THE LATEST FROM THE GREEN ZONE….Our embassy in Baghdad may be the biggest, most fortified, and most expensive in the world, but it’s still not good enough:

Ryan C. Crocker, the new U.S. ambassador to Iraq, bluntly told Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in a cable dated May 31 that the embassy in Baghdad — the largest and most expensive U.S. embassy — lacks enough well-qualified staff members.

….”He’s panicking,” said one government official who recently returned from Baghdad, adding that Crocker is carrying a heavy workload as the United States presses the Iraqi government to meet political benchmarks.

“You could use a well-managed political section of 50 people” who know what they are doing, the official said, but Crocker does not have it because many staffers assigned to the embassy are “too young for the job,” or are not qualified and are “trying to save their careers” by taking an urgent assignment in Iraq.

Back in the early days of the war, the Bush administration deliberately disdained help from the career professionals in the State Department’s Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, instead staffing the embassy with true believers from the Heritage Foundation and elsewhere who were more interested in trying out crackpot flat tax theories than in actually getting Iraq running. That didn’t work so well, and now that the ideologues have left in disgrace everyone has decided that we need the pros after all. Unsurprisingly, though, after having been tarred as striped-pants appeasers by the right-wing lunatic crowd for the past four years — “Arabist” being about on par with “pederast” in the lexicon of the neocon visionaries who led us into Iraq — it turns out that the pros aren’t especially keen on being left holding the bag for the disaster that the right-wing loons have left them. Can you blame them?