My first passport contained the following words: "I [secretary of state] hereby request all whom it may concern to permit safely and freely to pass, and in case of need to give all lawful aid and protection to Elizabeth Ward, a citizen of the United States." Those were impressive words, seriously meant -- and reassuring to me, then just a young student.
However, today the highest U.S. official in a foreign country can be murdered and mutilated. His need for aid and protection can be ignored, and his murder can generate no retaliation or even outrage among the media or the White House.
The precipitous decline of America's power, influence and even concern for its own citizens is and should be of global concern.
ELIZABETH WARD NOTTRODT
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