• Shipping Up to Boston: BBC, Brandeis, Brewery

    May 22, 2013

    Tags: , ,
    Posted in: Democracy, Iraq

    I was privileged while in Boston to sit at the WGBH PBS studios for an interview with the BBC Radio World Service.

    Our topic was the simmering chaos in free Iraq. With over 290 dead in the past month, the interviewer questioned me on whether things might get as bad as in 2006. My reply: They will get worse, because unlike in 2006 the American Army is not sitting in between the angry Sunnis and the Shias, meaning no third party is available to intercede. In addition, the sort of successful Sunni rebels in Syria (ironically supported by the US against the Shia government assisted by Iran, politics makes strange bedfellows) are at least an inspiration in Iraq and perhaps a source of arms. The Sunnis in Iraq appear now to be strong enough not to lose while not being strong enough to win, a prescription for more and more violence.

    I also noted for the BBC audience that the U.S. still maintains the world’s largest and most expensive embassy, in Baghdad, some 11,000 American personnel. Their role in abating chaos is of course zero. No one really knows why they are even there anymore; the embassy’s last role is simply as an artifact of our errors.

    Also while in Boston I had a chance to meet some of the students and faculty of Brandeis University. My hat tips to them for maintaining a broad curriculum that emphasizes social justice at its core, in every subject from Biology to Literature.

    Lastly, it must be noted that Boston is the source of America’s original patriots, the ones who truly believed in creating a nation based on the rights of people, and who were willing to stake their lives in pursuit of those inalienable rights. These men stand as a reminder to modern Americans that the real meaning of commitment means more than just making it to the gym three times a week.

    I thus dropped by the Sam Adams Brewery for a tour and tasting session, held under the oil-painted gaze of namesake Samuel Adams, Brewer and Patriot. Just because you believe in freedom doesn’t mean you can’t have a good time.

    Bonus: Those of you who don’t get the reference to Shipping Up to Boston better go get a beer and click here.

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  • Recent Comments

    • Kyzl Orda said...


      Congratulations, Peter. That had to be a very interesting time. Brandeis is involved in State programs in various ways, or has been, not sure if they still host segments of ECA Bureau programs or recipients of grants, and such. Massachusettsans (?not sure if that is a word lol) are the nicest in the entire country and most hospitable. This state does not get its fair share of credit for all its done for our country, but maybe cause Massachusettsans dont feel the need to brag or boast

      05/22/13 3:00 PM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...


      “Just because you believe in freedom doesn’t mean you can’t have a good time.”


      Get out of Boston ASAP. The FBI is free to implicate you as a terrorist and kill you “resisting arrest.”

      05/22/13 3:59 PM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...



      At your next meeting of the minds, discuss the rise in sexual assaults in the Army since we were kicked out of Iraq. Get the (West) Point: since the Army cannot sexually abuse Iraqis, it was only a matter of time it turned on its own.

      05/22/13 6:36 PM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...


      Suggested title for your next book: “We Don’t Mean Well and Never Will”

      05/22/13 6:39 PM | Comment Link

    • meloveconsullongtime said...


      “discuss the rise in sexual assaults in the Army”

      And if you want to do it with integrity, include the vast numbers of male-on-male rapes.

      05/23/13 4:38 AM | Comment Link

    • Kyzl Orda said...


      MLCT, that is a big glass ceiling to break. I did an army-sponsored training program and our group was addressed by a i think it was someone from the EO office (?) that deals with sex harassment. The army sounded like it was aware of the problem but it’s one of those things not put out for public discourse.

      There was a case at State years and years ago. It was an embassy that had been downscaled to a few staff due to civil war, and the two remaining staff, i think a DCM and a security officer?? had been cabling State in DC for more assistance and received no replies. Meanwhile, people were brought in front of the embassy and killed within the embassy staff’s view. Their secretary was taken captive and skinned alive right in front of the embassy. The DCM snapped. He just broke hearing her screams, and think he raped and killed the other officer at the post. Another case potential to prevent a worst-case scenario was missed

      Sometimes, its circumstances that break people under the cruelest circumstances, other times some folks are innately bad seed. Unfortunately, if systems cant come up with solutions to significantly reduce these kind of crises or stop them altogether, then its time to admit covering stuff up and failing to apply a real fix is a failed and old policy

      05/23/13 3:52 PM | Comment Link

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