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Golden Age of State Department Myopia - Eyes Wide Shut | by ramalama_22
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Golden Age of State Department Myopia - Eyes Wide Shut

The US State Department has a proud heritage of missing "obvious signs" of coming trouble in other countries.


Here is the cover of a 1974 Foreign Service Institute, Beruit. Lebanon course on reading "Modern Standard Arabic" - the language of newspapers, radio, and television, not the "average person" in the street. Almost without exception, "diplomats" stayed in the embassy except maybe to attend a cocktail party with the "elite" minority. Then the Embassy gets blown up and they are "surprised".


A tourist with basic knowledge of the local "colloquial" Arabic dialect would have a better understanding of "what is actually happening" in the country, within an hour of stepping off the plane, than most senior Foreign Service officers. The cab driver from the airport to the hotel can tell you more than the Foreign Service will ever uncover in their tightly sealed embassy.


"Safe in my garden, an ancient flower blooms

(Could it be we were hot wired, late one night we're very tired)

(They stole our minds and thought we'd never know it)

And the scent from its nature slowly squares my room

(With a bottle in each hand, too late to try to understand)

(We don't care where it lands we just throw it)


When you go out in the street

So many hassles with the heat

No one there can fill your desire

Cops out with the megaphones

Telling people stay inside their home

Man, can't they see the world's on fire"


- The Mamas & The Papas - Safe In My Garden

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Taken on January 8, 2015