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Rick Perry blasts diplomats, AFSA returns fire

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(Tom Pennington / Getty Images)

Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry on Monday accused the State Department’s Foreign Service officers of not acting “in America’s best interest.” CNN reported that Perry said:

“I’m not sure our State Department serves us well,” the Texas governor said on a radio program with Fox News host Bill O’Reilly. “I’m not talking about the Secretary of State here. I’m talking about the career diplomats and the Secretary of State who, all too often, may not be making decisions, or giving advice to the administration that’s in this country’s best interest.”

Perry said Congressional action might be required to ensure the nation’s diplomatic corps is taking actions that benefit America.

“We need to have a discussion with Congress to make sure that the decisions that are being made are in America’s best interest,” Perry said.

Perry’s problem with the Foreign Service seems to be that they’re not making it clear to Pakistan that they need to get their intelligence service — which is widely suspected to be aiding terrorists and militants in Afghanistan — under control.

The American Foreign Service Association today basically said (in appropriately diplomatic terms) that Perry doesn’t know what he’s talking about. AFSA, which represents Foreign Service officers around the world, issued a statement that said Perry’s comments “reflect a serious misunderstanding of [diplomats'] role in promoting American interests overseas.” AFSA cited the hundreds of diplomats that have been killed in the line of duty in places like Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Beirut, before delivering this line:

[Diplomats] serve at the pleasure of the president, are confirmed by Congress and need the informed support of both branches of government to be effective.

[...] To keep America strong and secure, we need more diplomacy, not less. And we need more, not less, support from our political leaders and citizens for their work to defend and advance our interests abroad.

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  1. John Says:
    November 10th, 2011 at 2:47 pm

    “I’m not talking about the Secretary of State here. I’m talking about the career diplomats and the Secretary of State … ”

    Say what? Is he talking about the Secretary of State or not?

  2. meggawhat Says:
    November 10th, 2011 at 3:49 pm

    Diplomats call Perry’s ignorant cowboy stupidity, “Unfortunate”.

  3. Padilla Says:
    November 11th, 2011 at 6:34 am

    Diplomats prevent wars.

  4. jack Says:
    November 11th, 2011 at 6:02 pm

    Meggawhat says: Diplomats call Perry’s ignorant cowboy stupidity, “Unfortunate.”

    Seems approprate to me!! They could have called him a lot more.

    Picture of Perry with a gun – Shows you how stupid he really is.

  5. Brian Says:
    November 12th, 2011 at 5:44 am

    he’s ignorant and so proud of it. He has no future outside of Texas politics and everyone but him knows it.

  6. Jim Says:
    November 15th, 2011 at 4:31 pm

    I believe the average foreign service worker does their best with what they are given. I also believe the problem with our foreign policy is right at the very top. The president and sec of state put the concerns of big business at the forefront and care very little about our problems at home. Lets face the truth here, our elected officials are bought and paid for by big biz and work to protect themselves. And yes, Rick Perry is an idiot. I’m a lifelong Republican, but I’d vote for Obama if that nimrod was the other choice.