The Foreign Service Journal, September 2021

Outpourings of Sympathy and Support The outpourings of sympathy, con- dolence and support were immediate and widespread. The president issued a strong letter and declared a day of mourning during which all flags in the country were flown at half-mast. Count- less government officials and Ghanaians from all walks of life phoned, faxed and mailed in messages of sympathy. The American Chamber of Commerce organized a memorial service at which two local youth groups—a choir and an orchestra—performed. Although there have been no demonstrations, editorial comment has been universally sympathetic, while urging the United States to temper any tendency to react emotionally, to act multilaterally rather than unilaterally and to avoid actions that could inflame Christian-Muslim tension. Much concern has been expressed about the impact on developing nations’ access to credit and development assistance. —Brooks A. Robinson, FSO, Embassy Accra, in Part I of a compilation, “FSOs and FSNs Recall 9/11,” in the November 2001 FSJ. Iraq PRTs: Pins on a Map Bob Pope sums up the Iraq PRT program this way: “The PRT concept is both too early and too late—too early because you can’t do development and institution- building in live-fire zones and too late because, four years into this war, it’s way past the time when we have any hope of winning the hearts and minds of the Iraqis. They have been disappointed too many times to believe much of what we say. After hundreds of millions, if not billions, spent on a laundry list of projects, most Iraqis still don’t have potable water, reliable electrical service, operational sewer sys- tems, jobs, a functioning economy or, most important, personal security. Building a few more wells and creating a few more short-term cleanup projects will not impress these people.” … Unarmed diplomats flanked by armed personnel on military teams in active combat zones, outside of an embassy structure, in the Iraqi provinces—these may be the faces of the “expedition- ary Foreign Service” that is called for by Secretary Rice. But while the Foreign Service is expected to “step up” and serve in Iraq, they should, in turn, be able to expect to be sent only to places where they can actually do their jobs and meet with key inter- locutors, where there is a chance that they can play an effective, meaningful role. They should be able to expect that they will not be used simply as “pins on a map” for PowerPoint presentations back in Washington. —Shawn Dorman, FSJ editor and former FSO, from her article of the same title in the March 2007 FSJ. Salvaging the Afghanistan Venture Afghanistan remains a victim of interna- tional intervention that has empowered some of the worst elements of society and trapped its people in a foreign-made political system that ignores their history, tradition and political realities. While some of this intervention has been well meaning, much of it has been self-serving, reflect- ing the national ambitions and interests of other countries. Afghanistan was the first victim of Taliban misrule and al-Qaida brutality. It deserves another chance in a new political system mandated by a traditionally organized loya jirga that reflects the nation’s history and reality and is perceived by Afghans as legitimate. —Edmund McWilliams, FSO (ret.), from his article of the same title in the July-August 2008 FSJ. THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL | SEPTEMBER 2021 43 FOCUS 9/11, TWENTY YEARS LATER 9/11, War on Terror, Iraq and Afghanistan From the FSJ Archive