Saturday, October 27, 2007

Go where, you say? (updated)

Apparently Iraq is not a choice posting for the US foreign service. CBC/AP:

The U.S. State Department said Friday it will begin ordering diplomats to serve in Iraq because of a lack of volunteers to work at the U.S. embassy in Baghdad.

Beginning Monday, 200 to 300 diplomats will be notified that they have been identified as "prime candidates" to fill 40 to 50 vacancies that will open next year at the embassy, said Harry Thomas, director general of the Foreign Service.

More than 1,200 of the department's 11,500 Foreign Service officers have served in Iraq since 2003, but the generous incentives have not persuaded enough diplomats to volunteer for duty in Baghdad or with the department's provincial reconstruction teams.
I wonder what criteria makes you a "prime candidate"...

In 1969, an entire class of entry-level diplomats was sent to Vietnam...

Iraq really is the Eastern Front. Things fall apart.

Follow-up thoughts:
Based on the comment thread...
I'm not sure they'll send non-GOPers. We're not looking at the same beast we were in 2003. The entire Bush apparatus is in serious decline: Rove's gone, Rummy's gone, there's a new scandal every week, ret'd Centcom brass are coming out saying the place is a clusterfuck, Madame supertanker is flopping about making desperate announcements about serious mid-east peace intentions...

I think this move by the State Dept is just another symptom. I reckon they'll send anyone without some solid job-related anchor.

It's quite possible, IMO, that initial crop of pro-Bushers have all run off now, or had their worldviews suitably mollified. I imagine having your office mortared might do that. [I've been observing a US wingnut forum for the past few years. The quantity and quality of pro-Bush/Iraq posters has seriously dropped to bilge water.]

I wonder what the retention rate is like for the US foreign service these days. I mean, service morale and cohesion is at risk. The good ones might pull pole. If the institutional atmosphere gets polluted enough, it has risks for future US foreign service competency as a whole.

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