State Department – Which side are they on?

Rice orders Baghdad embassy posts filled

Seems that Condoleeza Rice feels the need to resort to direct orders so that the department’s staff in Baghdad remains filled. Why are these orders necessary?

They also come amid private accusations from some senior officials that Iraq war foes inside the State Department and its union have compromised staffing and operations at the embassy through either direct efforts or inaction.

The union denies the charges, but they threaten to re-open wounds from the rancorous debate over the decision to topple Saddam Hussein that many diplomats questioned, and the initial plans for post-war construction, which largely ignored recommendations prepared by a special State Department task force…

Officals familiar with the situation said Crocker was more importantly addressing concerns that Iraq policy is being obstructed by opponents of the war who have influence on staffing decisions.

They cited numerous examples, including three involving qualified mid-level staffers and two involving more senior diplomats, who volunteered for Baghdad duty but whose appointments were delayed for months or discouraged at the expense of the embassy and its tasks.

One senior State Department official described the resistance as “passive-aggressive,” but said it was clearly related to differences over the Iraq war and at odds with the requirement for career diplomats to promote the policies of any administration for which they serve.

Another said that in some cases there appeared to be active sabotage of Iraq staffing plans and claimed that the diplomats’ union, the American Foreign Service Association, or AFSA, was interfering in the process by suggesting that Baghdad is too unsafe for civilian diplomats, many of whom are returning home with stress-related disorders.

The official allowed that Iraq is an extremely dangerous hardship post with near daily insurgent mortar attacks on the fortified Green Zone where the embassy is located but accused AFSA and some in the State Department of attempting to hamper policy by advising Baghdad candidates not to go and warning of potential career damage.

To say that not everyone is terribly happy with the State Department might be a bit of an understatement.


  1. We were told to all act as business as usual or the terrorists would win. Seems like the State Department took that to heart and have continued the business of undermining American interests. Kalroy

  2. The State Department has a union? WTF? Unionization of government employees should be completely forbidden.

  3. That one word, union, summed up the problem with the State Department. The first thing that happens whenever a government agency unionizes is that it immediately goes to crap. Just look at the postal service as a good example.

  4. Civil Service Union is one of the strongest in the nation. FSOs are part of that Union. That is why we have such a bloated paperwork intesive Federal Government. Fire the senior half of the Civil Service and do not promote the rest and we would be much better off. sandcrabs…

  5. I hear Rudy G. just yesterday say that 42% of our government employees will be retiring in 6-8 years. His proposal was to only replace half of them and privatize the rest of the jobs – because that’s worked so damn well every where else it’s been done. Privatization is based on the same kind of contract they use to buy weapons. No incentive to do a good job, but plenty of incentive to waste the taxpayer’s money. Plus with privatization there’s always that fat cat CEO who makes his $20M salary by siphoning your tax dollars. Wow, Rudy, what a great idea. Who paid you to have that little brain fart?