The State Department recently announced that it will force at least 50 diplomats to take posts in Iraq next year “because of expected shortfalls in filling openings there, the first such large-scale forced assignment since the Vietnam War.” Several hundred diplomats swiftly “vented” their “anger and frustration” over the forced posting, likening it to a “potential death sentence.”
The right wing has angrily attacked these diplomats. Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA), for example, said he had personally urged President Bush to fire them for speaking out:
I’ve recommended to the President today that we do this — that we fire those recalcitrant State Department personnel who say it’s too dangerous for them to go back to Baghdad. They want another assignment — let them leave the service.
Yesterday, the State Department joined in the bashing. On its Dipnote blog, it published an open letter by career Foreign Service Officer John Matel. In the letter, Matel insinuates that diplomats who refuse to serve in Iraq are “embarrassing” “wimps and weenies”:
We signed up to be worldwide available. All of us volunteered for this kind of work and we have enjoyed a pretty sweet lifestyle most of our careers. I will not repeat what the Marines say when I bring up this subject. I tell them that most FSOs are not wimps and weenies. I will not share this article with them and I hope they do not see it. […]
We all know that few FSOs will REALLY be forced to come to Iraq anyway. Our system really does not work like that. This sound and fury at Foggy Bottom truly signifies nothing. Get over it! I do not think many Americans feel sorry for us and it is embarrassing for people with our privileges to paint ourselves as victims.
The State Department’s blog post appears aimed at providing fodder for the right-wing blogosphere, which has been ripping the “diplowimps” who refuse to serve in Iraq.