Apparently the civil servants in the US government, particularly the Commerce Department, still have lingering memories of the events which have long passed into history.
Heeding President Bush's recent appeal for government civilians to serve stints in Iraq helping with the embattled rebuilding mission, Commerce Secretary Carlos M. Gutierrez sent an agency-wide memo last week imploring workers to sign up for a year in Iraq.Just a year. That's three months shorter than the kids in kevlar. Apparently, however, the 39,000 employees of the Commerce Department just aren't into surge warfare.
Gutierrez noted that volunteers would work "under challenging circumstances with access to few amenities." On the bright side, he said, they "may" be eligible for overtime pay -- "35 percent hardship pay and up to 35 percent danger pay differentials."Overtime pay! Wow! In Iraq, no less. And with the hardship pay and danger pay, well, one might expect a flood of volunteers.
Since Gutierrez sent the memo five days ago to all of the approximately 39,000 employees at Commerce, he has received 40 responses. The department would not say how many -- if any -- of those responses were "yes."Perhaps they just need someone to set the example. Maybe, you know, a political appointee. Someone who has sworn the oath of fealty to Bush.
"All were interested in getting more information about the opportunity," Commerce spokesman Richard Mills said. "We've been pleased that department employees have helped in Iraq, and we expect that to continue." [...]Heh! Yeah.
Mills, a politically appointed department spokesman, -- when it comes to the question of serving in Iraq.
"I'd just prefer not to comment about my own personal situation," he demurred.
Perhaps there are still people who remember the event at the Pittman Apartments, 22 Gia Long Street. The one that happened April 30th, 1975 at about 2:30 in the afternoon. You know...
(Photo: Hubert Van Es)