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February 5, 2011
Obama's Luxemburg Ambassador an epic disaster
How bad a boss at an embassy do you have to endure in order to desperately request a transfer to...Afghanistan?
This bad. Politico:
An Obama bundler picked for a choice ambassadorship brought the U.S. embassy she led to "a state of dysfunction" in a year on the job, a State Department probe has found.
Cynthia Stroum, who last month left her post as U.S. ambassador to Luxembourg, was "aggressive, bullying, hostile and intimidating," the department's inspector general said in a report released Thursday. The embassy and its staff face myriad problems, including "the absence of a sense of direction," which has "brought major elements of Embassy Luxembourg to a state of dysfunction.
"Stroum's year in Luxembourg was marred by personality struggles, management problems and improper spending, including $3,400 the embassy rushed to spend on wine and liquor at the end of the 2010 budget year.
The inspector general found that Stroum, who announced her resignation in mid-January and left the embassy on the last day of the month, was the source of" [t]he bulk of the mission's internal problems." Stroum, the report said, followed a pattern of public criticism of colleagues ... who have not performed to her satisfaction."
Maybe Obama thought she was an incompetent boob but threw one hell of a party. Thirty Four hundred dollars in booze would at least allow staffers to forget how truly miserable their lives had become under this shrew.
Conditions at the embassy were so bad that a handful of staffers requested transfers to Iraq and Afghanistan, the report said, and other staff still working there were considering ways to move elsewhere. In some cases, the inspector general "knows for certain that these early departures are because of the ambassador's management style."
Preferring a combat zone to duty in tiny, peaceful, friendly, beautiful Luxemburg is a jaw dropper. How bad was Stroum - really?
Stroum created "a climate of acute stress" that was "especially evident among officers and local staff who have been here more than 3 or 4 months," inspectors found. In the report, they suggested that medical professionals be sent to the embassy "to evaluate morale and stress levels of staff" and assess the mental health of people who worked for Stroum.
No other way to say it; she drove people crazy.
In truth, incompetence is not unknown among ambassadors who are chosen for the money raising talent rather than their skill as a diplomat. But the mess this idiot left in her wake may be some kind of record.
Hat Tip: Ed Lasky