My uncle, a retired diplomat, sends a link to this CNN.com report: “Uncle Sam drafts diplomats for embassy in Iraq”.
The US embassy in Baghdad is the nation’s largest, and the State Department is having trouble staffing it. Of course, this human resource issue has nothing to do with the size of the work force or the lack of qualified personnel, and everything to do with the security situation in the war torn country.
So to rectify the problem, the State Department has announced that it will draft current employees, forcing them to serve in the Central Asian hellhole that the US has created. Anyone who refuses will face disciplinary action up to and including termination.
Incidentally, State has instituted this policy twice before. In 1969, an entire class of entry-level diplomats was forced to serve during another US imperial quagmire, this one in a country called Vietnam. The second was when the US was destabilizing the newly independent nations of West Africa during the 1970s and 80s.
This should remind us all of the sacrifices that US military personnel are suffering with multiple extended tours of duty in Iraq. But, at least our soldiers can shoot back if fired upon. Diplomats are not permitted to carry weapons. They can only travel around Iraq with heavily armed security teams manned by lawless mercenaries from companies like Blackwater USA.
Working in a duty station like Iraq is a diplomat’s nightmare. Why would anyone in their right mind want to be in that situation? It will be interesting to see how many career diplomats will give up their pensions and their jobs because of this policy.