Meltdown at the US State Department

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You almost have to feel sorry for Condoleezza Rice these days. Seems that the Secretary of State is under attack on all fronts. Dissension in the ranks – possible insubordination – resignations – forced assignments.

About the forced assignments in Iraq, Jack Croddy, senior Department official, commented,

"…It’s one thing if someone believes in what’s going on over there and volunteers, but it’s another thing to send someone over there on a forced assignment…I’m sorry, but basically that’s a potential death sentence and you know it. Who will raise our children if we are dead or seriously wounded?"

What’s a Secretary of State to do – a gigantic, new, luxurious Embassy and department employees who don’t want to serve there. Too bad the Embassy can’t be turned into a gigantic planter. Because of its size, maybe it should be turned into a rain forest. Better yet, turn it over to the Iraqi people as partial payment on the reparations that are owed to them for the destruction caused by the US war of aggression and bombing which has continued since 1991.

Lack of morale in the department is nothing compared to the more important issue that plagues the State Department – dead bodies – seventeen dead Iraqi civilians that we know about, and an unknown number of other victims. If that was not bad enough, someone in the State Department granted limited immunity to the accused murderers.

There has been so much bad Press that there hasn’t been time to ask, what did Rice know and when did she know it. The granting of Immunity has undermined the prosecution of the accused murderers. Maybe the Secretary did not know about this. It doesn’t really matter if, when, or what Rice knew. If she didn’t know, she is incompetent. If she did know, a Charge of Obstruction of Justice might be appropriate.

The important point is that at least 17 Iraqi civilians have been murdered. This is just one of many such incidents. The accused should have their day in court, but now their prosecution in the US has been compromised.

An elaborate scheme to prevent any prosecution in the Iraqi legal system was planned a long time ago. Coalition Provisional Authority Article 17 was imposed by the US during the Paul Bremer era. It appears that war crimes, reckless killing of civilians, and other barbaric acts were foreseen and pre-meditated; otherwise, why impose Article 17 on Iraq. Article 1, Section 2 of Article 17 granted immunity from the Iraqi legal process to US personnel who kill Iraqi civilians. Currently Iraq is in the process of overthrowing Article 17. Good luck with that one.

Where has Congress been during all of this. On October 24, 2007, Rice was questioned during a Congressional Committee hearing. A few members of Congress seemed to be aware and asked relevant questions. Others seemed to be too political and partisan to be effective. Congress could call for the resignation of Rice. Under the circumstances, that would be an appropriate action. It won’t happen. The State Department will limp along, leaving a path of destruction in its wake. Seventeen dead bodies here – 500,000 dead children there. It’s all in a day’s work at the US State Department.

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Rosemarie Jackowski is an advocacy journalist living in Vermont. She was arrested, tried, and convicted for her participation in a peaceful protest of the war. The conviction was appealed and overturned in the State Supreme Court. The government then announced plans to retry the case. Finally, after years of legal proceedings, all charges were dropped. She contributed this article to Media Monitors Network (MMN) from the US.

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