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State Dept. employees - the civilian job market awaits!
Posted by: McQ on Wednesday, April 16, 2008

I've been talking the last few weeks about the need for a political/diplomatic surge in Iraq to help that side of the house more speedily do what is necessary to accomplish reconciliation and ensure a stable and functioning Iraqi government. Seems the people charged with that don't really want to do their jobs:
The State Department is warning U.S. diplomats they may be forced to serve in Iraq next year and says it will soon start identifying prime candidates for jobs at the Baghdad embassy and outlying provinces, according to a cable obtained Tuesday by The Associated Press.

A similar call-up threat last year caused a revolt among foreign service officers who objected to compulsory work in a war zone, although in the end the State Department found enough volunteers to fill the jobs.

Now, the State Department anticipates another staffing crisis.
I know it is easy to sit here and yell "fire the bastards" - that's most satisfying but doesn't solve the identified problem - we need State Dept. types in Iraq, lots of them.

And as far as I'm concerned, until last year, that department was basically shirking its job there. They managed to find enough volunteers last year to staff the positions they thought were necessary to help in the diplomatic/political sphere. I won't get into the numbers because on the face of it I don't think what they sent was enough. But that's another discussion.

All of my life I've watched the men and women of the Armed Forces go to places they didn't want to go and serve with distinction. There was never a 'crisis' about manpower. You got orders and you went. You accepted that when you signed on.

Well, the State Department's foreign service employees have the same understanding as the military. They serve where they're needed, when they're needed and I'm not really interested in their whining about why they don't want to go.
"We face a growing challenge of supply and demand in the 2009 staffing cycle," the cable said, noting that more than 20 percent of the nearly 12,000 foreign service officers have already worked in the two major hardship posts - Iraq and Afghanistan - and a growing number have done tours in both countries.
I have no idea why having 80% remaining who have done neither constitutes a "staffing crisis" for those posts, do you?

If approximately 2,400 of the 12,000 have already done their part in Iraq, it seems high time a portion of the remaining 9,600 "man-up", shut up and do theirs.

Either that or get those resumes out there post haste.

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Previous Comments to this Post 

they could, ya know, just send ’em. It’s not like they ASK our servicemen ’how do you feel about going to Iraq?’ before they’re sent.

Just sayin’
Written By: Joel C.
URL: http://
Sure they can. And if the SD people don’t like it, they can find something else to do. In the meantime I’d appreciate it if they’d quit complaining about something they signed up to do.
Written By: McQ
The thing is, they can quit and probably make more money. So if you have a family, and are worried about your safety, it’s rational to refuse to go to Iraq — especially if you think the policy there is flawed, and many if not most do — and take care of their family and stay safe.
Written By: Scott Erb
especially if you think the policy there is flawed, and many if not most do
How do you know this? Done a survey? Invited them round for tea? Told to you by the cousin of a friend’s friend?

More of your ’many’, ’most’ appeals to authority to give your opinions weight (you think).

Not fact, speculative opinion.

You could state you think they don’t want to risk their lives, fine, but you have no idea what they actually think of the policies.
Written By: looker
URL: http://
How do you know this? Done a survey?
A mix of reading about internal debates in some of the books that are published, plus my own contacts in DC. I believe that statement accurate, and so I’ll state it. You don’t have to believe me, but the point that if someone thinks the war is flawed, they are rational to quit the State Department and get a lucrative private sector job if forced to go to Iraq still makes sense.
Written By: Scott Erb
If I apply to the State Department with a piece of paper that says "I’m willing to work in Iraq", you think they’d hire me?
Written By: Scott Jacobs
URL: http://
They could probably make more money, but they wouldn’t be working in Rome and enjoying relaxing work hours with generous housing allowances and vacation time.
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
They can go or they can quit.

I’ve got a brother in the Guard, over 50, a widower with 3 young children who is in Afghanistan because it’s his job. They didn’t ask if it was convenient.

Unless I’m mistaken, the State Department is supposed to represent US interests abroad. Not represent what it thinks are US interests, unless they happen to disagree with them, or it’s inconvenient, or they just don’t happen to like whomever is president. It’s a safe bet to say none of them was hired to make policy, or to work if they happened to agree with it.

Besides, like Erb says, they can always quit and make more money and free up a job for someone who wants to do it. I don’t see any downside.
Written By: MarkD
URL: http://
Besides, like Erb says, they can always quit and make more money and free up a job for someone who wants to do it. I don’t see any downside.
The downside is they would have to work for a living on the outside.
Written By: SShiell
URL: http://
I believe that statement accurate, and so I’ll state it.
Many and Most. Indeed
Written By: looker
URL: http://
I think Erb is right: most of the boobs in the state department probably agree with Erb and his ilk, and they are not going to accept hardship for W’s policies. In fact, no doubt quite a few are hoping for American defeat.
Written By: Don
URL: http://
Incidently, in the wars with the barbary pirates, some state department type boob messed things up: he snatched defeat from the jaws of victory, ’cause he wanted to achieve American goals via talk and bribes rather than talk and cannons.

The ideas of Erb have been bankrupt for a very long time—proven so.
Written By: Don
URL: http://
The ideas of Erb have been bankrupt for a very long time—proven so.
Ironic statement, given that the Iraq war has gone so different than the ideas of the neo-conservatives, and the US is facing major problems because of recent policies (both Clinton’s and Bush’s, to be sure). I think there are some bankrupt ideas out there, but Don, I think you’re the one sticking to a number of them.
Written By: Scott Erb

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