I thought I would quickly touch base now that we have completed the first half of 2010. Thus far there have been 19 gatherings San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Manhattan. We look for an equal number in the second half and should round out the year at 38-40.
Reminder. To remind everybody, the SF and the LA Luncheon Society gatherings for Christopher Hitchens have been postponed and will be rescheduled later in 2010.
The Luncheon Society website. For those who are unable to join us around the table, you can subscribe to have The Luncheon Society summaries sent via email. Click on the links below to learn more about the luncheons. Continue reading
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One of the great things about The Luncheon Society ™ is we can take a seminal issue and look at it from a variety of angles and perspectives in a conversational tone.
This is what The Luncheon Society is all about. It’s especially the case with the current military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. Former Secretaries of State George Schulz and Warren Christopher gave their own individual thoughts on the statecraft behind the decisions to invade. William Perry, former Secretary of Defense under Clinton, worried that the movement of assets from Afghanistan to Iraq would harm the mission against the Taliban in the long-term. Paul Rieckhoff, Craig Mullaney, and Phil Carter wrote at length to give us their viewpoint of the soldier in the field. Journalists like Ahmed Rashid, Christopher Hitchens, Jonathan Alter, and The New Yorker’s Jane Mayer chimed in on the political lay of the land as well as the use of torture. Ambassador Joe Wilson and Valerie Plame joined The Luncheon Society on several occasions to discuss being unmasked as a CIA operative as political payback. Janis Karpinski spoke of abu Ghraib and Dan Ellsberg compared the secrets of the battlefield that so often papered over in times of war. More will join us in the future.
Sebastian Junger’s War. With that in mind, we especially pleased to sit with journalist and writer Sebastian Junger, who while not writing for Men’s Journal, The National Geographic or Vanity Fair, pens books and articles about people with dangerous jobs. Most are familiar with his work about the fishermen aboard the Andrea Gail, as well as the Coast Guard’s efforts to save them, which were detailed in his book (which later became the movie) The Perfect Storm . In fact, his description of what takes place when a person drowns is one of the more harrowing reads found in non-fiction.
In his new book titled, “War,” Junger follows a small group of soldiers for a better part of a year into one of the most distant outposts in Afghanistan. Junger steers clear from the political and burrows down into their daily lives. It’s backbreaking and dangerous stuff; Junger spends a great deal of time discussing the stresses and intense pressures that come with combat. Continue reading