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7:47 AM, Nov 1, 2007 • By MICHAEL GOLDFARB
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The Danger Room's Noah Shachtman has the story under the entirely appropriate title "Diplos Cry in Their Milk Over Iraq Assignments." Apparently the State Department hosted a "town hall meeting" for employees upset over the prospect of being sent to work in Baghdad's Green Zone. Let's go to the tape:

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 so-called "Green Zone," and the 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 Crotty, a senior foreign service officer who once worked as a political adviser with NATO forces...

"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," Crotty 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?"

"You know that at any other (country) in the world, the embassy would be closed at this point," Crotty said to loud and sustained applause from the about 300 diplomats who attended the meeting in a large State Department auditorium.

It's not Paris, but neither is it a death sentence. And what's really galling is that Crotty is upset that the United States doesn't behave like "any other" country in the world. Thankfully, our government doesn't, even if its diplomats do. And what's with the bit about 'believing in what's going on over there'? Does every employee of the United States government have to believe in what he's doing before accepting an assignment? No, they can always quit--and maybe Crotty should. I'm inclined to think we're better off with no diplomats that an embassy full of Crottys. But go read Noah's response, which includes this gem: "Oh, grow a freakin' pair, Crotty."