The Foreign Service Journal, July/August 2018

THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL | JULY-AUGUST 2018 69 ment and embassy security: their fundamental link to personnel recruitment and retention. Foreign Service personnel frequently talk about the need to recruit the best and the brightest from a diverse group of Americans, and there have been numerous efforts over the years to improve the hiring process (mak- ing the written examination a better test of skills actually used on the job, shortening the lengthy hiring process, etc.) in order to win the war for talent. There is no simple solution, but our experience in Dar es Salaam shows howmuch having the right team in place matters. The foreign affairs agencies can spend lots of time debating for- eign policy, formulating mission performance plans and drafting emergency action plans. But perhaps the single most underrated function within those agencies, fromwhich all else follows, is to recruit and retain the very best people available. When a crisis occurs, we cannot manage with anything less. — John E. Lange, chargé d'affaires at Embassy Dar es Salaam on Aug. 7, 1998, from his Speaking Out column by the same title, FSJ , March 2001. Reflecting on the Unthinkable In 1998, it was a scene of implausible devastation. Today, it is a place for quiet contemplation. But at its dedication on the third anniversary of a terrorist bomb that killed 219 [sic] people and injured more than 5,000, the August 7 Memorial Park—on the former site of the U.S. embassy in Nairobi, Kenya—was the focus of both reflection and frustration. Thousands gathered to remember the 207 [sic] Kenyans and 12 Americans who died in the bombing, for which four followers of Islamic militant Osama bin Laden were extradited to New York and convicted. The official dedication ceremony, led by Kenya’s president, Daniel arap Moi, went off without a problem, but when Moi and his entourage left, the crowd—too large to be accommodated within the park—surged forward against the fences, temporarily trapping U.S. Ambassador John- nie Carson. Carson was pulled to safety as the crowd trampled over the security barriers. Moi was joined at the ceremony by Prudence Bushnell, who was U.S. ambassador to Kenya at the time of the bombings and is currently ambassador toGuatemala. He said that the bombing demonstrated “in amost crude and violent manner” that peace is a fragile entity that should not be taken for granted. For her part, Bushnell acknowledged the frustrations that still exist: “I want to say to you again, as a fellowhuman being, pole sana ”—Swahili for “very sorry.” The U.S government has providedmore than $42 million in indirect aid—primarily school fees andmedical care—to victims and their families. The aid is soon to end, though, and that angers Kenyans who feel that Washington should take responsibility for the attack. “We suffered because of America,” one man who lost an eye in the blast told The New York Times . —From Clippings, FSJ , October 2001 On Mary Ryan’s Role after the 1998 Embassy Bombings It is with great fondness that I read Edward Alden’s article, “Remembering Mary Ryan,” in your June issue. I felt, however, that it did not do full justice to this incredible public servant. So I would like to offer an additional perspective on Ambassador Ryan’s response to the 9/11 attacks, as well as her role following the August 1998 embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania. Though Alden’s article makes a passing mention of the 1998 bombings, it does not show the true impact this dreadful moment had on our Foreign Service and our institutional family, including Amb. Ryan. In the immediate aftermath of the bombings, Amb. Ryan, then assistant secretary for consular affairs, flew to Nairobi, put on a hard hat and climbed through the rubble, asking for the name and background of each victim, American and Kenyan alike. She carried these moments with her to the day of her pass- ing—whether working nonstop in the aftermath to improve the security of our embassies worldwide; demanding a more com- passionate outreach to the department’s most valuable assets, its employees; or testifying to Congress on the need for more information sharing within our own government. I was the financial management center director for Embassy Nairobi at the time of the bombings, and I lost nine of my staff on that dreadful day. Mary Ryan did not know me before that ordeal, but she put her arm around me, literally and figuratively, to help me cope with this life-changing tragedy. She showed similar concern for my colleagues, including Foreign Service National employees. And she worked tirelessly to prevent another attack. So when 9/11 occurred, she was enraged. —Michelle L. Stefanick, Foreign Policy Adviser, Marine Forces Europe and Africa, Stuttgart, Germany, from her Letter to the Editor, “For the (Congressional) Record,” FSJ , October 2010. July-August 1999 AFSA News.