Monday, June 20, 2016

From Foreign Policy: The Syria Dissent Channel Message Means The System Is Working The State Department Syria memo isn't some dangerous sign of insurrection. It's an essential instrument for sparking essential debate.

For out look at the media's relationship with government officials. The State Department has a process in place to allow administrative policy to be challenged by its rank and file. They don't always get leaked, but one did last week, and it points out conflict within the administration regarding Syria.

Here's an inside look at how this is done.

- Click here for the article.

The New York Times details the leak here:

More than 50 State Department diplomats have signed an internal memo sharply critical of the Obama administration’s policy in Syria, urging the United States to carry out military strikes against the government of President Bashar al-Assad to stop its persistent violations of a cease-fire in the country’s five-year-old civil war.
The memo, a draft of which was provided to The New York Times by a State Department official, says American policy has been “overwhelmed” by the unrelenting violence in Syria. It calls for “a judicious use of stand-off and air weapons, which would undergird and drive a more focused and hard-nosed U.S.-led diplomatic process.”
Such a step would represent a radical shift in the administration’s approach to the civil war in Syria, and there is little evidence thatPresident Obama has plans to change course. Mr. Obama has emphasized the military campaign against the Islamic State over efforts to dislodge Mr. Assad. Diplomatic efforts to end the conflict, led by Secretary of State John Kerry, have all but collapsed.
But the memo, filed in the State Department’s “dissent channel,” underscores the deep rifts and lingering frustration within the administration over how to deal with a war that has killed more than 400,000 people.
The State Department set up the channel during the Vietnam War as a way for employees who had disagreements with policies to register their protest with the secretary of state and other top officials, without fear of reprisal. While dissent cables are not that unusual, the number of signatures on this document, 51, is extremely large, if not unprecedented.

For more:

- AFSA: The Dissent Channel.
- Cato Institute: The Dissent Channel Goes Public.

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