by Sean Cruz, Portland Oregon
Experienced U.S. foreign service diplomats likened future service in the new US Baghdad MegaEmbassy as “a potential death sentence” in a stormy meeting held last week at the U.S. State Department.
Several hundred diplomats expressed their resentment over a new State Department policy that would effectively conscript them for service in President Bush’s new Emperor-sized giant Green Zone monument.
The Department announced that about 200 people would be informed they are “prime candidates” for the Baghdad MegaEmbassy, and that if they didn’t choose to “volunteer”, they could face dismissal.
The State Department has not used forced assignments since the Viet Nam War era.
The diplomats spoke about the regular rocket attacks on the Green Zone, the lack of security, and other concerns.
According to the Associated Press:
“The sharpest comments came from Jack Croddy, a 36-year veteran of the Foreign Service.
“To loud applause from his fellow workers, he asked how the State Department could protect people in Baghdad or the Iraq countryside when ‘incoming is coming in every day. Rockets are hitting the Green Zone.’
"’It is one thing if someone believes in what is going on over there and volunteers,’ he said, ‘but it is another thing to send someone over there on a forced assignment. And I'm sorry, but basically that is a potential death sentence and you know it. Who will raise our children if we are dead or wounded?’"
Realizing that troop strength wasn’t their only personnel miscalculation, the White House has deployed Condoleeza Rice to impose some discipline at Foggy Bottom and utter some words about “sacrifice” and “honor.”
It is not clear whether Secretary Rice herself will maintain an office at the MegaEmbassy, or how popular that idea might be with the staff who will be forced to work there every day.
14 more months, Condi, and you are so out of here.