Roughly three hundred U.S. State Department employees attended a meeting to protest a policy change that would force them to accept postings in Iraq. The policy, issued last Friday by State Department Human Resources director Harry Thomas, notified approximately 250 "prime candidates" they had been selected for one of 48 one-year postings at the embassy in Baghdad or in a Provincial Reconstruction Team elsewhere in the country. The job description for Foreign Service Officer, as listed on the State Department’s website, includes the possibility of "hardship service."
Particularly vocal was senior diplomat Jack Croddy, whose comments to the town-hall meeting styled assembly met with loud applause. "It’s one thing if someone believes in what’s going on over there and volunteers, but it’s another thing to send someone over there on a forced assignment," Mr Croddy said. "I’m sorry, but basically that’s a potential death sentence and you know it. Who will raise our children if we are dead or seriously wounded?"
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