The New York Times is reporting the begining of a noncombatant evacuation operation (NEO) from the Baghdad embassy, as Col. Lang recommended some days ago.
"The American Embassy in Baghdad plans to temporarily evacuate a substantial number of its personnel this week and to increase security at the embassy in the face of a militant advance that rapidly swept from the north toward the capital, the State Department announced on Sunday.
The embassy, a beige fortress on the banks of the Tigris River within the heavily-secured Green Zone, where Iraqi government buildings are also located, has the largest staff of any United States Embassy.
The exact number of people being evacuated was not clear Sunday. The embassy would remain open, according to a statement from the department’s spokeswoman, Jen Psaki,and many of its approximately 5,500 staff members would stay in Baghdad.
Many staff members who are leaving — the statement called it “relocating” — will be flown to Amman, Jordan, where they will continue their work at the embassy there, the statement said. Others will be shifted from Baghdad to consulates here in Erbil, in the northern Kurdish region, and in Basra, in the south, which are not now under threat by the militants." NY Timea
Approximately 5,500 staff, possibly with some dependents. I would say that is about 20 B747 loads by way of comparison. This going to need to be done very carefully to avoid turning into a rout.
However I think there may be another issue. What about all the Iraqi staff, members of the Maliki Government and their families? Are we silly enough to leave behind card indexes, or perhaps a USB key with lists of our helpers
As I said years ago, the only thing for sure out of the Iraq and Afghan wars will be a chain of themed Iraqi and of course Afghan restaurants ( Maliki's place? Goats 'R us? Karzai's?). Walrus