Government Executive had a great piece yesterday about an American Foreign Service Association organized meeting between veteran members of the Foreign Service and the folks up on Capital Hill to dispel notions of diplomats as pin-striped cookie-pushers living cushy lives.
The article includes quotes from Gays and Lesbians in Foreign Affairs Agency's president Ken Kero-Metz about his time in the service.
Kero-Metz "described his harrowing experiences in Brazil and war-torn Iraq. In Rio de Janeiro, “crime was through the roof and I got carjacked twice,” he said, adding that police allowed foreigners to speed through traffic lights in high-crime areas.
“Baghdad was the wild west, with no rules,” Kero-Mentz said. Placed in charge of helping rebuild the Iraqi national assembly building in just six months, he was given a helmet, a flak jacket and a white Honda (American cars draw too much attention), along with a pistol “to use on myself if I got captured.”
It would be nice to think that after the deaths of Ambassador Chris Stevens, Anne Smedinghoff and Mustafa Akarsu, as well as numerous others, we wouldn't have to remind Congress how dangerous and important our work is. But we still do.
You can read the whole piece here.