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November 02, 2007

Juan Cole Starts A Campaign And Beclowns Himself In The Process*

Let me say right off the bat, I am a Chicken Dove. I advocate sending Foreign Service Officers to Iraq to work on the important political and reconstruction issues we are facing there. However, the cold hard truth is, the closest I will come to Iraq is going to Europe on vacation next summer.

With that admission out of the way, letís look at what Cole says as he advocates the withdrawal of US diplomats from Iraq.

Cole links to a BBC story by writing this:

Bush is trying to Shanghai several hundred foreign service officers and force them to go to Iraq.

The story itself says itís not hundreds that will be ĎShanghaiedí but rather 48 that will be facing orders to go to Iraq. Cole also says that they are facing a two year tour when all the stories Iíve seen, including the one he links to says the tours are one year.

Of course Cole has to ignore the fact that the terms of their job and commission requires them to accept these postings to begin with. They knew this when they took the job and to complain about it now is childish at best.

Foreign service officers risk disease and death, and many of them see their marriages destroyed when spouses decline to follow them to a series of remote places.

This is probably true but at best irrelevant. If the life style of a Foreign Service Officer is incompatible with their family desires they should, I donít know, find a job that is. The military faces these same problems and itís why we respect them and their families all the more.

The US embassy in Iraq should be closed. It is not safe for the personnel there. Some sort of rump mission of hardy volunteers could be maintained. But kidnapping our most capable diplomats and putting them in front of a fire squad is morally wrong and is administratively stupid, since many of these intrepid individuals will simply resign.

As Badger6 points out, this is just nonsense.


From March 19, 2003 through yesterday, October 31, 2007 exactly six US Government, non-military employees have been killed in Iraq. This includes Department of Defense civilians, Department of State, CIA, Commerce, and Federal Law Enforcement.

A State Department officialís chance of being killed in Iraq is almost nil. In a review of the State Department website, I was able to determine two State Department officials had been killed in Iraq. Foreign Service Officer James Mollen and Diplomatic Security Officer Edward Seitz were both killed in 2004.

In addition to being cowards and unwilling to implement the foreign policy of the United States; these diplomats cannot even do basic analysis. Of 1200 that have served here, 2 or 0.0016% have been killed.

For the record, Badger6 is no Chicken Hawk. He spent a year commanding a unit in Iraq and when the rest of his men went home, he volunteered to stay on for another tour of duty.

Itís amazing to see the left, who always say Diplomacy! is the answer to our problems, now decrying the deployment of diplomats to the site of our most pressing national security challenge. Actually, itís not all the amazing or surprising. The left has shown that they are willing to pick up any club necessary to thwart our efforts in Iraq.

Personally, I think we need to have all elements of the government working to support our mission in Iraq. We have to much at stake there and obviously the Department of State has a good deal of expertise to bring to the effort.

If you are opposed to the use of military force, how exactly does advocating for the withdrawal of diplomats further the goal of ending the armed conflict? Taking the State Department out of the game only leaves the same work for the military to do. It's hard to see how marginalizing the diplomats enhances their impact on policy.

If there are members of the Foreign Service who aren't willing to step us and take on this challenge, then they need to find another career. Something less challenging, less important to the good of the world. Maybe they could become professors.


Further thoughts and a link to Coleís piece from Dan Collins at Protein Wisdom: Juan Cole, Amazing Prick


*I updated the title from 'picks a fight' to 'starts a campaign' because it more accurately reflects what Cole says he is trying to do.

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posted by DrewM. at 11:30 AM

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