The Shadow Of A Deep Memory Covers An Entire Life

I'm talking with a person about the early life of John Quincy Adams. I state that a key takeaway from JQA is a powerful memory from youth which stayed with him the rest of his life. That memory was witnessing--eye-witnessing and personally experiencing--the War of the American Revolution. It never left him. In a way, the war never stopped.The person listening to me thought for a moment. Then, … [Read more...]

Thank You Sherlock Holmes

Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes once said this of Inspector Gregory: "See the value of imagination," said Holmes to Doctor Watson, "It is the one quality which Gregory lacks. We imagined what might have happened, acted on the supposition, and find ourselves justified. Let us proceed."I lived this very moment yesterday in writing and researching my book on 96 hours of Abraham Lincoln. Upon … [Read more...]

No Point-Scoring: A Fresh Look At A Link In Foreign And National Security Policy

Some of you know that I have an expertise in national security issues with a specialization in irregular warfare. I'd like to draw on that body of knowledge in order not to score political points (you see enough of that with various talking heads yelling at each other on cable and the internet). My purpose is to illuminate an interesting connection in current foreign and national security … [Read more...]

I Rise In Defense Of Sagacious

So, they're changing the SAT. Fine. But I'm a bit chagrined at learning they're switching out words in the vocabulary aspect of the test. "Sagacious" is gone. A new word will be "synthesis."Now, I realize the folks in charge don't look at each individual word they eliminate and put one in its exact place. I get it.However, something feels a little too trendy here when we yank … [Read more...]

The Young Man At McDonalds And John Quincy Adams

Stopping by a local McDonalds to work and enjoy a cup of coffee, I chanced to sit near a young man being interviewed for work at the franchise. He was maybe late teens, wearing a backwards cap on top of unkempt hair. Earrings. A couple of piercings in his lower lip. Very thin and pale. I'm guessing that, on any given day, you and I see probably a hundred young men who fit this description. … [Read more...]

The Singular Point

Go with me into one of my Creative Conversations. Our topic is your leadership. Our historical river is the life of Winfield Scott. Our goal for these few seconds is to have you think as part of a stream of time.Scott was the arguably the greatest American general for half of the 19th century. He served for 50 years and left a deep imprint on the American military and the American way of war. Here … [Read more...]

When The Classified Seals Come Off

One of the most consistent aspects of foreign policy and national security in the Obama Administration is drone warfare. As recently as a week ago, another round of drone strikes occurred, this time in Yemen. By my last reading, more than thirty people were killed. There are no reports of civilian casualties, so we must assume that terrorists, or irregular soldiers in my lexicon, were the … [Read more...]