Thursday, February 14, 2008

State Dept. & US Embassy Baghdad Stink

Jerry Bremer established the nadir of American diplomatic & management incompetence in State Dept history, one would think, but a document coming out of Baghdad's Embassy indicates that the FSOs in Baghdad have yet to hit bottom.

Of course, a few months back, FSOs complained about being sent to Baghdad en masse. The State Dept's union fights US foreign policy & GWB just sits there with the chimp grin. Where's Condi? Here's the laundry list of faux pas and misdemeanors:
# The U.S. embassy in Baghdad is wasting taxpayer funds due to “a deeply entrenched bureaucracy with a unionized attitude” that fails to “think outside of the box.”

# The U.S. Embassy has little institutional memory, and no system for data retrieval, so that the embassy is “in a constant state of revisiting the same ground.”

# Instead of responding to Petraeus’ call for a “civilian surge,” the U.S. embassy has been “doing a bureaucratic imitation of the Keystone Cops, counting chairs and desks and reviewing decisions over and over again.”

His memorandum was greeted with a chorus of “Amens” from private U.S. contractors operating in Iraq, who told Newsmax they had been complaining of the same problems at the embassy for the past three years.

More damaging than the waste and lack of management skills was the failure of the embassy to understand the critical needs or even the functioning of the Iraqi State Council in crafting new legislation, as mandated by the U.S. Congress.

The State Council “is the most legitimate institution in the Iraqi law-making process,” Miranda wrote. “Yet from 2003 through 2007, not a single America dollar was spent to develop the capacity of that institution to process legislation in a timely fashion.”

Crocker never asked for a briefing on the State Council’s role until he had been in Baghdad for several months. The immediate past head of the embassy’s political section only asked for such a briefing one month before she left Iraq, Miranda revealed.

“It is for good reason that one minister forcefully asked that he no longer be sent embassy political officers to speak about legislation, and would only meet with a credentialed lawyer,” Miranda wrote.

In summary, he argued that the last thing the U.S. needs in Baghdad is more Foreign Service officers. “We need experts, experienced human capital managers, and leaders who can think outside the box.”

I can remember in San Diego having to listen to a Raytheon exec named Carver bitch at a conference on how messed up the US Embassy in Jidda was---Carver absconded to Brazil shortly thereafter with about $20 million in embezzled Raytheon monies.

I myself had a check for $30 million land on my desk at the Embassy from MODA, the Saudi Defense Dept. A lot of things go awry overseas.

Donald Rumsfeld famously told the Iraq Task Force that Iraq needed "fresh thinking" and sent Jerry Bremer, a consummate State Dept bureaucratic fuck-up, to Baghdad. Bremer's first order of business was to keep Khalilzad out of a co-Ambassador position, as Zal knew too many Iraqi political personalities. Europeanist Bremer instantly treated Iraq as though it were Nazi Germany, crippling the government and economy at one fell swoop.

State has mustanged and diversified itself into imbecility and incompetence. Sad that a George Kennan nowadays would be lost in the thickets of PC mediocrity.

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