Oh yeah? I'd have never guessed.
In a report so full of pullable quotations I was having a hard time choosing, one came flying out at me, stronger than the rest. Consider this exchange between Foreign Service Director General Harry Thomas and a diplomat who served in Basra:
Other diplomats at the meeting did not object to the idea of directed assignments but questioned why the State Department had been slow to respond to the medical needs of those who had served in dangerous posts.Did not anticipate? Did not anticipate. Let that soak into your brain for a few minutes.
"I would just urge you, now that now we are looking at compulsory service in a war zone, that we have a moral imperative as an agency to take care of people who ... come back with war wounds," said Rachel Schnelling, a diplomat who served in Basra, Iraq and said the department had been unresponsive to requests for mental heath care.
"I asked for treatment and I didn't get any of it," she said in comments greeted with a standing ovation.
Thomas, who has been in his current job for just a few months, said the department was working on improving its response to stress-related disorders that "we did not anticipate."
Is it in your head now? Good. Now share this article with people and encourage others to marvel at who has been placed in charge of American lives in this country - and I mean that beyond just the military aspects.
More than 1,200 of the department's 11,500 Foreign Service officers have served in Iraq since 2003, but the generous incentives have not persuaded enough diplomats to volunteer for duty in Baghdad or with the State Department's provincial reconstruction teams.Entry-level. Awesome, right? What a wonderful connection we share with the Vietnam generation now. We dodged the draft, sure, just as we've dodged any requests to sacrifice a thing as this war continues. Pay no attention to that war behind the curtain.
The move to directed assignments is rare but not unprecedented.
In 1969, an entire class of entry-level diplomats was sent to Vietnam. On a smaller scale, diplomats were required to work at various embassies in West Africa in the 1970s and 1980s.