International intrigue

Not crying wolf; after-the-war stories; journalism notes
By PHILLIPE AND JORGE  |  August 7, 2013

Phillipe and Jorge know a bit about US embassies abroad, so when the US government starts shutting down more than 19 of them throughout the Middle East and Africa as they have in recent weeks, be afraid. Be very afraid.

P. once worked in Jakarta, Indonesia and his path to work went past the US embassy there. Two weeks after he left, the embassy was bombed. Not a scene you wanted to be walking by after eating breakfast.

US embassies are not just the social gathering places and nerdy diplomatic enclaves they appear. When US embassies in Nairobi, Kenya, and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania were bombed in 1998, it wasn’t just some spillover Muslim hatred towards the Great Satan in the neighborhood. It is thought they were targeted because they were the repositories of CIA information on Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups throughout Africa.

Firsthand reports from some of P&J’s colleagues in those countries revealed some of that aspect. After the Dar es Salaam bombing that blew out windows in their office nearby, they raced to the embassy to help. All of a sudden, that mild-mannered embassy “accountant” they used to share beers with at the local watering hole was sticking a machine gun in their face at the gate, alongside other previously nondescript functionaries who had suddenly gained frontline battle experience.

It’s called the CIA, boys and girls, and embassies do a good job of making sure they have a bevy of pros on hand in geeky military-issue black-framed glasses and pocket protectors who are undercover until the solids hit the fan.

Once were warriors

If you have any empathy or sympathy for men and women who have served in our disastrous US interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan, you would do well to give a donation to the Wounded Warrior Project.

The mission of the Wounded Warrior project is:

“To foster the most successful, well-adjusted generation of wounded service members in our nation’s history.

“To raise awareness and enlist the public’s aid for the needs of injured service members.

“To help injured service members aid and assist each other.

“To provide unique, direct programs and services to meet the needs of injured service members.”

P&J spent last Saturday volunteering at the Wounded Warrior Project golf tournament at the Jamestown Golf Course, as we have for the past three years. Run by retired Navy Captain Mike Holty, the 72-player tourney now sells out even before it’s announced, as loads of people in the area want to kick in to help our bravest young men and women.

One of the most compelling elements, besides the participation of players who are indeed “wounded warriors,” is the fact that Holty arranges for sailors from Newport’s Navy base to ceremonially hold the American flag-bedecked pins on the greens of all nine holes. If you ask these ’utes (mere kids, at least in P&J’s eyes) who they are, they tell you they come from ocean states like Nebraska, or from beachy Central Philadelphia, or from a more logical coastal location like Tampa. They also frequently say that they’ve always wanted to serve in the military.

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