Sunday, November 04, 2007


Last Sunday, while watching Larry King on TV, Sunshine noticed "Department of State" scrolling underneath King's talking head: Diplomats Forced to Serve in Iraq! or some paraphrase. Those who read the news, especially in DC, will recognize this as the week's big headline. What happened was this: after filling hundreds of junior- and mid-level positions in our rapidly expanding Baghdad diplomatic mission, Foggy Bottom higher-ups noted some forty-plus midlevel jobs remained open. Concerned that this number would skyrocket one year from now when these positions would need filling again, and recognizing a reticence within this civilian workforce to wade untrained and unarmed into a warzone, the Department has initiated "directed assignments". This method of forcing officers, based on peacetime oaths they've sworn pledging worldwide availability, into dangerous areas is tantamount to a controlled draft, though the stick is termination, rather than jail. Wednesday, State Department seniors were contentious during a meeting in DC. I would have been formulating reasonable declarations about: the difference between eighteen-year-old volunteers wet from boot camp versus forty-something middle managers with young kids and old parents, or how the military cannot guarantee its alumnus worthwhile healthcare and insurance so what on earth makes DOS assume they'll manage it; but one senior officer, bless his melodramatic heart, had the tenacious wherewithal to utter the sound bite of the week: three words--"potential death sentence"--which serve to illustrate the current hysteria felt by policy wonks facing war while also setting the course for the public opinion. The situation has already politicized: red conservative hawks chastise career diplomats for lack of reckless patriotism while the left make anti-incumbent political hay. The deep scorn of a scandalized republic is what's called for here, however: it's not the daily news but the Daily Show that will save us. [Cavin]

Then, a 1 sided conversation ensued...

To which Blogger Ellie added:

Unfortunately, the writers are on strike, so now not even John Stewart can save us.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007 3:24:00 AM  

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