Thursday, August 24, 2006

Rice Orders Difficult Posts Filled First

If a corrollary may be drawn from the military, the impact of the changes that Rice has instituted will be to prompt many bright foreign service officers to depart. In the army, which has been hard hit by Iraq, officers are spending two even three one years in Iraq. The result has been that experienced company grade officers are hanging up the uniform. As I noted here a few weeks ago, the result is that the promotion rate to major is now about 95%, whereas historically it hovers around 60%. In other words, to find enough majors, the army has promote just about every sentient captain. The same thing might happen to the foreign service with the result that many of the finest young diplomats might decide to put away the top hat. This is a cost of the U.S. launching a war on highly dubious grounds and pursuing objectives that have long been unattainable in Iraq. Except for a few diehards, you find few people in Washington, in my experience at least, who believe that Iraq has been either the sacrifices or a success.
Rice Orders Difficult Posts Filled First

"The State Department plans to implement sweeping changes in the way foreign service officers bid for new assignments in an effort to more quickly fill vacancies in Iraq and the growing number of dangerous hardship posts in the Middle East.

"The new rules were outlined in a cable sent last week by Foreign Service Director General George M. Staples to department personnel that cited "increasing international turmoil." They are intended to shake up the State Department culture so that overseas service becomes more frequent and more focused on global hot spots."

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