Well, we've gone from incompetent to petty and downright murderous. Apparently things are going SO WELL in Iraq that we can no longer afford to even protect our own diplomats.

Sidney Blumenthal via Digby:

Under the pretense that Iraq is being pacified, the U.S. military is partially withdrawing from hostile towns in the countryside and parts of Baghdad. By reducing the numbers of soldiers the administration can claim its policy is working going into the midterm elections. But the jobs that the military will no longer perform are being sloughed off onto State Department "provincial reconstruction teams" led by Foreign Service officers. The stated rationale is that the teams will win Iraqi hearts and minds by organizing civil functions.

The Pentagon has informed the State Department that it will not provide security for these officials and that State should hire mercenaries for protection instead. Apparently, the U.S. military and the U.S. Foreign Service do not represent the same country in this exercise in nation-building....

The State Department was correct in its assessment, contained in the 17-volume "Future of Iraq Project," of the immense effort required for reconstruction after the war, but it was disregarded. Now the State Department reports from Iraq are correct, but their authors are being punished. Foreign Service officers are to be sent out like tethered goats to the killing fields. When these misbegotten projects inevitably fail, as those inside State expect, the department will be blamed. The passive resistance to these assignments by Foreign Service officers reflects informed anticipation of impending disaster, including the likely murders of diplomats.