Writes Daniel McAdams:
The America most of us remember is no more. Every day brings another revelation to confirm this. Take the State Department. One is used to the numerous Diplomatic Security Officers, usually former military (or at least they used to be), dressed in normal police-like uniforms, who guard State Department facilities. Though they can be rude, they do look like your average police officer and their role as such seems reasonable.
Lunching today at the Department, however, I noticed something I have never seen before. Roaming the cafeteria -- which otherwise brims with trendily-dressed political appointee types and dowdy bureaucrats -- were groups of paramilitary-looking men dressed from head to toe in black combat gear. From their black hats to their black jack-boots -- every inch covered in black. Their side-arms were strapped down military-style and they had hung numerous mysterious black gadgets from their miltiary belt. I commented to my lunch partner that this kind of paramilitary presence in government facilities reminded me of my days in places like Albania and Montenegro during the Balkan wars. Perhaps no one but me is shocked by this any longer, but I never thought I would see it in my country.