03/28/2008 02:45 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Rice Reaffirms Plan To Force Diplomats To Fill Iraq Posts

Calling Iraq "the most essential foreign policy and national security priority for our nation," Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told U.S. diplomats yesterday that she will proceed with plans to order Foreign Service officers to Iraq if vacancies cannot be filled voluntarily.

Rice's decision has spawned angst in the State Department, where more than 1,500 personnel have served in Iraq. There are 11,500 Foreign Service employees, one of whom declared at a State Department town hall meeting this week that being sent to Iraq was a "potential death sentence." Three Foreign Service officers have been killed since the war started.

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