A Few Good Men?

Over the course of a recent week the Cowboy was able to spend time with former heads of internal security for the United States (FBI) and Great Britain (MI-5).  Setting aside the Cowboy’s rather prosaic name-dropping, the Cowboy was struck by a similarity between the two men.

Both of them left public service long ago.  Still, there is very little hubris or theatrics to either gentleman.  Rather, one is struck by the humanity of these individuals who, if interpreted by Hollywood, could scarcely appear without either an uplifting trumpet-infused fanfare or a sinister and foreboding musical line.

There is no doubt that these are serious, highly competent men.  They are not more than that, however.  In their government roles, they were simply good people trying to do their difficult jobs to the best of their abilities.  They both viewed their time in their respective bureaus as periods of public service, with the “service” part of that description highlighted and underscored.  Regardless of one’s political leanings and the leanings of those in positions of authority, the U.S. and Britain are fortunate that most of the people who work in government are honest, capable, and earnest folks like these two men.

The Cowboy also recently met the U.S. convening authority for military commissions, Susan Crawford.  She was equally impressive and shared the same demeanor of commanding, yet understated competence.  The problems she faces are complex at best.  Just to take the situation in Guantanamo, the questions of security, justice, jurisdiction, sovereignty and public relations are immense.  Americans hold their government to a high standard, and the world does too.  She is definitely in the cross-hairs.  It is easy to approach complex questions with pithy politically-charged bromides.  A thoughtful analysis, however, reveals the thorniness in such issues.  Thankfully, people like Judge Crawford are on watch.  They may make mistakes, they may take decisions with which we disagree, but their competence and earnestness is impressive indeed.

There are certainly those who fall short of our expectations, but many exceed them.  Rather than a few good men, it seems to the Cowboy that there are quite a few good men and women in public service.

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Published in: on April 17, 2009 at 15:26  Comments Off on A Few Good Men?  
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