The Foreign Service Journal, November 2011

N O V E M B E R 2 0 1 1 / F O R E I G N S E R V I C E J O U R N A L 31 ployees, and changes to the Foreign Service examination and hiring process. I am also proud of our track record on reporting and analyzing how the re- sponse to 9/11 and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have shaped the Foreign Service as an institution — and the lives of individual employees and fam- ily members. While such “sexy” topics tend to overshadow our less crisis-driven cov- erage of regional and functional themes, those issues also contain plenty of enduring material. However, like the special reports, many of them are just too long to reprint, or would be less effective if published without the rest of their focus section for context. So after a lot of deliberation, I’ve gone with a cover story that remains provocative and hard-hitting a decade after its publication: the late Ambassa- dor Hume Horan’s February 2002 commentary, “The U.S. and Islam in the Modern World.” The same dilemma of too many choices applied to selecting a single feature article to represent the hun- dreds the Journal has published dur- ing my tenure. But for whatever reason, I found the decision here eas- ier: retired FSO Donald A. Roberts’ parody, “Human Rights Report for the Hun Empire, A.D. 451.” One thing I’m particularly pleased about is that although the article actu- ally dates from 1984, we were the first (and as far as I know, only) place to publish it, in June 2006. One of our most successful new de- partments has been FS Heritage , which debuted in February 2008 (at the suggestion of former FSJ Editorial Board Chairman TedWilkinson). The article I’ve chosen, Kevin H. Siepel’s “Rebel Raider As Diplomat: John Mosby in China,” appeared in the July- August 2004 issue, several years before we’d created that rubric. But particu- larly since this year marks the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War, it seemed an apt choice. The Foreign Service Journal has published fiction and poetry almost from its beginning back in 1924. As is inevitable with any creative endeavor, only a small percentage of that output still holds up years later, and determi- nations about what does and doesn’t are obviously subjective. But the story you’ll find here, DavidMcAuley’s “Nita and the First Noble Eightfold Path” (one of the winning entries in our July- August 2003 summer fiction contest), gave me considerable pleasure when I reread it. I hope the same will be true for you. I’ve been handling FSJ book re- views since May 2000, when I was still associate editor, and once again there was no shortage of worthy candidates in this department. Partly for senti- mental reasons, I’ve chosen one from my very first issue as editor (July-Au- gust 2001): Ajit Joshi’s review of Hank Cohen’s 2000 book, Intervening in Africa: Superpower Peacemaking in a Troubled Continent . (Ajit is a Civil Service employee with USAID who has served the agency in many differ- ent capacities.) Last, but certainly not least, comes the Reflections department, which used to be known as “Postcard from Abroad” until we renamed it in 2002. The portrait Stephanie Rowlands paints of “Balkan Babas” (from the September 2008 FSJ ) runs just a few hundred words but is truly indelible. Journalism is by nature an ephe- meral profession, but I hope this trip down memory lane will confirm that such pieces can have enduring value. I trust it will also bring into sharper per- spective the depth and richness the Journal brings to AFSA’s mission every month. Let me close by inviting all of you to consider submitting articles, com- mentaries or letters for publication. Who knows? Your words might just appear in a future edition of this com- pilation, assembled by whoever is sit- ting in my chair then. Steven Alan Honley was a Foreign Service officer from 1985 to 1997, serv- ing in Mexico City, Wellington and Washington, D.C. He has been editor of the Foreign Service Journal since 2001.