State Department Patriots Take A Stand, Condemn Trump’s Muslim Ban (TWEETS)

Donald Trump’s right hand has gotten quite the workout in the week-plus since he took office. He churned out a raft of executive orders, most of which were actually written by his chief strategist and chief brownshirt, Steve Bannon. There was just one problem. Nobody in the Trump administration bothered to consult with the agencies who will actually enforce those orders. Why does that matter? Well, there are the minor details of whether those orders are workable or legal.

One of those orders was Trump’s now-infamous decision to shut down travel from seven predominantly Muslim countries. Apparently nobody bothered to discuss it with the State Department, especially those who got the thankless task of enforcing the order. Well, we may have gotten a good idea of what the reaction would have been had anyone at the State Department been consulted. Career State Department officials are circulating a memo arguing that Trump’s order will actually put national security at risk. Reportedly, as many as 100 officials are prepared to sign it.

Read the memo here. It was circulated through the Foreign Service’s Dissent Channel, which has been utilized for over four decades as a tool for diplomats to register constructive criticism of American policy. The authors contend that keeping 200 million travelers out of the country in the name of keeping “a small number of travelers who intend to harm Americans” out will do more harm than good. Not only will it not even begin to make the country safer, but it also violates “core American values.”

As if to drive the point home further, the memo notes that the number of terrorist attacks committed by people traveling on a visa is “vanishingly small”–and they were committed by nationals of countries not covered by Trump’s order. However, the memo argues, the cost to this nation’s interests and image is far from vanishing. For one thing, it will harm America’s image in the Muslim world, both with governments whose support we need in the fight against terrorism and with the rank and file population. Most importantly, it will very likely contribute to radicalization among younger populations in the affected countries–i. e., more potential soldiers for ISIS.

More importantly, the diplomats who drafted this memo say that its letter and spirit run counter to “the core American and constitutional values that we, as federal employees, took an oath to uphold.” This is a big deal for most of the signers. Foreign Service officers usually spend most of their lives burnishing America’s image and promoting American values.

But such things don’t matter to this administration. White House press secretary Sean Spicer harrumphed that those who opposed the order “should either get with the program or they can go.” Judging by the response at the Alt State Department Twitter feed, this truculent response isn’t playing very well among the troops at the State Department.

The Alt State Department folks also decided to give the White House a lesson in proportion.

If Trump is seriously thinking about having the signers fired in the same manner that he fired the acting attorney general for refusing to carry out his order, he’d be playing with fire. State Department rules forbid any sort of retaliation against an employee who signs a dissent memorandum.

Trump says he wants to make America great again. But the people who signed this memorandum are proof that this country was already great. They are heroes. They are patriots. And they should know the nation stands with them, even if their president doesn’t.

 (featured image courtesy Agnostic Preachers Kid, available under a Creative Commons BY-SA license)

Darrell is a 30-something graduate of the University of North Carolina who considers himself a journalist of the old school. An attempt to turn him into a member of the religious right in college only succeeded in turning him into the religious right's worst nightmare--a charismatic Christian who is an unapologetic liberal. His desire to stand up for those who have been scared into silence only increased when he survived an abusive three-year marriage. You may know him on Daily Kos as Christian Dem in NC. Follow him on Twitter @DarrellLucus or connect with him on Facebook. Click here to buy Darrell a Mello Yello.