There is nothing more important than preserving human life to the mind of a diplomat, which can sometimes be misinterpreted as to the willingness to run risks personally and physically, if you don't think about the nature of that job. As symnols of their country, diplomats are always targets, if without their own rifles, save for their security officers in the Diplomatic Security Service, who died there too in Libya along with the Ambassador they were trying to protect.
What happened in Libya on the anniversary of 9/11 was a reminder that diplomats, and their security officers, run the same kinds of risks as soldiers in service to their country.
Diplomats are representatives of their country, and therefore a high priority target.
That is why the officers of the Diplomatic Security Service are an elite force of their own, if not a very well known one.
It was a dream of mine once to be a Foreign Service Officer, as to doing research on the topic, if that wasn't meant to be.
I thought about it a lot as to what it entails, which is a hard life in many ways.
You have to go where you are sent.
I knew a Career Officer at SAIS who was fluent in Russian.
Her language skill got her Korea instead, since so few people can do a language that hard. Her boyfriend, a lot more than that, was probably also a price, as he wasn't able to find work so easily, having prepared for Russia.
That wasn't the plan, nor for another officer I knew a lot better, who had to learn Spanish, and then there was but there the glamorous unheated trailor in Kazakhstan, and then on top of Russian Chinese, but there Jen Varrell went.
It sounds glamorous being a diplomat, but it usually is a long hard slog like any other work.
Then there's the distance from family, and living in an alien culture, the latter of which sounds nice, but is also very, very stressful on the human psyche too. If there's a riot in front of your embassy, that's a scary place to be, and I wouldn't judge too harshly, if President Morsi's statement was rather weak too.
A lot of people have been giving Morsi a lot of benefit of the doubt, because of the peace treaty, but he seems to keep sliding onto thin ice, if the diplomats may well have the best call, which is usually to remain calm, so innocent people are not killed.
And as to grief, if you read the resume of Ambassador Chris Stevens, you see such accomplishment in life; trade lawyer, War College graduate, fluent in Arabic and French, who served in Baghdad, a very, very scary place to be representing our country.
And then Libya, also a scary place he risked, and then gave his life, to try to help have something more than Gadhafi, a noble task and sacrifice, like a soldier and his security officers as well.
The diplomats I got to know at SAIS were very hard working and most importantly disciplined people.
They were very disciplined, because to learn some languages at the level necessary for diplomatic work, like Russian or Korean, or Arabic for that matter, is as hard a task as there is, bar none.
So if it's truly, truly sad that Chris Stevens isn't with us, at least his last act was to remind us of some underappreciated people, our diplomats, in his case working, and giving his life, so that the Libyan people would have a chance for something better than Muammar Gadhafi, every bit as honorable as a soldier.