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

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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

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

Blog of the Week

This pleasant surprise came across my desk yesterday. A blogger at The Skeptical Bureaucrat writes: I picked up some nice items at the AAFSW* book fair last week, and one of them was this quirky novel Two Pumps for the Body Man, which the author describes as a soft-boiled diplomatic noir... The story is a … Continue reading Blog of the Week

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

Mental Deviants & Gun Nuts

A dozen years ago when I worked in Saudi Arabia, the government had a habit of referring to domestic terrorists as 'deranged' and calling them 'mental deviants.' We mocked the Saudis mercilessly for it. The Royals were denying reality. They failed to acknowledge and confront the extremist forces at loose in the Kingdom, extremist views … Continue reading Mental Deviants & Gun Nuts

Swimming with Sharks

My first shark dive, over a decade ago, our group encountered half a dozen reef sharks in the Red Sea. The big monsters circled the coral an hour offshore. The sight stole my breath, my aqualung pumping furiously---not the best reaction at minus 30 ft. The white tip is a predator, though not likely to charge across open water for … Continue reading Swimming with Sharks