Thursday, February 08, 2007

Many U.S. diplomats refuse to work in Iraq

Continuing to focus on the 'surge' in Iraq this IHT article gives a good taste of the problem of mounting a stronger and integrated miltary-political approach at the field level. The article outlines that of 350 posts foreseen for State Department staffing, there has been a request that the Defense temporarily fill those slots.

The last sentence apparently drives home the current thinking in Washington on Iraq, namely that the failings of the Iraq War of 2003 were due to bad civilian planning:

"The issue flared this week when Defense Secretary Robert Gates testified at a Senate hearing that he shared the concerns of officers who complained about a request from Rice's office that military personnel temporarily fill more than one-third of 350 new jobs in Iraq that the State Department is supposed to be responsible for. The New York Times reported on Wednesday that senior military officials were upset at the request and told President George W. Bush and Gates that the new Iraq strategy could fail unless more civilian agencies stepped forward quickly to carry out plans for reconstruction and political development."

More of the same issues are picked up in a follow-on IHT article: