Quickie: U.S. Diplomats to Take On New Iraq Security Roles in Afghanistan Preview

President George W. Bush is greeted to Baghdad...Image via WikipediaVia Bloomberg:

The challenge for American diplomats who take over security support in Iraq from the U.S. military next year starts with this: They are to provide protection without carrying guns.

They also will be responsible for running their own fleet of aircraft and operating a rocket-warning system, with fewer than 1,100 civil servants replacing a force as large as 50,000 U.S. troops.

As many as 7,000 security contractors along with military companies will pick up where soldiers left off in shoring up a nascent Iraqi police force and shielding Americans from attack.

Saddling the State Department with traditionally military tasks at a fraction of the manpower poses a risky test in a country that still averages 15 insurgent attacks a day and has failed to form a ruling coalition eight months after elections.

“I worry a great deal about that transition,” said Ryan Crocker, U.S. ambassador to Iraq between 2007 and 2009. “The capacity does not exist on the civilian side to take on the vast array of roles and missions that the military has so ably performed in Iraq.”
Congress has proposed cutting $150 million to $425 million from Obama’s request for $1.8 billion for the State Department’s operations in Iraq this year, the type of cut that could limit diplomats’ movements out of their compounds without sufficient security. The Defense Department spent $2.66 billion a week at the peak of the conflict in 2007-2008.

Read the whole thing here.

Don’t you just absolutely luv nationbuilding on the cheap?

Less people (than DOD), less money (than DOD), and look — just hands, no guns – and still winning hearts and minds — what’s not to looove, dudes?

What’s that?  Oh, you can now call the police for help if you’re in trouble, also — except you won’t know who they’re gonna shot, also.  Spot what’s wrong with this picture, please?