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.”

Foreign Matters
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