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Wednesday, March 24, 2004

# Posted 12:15 AM by Ariel David Adesnik  

I AM DETERRED: This morning, two Finnish businessmen were slain in Baghdad. Their death raises to ten the number of humanitarian and reconstruction workers slain over the past two weeks.

Until now, I have been giving very serious consideration to spending next year working in Iraq. From the beginning, my parents didn't want me to go. But now the warnings are coming from all sides. In a long discussion with a member of the NSC staff, I was explicity told that there is no point in going to Iraq to become a target.

To a certain extent, I am embarrassed by my lack of resolve. If our soldiers are risking their lives to secure Iraq, why shouldn't I assume some of that same risk in the process of rebuilding it? But the difference is that they are trained professionals and I am a rank amateur. Moreover, our soldiers are not just protecting Iraq but leading the reconstruction effort.

At this moment, humility seems to demand that I recognize my the relative of unimportance of any decision I make for or against working in Iraq. Yes, the Coalition needs more civilians willing to engage in public service. But even if the civilians are driven off, the Army will still be there. And the people of Iraq are as committed to reconstruction as ever. I may be deterred, but that is hardly a victory for Ba'athist terror.
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