The following message from AFSA State VP Steve Kashkett was issued as an AFSA press release on Thursday, October 2, 2008.
It challenges the media to correct the misimpression, largely created one year ago, that it has not been possible to fill assignments in Iraq and Afghanistan through volunteers. The reality, however, is that good news rarely makes news.
Text of AFSA Announcement:
The American Foreign Service Association (AFSA) welcomes Secretary Rice's announcement that the Department of State has now filled all of its positions at the U.S. missions in Iraq and Afghanistan for the summer 2009 assignment cycle with qualified, willing volunteers -- as has been the case every year since those two diplomatic missions came into existence. It is a tribute to the courage and sense of duty of the people of the Foreign Service that our members, as well as a number of Civil Service colleagues, have stepped forward without hesitation every year to staff the embassies and provincial reconstruction teams in those two war zones. These are our largest diplomatic missions in the world, and they present unique dangers and challenges to the thousands of our members who have volunteered since 2003.
AFSA hopes that those journalists, media outlets, and commentators who erroneously reported last October that the Department of State had been unable to fully staff the Iraq mission will now show as much zeal in reporting that, in fact, every one of these positions in both Iraq and Afghanistan for summer 2009 has been filled more than eight months in advance. Those journalists did a great disservice to the Department of State and its employees -- who have never shied away from hardship
service in some of the most dangerous places on earth -- and we hope that these journalists will now set the record straight."