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The Spy's Cure was in his Guitar
Meet Ron Capps, a war-scarred intelligence veteran 'writing his way home'
As a CIA-trained Army intelligence officer and later crisis-scene diplomat with the State Department, Ron Capps was inserted into the middle of some of the world’s worst catastrophes of the 1990s and beyond, from Bosnia, Iraq and Afghanistan to the civil wars and genocide raging across Central and East Africa. He eventually reached a breaking point in Dafur, where, working as a foreign service officer, he was overcome by not being able to stop the murder, rape, and genocide that surrounded him. Stricken by nightmares and facing a complete breakdown, Capps was medavaced home.
I met Ron in 2010, when he was launching the Veterans Writing Project, a non-profit organization that hosts creative workshops and seminars for war veterans and service members, as well as their adult family members.
“Write your way home” is their guiding principle.
Ron has also written a searing memoir, Seriously Not All Right: Five Wars in Ten Years. Not only that, he’s begun a new career as a singer-songwriter, plumbing the same issues he and so many other intelligence, spec-ops and front-line foreign service officers have dealt with.
I caught up to Ron Capps last week at his home in Maine. You can hear the full interview on the SpyTalk podcast, here, or wherever you listen. It includes portions of one of his most poignant tunes, with the gut-punch line, “Did you win the war this time?”
Leading off the podcast is my cohost Jeanne Meserve’s interview with Angela Stent, author of Putin’s World: Russia Against the West and with the Rest—and many more works on the Kremlin. More on that tomorrow.
Have a good listen.