The Foreign Service Journal - July/August 2017
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Reading the


Congratulations on making the entire

archive of


issues available online.

This will make a valuable asset easily

accessible for academicians and for any-

one interested in exploring the history of

our profession and our country.

I sincerely hope, however, that you

will not follow the example of



and replace the print edition

of the


with an online one.

I used to read

State Magazine


every month, always wanting to know,

even in retirement, what my colleagues

were doing to advance our interests at

home and abroad. Alas, I have not read

a single issue since the magazine aban-

doned its print edition. The monthly

email link goes unopened.

The cold light of my computer is no

equal to my comfortable reading chair in

our sun room, where I hold each month’s


in my lap, leaning back, not forward,

turning the pages as I read in the soft

light coming through our windows.

Please stick with print. The


is a wonderful magazine. My wife and I

look forward to reading it every month.

Charles O. Cecil

Ambassador, retired

Alexandria, Virginia

Global Health Includes

Mental Health

I want to thank

The Foreign Service


for focusing the

May 2017 issue

on global health diplomacy. Having

previously worked at USAID, I read the

magazine diligently and was pleased to

see global health featured.

I wish, however, that the



noted that May is mental health month.

It was a missed opportunity to highlight

the fact that mental health issues asso-

ciated with famine, refugees, natural

disasters and communicable diseases

are often overlooked.

I hope the


will consider publish-

ing a follow-up article

on the need to include

mental health in our

discussions on global

health diplomacy.

Mental health truly

knows no boundaries.

Susan Gurley

Executive Director, Anxiety and

Depression Association of America

Silver Spring, Maryland

A Strong Image

The comments by Thomas Hutson in

his letter in the May


regarding the

cover of the March issue, which focused

on diplomatic security, took me aback—

more than just a bit.

The “On the Cover” explanation on page 6 of the March FSJ describes the

roles of the individuals in the photo,

raising questions for me about Mr.

Hutson’s characterization of the image

as demonstrating “the folly of our cas-

trated foreign policy mechanisms.”

The outskirts of Kabul constitute

dangerous territory. In the photo are

an armed contractor supporting the DS

contingent at post, a USAID specialist,

the USAID mission director for Afghani-

stan and the embassy’s deputy chief of

mission. The two women stepping off

the helicopter are not identified, but

might well be State officers accompany-

ing the group. An eighth person stands

behind the security contractor.

Mr. Hutson’s critical, gratuitous and

disrespectful comment on the “diplo-

mats” and “development specialists”

(his quotation marks) are beneath the

standards of the


, especially at

a time when AFSA is making the case

in defense of all members of the U.S.

foreign policy community,

especially FSOs from State,

USAID and associated organi-

zations—including contractors.

To answer Mr. Hutson’s

question—“I wonder whether

this image [the cover photo]

bothers anyone else?”—I offer a

resounding “No!”

A multiagency mission includ-

ing six men (one with a loaded assault

rifle), three women and a third-country

helicopter and crew in a rugged landing

zone reinforces my pride in what we

are trying to accomplish in a very harsh

environment. This is a key reality of the

Foreign Service mission in 2017.

A more positive approach to the photo

might highlight the factors above to sup-

port the best in us as a nation seeking

to operate in areas where our presence

might be controversial, but where our

principles require the kind of commit-

ment that I would call exceptional.

David Rabadan

FSO, retired

Annandale, Virginia

No Place for Derision

I was shocked that the


chose to

publish the letter fromThomas Hutson,

“The Wrong Image,” in its May issue.

Did the editorial team not consider his

mocking reference to female FSOs as

“fluttering female officers” or his implica-

tion that the lives of female officers in

Afghanistan are not worthy of protection?

With sadness I reflect on Anne

Smedinghoff, who sacrificed her life

engaging in the courageous work of

public diplomacy in Afghanistan. For-

eign Service women and men continue

to put their lives at risk in support of the

U.S. mission to Afghanistan, and their

efforts should not be disparaged.

I am consoled by the fact that Mr.