Rice defends commitment of US diplomats to Iraq despite opposition

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Tuesday defended the commitment of US diplomats, despite a recent pushback by many foreign services officers on a proposal to require tours in Iraq. Last year, several hundred diplomats convened for an hour-long "town hall meeting" to discuss an order that would have mandated some service at the US embassy in Baghdad and outlying provinces. Some questioned the ethics of sending people against their will to a war zone, with one calling the forced assignments a "potential death sentence" to loud applause. "I was deeply offended myself, and deeply sorry that these people who had self-selected into this town hall went out of their way, to my view, cast a very bad light on the foreign service," Rice told a House panel.