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Cry Me A River -- Either Tigris Or Euphrates

There's a lot of fuss going around about members of the State Department not being able to staff the embassy in Iraq. Not enough diplomats have volunteered, so they're considering ordering personnel there to fill the gaps.

Quite frankly, I don't see the problem.

First of all, I have a smidgen more respect for the US State Department than I do the United Nations -- and that is truly "damning with faint praise." Far too many times it seems that the dips at Foggy Bottom get things backwards and instead of representing America's interests abroad, they end up representing other nations' interests both abroad and at home. Toss in their handling of the Blackwater investigation in Iraq (granting immunity from prosecution wholesale while the matter is still in the initial stages, pretty much killing future prosecutions for any alleged crimes) and about 17 metric assloads of other asshattery, and the merging of the US Department of State with the aforementioned United Nations -- and then shoving the whole thing into the East River -- would probably be a net gain for the US.

That being said, I feel the need to point out that the State Department officers in question all signed employment contracts where they agreed to be posted wherever their nation needed them. Yes, their preferences would be taken into account whenever possible, but the needs of the nation would come first.

And those agreements are not as absolute as military service. (Even if they pay more, and the perqs are better.) If an officer does not want to accept an assignment, they can quit at any time. It's not like there's a severe shortage of overeducated, overbearing, pompous, arrogant sycophants in the United States. A few calls to some Ivy League campuses should take care of any recruiting needs.

And if that doesn't suffice, general recruiting ought to take care of the rest. The qualifications might be a bit stiff, but the compensation and other benefits certainly ought to garner enough folks.

These State Department Dips all sought to work there, all signed the contracts willingly, and can back out at any time if they don't like it. A government job is a privilege, not a right or an entitlement. It's time to tell them to "take it or leave it."


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Comments (48)

It is very unfair of you to... (Below threshold)
Old_Dawg:

It is very unfair of you to expect overpaid, pompous asses to actually live up to their employment contracts. After all, they work for the government ("work" is purely notional, of course).

I know this is off topic Ja... (Below threshold)

I know this is off topic Jay, but I want to thank you for prompting me to buy PJ O'Rourke's book "A Parliament of Whores". I'm reading it slowly, savoring every paragraph and *thoroughly* enjoying it.

Where do I sign up?<p... (Below threshold)

Where do I sign up?

I'm even half-way serious.

Not that I'd qualify or something. Just about any officer that spent any time in the middle east would be far more qualified. But I'd *go*.

They'd have to let me bring my family, though.

And I'd bring them.

Jay Tea - you delight me wh... (Below threshold)

Jay Tea - you delight me when you rant! Most especially because you are SO RIGHT! Do we really need any more Joe Wilson types? Hell, no!

Of course, I'd make a lousy diplomat - because I'm not diplomatic. Maybe our State Department types would see a pile of organic matter that conceals a pony - but I'd call it the pile of horse dung it really is!

I don't do subtle and I don't do nuance - and I suspect you never do either!

Nice reminder Gayle, I wond... (Below threshold)
metprof:

Nice reminder Gayle, I wonder if Joe and "Val the Spy" are available? Maybe if it's only for covert activities. ROFLMAO

"The State Department has b... (Below threshold)
BarneyG2000:

"The State Department has been using political litmus tests to screen private American citizens before they can be sent overseas to represent the United States, weeding out critics of the Bush administration's Iraq policy, according to department officials and internal e-mails," Knight-Ridder reports.

"The practices appear to be the latest examples of the Bush administration's efforts to tightly control information, maintain 'message discipline' and promote news about the United States and its policies." President Bush's confidante Undersecretary of State Karen Hughes oversees the effort, which is part of a larger campaign to boost international opinion of the United States.[2]
http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=U.S._Department_of_State

Jay, are all those pompous, overpaid, arrogant sycophant "Bushies" too much a bunch chicken poops to serve overseas?

Barney,Citing the wi... (Below threshold)
SCSIwuzzy:

Barney,
Citing the wiki created by the CMD carries about much weight as a chihahua puppy.

Sorry, I cant take my eyes ... (Below threshold)
Pretzel_Logic:

Sorry, I cant take my eyes off the TRUE banner ad on the right.

Barney, I take it from your... (Below threshold)

Barney, I take it from your post that we should send people who 'think' like you to Iraq to represent American interests there?

Rumor has there are a bunch... (Below threshold)
crazy:

Rumor has there are a bunch of Blackwater guys that will soon be out of work. Maybe DOS ought to hand them an application for the soon to be vacant Foreign Service Officer positions. Think of the savings - they know the country, the people, and won't require contractor or Diplomatic Security protection!

If these Foggy Bottom elite... (Below threshold)
Socratease:

If these Foggy Bottom elites want a nice, safe assignment, I propose that they be given the option of a 5-year assignment in Greenland, or maybe Mongolia.

Pretzel_Logic...TRUE!!</... (Below threshold)
Justrand:

Pretzel_Logic...TRUE!!

"No quitters allowed"... (Below threshold)
Jo:

"No quitters allowed"

I guess that means only conservatives are eligible

That's right Jo........ (Below threshold)
civil behavior:


That's right Jo......you got the idea. Glad you agree.

Now get those Bushie girls and Romney boys in their fatigues
depp=true.

"No quitters allowed"... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

"No quitters allowed"
-------------------------
Let 's make a deal: send all the conservatives to fight the war and send all the liberals to be human shields for women/children against the terrorists. Who should we send first to be the human shield against the terrorists? (Clinton 's girl, JFO moonbats?)
depp=true
notiz=comments using children gets vowels et


CB, Are you willing... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

CB,
Are you willing to be the human shield since you don't need all those measures to fight against the terrorists. Your liberal anti-American diplomacy and civil right advocacy for the terrorists will protect you from then. When will you volunteer?

Well, if they don't feel co... (Below threshold)
Gmac:

Well, if they don't feel comfortable doing the job.....get another one somewhere else, soonest.

BG2k, get off the 'draft 'em all' BS once and for all. It's a "Volunteer" army, not a conscription one where half wits like you can be dragged kicking and screaming like a little girl to try and do a man's job.

Gmac, Since the lib... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

Gmac,
Since the liberals believe that they know how to fight the terrorists and claim that we don't need all those effort to protect them. Our troops can use the liberals' service right now. We can send our wise liberal diplomats and civil right advocates to go calm down the terrorists in Iraq and to convince them of their infinite wisdom. This is their chance to prove that we don't need the stinking military.

"BG2k, get off the 'draft '... (Below threshold)
BarneyG2000:

"BG2k, get off the 'draft 'em all' BS once and for all. It's a "Volunteer" army, not a conscription one where half wits like you can be dragged kicking and screaming like a little girl to try and do a man's job."

gmac, do you have a comprehension problem or are you dyslectic?

Barney, 1) PO... (Below threshold)
McLovin:

Barney,

1) POTUS along with his cabinet makes foreign policy.

2) Executive branch Institutions and agencies
carry out and implement his foreign policy.

3) Persons tasked to implement and carry out
policy have two options. a) Carry out
said policy or b) resign.

That. Is. All.

These Foreign Service Officers signed
contracts that stipulated they could be
assigned ANYWHERE in the world that they are
needed.

gmac, if you want one of my... (Below threshold)
BarneyG2000:

gmac, if you want one of my ideas here is one.

You know how Bush keeps borrowing money off the books from the Chinese for the war that our children and grandchildren will be burden to pay for?

How about a war bonds program like the one in WWII? That way all you conservatives that support the war can pay for it.

gmac, your bill comes to $2... (Below threshold)
BarneyG2000:

gmac, your bill comes to $25,000. Add another $25K each for your spouse (if married) and any kids you might have.

I agree with Barney the hom... (Below threshold)
Scrapiron:

I agree with Barney the homo magic dragon. Sell war bonds. I'm old enough to remember that a lot of people made good money from them.

I hardly ever comment but t... (Below threshold)
SkyDieVer:

I hardly ever comment but this one really gets in my craw.
Doesn't surprise me one bit to hear that the State folks are being a bunch of whiny milquetoasts about having to go to Iraq.
When I worked at an embassy in South America a couple of years back, the State folks seemed more preocuppied with letting the locals know how much they disagreed with the current administration's foriegn policy. A good number of them carried on as if they were high society types, easy to do on government pay in a third world country, making sure they went to the right parties with the right people. Makes me sick.

Great blog by the way.

I too agree with Barney, wh... (Below threshold)
Veeshir:

I too agree with Barney, why aren't we selling war bonds?

If anyone harbored any doub... (Below threshold)
Tbird:

If anyone harbored any doubts about the State Department needing a serious mucking out, this should lay those doubts to rest.

I "tried out" to be a Forei... (Below threshold)

I "tried out" to be a Foreign Service Officer a few years back. Took the written test, passed. Was then invited to take the oral examination (which is a day-long comprehensive process). Passed that, too. Very few pass that one. And I did it in the "Political" track, which has somewhat higher standards than the "Consular" or other administrative tracks.

So I went onto the List of Eligible Hires. And languished there. Never got an offer of employment, strangely enough, even though I passed all the steps necessary. I tend to believe this was because the hiring process is in the hands of left-leaning career bureaucrats rather than political appointees. Indeed, my experience seems to prove the opposite of Barney's post.

As American citizens....it ... (Below threshold)
nogo war:

As American citizens....it is our obligation to do what heroes during Viet Nam...Korea...World War II..
recognize we have an obligation to submit ourselves to a universal draft of men and women between 18-30.
If we are at war, why would anyone object to being selected?
Does not our citizenship require an obligation?
After all the surge is working...the road from the Green Zone to the Airport is secure...

It is always easier to point a finger at others for being afraid...

We have become a coward nation..
We are afraid to enlist.
We are afraid of a draft.
We are afraid of a war tax to pay for our war.
The only thing thing we are not afraid of..is pointing out how others are afraid....

Jay..how many young people...family.. neighbors..friends have YOU convinced to join the Military to save our Freedom?
What words have you used?

Should everyone joining the State Dept expect to serve in a combat Zone?
Ya think that will encourage the best and brightest to join?

The State Dept has basically instituted a draft.
What is not to love about that?

Will...If you truly ... (Below threshold)
nogo war:

Will...
If you truly believe after 2000 the left determines who is hired in govt positions...
c'mon..

What in the world is... (Below threshold)
SkyDieVer:


What in the world is the point of comment #28?
Some slots need filling and State folks are upset about a couple hundred of their ranks being notified that they're prime candidates. No State personnel have been KIAd yet they're talking about a "death sentence". Give me a break. Put out or get out. No one drafted them into the foreign service.

nogo war:The S... (Below threshold)
marc:

nogo war:

The State Dept has basically instituted a draft.
What is not to love about that?

nogo, when the Evil Rethuglians(TM) come knocking at your door with handcuffs in one hand and straight jacket in the other, when the Rovian Mind Waves are no longer repelled by your foil hat and when your named to Kucinich's Dept of Peace by an alien from his most favored UFO do me a single favor.

Leave me out of your suicide note... please!

SkyDieVer - nogo never has ... (Below threshold)
marc:

SkyDieVer - nogo never has a point. No matter the subject of the post it always gets turned into a peace at all costs, anti-bush, start a draft diatribe of little consequence.

In reality I tend to believe nogo is a robot stuck on on stupid.

A War Bond Tour woul... (Below threshold)


A War Bond Tour would sell out every major venue in the country.

The reason they aren't sold is that US capital markets are much more efficient at raising capital for the Treasury now. We didn't have that sort of capital raising mechanism in WWII.

I'm in favor of it because the popularity of such a tour would infuriate the libs.

I recommend the following for the Inaugural War Bond Tour:

Producer and Director: Ron Silver

Entertainment:

Comedy - Dennis Miller
Classic Rock - Ted Nugent
Country Music - Leanne Rimes/ Charlie Daniels

hmmmm, this is beginning to look like a Sean Hannity tour.

I noticed again that the li... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

I noticed again that the liberals cannot simply be honest. How about the same old disingenous arg about the cost of the Iraq war on our children/grandchildren? Never consider the cost of not taking the offense against the terrorists. Have to bring up this old point about the cost of one lone shooter on the economy of NOrthern Virginia. How about the cost of 9/11? If we have to play defensive, we will incur the cost of trillions of dollars to protect every soft targets in AMerica.

BTW, the MediaLiars liberals are so concerned about the Chinese money that they are going to the mat for Hillary Clinton. If they are so concerned about the cost, then instead of offering their free service to the terrorists because they hate Bush, they can offer their free service as human shields against terrorist attacks.

Love liberal double speak!

After claiming that Bush is... (Below threshold)
SPQR:

After claiming that Bush is funding the war by borrowing "off the books" ( whatever that incoherent comment is supposed to mean ... ), Barney writes: "How about a war bonds program like the one in WWII? That way all you conservatives that support the war can pay for it."

This is yet another example of just how clueless Barney is. The WWII war bonds program was government debt. Just like treasury bonds as our nation's current debt is financed, war bonds are just another debt instrument issued by the government promising repayment. The purpose of the bond drives was just to get the public feeling like they were involved and to soak up the extra income that wartime manufacturing was putting into the economy to try to reduce inflationary pressures when there were not enough consumer goods to be bought.


Unbelievable what Barney will write to demonstrate his lack of understanding of basic issues upon which he so boldly comments upon.

SPQRI have heard thi... (Below threshold)

SPQR
I have heard this "off the books" meme on several liberal blogs. What is this about? Libs won't explain it but it is ubiquitous. Anyone know where and why on this term?

When I joined in 1969...nob... (Below threshold)
nogo war:

When I joined in 1969...nobody knocked on my door.
simple questions...
When was you service?
When was the service of your spouse?
When was the service of your children
When are you willing to pay higher taxes to support the WAR on Terror?

Hey how about that Dow Jones lift?
Hey How about the progress of the Iraqi Govt?
Hey..How about it is ok for Egypt to get the bomb?

You all can repeat what ever mantra works...
If you want to buy Euros today? Fine..
You all want to jump into bargains in Dow Jones Fine..
You all believe November 08..
will mean less death and sacrifice from brave troops that you or your family don't share..
fine...
You think the health care from your insurance HMO won't rise again fine...

You get your pablum from FOX, Rush, MM, Ann...
fine...

Perhaps you will be vindicated in believing our President is an intellectual/moral giant...

We will all just have to see....

oh yeah..marc as you call m... (Below threshold)
nogo war:

oh yeah..marc as you call me stupid?
yes maybe I am.. after all I enlisted and was not drafted in 1969...
As you were/are smart enough to put your personal life above enlistment for a lie...
you are in fact smarter at your age than I was...

NogoAnd we all said:... (Below threshold)

Nogo
And we all said:

Kumbaya, my Lord, kumbaya
Kumbaya, my Lord, kumbaya
Kumbaya, my Lord, kumbaya
O Lord, kumbaya
Someone's laughing, Lord, kumbaya
Someone's laughing, Lord, kumbaya
Someone's laughing, Lord, kumbaya
O Lord, kumbaya
Someone's crying, Lord, kumbaya
Someone's crying, Lord, kumbaya
Someone's crying, Lord, kumbaya
O Lord, kumbaya
Someone's praying, Lord, kumbaya
Someone's praying, Lord, kumbaya
Someone's praying, Lord, kumbaya
O Lord, kumbaya
Someone's singing, Lord, kumbaya
Someone's singing, Lord, kumbaya
Someone's singing, Lord, kumbaya
O Lord, kumbaya
Kumbaya, my Lord, kumbaya
Kumbaya, my Lord, kumbaya
Kumbaya, my Lord, kumbaya
O Lord, kumbaya

No idea, Hugh, I think that... (Below threshold)
SPQR:

No idea, Hugh, I think that they don't understand supplemental appropriations. They don't seem to understand anything else about federal budgets.

I am amused by another libe... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

I am amused by another liberal doublespeak about concern for the troops. So they want a draft. We have enough people volunteering to put their lives on the line to defend the country. All they ask of us is to support them and not to slander/impugne them. The liberals cannot even do that! Liberal courage is again to be hawks against America and the military while being chicken against the enemies of America. Liberal courage is in full display when they harass/protest/slander the military recruiters. Again, love the liberal doublespeak.

nogo:oh yeah..... (Below threshold)
marc:

nogo:

oh yeah..marc as you call me stupid?
yes maybe I am.. after all I enlisted and was not drafted in 1969...
As you were/are smart enough to put your personal life above enlistment for a lie...
you are in fact smarter at your age than I was...

Well asshat I didn't have to enlist, or get drafted in 69, I had a high lottery number of 300 plus in 1970, I was lucky.

However, I did enlist in what was then a much more professional Navy in 1981 and completed my 20 plus years.

And yes... you are dumber than a box of rocks, a box the spews every MorOn.org, Media Splatters talking point verbatim as if they were your evening prayers.

If you ever had an original thought it was 1) when you decided to not sh*t in your diapers any longer and 2) when you enlisted.

Other than that you have ziltch, nadda, nothing.

"Toss in their handling of ... (Below threshold)
Herman:

"Toss in their handling of the Blackwater investigation in Iraq (granting immunity from prosecution wholesale while the matter is still in the initial stages, pretty much killing future prosecutions for any alleged crimes)" -- Mr. Tea

This is, of course, more significant than what's got Mr. Tea in a tizzy. Anyone know how Ms. Rice's State Department has the authority to grant immunity??? Will the Bushies let these killers be brought to justice or not???

"That being said, I feel the need to point out that the State Department officers in question all signed employment contracts where they agreed to be posted wherever their nation needed them." -- Mr. Tea

When they began their foreign service careers, they could not foresee a complete idiot becoming the current president of the United States. Heck, I couldn't foresee it either, so don't be too harsh on them.

Herman, good idea, undermin... (Below threshold)
SPQR:

Herman, good idea, undermine the Blackwater contractors who are putting their lives on the line trying to protect the lives of State department employees. Really brilliant of you.

Again, Herman is projecting... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

Again, Herman is projecting the liberal own idiocy and corruption on Bush. If the liberals are so smart, how can they make people like Reid/Pelosi/Hillary their leaders?

So, back to the original is... (Below threshold)
SkyDieVer:

So, back to the original issue, if the batch of State people complaining about getting tagged to go to Iraq don't want to go, then they should just quit, right? The crap about they couldn't foresee the current president being president is idiotic at best. Makes me wonder how many of the these people joined to represent their country or to represent their interests. The whiners need to get the hell out and find another venue to express themselves because it's our tax money paying for these people to represent our country, our foreign policy set by our elected officials. Period. I refer back to my experience working at an embassy down south and recall that many State folks sure loved living high on the hog, with a gardner, a couple of maids and a driver maybe, but almost never left the city to go out and see what the hell was really going on in the country and see how our hard earned tax money was really being spent by the host nation. A real pisser. Sorry for the rant.

Herman:When th... (Below threshold)
marc:

Herman:

When they began their foreign service careers, they could not foresee a complete idiot becoming the current president of the United States. Heck, I couldn't foresee it either, so don't be too harsh on them.

Foreseeing an idiot president, or what you may feel is a more competent one doesn't negate the contract and pledge they took when they excepted the job and thousands spent in tax dollars training them.

There's an easy way out. QUIT!

Let me guess, you also are on the excuse bandwagon for all those "financial geniuses" that make 30 grand per year yet signed a mortgage on a 400 G house that is now in foreclosure?

"When they began their fore... (Below threshold)
Mark L:

"When they began their foreign service careers, they could not foresee a complete idiot becoming the current president of the United States."

When did Al Gore become President? Geeze, if those foreign service types believe that their cases of BDS are beyond redemption.




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