Date: Fri, 7 Apr 2006 19:34:09 -0400
From: John E. Marsh
I have long suspected the Bush neocon self-delusion would foster this
rot of growing disillusion and frustration within the highly competent
professional cadres of the Department of State. The sub-title of this
piece is grimly sarcastic -- "*/Amid an internal crisis of
credibility, Condoleezza Rice has washed her hands of her
department/*"* . *It is the old story, with which too many of us
retired professionals are all too familiar -- when the facts are
inconvenient and the messenger can't change them, kill the messenger.
QUOTED EXCERPT: Since the Iraqi elections in January, US foreign
service officers at the Baghdad embassy have been writing a steady
stream of disturbing cables describing drastically worsening conditions.
. . . State department officials in the field are reporting that Shia
militias use training as cover to infiltrate key positions. Thus the
strategy to create institutions of order and security is fuelling civil
war. Rather than being received as invaluable intelligence, the
messages are discarded or, worse, considered signs of disloyalty.
Rejecting the facts on the ground apparently requires blaming the
messengers. So far, two top attaches at the embassy have been reassigned
elsewhere for producing factual reports that are too upsetting. . . .
Under the pretence that Iraq is being pacified, the military is
partially withdrawing from hostile towns in the countryside and parts of
Baghdad. By reducing the number of soldiers, the administration can
claim its policy is working going into the midterm elections. But the
jobs the military doesn't want to perform are being sloughed off on
state department "provisional reconstruction teams" (PRTs) led by
foreign service officers. The rationale is that they will win Iraqi
hearts-and-minds by organising civil functions. The Pentagon has
informed the state department it will not provide security for these
officials and that mercenaries should be hired for protection instead.
Internal state department documents listing the PRT jobs, dated March
30, reveal that the vast majority of them remain unfilled by volunteers.
So the professionals are being forced to take the assignments in which
"they can't do what they are being asked to do", as a senior department
official told me. END QUOTE