Friday, November 2, 2007
Rice tries to quell staff dissent over forced duty in Iraq
"WASHINGTON (CNN) -- State Department officials should serve where they are needed -- even in war-torn Iraq, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Friday.
Rice was responding to foreign service officers' objections to the possibility of "directed assignments" in Iraq. The issue has caused an uproar in the State Department, resulting in a contentious town hall-style meeting Wednesday.
The new directives would be needed if enough qualified foreign service officers don't step forward to fill open positions at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad.
If the State Department enforces directed assignments, it will be the first time since the Vietnam War era.
One official called the order to serve in Iraq "a potential death sentence" during the town meeting......"