Commentary By Ron Beasley
I don't know why this isn't getting more play:
Less than two months after American troops left, the State Department is preparing to slash by as much as half the enormous diplomatic presence it had planned for Iraq, a sharp sign of declining American influence in the country.
I would think the cons would be raising hell about this.
The expansive diplomatic operation and the $750 million embassy building, the largest of its kind in the world, were billed as necessary to nurture a postwar Iraq on its shaky path to democracy and establish normal relations between two countries linked by blood and mutual suspicion. But the Americans have been frustrated by 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 swift realization among some top officials that the diplomatic build-up may have been ill-advised represents a remarkable pivot for the State Department, in that officials spent more than a year planning the expansion and that many of the thousands of additional personnel have only recently arrived. Michael W. McClellan, the embassy spokesman, said in a statement, �over the last year and continuing this year the Department of State and the Embassy in Baghdad have been considering ways to appropriately reduce the size of the U.S. mission in Iraq, primarily by decreasing the number of contractors needed to support the embassy�s operations.�
Mr. McClellan said the number of diplomats � currently about 2,000 � is also, �subject to adjustment as appropriate.�
I wonder if this has something to do with the threat that Israel will attack Iran which could turn the diplomats and contractors into hostages. I think we all know what side Iraq will take. The bottom line is the Iraqis don't like us.