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

Twinkle for Gents—A Close Shave

I ask around about haircuts. Authoritative Mumbai sources say: Twinkle for Gents. Five weeks into our stay, haircuts are essential. But am I to test Twinkle for Gents? I take a 2 and 3 across the sides and top. My sons buzz down to 4 and 5. Not haircuts, so much as a few quick strokes … Continue reading Twinkle for Gents—A Close Shave

The Impact of Public Diplomacy

Reflecting on U.S. Diplomacy. An excerpt: The next-to-last time I saw Mohamed---11:15 a.m., December 6, 2004---a blast-resistant window separated us. The day’s final applicant, he was alone in the waiting room when the high-low alarm started wailing. An Afghan male taking refuge in Saudi Arabia from the time of the Soviet invasion of his country, … Continue reading The Impact of Public Diplomacy

Unity Amid Terror

We can look to the barbarians who call for broad, ignorant hatred in response to the specific ignorant hatred behind the tragedies in San Bernardino, Orlando, Portland. Or we can look for unity. While Two Pumps for the Body Man is foremost a satire of the so-called "War on Terror", it's also rich in other themes (the odd sexual proclivities of protagonist Jeff Mutton, for … Continue reading Unity Amid Terror

Review: Shattered Glass–The Story of a Marine Embassy Guard

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 Review: Shattered Glass–The Story of a Marine Embassy Guard

The Departed–Ten Years After

The opening column in this month’s Foreign Service Journal is a timely and moving reminder of friends and colleagues killed ten years ago in a terrorist attack in Saudi Arabia. American Foreign Service Association President Robert J. Silverman writes: The Foreign Service has taken more deaths in the line of duty, on a percentage basis, than has … Continue reading The Departed–Ten Years After