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Site contact: greyhawk at mudvillegazette dot com
Greyhawk, you forgot the to mention the best part! The video at the end, perhaps a later update. To quote the young'uns - IAVA's Adam Kokesh gets PWNED! You have to watch to the end - and I think you will get a kick out of who he supports for President. That and his do-rag wearing friend just makes the day complete.
Foreign Service Officers need to answer: "Send Me!"
Foreign Service Officers. My perception of most them is thus: Ivy Leaguers who so enjoyed their junior year abroad they want to make a career of it. They seek to spend a make a career out of moving from Paris to Rome to London; hardship posts are the capitals of Eastern Europe.
The remaining Foreign Service Officers appear to be professional Peace Corps volunteers. Noble efforts, but in the macro scheme of things, not a very significant part of how US foreign policy is conducted.
If you, a loved one, or a good friend is a Foreign Service Officer and are offended or put off by the above, I urge you to pause before you hit the comment button and ask yourself why such a perception exists.
It seems the State Department may have to direct Foreign Service Officers to the Baghdad Embassy. The largest United States Embassy in history, confronting the most challenging Foreign Policy of our day and our Foreign Service is AWOL.
Of the 11,500 Foreign Service Officers in the US State Department, slightly over 1200 have served in Iraq. The tours are a year and they are allowed five trips home for a period of 60 days; four times what a Soldier facing combat receives. They can also receive up to 90% of their salary in additional pay, tax free for the tour. In contrast a service member receives 15 days leave once for a one-year tour and receives approximately $500 per month in various types of special duty pay in addition to the tax-free status.
The union representing U.S. diplomats has officially objected to the Iraq call-up. "We believe, and we have told the secretary of state, that directing unarmed civilians who are untrained for combat into a war zone should be done on a voluntary basis," said Steve Kashkett, vice president of the American Foreign Service Association. "Directed assignments, we fear, can be detrimental to the individual, to the post, and to the Foreign Service as a whole." Kashkett said the association had contended in meetings with Rice and Thomas that a diplomatic draft is unnecessary and that "thousands" of diplomats have volunteered for Iraq over the past five years. "We're not weenies, we're not cowards, we're not cookie pushers in Europe," he said. "This has never been necessary in a generation."
Foreign Service Officers have a union?
Read Mr. Kashkett’s quote again - "We're not weenies, we're not cowards, we're not cookie pushers in Europe." Words are easy to produce Mr. Kashkett, but actions speak louder than words. If the Foreign Service is not full of “weenies, cowards, and cookie pushers” then prove it.
Now frankly I was surprised the State Department even asked people about where they want to be assigned. But if you are a Foreign Service Officer and you are not on that list of volunteers then you have given lie to Mr. Kashkett’s disclaimer. If your name is not on that list of volunteers and you have not served here I would suggest you are one of the three.
And yes, if your are green suiter and look down on your right shoulder and don’t have a patch that was earned in Iraq or Afghanistan, then you too need to be really questioning what you are doing in this organization.
For those of you who need a primer on why Foreign Service Officers are so critical to this fight I would recommend this article from the Economist.
There is a place.
It is a place specifically to honor those of the Third Infantry Division killed in Iraq. A tree for each soldier lost… a living monument to those who gave all. A place that families and friends and comrades come to remember… to reflect… to pay respects. It is a place that provides comfort… and for some, peace.
It is Warriors' Walk at Fort Stewart, Georgia. There are now 373 trees. Four were added October 19... and two of those new trees were for soldiers in my son's battalion/regiment. There are hopes that these will be the last to be added to the Walk; with at least eight more months in this deployment, it is a wish prayed with fervency and many promises attached.
Many family members and friends regularly leave mementos for fallen 3ID soldiers: pictures with family members, sports teams' memorabilia, plaques, toy motorcycles and even the occasional bottle of a soldier's favorite beer. Last December, as family members of the Third Infantry Division were preparing for their loved ones’ deployments -- some for the third time -- they paid homage by decorating the Warriors' Walk trees of family and friends. But the wife of the (now) Command Sgt. Major and others noticed that many trees had no decorations and she vowed to do something about it.
And you can help dress the place for the Holidays.
Details at Some Soldier's Mom
Thousands of people called for a swift end to the war in Iraq as they marched through downtown on Saturday, chanting and carrying signs that read: "Wall Street Gets Rich, Iraqis and GIs Die" or "Drop Tuition Not Bombs." The streets were filled with thousands as labor union members, anti-war activists, clergy and others rallied near City Hall before marching to Dolores Park.
GEN. PHILLIPS:But what really touched me was on the 23rd of October, this past Tuesday, I went out to Ramadi. The Iraqis came up with a concept of a Unity Day parade. Never in my wildest imagination did I ever think Ramadi would host a parade which would be led with a band playing and then also young Iraqi Boy Scouts marching with flags, young Iraqi Girl Scouts marching with flags, followed by the fire department, the National Police, the regular police, ambulances.
I'm pretty sure I know which parade the 70% of Americans who want the war to end would prefer marching in. Unfortunately, Ramadi,Iraq is a long way to go for a victory parade.