– Jack Handey
Sunday, October 28, 2007
Posted by Mark at 11:24
WASHINGTON, Oct 27: The US administration has asked its diplomats to serve in Iraq or face disciplinary action, including dismissal from service.
In a cable sent to the US diplomatic corps on Friday, Harry Thomas, director-general of the US Foreign Service, informed American diplomats that if chosen to serve in Iraq, they would not have the option to say no. This Monday, about 250 diplomats will receive notices that they had been chosen as �prime candidates� to fill 40 to 50 vacancies that would open next year at the embassy.
Those finally selected for a one-year posting will start getting posting orders from Nov 12. They will have 10 days to accept or reject the position. Some will be ordered to go to Iraq and face dismissal if they refuse.
�We have all taken oaths to serve our country. We have all signed (up for) worldwide availability,� said Mr Thomas while talking to reporters in Washington.
�If someone decides ... they do not want to go, we will then consider appropriate action,� he said. �We have many options, including dismissal from the Foreign Service.�
The US administration is forced to take this step because not enough officers are willing to work at the US Embassy in Baghdad or with the State Department�s provincial reconstruction teams.
This is the first such large-scale call-up since the Vietnam war.
Only those with compelling reasons, such as medical problems, will be exempted.
Iraq is the most dangerous posting for US diplomats. The Green Zone, which also houses the US Embassy, faces almost daily attacks, often deadly. The scandal involving a private firm that protects State Department officials has further weakened security arrangements.
Guards of the Blackwater USA are accused of killing 17 Iraqi civilians, which has increased public hostility against American nationals in Iraq and also brought new restrictions on the guards.
Incentives, such as generous financial benefits and promotions, encouraged some diplomats to come forward. So far about 1,200 out of a total of 11,500 Foreign Service officers have served in Iraq since 2003. But many ignored the incentives.
Provincial Reconstruction Teams, set up to oversee development works in the far-flung areas, are particularly in trouble. US military officials who run the teams complain that other government agencies such as the departments of State, Commerce and Agriculture, are not moving quickly or forcefully enough to take the positions marked for them.
Diplomats who are forced into service in Iraq will receive the same extra hardship pay, vacation time and choice of future assignments as those who have volunteered since early this year when Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice ordered Baghdad positions to be filled before all others around the world.
Currently about 200 Foreign Service officers work in Iraq, enough to meet the current staffing requirements, but about 50 more will be needed by the summer of 2008.
Forced postings are rare but not unheard of in the US State Department. In 1969, an entire class of entry-level diplomats was sent to Vietnam, and on a smaller scale, diplomats were required to work at various embassies in West Africa in the 1970s and 1980s.
Posted by Mark at 11:21
Saturday, October 27, 2007
Friday, October 26, 2007
BUILD ME A SON, O Lord, who will be strong enough to know when he is weak, and brave enough to face himself when he is afraid; one who will be proud and unbending in honest defeat, and humble and gentle in victory.
BUILD me a son whose wishes will take the place of deeds; a son who will know thee--and that to know himself is the foundation stone of knowledge.
LEAD him, I pray, not in the path of ease and comfort, but under the stress and spur of difficulties and challenge. Here let him learn to stand up in the storm; here let him learn compassion for those who fail.
BUILD me a son whose heart will be clear, whose goal will be high; a son who will master himself before he seeks to master other men; one who will reach into the future, yet never forget the past.
AND after all these things are his, I add, I pray, enough of a sense of humor, so that he will always be serious, yet never take himself too seriously. Give him humility, so that he may always remember the simplicity of true greatness, the open mind of true wisdom, and the meekness of true strength.
THEN, I, his father, will dare to whisper, "I have not lived in vain."
General Douglas MacArthur
Posted by Mark at 16:05
Thursday, October 18, 2007
Graduation tomorrow from M-ANCOC. Definitely a grand day indeed. Then it's on to Fort Riley in January to become part of a MITT team, training Iraqi Army or Afghan National Army (don't know which theater yet). I know I haven't posted much lately, but been busy. I promise things will get more interesting soon!
Posted by Mark at 16:20
Sunday, October 7, 2007
Friday, October 5, 2007
You can only count on your buddy's
You can fight honorably in an unhonorable war.
80 percent of your time in the military you will endure.
10 percent will completely suck.
10 percent will make you want to sign up for 100 more years.
Posted by Mark at 22:27
Posted by Mark at 22:18