Mending Wall

Robert Frost's great poem, outwardly a critique on a pre-existing wall, arguably has little to do with the hypothetical wall being proffered today. But Frost's wall stands for so much more, and the critique applies more universally than merely to stone piled on stone. The critique can be said to include any barrier that divides … Continue reading Mending Wall

Lucky Encounters in Serendib

We greeted the New Year from a treehouse in old Ceylon. We rode the waves at Midigama and Weligama in Southern Serendib. We climbed to Buddha's retreat at Pidurangula and looked out over forests surrounding the ancient ruins of Sigiriya. In Kandy, we spied the room housing the casket that holds the dagobas  wherein rests … Continue reading Lucky Encounters in Serendib

Idling through the Shut Down

Revisiting publication credits to stimulate and inspire 2019 projects. I'd like to make it a year of broader platforms with more non-fiction. The days ahead, if the Grinches in DC keep Grinching, might provide both the means and the need to fulfill that prospect. Non-fiction The Card from Kabul---The Foreign Service Journal May 2018 Transition Brief … Continue reading Idling through the Shut Down

Peace

All that is left today is to recall those friends who lost their lives, and those who survive with wounds—scars both physical and emotional. In 2004  five zealots attacked our consulate in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. These men left for paradise: Imad, who several times took me in hand, a guide through the complicated process of … Continue reading Peace

Redacted!

Today's news has me thinking about redactions. You know, those heavy black lines that prove there are things we do not know or should not know or cannot know, God save the Queen and long live the Republic. And these known unknowns are significant enough that an unseen hand took the trouble of writing them down … Continue reading Redacted!

Shattered Glass

I picked up Greg Matos’ Shattered Glass—The Story of a Marine Embassy Guard with a narrow purpose. I wanted to read about the December 2004 attack on the U.S. Consulate in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. I wanted to know what it felt like to be the Marine standing Post when five heavily armed terrorists stormed our compound, killing … Continue reading Shattered Glass

Jeddah Attack Analysis 2

ABC News details the deadly attack by five terrorists against the U.S. Consulate in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia (Read Part 1). Three minutes into the attack---11:19 on Dec 6, 2004---the U.S. Marines bolt from their temporary barracks, unarmed, under fire, to access the chancery through the rear hatch. It happens in a flash. Security camera footage … Continue reading Jeddah Attack Analysis 2

Jeddah Attack Analysis

I'm parsing the script of this 2005 ABC News report this week, analyzing a bad day for diplomacy in Saudi Arabia. Five heavily armed terrorists attacked the U.S. Consulate in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Dissecting security tapes of the attack, Former Diplomatic Security Special Agent has the best lines. So he goes first. The assault in … Continue reading Jeddah Attack Analysis

Citizen, Censored

....were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter. In 1787 Thomas Jefferson summarized the essential nature of a free press to ensuring democratic governance with the following lines, written from Paris where he … Continue reading Citizen, Censored

Foreign Service Writings

My favorite Foreign Service Journal issue of the year is out! All the recently published books by writers affiliated with America's proud diplomatic corps are listed in one tight package this month. Pick up a few titles and learn about the Foreign Service. Read about how we promote U.S. interests and protect our citizens overseas. … Continue reading Foreign Service Writings