• McGurk Senate Confirmation Hearing: Do the Emails Matter?

    June 6, 2012

    Tags: , , , ,
    Posted in: * Most Popular, Embassy/State, Iraq

    US ambassadors in Iraq (and Afghanistan, and Pakistan…) seem to have the lifespan of Spinal Tap drummers.

    Our current man in Baghdad, James Jeffrey, is packing now and of the 220 million people in the US population, the only one the State Department can seem to come up with as a replacement is Brett McGurk. McGurk has his Senate confirmation hearing today.

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    So let’s look at the resume of the guy America wants as the new ambassador to its pile of failed foreign policy doo doo, Brett McGurk:

    After law school and clerking, McGurk was a legal advisor to the Coalition Provisional Authority in Baghdad.

    Advisor to the last three US Ambassadors to Iraq: Jim Jeffrey, Christopher Hill and good ol’ Ryan Crocker.

    National Security Council, director for Iraq and later as senior director for Iraq and Afghanistan.

    Lead negotiator for the 2008 US-Iraq security agreement that extended the U.S. troop presence there until the end of 2011 and leader of the failed negotiations in 2011 to extend the US troop presence in Iraq even longer. On this last point Senator McCain has voiced concerns over McGurk’s nomination. Asked if he would try to block the nomination, McCain said, “I have to see what happens in his hearing.”


    McGurk is 38 years old and has never done any job other than help muck up Iraq on behalf of the United States. Dude only graduated in 1999. Despite essentially doing nothing but Iraq stuff his entire adult life, McGurk has also avoided learning any Arabic. You’d kind of think that maybe that wouldn’t be the resume for the next guy in charge of cleaning up some of his own mistakes, like maybe you’d want someone who had some… depth or experience or broad knowledge or understanding of something other than failure in that God-forsaken country. Normally when you are a hand maiden to failure you don’t get promoted, but then again, this is the State Department. This is almost as good as Harriet Miers.

    How could this possibly not work out?

    Well, it seems McGurk is not as popular at the State Department as he would probably like to believe. The objections among the voiceless unwashed at State are that he is associated with pretty much everything that went wrong since 2003 and not in line with the “new beginning” meme State is still trying to sell, and he is so close to divisive Iraqi Prime Minister Malaki that it will be even harder for State to engage across the political spectrum in the “new” Iraq.

    The leaks out of Foggy Bottom have not been kind to McGurk. Some have claimed he is party to a sex tape filmed on the Republican Palace roof (I haven’t seen it, so don’t write in).

    The Alleged Emails from 2008

    Now, the latest leak shows the intrepid McGurk in his own words, or actually what purport to be his romantic-y emails from Baghdad in 2008 (I didn’t post them, I don’t know where they came from, don’t write in). The messages, to a reporter some have linked romantically to McGurk, are full of references to “blue balls” and “exercises” to relieve same, and plans for the two to meet up if McGurk can shake his security “goons.”

    If these emails are authentic, and I have no way to verify them (let’s ask State!), they raise questions about McGurk’s relationship with a reporter covering the news McGurk was creating, as well as his discretion and judgment. These emails would also raise questions about why the State Department would seek to withhold information that might be of interest to the Senate in assessing McGurk’s suitability to be ambassador to Iraq.

    I myself could care less what two adults agree to do, married or not, but State has disciplined its own Foreign Service Officers for extra marital affairs, and cautions against using official email for too-personal correspondence. Always want to keep an eye on double-standards so they don’t negatively influence morale among the troops.

    In the end, I’m sure that Iraq will just keep on being all it can be, as long as America sends her its best.



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  • Recent Comments

    • Rich Bauer said...

      1

      BM was merely giving her derections where he went on his honeymoon: Through Bird-in-Hand, pass Blue Ball and you’ll find Intercourse and Paradise.

      06/6/12 1:07 PM | Comment Link

    • Jimmy said...

      2

      I think they do matter. Read them, he’s talking about how Ryan Crocker would be scratching his head if he knew and so Mcgurk was hiding this relationship from the State Department. Add in the marriage thing and then mix in how they go after you for linking to a website but this guy is having extra marital affairs in a war zone and carrying on an affair and no one even wants to discipline that but you linked to a website (Wikileaks) so they’ve got to drum you out of the State Department. I think his errors were far greater than anything you’re accused of and I don’t think he’s fit to be the ambassador to Iraq.

      06/6/12 8:55 PM | Comment Link

    • Dave said...

      3

      Do you mean you couldn’t care more what two adults agree to do?

      06/6/12 11:56 PM | Comment Link

    • Helen said...

      4

      I work in the State Department. I have met McGurk. He’s got the politician’s polish that helps make diplomatic relations go smoothly. He looks the part and talks the talk- at least in English. He’s very smart in a book-learnish way.

      He’s also a relentless self-promoter who never hesitates to take credit for the work of others. The surge? Brett will tell you he made it happen. The security agreement? Again, clearly Brett’s work. The Embassy would have fallen apart without him. Brett would have you think we would be at war with the Iraqis without him.

      The reality is that all of these efforts took enormous amounts of effort on the parts of hundreds, if not thousands of State Department diplomats and US military officers. None of the rest of us would ever try to single-handedly take credit for these massive efforts because we know we are part of a team, working on behalf of the US government.

      Brett has masterfully sold himself to the Iraqi government but alienated himself from the segments of Iraq’s populations we most need to forge ties with. It’s not really clear if he has ever had a conversation with a regular Iraqi or left the Green Zone- other than to pursue a hook-up. Similarly, he has sold himself to the upper tier of US policymakers but despised by working level US diplomats, who see him as backing nearly every disastrous policy the US has ever pursued in Iraq. He’s a walking EEO violation waiting to happen. The leaks of his personal e-mails and other stories of sexual indiscretion? These are significant only because they are the work of government insiders who hate Brett so much they would do anything to make him look bad.

      So good luck, Brett, as you take the helm of an Embassy where no one wants to work with you and your own team will happily help you fail- and let you take all the credit.

      06/7/12 11:41 AM | Comment Link

    • Vote No On The McGurk Nomination | RedState said...

      5

      [...] terms of qualifications, Mr. McGurk brings very modest accomplishments to the table. While he has risen rapidly in rank there is little evidence of real substance in his record. He [...]

      06/8/12 6:01 PM | Comment Link

    • Vote No On The McGurk Nomination|PolitifreakPolitifreak said...

      6

      [...] terms of qualifications, Mr. McGurk brings very modest accomplishments to the table. While he has risen rapidly in rank there is little evidence of real substance in his record. He [...]

      06/8/12 6:44 PM | Comment Link

    • Iraq snapshot (C.I.) | thecommonillsbackup said...

      7

      [...] Free Beacon), DiploPundit kept the issue alive early on as did Peter Van Buren with “McGurk Senate Confirmation Hearing: Do the Emails Matter?,” Cryptome published them, and we covered them in “Iraq snapshot” and [...]

      06/9/12 3:25 AM | Comment Link

    • Vote No On The McGurk Nomination said...

      8

      [...] terms of qualifications, Mr. McGurk brings very modest accomplishments to the table. While he has risen rapidly in rank there is little evidence of real substance in his record. He [...]

      06/9/12 5:01 AM | Comment Link

    • Out of touch and then some (Cedric) | thecommonillsbackup said...

      9

      [...] Free Beacon), DiploPundit kept the issue alive early on as did Peter Van Buren with “McGurk Senate Confirmation Hearing: Do the Emails Matter?,” Cryptome published them, and we covered them in “Iraq snapshot” and [...]

      06/10/12 1:56 AM | Comment Link

    • 16 bean soup (Rebecca) | thecommonillsbackup said...

      10

      [...] Free Beacon), DiploPundit kept the issue alive early on as did Peter Van Buren with “McGurk Senate Confirmation Hearing: Do the Emails Matter?,” Cryptome published them, and we covered them in “Iraq snapshot” and [...]

      06/10/12 1:57 AM | Comment Link

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