Impressment of the FSOs

Juan Cole on the Foreign Service Officer situation:

carrier_sm.jpg Think of the thousands of Shanghaied sailors in the US Navy

Bush is trying to Shanghai several hundred foreign service officers and force them to go to Iraq. They are protesting.

Thank goodness we have Cole’s Informed Comment available to inform us. Before reading this, I had been under the (apparently mistaken) impression that “Shanghai” meant to wrongly and unlawfully impress someone into service where they weren’t required to serve. Something along the lines of



  1. Fire all FSOs. Blacklist them from USG employment. That Ivy-legue good-ol-boy welfare program is just a waste of money. Any time that I thought I was in a bad command when I was in the Navy (third enlistment on), I always reflected back on my USDAO tour and thought: ‘At least I don’t have to deal with State anymore…’

  2. There are lines of people waiting to get into those Federal jobs. If the FSO’s do not want to follow their orders, fire them, and replace them. Simple enough.

  3. The ‘Foreign’ part of Foreign Service kinda slipped the minds of these asshats. They took an oath, and they’re supposed to go where the country needs them. Fire them and hire people who take the job seriously.

  4. When directed assignments were announced, 204 of the 252 Iraq positions for 2008 had already been filled by qualified volunteers, leaving only 48 to be filled. As of this morning, another 15 FSO had stepped forward to volunteer, leaving only 33 positions (and counting) which will have to be filled by directed assignments. Considering that every State position up until now has been filled by a volunteer, it’s kind of silly to start calling people there cowards at this late date. Over a third (2,000+) of the 6,500 member FSO generalist corps has already served in Iraq. Every one of them has been a volunteer. They don’t go over as part of an armed unit composed of people with whom they’ve trained together for months and years, they go as individuals. So if you haven’t already volunteered to go yourself in some capacity, think twice before being so glib and easy with the cheap shots.

  5. Cut off funding for the embassy and force most of the diplomats home. This is the way to start ending the war.’ I’m curious how he thinks bringing diplomats home would somehow lessen violence in Iraq.

  6. KTLA: Well, I’m sure he meant our part in the war. For someone who claims to be so informed about Arabs, Prof. Cole sure doesn’t seem to give a rat’s ass about them.

  7. President George W. Bush should take a lesson from former President Ronald Reagan’s swift action when he had to deal with an Air Traffic Controller’s union rebellion in the 1980’s. He fired them all. No negotiation!

  8. So if you haven’t already volunteered to go yourself in some capacity, think twice before being so glib and easy with the cheap shots.

    So … what are the qualifications needed to volunteer?

  9. Well I’ve got to respect them if they’re serving, or have served…………..nevertheless, if deployment overseas was part of their conditions of employment when they signed on, or have been duly formulated and enacted since then……I guess they need to get with the program, or find another line of work. I’ts not like our military personnel haven’t served multiple tours ‘where ever’, and I’m sure many of them would rather have been stationed elsewhere. I wouldn’t really want to slag down DOS employees as a group. I’ve found them to be like most other organizations, really enjoyed working with some of them; real gung ho, take care of business kinds, and others were lames and schmucks.

  10. Note to Juan Cole: You fail to realize that if there are no diplomats in Iraq to execute the foreign policy of the United States, that leaves the DoD to do it. Not sure how that would contribute to ending the war, there, perfesser.