under U.S. Ambassador Rodger Davies and experienced the loss of other colleagues. I was assigned to Beirut when Ambassador Francis Melloy and my good friend, Bob Waring, were brutally shot.
Ambassador Melloy knew the risks of crossing the “Green Line,” but the risk was accepted because that was the only way to present his credentials to officially begin his duties and to start building good communications with the Lebanese President.
We grieved, of course, and welcomed internal reviews of what could have been done to prevent such tragedies. But we carried on our duties in the midst of a dangerous civil war because that was what our jobs required.
The killing of an American ambassador should unite the country in anger and in determination, not trigger a descent into a partisan political circus.
--Robert W. Maule, retired Foreign Service officer, Poulsbo