Oh, quit jumping up and down.
According to the New York Times, the U.S. is reportedly planning to slash the U.S. Embassy staff in Iraq by up to half. The staff there is estimated at 16,000, including some 2,000 diplomats, if reports are correct, and thousands of private security contractors.
The NYT underestimates the frustration:
“[T]he Americans have been frustrated by what they see as Iraqi obstructionism and are now largely confined to the embassy because of security concerns, unable to interact enough with ordinary Iraqis to justify the $6 billion annual price tag.”
The rationed chicken wings really brought home the almost insurmountable problem, which is not going to get fixed while our contentious relationship with the Iraqis is ongoing. Again from the NYT:
“After the American troops departed in December, life became more difficult for the thousands of diplomats and contractors left behind. Convoys of food that were previously escorted by the United States military from Kuwait were delayed at border crossings as Iraqis demanded documentation that the Americans were unaccustomed to providing.
Within days, the salad bar at the embassy dining hall ran low. Sometimes there was no sugar or Splenda for coffee. On chicken-wing night, wings were rationed at six per person. Over the holidays, housing units were stocked with Meals Ready to Eat, the prepared food for soldiers in the field.”
As if rationed chicken wings and no Splenda for coffee are not bad enough, the Prime Minister of Iraq is now a visa officer. What’s this world coming to? The next thing you know, they’ll have Iraqi ministers acting as anti-fraud officers to weed out the ones they like and those they don’t like? And if they don’t like the muscle guys doing private security work for our diplomats … oh dear, this is going to be messy …
“Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki’s office — and sometimes even the prime minister himself — now must approve visas for all Americans, resulting in lengthy delays. American diplomats have had trouble setting up meetings with Iraqi officials.”
Need I point out that even shrinking the US Mission in Iraq by up to half would give it a staffing of approximately 8,000 souls still?
That would make the US Mission in Iraq, still the largest in the world. And we’re back to where we started. 8,000 employees will not be happy with six chicken wings each and no Splenda for coffee while Iraqis who are now “allies” are shooting outside the mylared window of the glorified bunker.
- United States Planning to Slash Iraq Embassy Staff by Half (nytimes.com)
- U.S. To Downsize Baghdad Embassy By Half (thinkprogress.org)
- Washington confirms 15,000 staff members will occupy embassy in Baghdad (thecurrencynewshound.com)
- Iraq is angered by U.S. drones patrolling skies (mysanantonio.com)