Friday, November 2, 2012

Bulletins From BA #07

Bulletins From BA #07
03 Noviembre 2012

¡Hola! there… Rodger French here.

Photo Update Alert:
“BA-Buildings 2”

This past Sunday, A.J. and I took a significant, nay, monumental step forward in our continuing journey toward normalcy as residents of Buenos Aires. We figured out how to go to the movies.

En realidad (actually), it was quite easy, except for the whole “set up an account with an online ticket service website entirely en español” thing. But once that was done, we were able to purchase and print our tix, which, incidentally, are much cheaper than in the States. We even picked out our assigned seats.

The theatre itself, a fifteen-minute walk away, is very nice; complete with big screens, comfortable stadium seating, and overpriced refreshments. In Argentina, all foreign films are shown in their original language with Spanish subtitles. (The exception is children’s flicks, which are dubbed so the hijos don’t have to work too hard.) For our first South American cinematic experience, we selected the Ben Affleck movie “ARGO.”

In case you haven’t seen it, “ARGO” is a thriller based on events that occurred during the Iran hostage crisis in 1980. Since some of the protagonists were State Department diplomats and employees, this film hits close to home. Anne and I liked it and feel that it rings pretty true, especially the opening sequences recreating the takeover of the U.S. Embassy in Teheran, which are simply chilling.

I’m not a Foreign Service Officer, but I make it my business to keep as current as I am able on what’s shakin’ in terms of safety and security issues. I have worked for FSOs who survived embassy bombings and I know people who have had to evacuate their posts and leave everything behind. The State Department isn’t the military, but that does not mean we don’t sometimes have to deal with matters of life and death.

Example: Of late, there is a lot of squawking concerning the recent event in Benghazi, Libya, where four Americans were killed. I cannot know for sure what happened, but, from talking to and reading the opinions of people I trust, I have deduced the following: Intelligence is not always accurate, events cannot always be predicted, and the “fog of war” generally tends to render any situation FUBAR. So when I hear pundits and politicians spinning the deaths of these four American diplomats/citizens as “Benghazi-gate” even before all the facts are in, I have my doubts as to their sincerity.

Many of these suddenly concerned citizens consider the State Department a haven for elitist pinkos, feckless liberals, and even godless “communists.” DOS budgets, including funds for security, are constantly under siege. And yet, due entirely to the fact that a Democratic administration is in charge during an election year, these same chowderheads are suddenly our BFFs, railing about a cover-up “worse than Watergate.” One FOX-based jackass actually offered up the following: “Did we trade off – and I have no evidence of this – did we trade off the lives of our ambassador and three other Americans for that crowd? and “Were these people expendable as part of a Mid East foreign policy?”

Really. REALLY? Perdóneme, but that is some mierda de toro escandalosa (outrageous bullshit). Exactly how ridiculous is the wingnut “Benghazi-gate” meme? So ridiculous that Republican icon and former Secretary of State Condi Rice, to her credit, has called them out on it. This “cover-up worse than Watergate” postulation is cynical drivel. They know it and so should we all.

I apologize for getting all up in this, but sometimes the mendacity is just too much. Foreign Service Officers are skilled, motivated, patriotic Americans doing important work for our country. They deserve recognition and support whether it’s politically expedient or not; and, IMHO, exploiting their deaths for the sake of political opportunism is utterly vile.

OK, I’m done. Thanks for hearing me out.