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John Graham Speaks at the Naval Academy

At Annapolis all 4,500 midshipmen roared to their feet in response to Graham's speech, challenging them to think deeply about "War, Leadership and a Moral Life." For more on John Graham's speeches and workshops, go here.

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On the Edge -- a memoir

To the young Graham, adventure was everything, and each brush with death only pushed him to up the ante—and to bury ever deeper the emotional life needed to make him whole. Then it changed, sometimes dramatically, including a desperate fight to survive in a lifeboat in a typhoon in the North Pacific. More of the story here. You can get the book here.

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(from the Blog) Vietnam Revisited

In 1972, I was US Advisor to the City of Hué, South Vietnam. Some evenings, especially if the day had been difficult and dangerous, I would drive a few miles outside the City to an ancient pagoda called Linh Mu. There I would sit at this very spot on a wall overlooking the Perfume River where I would try to absorb some of the calmness of the river, the temple bells, and the monks sweeping the courtyard with straw brooms. But the war was never very far away. more

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SELECTED BLOG POSTS

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Donald Trump has just sent a carrier battle group into the Persian Gulf, warning that a fight with the United States would "be the official end of Iran." Do you trust that Trump and the inexperienced sycophants around him can make the sophisticated judgments needed to stay on the knife edges he creates without falling off? As a former Foreign Service Officer, I know I don't. Have you read enough history to know that a single assassination in...

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Keep your eye on the ball. President Trump's performances with Kim Jong Un are not the biggest game in town. The foreign policy pot most likely to explode in the near future is not North Korea. It’s Iran.

As a former US Foreign Service Officer who has traveled in that country—and who was once even jailed there as a spy a half-century ago—I'm mindful that Iran aka Persia has always been, continues to be, and has every right to be a...

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The memorials for George H.W. Bush remind us that this country has produced leaders of unfailing courage and integrity who tried hard to do the right thing no matter what the personal consequences. The reaction of Donald Trump and his acolytes to the brutal murder of American-based Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi—and the Saudi cover up—is the latest example of how far we’ve fallen from that standard.

Secretary of Defense Mattis and...

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I’m a white guy who went to a private Jesuit-run prep school and then to an Ivy League college. At the prep school, an “in” crowd, mostly the sons of the city’s business and social elite, controlled the social pecking order, played on the sports teams, hosted exclusive parties, and bragged about their sexual conquests. And there were the nerds, like me, who had no part in any of that.

The “ins” knew that when they went too far, their...

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Overwhelming data and observations show that Donald Trump’s immigration crisis is fake, a ploy to solidify his nativist base. Along the border—ground zero of his “crisis”—there’s solid evidence, in federal data and...

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Take a step behind the discussions on guns, misogyny, and the anger and loneliness that are driving men’s addictions and suicides. Time after time, in that dark place, I see men struggling to communicate or even acknowledge their emotions, men wanting but failing to form positive relationships with other men, men whose fathers were emotionally AWOL, men who grew up without good role models for what it means to be a brave, caring and...

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Why is the AR-15 the weapon of choice—not just for mass murderers but for law-abiding gun owners as well?

As most people know by now, an AR-15 is a semi-automatic variant of the M-16 rifle used by American combat soldiers in Vietnam. “Semi-automatic” means you have to pull the trigger once for each shot, limiting a shooter of average skill to about four shots a second. Adding a cheap, widely available “bump stock” doubles this rate...

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