In a contentious hour-long "town hall meeting" called to explain the step, these workers peppered the official who signed the order with often hostile complaints about the largest diplomatic call-up since Vietnam....
Employees directly confronted Foreign Service Director General Harry Thomas, who approved the move to so-called "directed assignments" late last Friday to make up for a lack of volunteers to go to Iraq.
"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," [Senior FSO Jack] Crotty 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?"
"You know that at any other (country) in the world, the embassy would be closed at this point," Crotty said to loud and sustained applause from the about 300 diplomats who attended the meeting in a large State Department auditorium.
Sounds like they'd have a hell of a time trying to develop some kind of standing nation-building office at State.