I have yet to see a public comment from either Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice or President Bush about the murder of U.S. AID official John Granville in Sudan. US Agency for International Development Henrietta Fore did release this statement — but Granville’s death deserves more extensive attention from our leaders.
I’ve also done a cursory search of news wires and blogs and have seen no public comment from any of the Democratic or Republican contenders about this death. Nothing from Obama, Clinton, Edwards, Biden, Dodd, Richardson, Kucinich, Romney, McCain, Giuliani, Huckabee, Paul, or any of the rest. If I’m wrong, I would be happy to post any links from commentary made by the candidates.
According to reports, Granville was helping to “distribute 450,000 radios equipped with generator cranks and solar panels, which work in places with no electricity.”
Granville served for two years in Cameroon for the Peace Corps and had been in Africa for the last ten years. He represents the kind of person on the front line of American soft power that we can and should feel proud of.
But thus far, there is mostly silence from official quarters and candidates about his work, his life, and his murder. This is a dangerous world — but while I think that soldiers who fight and fall and/or are injured or maimed should receive their country’s support and salute (even though they are on a mission today that they should not be on in Iraq), it is just as important — perhaps even more so — to pay tribute to those diplomats, foreign service personnel, USIA, and US AID officials who also pay the ultimate price on behalf of not only their country but for the important causes and people abroad they were serving.
But why the silence? Are candidates afraid to articulate — or reiterate — support for America’s paltry foreign aid programs? Or is Granville’s death something to address later? Or in the case of some candidates, not at all?
John Granville’s death hurts Sudan and the United States — and saddens me.
— Steve Clemons