Letters to the Editor

May 21, 2014

More security not always the answer

I take issue with a May 17 letter. I served as a foreign service officer in various posts in Africa for 10 years and had no expectation of either protection or vengeance. The Congo was a hot spot; I knew it and willingly accepted the intelligence-gathering assignment. Rwanda, Burundi, Kenya, Uganda, Ghana and Tunisia simmered and could have erupted at any time, but I regularly traveled alone. Each embassy had a small contingent of lightly-armed Marine guards that discouraged a couple of mobs, but at my eastern Congo consulate, where a rebellion was in progress, we had only our own weapons and no barriers at our home or office. I never even considered requesting additional security: the risk was the price for the privilege of serving. In fact, if there had been the kind of security apparently being advocated today, I would not have been able to do my job, and there would have been no point in being there.

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