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
Iraqis walk on a partially sealed off road leading to the heavily guarded Green Zone   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – 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.”