The Foreign Service Journal, June 2003

tives because they were our objec- tives. Their laments, in the end, seemed less that we sought to elimi- nate Iraq’s WMD than that we wouldn’t do it in a way that satisfied their sensibilities. Their insistence that the United Nations was the only acceptable mechanism for addressing the problem was akin to insisting that a boulder must be moved with a toothpick — or not moved at all. Thus their major complaint appeared to be that we have the power to act in our own interests and the will to do so; we act to make history rather than wait to have history act upon us. We tried very hard to avoid war; but we declined to accept lies as truth, and Iraq declined to alleviate our concerns. War is never an easy answer. Nor does it solve every ques- tion. But war has indeed solved some particularly nasty problems and — most recently — it solved the prob- lem of the Taliban regime as a state sponsor of terrorism. And the United States has now resolved its Iraq prob- lem — whatever new problems may emerge. Ultimately, there is a certain arro- gance to dissent. We are so adroit at symbol manipulation, verbal and written, that we come to believe that being listened to equates to being agreed with. Thus, if someone does not accept your position, it simply means that they have not listened to you. It goes beyond the dissenters’ mindset that senior officials can listen to, evaluate, and then reject their conclusions. But in the end, if U.S. government policy is an unacceptable course of action for an American diplomat, well, goodbye, and “Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.” ■ David Jones, a retired Senior Foreign Service officer, is a frequent contribu- tor to the Journal . J U N E 2 0 0 3 / F O R E I G N S E R V I C E J O U R N A L 17 S P E A K I N G O U T Need to Sound the Alarm About Something? Why not write a “Speaking Out” column for the Foreign Service Journal ? “Speaking Out” is your forum to advocate policy, regulatory or statutory changes to the Foreign Service. These can be based on personal experience with an injustice or convey your hard-won insights into a foreign affairs-related issue. Writers are encouraged to take strong stands, but all factual claims must be supported and documented. Submissions should be approximately 1,500 words in length and should be sent via e-mail to . Please note that all submissions to the Journal must be approved by the Editorial Board and are subject to editing for style, length and format.