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Friday, November 2, 2007

US diplomats protest call-up to Iraq

Thu, 01 Nov 2007 09:16:36
US dimplomats oppose call-up to Iraq
Roughly 300 US diplomats have protested against the State Department's decision to force Foreign Service officers to take jobs in Iraq.

In the largest diplomatic call-up since Vietnam, the participants objected to the enforced service at the Baghdad embassy as part of the so-called Provincial Reconstruction Teams.

This conscription is a result of a lack of volunteers willing to go to Iraq, and those who refuse service face dismissal. Many diplomats have described it as 'potential death sentence'.

The ethics of sending diplomats against their will has come under scrutiny even though the embassy staff is largely confined to the so-called “Green Zone”.

The President of the American Foreign Service Association (AFSA) John Naland said a recent survey found only 12 percent of the union's membership believed Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was 'fighting for them.'

Under the new order, 200 to 300 diplomats have been identified as 'prime candidates' to fill 48 vacancies next year. Those notified have 10 days to accept or reject the position. However, should there still be a shortage, diplomats may be ordered to go.


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