In their rush to pull U.S. troops out of Iraq, President Barack Obama and others in his administration overlooked an important consideration - the safety of thousands of diplomats and other government employees being left behind.
Removal of U.S. troops in about a year will not end American involvement in Iraq. Many of the about 5,000 State Department employees in that country will remain after the military leaves. So will thousands of other government employees, not to mention workers for U.S. companies.
Without a U.S. troop presence, the American civilians will be tempting targets for Islamic terrorists. That fact has not escaped the State Department's notice.
State Department officials have been working for months to set up a security system, possibly involving private contractors or armed civilian employees of the government. To that end, the agency has been asking the Pentagon for arms and other equipment, including helicopters.
Obama seems to have painted himself into a corner - but it will be lightly armed American civilians paying the price for his miscalculation.
Attempting to build what amounts to a small private army controlled by the State Department is ridiculous. A better plan would be to leave some troops behind to do the job.