Some 48 percent of US diplomats who would refuse to volunteer to work in Iraq cited disagreement with President George W. Bush’s policy as a factor, according to a survey released Tuesday.
That reason ranked behind separation from family and security concerns, according to a survey by their union, the American Foreign Service Association.
In the survey in which 4,300 of the 11,500 US Foreign Service members responded, some 68 percent opposed forced assignments as unnecessary and undesirable.
US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice stirred controversy late last year when she warned diplomats they would be forced to serve in Iraq or risk dismissal if not enough came forward. In the end, there were enough volunteers.
As for assignment specifically to Iraq, some 2,113 of respondents said they would not consider volunteering because they did not want to be separated from their families.
Some 2,037 respondents checked security concerns for not volunteering for Iraq duty; 1,398 cited obstacles to performing assigned duties, and 1,592 checked disagreement with policy.
On the other hand, for those respondents to the poll who had served or would be willing to serve in Iraq, 1,347 said their main motivation was the extra pay involved.
Some 1,182 listed patriotism and duty, as a motivating factor for going to the war-torn post; and 964 checked career enhancement. Adventure and challenge was the motivation for 796 willing to serve in Iraq.
The survey also found that almost half of the US Foreign Service thinks Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is doing a “poor job” looking after their material and professional needs.
The survey revealed serious staff complaints about salaries and other personnel issues, as well as about staffing at the US embassy in Iraq.
State Department spokesman Sean McCormack questioned how scientific the survey was, calling it self-selective.
There are 11,500 Foreign Service personnel within the State Department, the Agency for International Development, the Foreign Commercial Service, Foreign Agriculture Service, and the International Broadcasting Bureau.