In the face of a ferocious head wind of criticism against Ambassador-to-Iraq wanna be Brett McGurk, State’s official comment is that he is “uniquely qualified” to serve as the top American diplomat in Iraq and urged the Senate to confirm him quickly.
The Senate did not respond with alacrity. Several Republican senators, including Sen. John McCain, have criticized McGurk for his failure to negotiate a residual US force in Iraq after combat troops left in December 2011, an action that is directly responsible for several billion dollars in extra security costs for the State Department. A spokesman for Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., says that there are “concerning issues” about McGurk’s nomination and that the senator will not meet with him until those have been addressed. Inhofe spokesman Jared Young said the senator, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has not decided whether to place a formal hold on the nomination — which could kill it — but is withholding judgment until the matter is “cleared up.”
We suggest whoever has to “clean up” this mess wear a condom and wash their hands thoroughly afterwards.
Reasons not to confirm McGurk cover the spectrum:
He used official government email to hook up with a journalist in Iraq while married to someone else. Poor judgment, lack of maturity and discretion, reckless personal life, “notoriously disgraceful conduct” that State disciplines its own staff for.
In those same emails (which State essentially confirmed as authentic, stating “they are out there for everyone to see” and that the reporter “subsequently became his wife.”) McGurk dangles information for nooky to his reporter squeeze. McGurk saw no ethical issues in that deal, and saw no ethical issues in his now wife having sex with one of her journalistic sources. Why won’t he apply the same standards to his work as ambassador?
McGurk has held no job since graduation except to work on Iraq. He has been handmaiden to all the wonder, glory and success that has been the US in Iraq.
McGurk has never run an embassy, or anything else other than his own mouth, and is seeking to be in charge of the world’s largest and most expensive embassy as his training assignment. That embassy costs us $6.5 billion a year and employs over 16,000 people. This is not a place for a beginner, even with help.
Iraq is in political upheaval at present, with many elements gathering against current Prime Minister Malaki. McGurk is very, very close to Malaki and unlikely to be seen as a neutral, honest broker inside Iraq.
McGurk lied to his wife, messed around with a reporter, wrote her emails about his “blue balls” and masturbation in language that would be unimpressive from a high school kid. He is rumored to be in a sex tape, with another woman, a State Department employee now in Qatar we’re told. McGurk obviously has enemies inside State, with no assurance that the leaks are over with. Exactly what credibility will he have with his staff? How about his female staff?
McGurk speaks no Arabic and, based on his meandering answers in his confirmation hearing, can’t memorize facts and figures.
McGurk’s presence as ambassador would send a clear, sad message to all State Department employees that double standards of behavior apply, and that if you’re senior enough you can get away with things underlings get fired for.
Is America sending the right message to Iraq and the world when this is the best we can come up with for an ambassador’s job?
Bonus: Neither State nor McGurk has explained why it took a leak and then the efforts of some dedicated bloggers to bring out this information from State’s own archives? Why did State hide this until it was forced to admit it? What else is being withheld, and why does State withhold information from the Senate?
In my own case, State’s Diplomatic Security combed through my emails back years looking for dirt. Did they not look into McGurk’s? If not, why not? If so, why did they cover this up?
State, for its part, amazingly said “McGurk had been subject to rigorous vetting before being nominated for the job.” Hah hah, I guess that vetting should have been just a teensy, tiny bit more robust, eh? How can they say such things with a straight face?
Bonus Bonus: Marrying the woman you used to cheat on your wife does not erase the fact that you lied, broke your vows and cheated on your wife.
Iraq is a messy, complex place. 4484 Americans died there, over a hundred thousands Iraqis lost their lives. The Embassy in Iraq costs the US taxpayers between $6.5 and $4 billion a year, and has over 16,000 people working for it. This is not the place for an amateur, or for someone who can’t keep his zipper up and his mind on the job.
We need someone serious, mature and committed in this tough job, and we’re being fed Bluto from the Delta House. Zero point zero.
There are thousands of men and women in and out of government who speak Arabic, will present themselves as neutral brokers in Iraq and who can bring a fresh perspective to US policy there. Many of them have extensive executive experience, either running embassies themselves or in heading corporate ventures. None of them have their squishy sleezy emails leaked online by people who think they are unqualified enough to risk their careers to stop them, and the majority of them don’t sleep around on their spouses. Most of them are mature enough to not use government email to talk about whacking off.
And if all that isn’t enough, who says the leaks are over with, and that there isn’t more to come to embarrass us all again, now or when McGurk is in Baghdad?
Out of all those people, why why why is the State Department convinced only McGurk is qualified for this job?
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