Page 9 - Foreign Service Journal - April 2012

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technological bellwether for future
State Department forays into new re-
porting forums such as Foreign Serv-
ice blogs, public diplomacy outreach
programs and effective social media
As your article makes clear, IRM’s
achievements are now paying real div-
idends — not only by providing pro-
tection for the digital infrastructure
entrusted with storage and processing
of our national security information,
but by commanding the active interest
and professional recognition of many
of today’s leading corporations in the
global IT sector.
I am pleased to let you know that I
was quick to point your article out to
many of my former management and
IRM colleagues. Some of them may
not be active members of AFSA or
regular readers of the
, but with
my little nudge, I’m sure they will find
good reason to read the January issue.
I am also certain that when they do
read it, they too will find themselves
wearing a smile of present (or past)
professional confidence. Thank you
again and please keep up the out-
standing reporting.
Timothy C. Lawson
Senior FSO, retired
Prachuap Khirikhan,
Back to the Future
Two articles in the January issue —
the Speaking Out column by George
F. Jones, titled “The Next 50 Years,”
and Margaret Sullivan’s article, “Re-
membering Another Unforgettable
Day” — brought back similarly indeli-
ble memories for me.
The first memory is from early
March 1953. I was standing in a snow-
packed park in Sioux City, Iowa, when
someone said Josef Stalin had just died.
Even at the tender age of 8, I knew big
changes were probably coming.
The second occurred just four
months later, after our family had
moved to Corpus Christi, Texas. The
July 1953 announcement of the truce
ending hostilities on the Korean Pen-
insula was big news to me, because it
meant we would no longer be buying
10-cent and 25-cent stamps to fill up
our war bond booklets. Nearly six
decades later, our troops are still there,
but I long ago cashed in my war bonds!
The third memory goes back to my
junior year abroad as a student in Ger-
many during the late spring of 1965.
Following the Gulf of Tonkin incident
in Vietnam, a fellow foreign student in
my Munich dormitory blew up, rant-
ing for almost half an hour about U.S.
involvement there, which he com-
pared with the 1953 CIA-backed coup
in his country — Iran.
What he said disturbed me so much
that I wrote a long letter to President
Lyndon Johnson (or my member of
Congress at the time, John Young; I no
longer recall which one) detailing
those allegations.
A month later I received a three-
page letter from the State Department
denying almost every allegation in my
letter point by point. I shared it with
everyone on my dorm floor, and they
were all impressed.
While the Iranian student (appro-
priately) disbelieved the substance of
the letter, he conceded that at least it
was evident that we had democracy in
America — which “we don’t in Iran.”
Now, as I reflect on current condi-
tions in Iran and U.S. relations with
that country, I realize we are back to
the future again.
George Wilcox
FSO, retired
Tucson, Ariz.
A P R I L 2 0 1 2 / F O R E I G N S E R V I C E J O U R N A L