You know, I was perfectly willing to believe that there was something skewed about this story – much ado about nothing – but then I got to this bit:
… One Arabic-speaking junior officer with experience in the Middle East said he volunteered to go to Iraq when he first joined the Foreign Service last year, but he was rejected.
He recently bid again but was told that he first had to do a consular tour, which is mandatory for all officers before they get tenured. Now he is considering leaving the service.
Several officers pointed out that there are still many diplomats who have no interest in serving in Iraq. A former ambassador said some of his ex-colleagues are considering early retirement because they do not want to be forced to serve in Iraq at the end of their careers.
. . . and I knew it was just standard issue gov’t BS after all.
There is no more clear sign that you are not serious about your war-time obligation as an organization if you are prepared to risk losing someone with critical skills because they haven’t punched some arbitrary ticket. Is there some reason why he can’t perform some “consular tour” duties while he’s employing his in-demand skills in Iraq? Of course not, but ‘that’s just not how we do things ’round here.’ He’s got a skill that the majority of people at the embassy now don’t have and he can’t go because they’ve processed more passports than he has?
And of course why would people who have mastered their trade want to go and practice it in one of the most challenging assignments of their careers? I mean, you could literally go out with a bang, but then you didn’t expect to spend 30 years in Switzerland, did you? I am reminded of the surprised look on the face of soem foreign colleagues when I showed up at an allied assignment. Most of those who had preceeded me were geezers who refused to go out on meets because of “health” reasons, but they had no qualms about collecting the overtime and hazard pay for all the extra “work” they did around the team house (the IC’s most expensive cooks). But hey, don’t criticize them, they pulled a “war” tour at 55. All gelt and glory, no guts.