On Wednesday the Senate Foreign Relations Committee held a confirmation hearing for Brett McGurk to be US Ambassador to Iraq.
There is no reason for any sane person to support this nomination.
In terms of qualifications, Mr. McGurk brings very modest accomplishments to the table. While he has risen rapidly in rank there is little evidence of real substance in his record. He doesn’t speak Arabic, something one would think we would want in our ambassador in this critical country. He appears to have the same “legend in his own mind” that eventually consumed Richard Holbrooke.
There is abundant evidence that McGurk lacks the maturity necessary to represent the United States in any capacity whatsoever, much less as an ambassador in a key country.
During 2008, when Mr. McGurk was in Baghdad negotiating security arrangements on behalf of the United States he began a torrid affair with a Wall Street Journal reporter named Gina Chon. Since that time he has divorced his wife and married Ms. Chon. A married State Department official carrying on in this way while engaged on a sensitive mission calls his judgment into question. The fact that he used his position to aid Ms. Chon’s reportage should be disqualifying.
As Mr. McGurk used his government issued Blackberry and his .gov email address to communicate with Ms. Chon we have nearly incontrovertible evidence that he did just that. The emails are published here and can be read here with commentary.
While Mr. McGurk is looking at being confirmed as ambassador, the State Department is in the process of disciplining a number of its employees for, wait for it, having extramarital affairs which it terms “notoriously disgraceful conduct.”
What makes this more than merely troubling is that apparently McGurk sees women employees as being one of the perks of the job. While he was married to one woman and carrying on an affair with another he apparently starred in a video that has achieved cult status among US forces in Baghdad:
What if a video existed that showed a prominent State Department VIP on the roof of the Republican Palace in Baghdad receiving, um, pleasure of an oral nature from another State Department officer not his wife, or even his journalist mistress of the time? What if that video has been passed around among Marine Security Guards at the Embassy to the point where it is considered “viral” with many copies made? What if the Deputy Chief of Mission, hand in hand with the Diplomatic Security chief (RSO) at the time, decided that the whole thing needed to be swept under the rug and made to go away, at least until some blogger got a hold of it.
According to ABC News, McGurk will probably survive what should be a fatal blow, so to speak, to his career:
Despite the controversy, a GOP Senate source said he wouldn’t be surprised if McGurk is still confirmed. The Iraq ambassador post is a challenging and sensitive position and Republican senators fear that no other Obama nominee would be as palatable.
Although the process might be messy and will make both McGurk’s friends and detractors on the Hill uncomfortable, the source says, as a Republican and former Bush White House national security staffer, McGurk has a good chance of surviving the scandal.
Amazing isn’t it? We’re going to send the Delta Tau Chi rush chairman to be our ambassador to Iraq. And we wonder why our foreign policy is in such a shambles. On the positive side, at least he likes women so there is that.