Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Robert S. Beecroft, nominee for Ambassador to Iraq


Robert Stephen Beecroft (above) is the Charge d'Affaires of the US Embassy in Baghdad.  This means he's been running things since the US has no Ambassador to Iraq at present.  Yesterday, Barack Obama nominated Beecroft to be the latest in his conga line of US Ambassadors to Iraq.  Unlike Chris Hill (Barack's first US Ambassador to Iraq) or Brett McGurk (Barack's failed nominee), Beecroft actually speaks Arabic.

From June 6, 2008 through June 4, 2011, he was the US Ambassador to Jordan -- he was sworn in to that post July 17, 2008 with his wife Anne and their daughter Blythe present as then-Secretary of State Condi Rice conducted the ceremony.   Their daughter attended Brigham Young University, as did Robert S. Beecroft (if you're wondering, yes, he is a Mormon and his missionary work was done in Venezuela).  Anne and Robert Beecroft married in 1983, Blythe is their oldest child (22) followed by Warren, Sterling and Grace.  After practicing law for six years (UC Berkeley Law School, 1988), he joined the diplomatic corps in 1994.

There's something to be said for recogniing those who do the work and Beecroft has been doing the work for some time so I will give Barack credit for that.

However, we are still left with the reality that Barack Obama has now had four nominees for US Ambassador to Iraq and all have been male.


Earlier this month, US Assistant Secretary of State for Near Easter Affairs Ambassador Elizabeth Jones met with Iraq's Foreign Affairs Minister Hoshyar Zebari (the two are pictured above) and other Iraqi officals.  It's strange that someone, Barack, whose presidency is often considered good if only for symbolic reasons and whose supporters also talk of the symoblic importance of a second term has shown no desire to recognize or acknowledge the symbolic importance of a woman in the role of US Ambassador in Iraq and how much that could help the status of Iraqi women.

From all I've been told (which includes the biography of Beecroft we noted above) by friends at the State Dept, he is highly qualified and there's goodwill in the Dept over the fact that someone who has been doing the job without the title now stands a real shot at receiving the title (therefore the recognition for the work they've done).  So Beecroft appears to be a strong nominee. Good for him.

But there's something very sad about the fact that Barack's nominated four people for this post and every one has been a man.  The US government's war on Iraq destroyed the rights of women and the very least the government could have done is make an appointment that would have symbolic value.  Four times, Barack chose not to.

The following community sites -- plus KPFK, Pacifica Evening News, CSPAN,  Marc Lynch, The Diane Rehm Show, Susan's On the Edge, On The Wilder Side, Watching America, Black Agenda Report and Antiwar.com -- updated last night and this morning:

Senator Patty Murray is the Chair of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee and today she's fighting for S.3429 - the Veterans Jobs Corps bill which will increase employment opportunities for veterans.  Her office notes:

FOR PLANNING PURPOSES Contact: Murray Press Office
Tuesday, September 11, 2012 (202) 224-2834
TODAY: Senator Murray to Speak in Support of Veterans Jobs Corps Bill
(Washington, D.C.) – Today, Tuesday, September 11th, Senator Patty Murray, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, will speak on the Senate floor in support of the Veterans Jobs Corps Act of 2012, which she is co-sponsoring. At a time when over 720,000 veterans are unemployed, this bill would increase training and hiring opportunities for our nation’s veterans, especially those from the post-9/11 era. The Veterans Jobs Corps Act would help put our veterans back to work as police officers, fire fighters, and other first responders, positions that our communities are in sore need of after 85 percent of law enforcement agencies were forced to reduce their budget in the past year. In addition, this bill would also help train and hire veterans to help restore and protect our national, state, and tribal forests, our parks, our coastal areas, wildlife refuges, and VA cemeteries.
Senator Murray will point out that the bill contains ideas from both sides of the aisle, is fully paid for with bipartisan spending offsets, and should not be controversial at a time when our veterans continue to struggle. The bill is expected to be considered by the full Senate this week.
WHO: U.S. Senator Patty Murray
WHAT: Senator Murray will give a speech on the Senate floor in support of the Veterans Jobs Corps bill
WHEN: TODAY: Tuesday, September 11, 2012
Approximately 12:00 PM EST/9:00 AM PST(this may change depending on floor schedule)
WHERE: U.S. Senate Floor
Kathryn Robertson
Specialty Media Coordinator
Office of U.S. Senator Patty Murray
448 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington D.C. 20510

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