Thursday :: Apr 17, 2008

But Things Are Going So Well!


by Turkana

Meanwhile, back in the War That Does Not Matter, the State Department is once again considering forcing career diplomats to go work in Iraq. As reported by the Associated Press:

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 by The Associated Press.

A similar call-up notice last year caused an uproar among foreign service officers, some of whom 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.

"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.

As a result, the unclassified April 8 cable says, "the prime candidate exercise will be repeated" next year, meaning the State Department will begin identifying U.S. diplomats qualified to serve in Iraq and who could be forced to work there if they don't volunteer.

Now, I realize that the surge is working, because the media and John McCain keep saying so, and it makes me wonder why these international diplomats haven't heard the news. Why are they so out of the loop? Shouldn't someone inform them that such unbiased professionals as the corporate media and John McCain say things are getting better, in Iraq? Wouldn't that give them the confidence and assurance they need? And shouldn't they take comfort in knowing that the Iraqi military is there to protect them? As the New York Times explains:

A company of Iraqi soldiers abandoned their positions on Tuesday night in Sadr City, defying American soldiers who implored them to hold the line against Shiite militias.

The retreat left a crucial stretch of road on the front lines undefended for hours and led to a tense series of exchanges between American soldiers and about 50 Iraqi troops who were fleeing.

Capt. Logan Veath, a company commander in the 25th Infantry Division, pleaded with the Iraqi major who was leading his troops away from the Sadr City fight, urging him to return to the front.

“If you turn around and go back up the street those soldiers will follow you,” Captain Veath said. “If you tuck tail and cowardly run away they will follow up that way, too.”

Captain Veath’s pleas failed, and senior American and Iraqi commanders mounted an urgent effort to regain the lost ground. An elite Iraqi unit was rushed in and with the support of the Americans began to fight its way north.

This episode was a blow to the American effort to push the Iraqis into the lead in the struggle to wrest control of parts of Sadr City from the Mahdi Army militia and what Americans and Iraqis say are Iranian-backed groups.

Well, okay, so maybe the Iraqi military could be doing a better job, but at least our own troops will be there forever. So, those State Department employees should know that they will be protected forever. And that the Green Zone is an endless party. And that we've done so many wonderful things for the Iraqi people. Like this, as reported by Agence France-Presse:

A suicide bomber blew himself up in a crowd of mourners north of Baghdad on Thursday, killing at least 51 people in one of the biggest insurgent attacks in violence-torn Iraq this year.

The bomber detonated an explosives vest in the Sunni Arab village of Bu Mohammed in Diyala province at around 11:00 am (0800 GMT), police captain Najim Abdullah said from Diyala.

Bu Mohammed is located between Baquba, Diyala's provincial capital, and the northern oil hub of Kirkuk. The area between the two cities is a known Al-Qaeda in Iraq stronghold, security officials said.

"At least 51 people have been killed and 22 others wounded," Abdullah told AFP.

Which is why those State Department employees should relax, and focus on things that really matter. Like why Barack Obama doesn't always wear an American flag lapel pin.

Turkana :: 11:01 AM :: Comments (4) :: Digg It!