Diplomats Raise Stink Over Iraq Assignments

'Potential death sentence’ in required postings, staffers say
By Jonas Oransky,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 31, 2007 5:02 PM CDT
Diplomats Raise Stink Over Iraq Assignments
Iraqis walk on a partially sealed off road leading to the heavily guarded Green Zone   (Getty Images)

Foreign service officers vented anger today over the State Department's plan to require some to serve in Iraq, chewing out their director in a meeting. One senior officer called the “directed assignments”—which could force diplomats to take postings in Baghdad or outlying provinces—a “potential death sentence”; another cited a survey showing few officers thought Condoleezza Rice was “fighting for them."

Program director Harry Thomas accepted responsibility for the late notification of the new directive, which won’t force anyone into a war zone until next year. But the hostility at the town-hall-style event provoked a strong response from Thomas, who retorted, “Don’t you or anybody else stand there and tell me I don’t care about my colleagues. I am insulted.” (Read more foreign service stories.)

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