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US Won’t Force Diplomats to Serve in Iraq

Volunteer officers step forward to fill last open spots
By Laurel Jorgensen,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 15, 2007 9:10 PM CST
US Won’t Force Diplomats to Serve in Iraq
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice prepares to testify on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Oct. 25, 2007, before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on Iraq. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)   (Associated Press)

The State Department won’t have to assign diplomats to open posts in Iraq because enough staff members have volunteered for the spots, the AP reports. The department planned to require foreign service officers to serve at the US embassy in Baghdad and in nearby provinces if there weren’t enough volunteers, a decision that drew widespread criticism.

All 48 openings have now been filled, with only three of those posts awaiting final approval. Condoleezza Rice and the State Department faced an angry backlash from diplomats who questioned the ethics of forcing unarmed civilians to serve in a war zone. “Directed assignments” have not been used for Iraq, but diplomats were ordered to Vietnam in 1969 and to West Africa in the 1970s and 1980s. (Read more Iraq stories.)

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