Can diplomats field their own army? The State Department is laying plans to do precisely that in Iraq, in an unprecedented experiment that U.S. officials and some nervous lawmakers say could be risky.Issues to consider: the militarization of the diplomatic corps, the ballooning national security/ intelligence infrastructure, military-civilian linkages in US politics, military-diplomatic linkages in US war zones (especially consider Afghanistan in light of the Gen McChrystal incident). I'm sure there's more.
Under the terms of a 2008 status of forces agreement, all U.S. troops must be out of Iraq by the end of 2011, but they'll leave behind a sizable American civilian presence, including the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, the largest in the world, and five consulate-like "Enduring Presence Posts" in the Iraqi hinterlands.
Iraq remains a battle zone, and the American diplomats and other civilian government employees will need security. The U.S. military will be gone. Iraq's army and police, despite billions of dollars and years of American training, aren't yet capable of doing the job.