Below is an AFSA letter that appears in the June 3 Washington Times.
The Washington Times
Letters to the Editor
Tuesday, June 3, 2008
Your Monday editorial cartoon showing a group of U.S. Foreign Service members holding signs saying "Heck no, we don't want to go" [to serve in the war on terror] does not reflect reality.
First, by representing the Foreign Service as being made up only of white males, the cartoon's conception of our nation's career diplomats appears to be stuck in the year 1950.
Second, the cartoon also misrepresents recent historical fact. All Foreign Service members currently serving in Iraq are volunteers. All Foreign Service members who will rotate to Iraq this summer are volunteers. All Foreign Service members who have served in Iraq since 2003 have been volunteers.
No Foreign Service member has ever had to be ordered to serve in Iraq. The same is true for our diplomats serving in Afghanistan and the dozen other locations designated by the Department of Defense as being combat zones.
The State Department is in the process of selecting Foreign Service volunteers to rotate to Iraq in summer 2009. I am confident that, once again, sufficient volunteers will step forward. I will be one of them.
John K. Naland
American Foreign Service Association