But we're having a hard time finding enough Diplomats in the State Department to properly staff our Embassy in Iraq.
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One “Google” article on foreign service jobs with the State Department is titled “Dream Jobs.” It describes the income potential ($130,000 for senior diplomats) plus such perks as embassy housing, moving all belongings to and from their assignment, free air travel back to the U.S. during a two-year tour, observance of all U.S. and local holidays while overseas, and “hardship” incentives (extra pay) while serving in a country that creates some sort of privation. For example, diplomats serving in El Salvador received 5% extra pay and extra R&R because of the likelihood of earthquakes in that country. It should be noted that not all diplomats end up in Iraq or El Salvador. During a 20-year career or longer, many can expect assignments in such places as Paris, London, and Rome. Diplomats are also represented by a union, the American Foreign Service Association.
One of the reasons for the high pay is the element of risk. It's nothing like the risk a soldier faces, but there is a risk. Guess which job comes with the most money?
You've been paying a lot of money to someone named Jack Croddy who now wants no part of this risk....
At that contentious meeting of some 300 foreign service officers who oppose the “directed assignment” to Iraq, senior diplomat Jack Croddy said, “It’s one thing if someone believes in what’s going on over there and volunteers, but it’s another thing to send someone over there on a forced assignment. I’m sorry, but basically that’s a potential death sentence and you know it. Who will raise our children if we are dead or seriously wounded?”
(Addition from November 6th....Yesterday morning, Diane Rehm from NPR was trying to peddle this as "the first non-voluntary conscription of government personnel since the Viet Nam war", or words to that effect. She's mistaken.I don't agree with everything that's been going on in Iraq. Most people don't.
When you join the Foreign Service corps, you have officially volunteered for any time, any place, and sign similar paperwork to that signed by volunteering military personnel. End of addition)
Most people aren't pulling down 130K a year for possibly assuming the risk of going there, either.
I have an employee in the military reserves, Robert Crump, who recently learned that he has to go back to Iraq in March. (His photographs from Iraq are scattered through this site.) Robert has two sons. He's worried. But he signed up for the job, and he's going. I haven't heard a single complaint from him, and probably won't. This guy is worth his weight in gold.
I need Robert here in March, because he contributes to the success of our operation. I bet he contributes succesfully to the Army also. I'm sure he'd prefer to be sipping espressos in Paris on the left bank of the Seine with Jack Croddy and the Foreign Service Corps, but Robert doesn't have that option. Does Jack Croddy contribute to anything, anywhere? Can someone tell me? Is the State Department going to have a hard time replacing him, if he resigns in protest? What has Jack Croddy done for you lately?
Here's the part that makes me ill:
The ambassador to Iraq, Ryan Crocker, said all diplomats have a solemn responsibility to place the nation’s interest over their own, “and those that don’t are in the wrong business.” California congressman Duncan Hunter [R-Calif.] had an even blunter message: the balking diplomats should be fired and replaced by U.S. military troops who were discharged because of battle injuries, but who still want to serve their country. Hunter said there are plenty of U.S. soldiers and marines at Bethesda Naval Hospital and Walter Reed Army Hospital who would love to embark on new careers. Hunter said he met briefly with President Bush and that the president indicated he might consider the idea.
Lordy, what a mess.
Will someone please forward this post to Jack Croddy? If Jack Croddy does the right thing and resigns, we'll be need someone in Robert's job, starting in March. Jack Croddy is welcome to apply. But tell him not to expect 130 grand a year.
And he'll have some big shoes to fill.