Insomnia (insomnia) wrote,

Whatever happened to diplomatic immunity anyway?!

Unable to convince enough of their current people that they should serve in a war zone, the U.S. State Department has decided to essentially institute a draft -- serve in Iraq or throw away your entire career. Beginning Monday, 200 to 300 diplomats will be notified they have been identified as prime candidates that may be ordered to serve in Iraq in the near future.

The administration's move jolted the foreign service corps. A spokesman for the American Foreign Service Association said they had told Secretary of State Rice that directing unarmed civilians who are untrained for combat into a war zone should be done on a voluntary basis. Directed assignments, they feared, can be detrimental to the individual, to the post, and to the Foreign Service as a whole.

Considering their salaries, and the oftentimes high requirements necessary to become a diplomat, I would tend to agree. There are so many more profitable things you can do with your time with the same skillset already, and the risks are a lot less. As a result, many of the most talented foriegn service employees with the best career alternatives available to them will strongly consider a more stable, lucrative career.

Another big problem is that these people and their families lack any real governmental support to do what they're being ordered to do. On the military side, there are numerous government-funded programs to advocate for families separated by deployments, to subsidize housing and loans, to assist with parenting and child care, to facilitate spousal employment, to cover spouses’ tuition for higher education and to teach personal financial management. There are endless clubs, support groups, commissaries, mental health professionals, social activities and organizations standing ready to help military families. The military takes seriously the job of caring for families left behind and devotes both staff and extensive budgetary resources to it.

On the State Department side, none of the above exists, either for diplomats sent over there or for their familes. Returning State Department employees don't even have an infrastructure in place if they happen to suffer from Post Traumatic Stress as a result of their service.

It makes you wonder... if they can do this to people in the State Department, which government workers, if any, are necesarily exempt from these kinds of policies?

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