Now after so many years they can see that Viet Nam was not the end; Viet Nam was the continuation of generations of American international adventurism beginning with the Philippines in 1898 and stretching back through the Indian wars. Some of the folks in that building might whisper their frustrations if given a moment. Their efforts to butter the already slippery foreign adventurism of the late 20th century US reach must have been hard work. One by one I have watched them drop out and turn to the safety of the private world; still some try and hope.
The embassies which they lead now are protected like modern castles, from car bombs, attacks, and demonstrators like me. Frustrations with the world with the US are poured on to these foreign service officers as their professional policy lives are jilted by one administration to another every four or eight years.
The plaque on the front of the State Department proclaims a mission of arms control and environmental protections among other great values. More than half of the arms of the world are now manufactured in the United States. Millions here and around the world remain mystified with these words, arms control and await delivery on the promise. We walked silently, hoping not to appear holier than they who represent us in distant nations as we prayed for our common renewal for ourselves and for the earth.