Starting at 12:30, President David led the Pledge of Allegiance and introduced Past-President David Klaus to lead singing of “America the Beautiful” as our Words of Inspiration. 
 
Secretary Mike Carmichael introduced visiting Rotarians and guests of Rotarians.
Name
Host  or Home Club
Work
Per Aronsson
Falsterbo-Vellinge, Sweden
IT Consultant
Andrew Hurst
Mareeba, Australia
Education Administration
Jo Soothill
Mareeba, Australia
Education Administration
Peter Bearse
Raymond, NH
 
Jo Kuchle
Fairbanks, AK
Attorney
Joel Miller
Alexandria West, VA /
Judith Henderson
President, AWRC
Hailey Choi
Membership Committee
Communications, Center for International Policy
Jennifer Bailey
Bill Dent
 
Zubeyde Beyoglu
Robert Schott
Student, Cyprus Friendship Program
Dennis Geist
Alicia Fougere
National Science Foundation
Afxentis Giorgallis
Robert Schott
Student, Cyprus Friendship Program
Mary Goldsmith
Ken Kimbrough
Business Development & Government Relations, McGladrey
Donglei Ji
Steve Adkins
PNC Bank
Miraella Karaiskaki
Robert Schott
Student, Cyprus Friendship Program
Lee Niederman
Memo Grajales
Training Advisor, U.S. Treasury
Paulo Raponi
Erminia Scarcella
Consultant
 
Sergeant-at-Arms Ken Kimbrough recognized the Rotarian celebrating a birthday this week:
  • Dan Kapner - July 25.Dan joined our club in 2014, sponsored by Abe Helal. His classification is Law: Commercial Litigation.
 
Ken Brown announced tonight’s Happy Hour will be at Sudhouse DC, 1340 U Street NW, from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
 
President David announced the next “Ed O’Brien Movie Night” will be on Thursday, July 23 at the E Street Cinema and will be “Mr. Holmes.”  
 
He also announced the August 12 lunch meeting would be “Tropical Shirt Day” for men, with equivalent attire for women.  This deviation from the dress code has been cleared with the University Club.  It is understood some people coming from work will not be able to participate.
 
On a personal note, he called attention to an email that was sent to members yesterday, inviting Rotarians to celebrate the golden anniversary of his marriage to Charlotte.  A reception will be held at Immanuel Bible Church in Springfield, Virginia, 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. on August 15.
 
Bob Shott introduced three high school students from Cyprus who are participating in a month-long program in the United States that involves concentrated peace-building exercises.  For the past four years Bob and his wife Joanne and other Rotarians have hosted these student pairs.  The students explained the history of violence in 1967 between Greek and Turkish communities within Cyprus and the invasion by Turkey in 1974 that led to a Turkish-speaking community in the north and a Greek-speaking community in the south. Tensions between the two remain high, and this program brings together students from both communities in an attempt to build mutual understanding and respect.
 
President David announced Brendan McGinnis and his wife have welcomed future Rotarian Ellie Harper McGinnis, who was born on July 17.  A card was circulated to send them well-wishes.
 
President-Elect Ross Grantham reported on the activities of the International Committee. He went through a list of the many things Rotary is doing every minute of every day for someone around the world, ranging from water projects in India to child surgery in Cambodia. In the last two years we have contributed to projects in India, Liberia, Israel, Uganda, Jordan, Nepal, Jamaica, Cambodia and Southern China. Rotary is preparing to partner with NGOs and others in Thailand to fight sex trafficking of children. The committee is also working to develop events at the embassies of countries where Rotary is doing work.  The first meeting of the committee for this Rotary year will be August 31.
 
Alexander Kravetz introduced speaker Robert Grenier, “analyst, diplomat, writer, and warrior,” who was CIA Station Chief in Islamabad, Pakistan on 9/11/2001.
 
Mr. Grenier said he came to tell a story, and then spend time answering questions.  Starting with the opening scene in his book, 88 Days to Kandahar, he told of a call in the middle of the night from CIA Director George Tenet.  This was twelve days after the 9/11/2001 attacks and the director had bypassed the chain of command to speak directly to CIA Station Chief Grenier, in Islamabad, Pakistan.  The director was meeting with the war cabinet the next morning at Camp David and wanted a war strategy for Afghanistan. Mr. Grenier provided an eight-page plan by the time the director was scheduled to awake again, at 5:00 a.m. The plan made it through the president and was coordinated with General Tommy Franks.
 
The plan, Mr. Grenier thought, was a good one. It advised the U.S. should not to be seen as foreign invaders and should have a small military footprint, and that the ultimate solution had to be political, not military.  Logical allies were in Afghanistan’s northern alliance, but if we appeared to be entering a civil war on the other side, it might re-energize a dying Taliban.  Only two tribal leaders were willing to ally with us, Haji Gul Agha Shirzai and Hamid Karzai.  We had hopes of getting Taliban Mullah Omar to break with bin Laden, or otherwise to get the mainline Taliban to drop Omar and the extremists from their midst.  Opportunities to win over some of the Taliban were lost as leadership of the Afghanistan intervention moved to Vice President Chaney and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.
 
We felt we had won the war in the eighty-eight days it took from 9/11 to the fall of the Taliban in Kandahar Province, but we did not understand why we had won,  and how tenuous was the peace, and  how what we did allowed the Taliban to regain its purchase in Afghanistan.  We turned our attention to Iraq. Three years later we were in our second Afghanistan war. In the last part of the George W. Bush administration, and the start of the Barack Obama administration, we decided we could not trust the Afghanis to run Afghanistan and we overwhelmed the country with our presence.
 
In answering questions from Rotarians, Mr. Grenier noted:
  • He submitted his book for CIA review, but redactions did not keep him from being able to tell everything he wanted to tell in one shape or form, in some cases using aliases.
  • What we should have learned is no military solution is permanent and we have to deal with underlying political issues.
  • We need to work through others in the area in dealing with the Taliban, ISIS, Syria, and other threats, while remaining engaged.
  • Syria is as intractable as anything could be. Not only are our enemies bad, but so are our natural partners in fighting ISIS, such as Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Iran. At this point, a total defeat of Bashar would totally collapse the society and create a horrible humanitarian disaster.Last summer and winter there were essentially mutual nonaggression pacts between the Bashar government and some provinces, and they might have taken a life of their own, but that opportunity has been lost.There now are no good solutions.
  • He cannot see the Taliban now being part of any coalition government.There is not a significant difference between the Taliban in Pakistan and the Taliban in Afghanistan.Our actions have further radicalized Taliban extremists.
  • ISIS is self-funding, taking money from the people it rules, taking over major income-producing industries, and engaging in smuggling and other criminal activities.
  • The only thing positive about all this is Afghanistan and Pakistan are beginning to recognize their mutual need to defeat extremists.
President David presented Robert Grenier with a certificate indicating the club plants trees in honor of our speakers.  He then received the raffle bucket from Gretchen Kearney.   Monica Smith won the small pot of $41, but not the large pot of $1,293.
 
President David thanked Marilyn Cruz for conducting the raffle and serving as greeter, and Balraj Gupta and Stu Shalloway for managing the hospitality desk. He announced next week’s speaker will be Maurice Middleberg, Executive Director of Free the Slaves, talking about Human Trafficking.
 
The meeting adjourned at 1:30 p.m., with an opportunity afterward for members to buy Mr. Grenier’s Book, 88 Days to Kandahar.