Diplomats in War
The war on terrorism and instability in failing states has created both an unprecedented risk to diplomats and a remarkable military-diplomatic partnership. The bombing of our embassies in Kenya and Tanzania were al Qaeda’s opening salvos in its declaration of war on the U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker survived an embassy bombing in Beirut and went on to serve with General Petraeus as part of a remarkable military-diplomatic team in Iraq. Ambassador Chris Stevens was killed in Benghazi and Ambassador Robert Ford could easily have been as he traveled freely around Syria surveying opposition forces. Effective diplomats do not hide behind embassy walls. Our foreign service understands the levels of risk they face. Nowhere has this been more dramatically on display than in Iraq and Afghanistan where foreign service officers accompany combat units conducting counter-insurgency operations.
No one is more qualified to address these issues than John Kael Weston. John served as a political officer from 1999 to 2010, posted variously at the U.N., the Coalition Provisional authority in Baghdad, and later deployed as political advisor to the Marines in Fallujah, a position described by his superiors as “The toughest, most dangerous assignment of any State Department Office worldwide”. From 2009 to 2010 he deployed again with Marines, this time in Helmand Province as political advisor to General Larry Nicholson. He was awarded the Secretary of State’s Award for Heroism for his service with the Marines. Mr. Weston is currently writing a book based on his seven years in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Date: Thursday, March 28, 2013
Time: Social Hour 5:30 – Announcements & Dinner 6:15 – Speaker and Discussion 7:00
Location: Tucson Country Club, 2950 N. Camino Principal
Next Meeting – April 18
Karen Elliot House, "Saudi Arabia: Fault Lines and the Future". (Arizona Inn Luncheon)