Foggy Bottom is filled with a festering contempt for President Bush, so it should come as little surprise that one of its top officials would—on foreign soil—take a swipe at Bush’s political base. State Department officials are willing to criticize the President in the domestic press as well, albeit anonymously. One “young diplomat,” as the Los Angeles Times described the official, whined to the paper recently, “I, like many others, am carrying a great deal of anger and at times even shame over the way we as a nation are conducting ourselves.” That same article quoted a “mid-level State Department official” as blaming Bush personally for a “massive failure of diplomacy.”
For a variety of reasons, the White House has paid little mind so far to personnel decisions at State. There are but a handful of true political appointments in important positions at Foggy Bottom, as Colin Powell has made good on his original promise to promote and enhance the role of careerists. This must change. Now. Reform cannot be engineered by the same people who have populated State for decades.
To be sure, change will be, at best, plodding and partial. In the meantime, State has other work on its plate, namely the latest rash of murderous bombings in Israel. With Palestinian terrorists murdering innocent Israelis, not even “common sense” will bring peace to the region. But in a hopeful sign, the State Department for the first time used the term “homicide bomber” to describe this weekend’s attack—more than a year after the White House first embraced the word choice. It may only be a word, but with the State Department, you take what little change you can get.
Joel Mowbray, who got his start with Townhall.com, is an award-winning investigative journalist, nationally-syndicated columnist and author of Dangerous Diplomacy: How the State Department Threatens America's Security.
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