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Thursday was a very bad day.  There’s no guarantee Friday won’t be worse.

We control nothing. For all our military might, for all of our economic and geopolitical prowess, for all of our inflated sense of global preeminence—we control nothing.

The Taliban. ISIS-K. Al Qaeda. While they are in many ways competitors at this poker table, they collectively hold all the cards. The fourth player? The United States? We got nothin’. The others know that.  Worse, we know that.

So now what? First, don’t make it worse. Continue the mission of getting as many Americans and innocent Afghans out of there as possible before Tuesday’s deadline. But the deadline is the deadline, as both a political and logistical matter. The reality is that many of our friends, and perhaps even some of our own citizens, are going to be trapped against their will, with futures that will be dark and often short.

Second, limit the empty-barrel bluster. “We will not forgive. We will not forget. We will hunt you down and make you pay.”

“You” who? “Hunt” how? “Pay” what and whom?

Biden has said—rightly in my view, and actually that of pretty much everyone else in this country, in both parties—that the United States must get out of The Endless War Business. Let’s not let our understandable anger and desire for retribution drag us into yet another B-Western Movie pit of quicksand. You don’t think that is a danger?  Then you don’t know us as a nation very well.

Just a “surgical strike”?  You mean like we should have executed in Afghanistan almost two decades ago, right before we got the hell out of Dodge?

Iraq War Cultural Flashback: “We’ll put a boot up your ass.” This is what happens when we let a Toby Keith simplistic, jingoistic mindset guide our foreign policy. The path forward here has nothing to do with cowboy footwear and other people’s rectums.

“Surgical strike”? Sure. As long as it’s truly cutting-edge brain surgery, and not simply a battlefield leg amputation. Of our own leg.

We need to take a geopolitical form of the physicians’ Hippocratic Oath. “First, for gawdsake, don’t make it worse.”

Our hearts break for our 13 Marines and their families. The best thing—really the only thing—we can now do to honor their sacrifice, is to avoid senseless repeats.

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Paul's Bio

I clearly have the attention span of your median fruit fly.Look! Airplane!

Sorry. I’m back.

It’s both a curse and a blessing. I’ve never bought this stuff about, “He who dies with the most toys wins.” But I do think that a wide range of life experiences helps us grow as people, and helps us better relate to other people. I’ve been fortunate. And I am beyond grateful.

I show up on time. I go like hell. I’m a good listener. I hold myself accountable. I own my mistakes. And I have a natural and an insatiable curiosity. I’m never afraid to say, “I don’t know,” when I don’t. But then I try to find out.

The flip side is I’m a lousy ballroom dancer and my clothes sometimes fit me funny.

Stuff matters to me. I care. But while I take that stuff seriously, I try hard to never take myself seriously. As a result, I have sometimes been told, “Paul, it’s hard to tell when you’re serious and when you’re just having some fun. Which is it? Serious or fun?”

My answer is “yes.” But I think that is a legitimate criticism. I promise I’m going to work on that.

This has been the quickest and strangest half-century I’ve ever experienced. During that period, I’ve been afforded amazing opportunities in news and sports journalism across all platforms. I have taught wonderful students at the high school and collegiate level. Always, I learned more from them than they did from me. I’ve been a high school administrator. I spent ten seasons as a high school varsity football coach. I’ve been an advertising executive. I’ve hosted nationally syndicated television entertainment shows. In maybe the biggest honor I ever received, I was selected by NASA to be “Chet The Astronaut” for the “Land The Shuttle” simulator at Space Center Houston. (All I can say there, is “Do as I say, not as I do.” I put that thing in the Everglades more often than not.) Most recently, I just wrapped up a decade as a television news director, during which time our teams distinguished themselves in holding the powerful accountable, achieving both critical and ratings success.

What does all that mean? It means I am profoundly grateful. It also means I’m ready for “next.” So here we are. Radically Rational. It’s an idea I woke up with in 2017. I scribbled “Radically Rational” on a piece of notebook paper and used a magnet to stick it on our refrigerator. I saw it every day, and it just would not leave me alone.

I am second in charge at Radically Rational, LLC. My wife, Jo (also known as BB), is the president. Clearly, I have failed in my attempt to sleep my way to the top of this organization.

I hope you will learn that I’m loyal as a Labrador. But I will admit that this doggie can bite every now and then. My promise to you? I will show up on time. I will go like hell. I will listen to you earnestly and attentively. I will hold myself accountable. I will never be the least bit hesitant to say, “I don’t know,” when I don’t.

But then I’ll try to find out. Let’s do it.