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    Summer break is the perfect opportunity to get back into reading. Adam Silvera’s (2017) novel, They Both Die at the End, can serve as a stepping stone into the realm of reading. The pace is fast, action-packed, and develops loveable characters. Also, Silvera switches point of view each chapter where narration mainly focuses on the protagonists, […]
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Diplomats rebel against mandatory service in Iraq

WASHINGTON – Several hundred U.S. diplomats vented anger and frustration yesterday about the State Department’s decision to force foreign service officers to take jobs in Iraq, with some likening it to a “potential death sentence.”

In a contentious hour-long town-hall meeting, they peppered officials responsible for the order with often hostile complaints about the largest diplomatic call-up since Vietnam. Announced last week, it will require some diplomats – under threat of dismissal – to serve at the embassy in Baghdad and in reconstruction teams in outlying provinces.

Many expressed serious concern about the ethics of sending diplomats against their will to serve in a war zone, where the embassy staff is largely confined to the protected “Green Zone,” and safety outside the area is uncertain while a review of the department’s use of private security contractors to protect its staff is under way.

“Incoming is coming in every day, rockets are hitting the Green Zone,” said Jack Croddy, a senior foreign service officer who once worked as a political adviser with NATO forces.

He and others confronted Foreign Service Director General Harry Thomas, who approved the move to “directed assignments” late last Friday to make up for a lack of volunteers willing 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,” 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?”

His remarks were met with loud and sustained applause from the approximately 300 diplomats at the meeting.

Thomas responded by saying the comments were “filled with inaccuracies.”

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