The State Department and Operation Yellow Elephant
It seems that the State Department is having trouble filling mid-level and senior-level jobs in Iraq. Even though the Director General of the Foreign Service, Ambassador W. Robert Pearson, denies that there's a problem, we wouldn't be seeing this kind of media attention if he were correct.
Why hasn't the LA Times looked at Ambassador Pearson's bio? The answer to their question is right there: Ambassador Pearson last served at a difficult (hardship) post in the early 1980s (Beijing, PRC, 1981-83, to be exact). While he has the authority to assign Foreign Service personnel to jobs they have not volunteered for, he certainly doesn't have the guts to exercise that authority nor, apparently, the personal credibiliy to make such decisions stick.
Ambassador Pearson, if you really want to Support The President, why don't you send me to Iraq? 'See you there.