Thursday, February 14, 2008

Condemnation of State Dept. finally hits the news

In today's NewMax.com, there is classified memo about the conditions of the Embassy in Baghdad revealed. This is a story by Ken Timmerman. The title is, "State Dept. Official: Baghdad Embassy Incompetent."

As I have been decrying for many years, the State Department, once again, has proven incompetent.
Part of the “surge” strategy was to pacify Iraq to allow the government of Iraq to craft new laws and win the confidence of the Iraqi people, but the State Department “has not done its part,” Miranda stated in his memo.

...“It is apparent that, other than diplomacy, your only expertise is your own bureaucracy.”

...If the U.S. embassy’s efforts were judged by the rules that government private business, they “would be considered willfully negligent if not criminal,” he wrote.
If the Congress is going to mandate another country's rules and regulations (how dare you!), they should at least pony-up the cash for it. You want to talk about benchmarks?
While many of the security benchmarks have been met, there has been little progress in other areas.

A report by the Government Accountability Office in September 2007, just days before Gen. David Petraeus reported to Congress that the surge was beginning to show signs of success, found that the Iraqi government only fully met three of 18 benchmarks and partially met four others.

Miranda argues that much of the blame lies not with the Iraqis, but with the State Department and its “excuse-making culture” that is inclined to “blame the Embassy’s failures on others.”
As if that wasn't bad enough, the Left in Congress made it worse. They gave General Petreaus a terrible time when he reported his findings, and they acted as if they knew more than he. Shame on you, Congress.

Also, the Iraqi government got wise to these incompetents and told them they would not be sending another political officer to speak about legislation.
His memorandum was greeted with a chorus of “Amens” from private U.S. contractors operating in Iraq, who told Newsmax they had been complaining of the same problems at the embassy for the past three years.

More damaging than the waste and lack of management skills was the failure of the embassy to understand the critical needs or even the functioning of the Iraqi State Council in crafting new legislation, as mandated by the U.S. Congress.

The State Council “is the most legitimate institution in the Iraqi law-making process,” Miranda wrote. “Yet from 2003 through 2007, not a single America dollar was spent to develop the capacity of that institution to process legislation in a timely fashion.”

Crocker never asked for a briefing on the State Council’s role until he had been in Baghdad for several months. The immediate past head of the embassy’s political section only asked for such a briefing one month before she left Iraq, Miranda revealed.
At the end of the day...
Miranda says he was proud last year when he was sworn in at the State Department, after graduating from the Georgetown School of Foreign Service. "In summary...we need experts, experienced human capital managers, and leaders who can think outside the box.”

“By the middle of 2007, that changed. I was ashamed for my country.”
I understand his frustration, and it makes me angry. Why do we allow this crushing of mens' spirits just to keep these incompetent beaurocrats happy? Is this right in any form or fashion? May we know close down the State Dept?

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