*Note: This essay was published in the Colorado Springs Gazette print edition on October 8, 2017. It can also be found online here.
My grandmother-in-law turns 90 this weekend, so I called and announced myself with a self-deprecating ice breaker: “It’s your good-for-nothing grandson-in-law.” Before I got the last syllable out, she pushed back with infectious positivity, telling me, “What do you mean good-for-nothing?” and then how excited she was for the great-grandkid pictures I’d recently posted.
*Note: This essay was published in the Colorado Springs Gazette print edition on October 4, 2017. It can also be found online here.
A recent Gazette story on the risk of North Korean nuclear weapons included the opinions of a retired Air Force general who minimized the threat, calling it “nowhere near as scary as it was during the Cuban Missile Crisis” and “a hiccup in comparison” to the Cold War.
Having recently returned from a year’s service just south of the demilitarized zone (DMZ) that separates the North from South Korea, I can report that this characterization requires a little balance.
North Korea is a dangerous threat to our allies, the global economy, our interests and homeland. This is no “hiccup.” Continue reading “North Korea is a dangerous threat”
*Note: This essay was published in the Colorado Springs Gazette print edition on September 26, 2017. It can also be found online here.
The X is here. iPhone X (pronounced “ten”) arrived last week to the fanfare we now expect from Apple. It represents the next smartphone generation; pocket-sized do-everything machines that have become part of daily life.
*Note: This essay was published in the Colorado Springs Gazette print edition on September 22, 2017. It can also be found online here.
Chances are you’re going to a wedding soon. 40 percent of weddings now take place as the fall sets in and leaves change color, up from 30 percent in 2009, according to the largest industry survey of its kind. And September and October are tied for the months of the year with the most marriages.
These numbers make my wife a walking statistic: she’s currently on a two week excursion to two weddings, one overseas in Croatia and one domestic in Pennsylvania.
With all the time and expense that weddings entail, as the average one nowadays tops $35,000 (without the honeymoon), it’s worth thinking a bit about why we go to so much trouble. What does marriage really do for us? Why do we bother?
I’m certainly no expert on the subject. Just someone working hard at my own marriage, like many others. But I’ve had nearly a decade of experience at it by now, and have observed the ups and downs of many other marriages. And so I feel qualified to offer some thoughts on our curious custom of coming together. Continue reading “Good marriage is a connection where two shine as one”
*Note: This essay was published in the Colorado Springs Gazette print edition on September14, 2017. It can also be found online here.
Amazon just announced it wants to add a second headquarters to its current Seattle home. The company is looking for a city with a population over one million, with a high quality of life, strong university system, and solid mass transportation options. Over the next two decades, the chosen city will receive roughly $5 billion in investment, 50,000 skilled tech workers, and a deep-pocketed business ally.
*Note: This essay was originally published on the Modern War Institute’s Commentary & Analysis site.
A couple months ago, The Atlantic magazine signed up jazz musician Jon Batiste to draw ears to their new podcast. Their bonus was a masterclass on military strategy.
It was an inspired choice to draft New Orleans-native Batiste, who currently serves as The Late Show with Steven Colbert’s charismatic band leader, to re-mix “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” for the podcast’s theme music. The Battle Hymn is America’s quintessential war music, written by abolitionist Julia Ward Howe, whose lyrics first appeared on The Atlantic’s cover in early 1862. So Batiste’s musical update was a clever way to remind listeners of the magazine’s deep roots, while also holding on to the monthly’s core theme of “the American idea.”
An Army strategist by trade, I was transfixed by the behind-the-scenes video and audio description of Batiste’s creative method while updating this martial song (whatever comes of your having read this essay, agree or disagree, like or dislike—you MUST download or stream Radio Atlantic’s podcast, “Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory”, and listen to the process from roughly 5–10 minutes in; the actual song is performed for the last three minutes of the 65-minute episode). Open-eared listeners will hear how making this music jives with military strategy’s artistic development, but it also serves as an introduction to the many other ways the two are in tune. Continue reading “The Battle Hymn of the Strategist: Composing the Terrible Swift Sword”
*Note: This essay was published in the Colorado Springs Gazette print edition on September 4, 2017. It can also be found online here.
Sometimes, police must shoot to keep the peace. When used effectively, this results in safer cities. When done wrongfully, it inflames society.
The question is how police can best wield deadly force. The 2015 Colorado state law mandating local law enforcement report and review shootings is a good start. In Minneapolis, where a police officer fatally shot an unarmed Australian woman, the acting chief has announced police must turn on body cameras for “any call.”
But this technological solution treats the symptoms of police shootings that countrywide cause roughly 1,000 civilian deaths each year.
The problem is deeper: to reduce wrongful shootings, cops should reinforce an ethical code that, like soldiers, accepts deadly risk as inherent to their professional responsibility. Continue reading “To reduce wrongful shootings, police can learn from our soldiers”