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Ukraine Report #9: Documenting Russian War Crimes w/Mike Breen

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Ukraine Report #9: Documenting Russian War Crimes w/Mike Breen

Mike Breen is the President and CEO of Human Rights First. He’s been on the ground in Ukraine documenting Russian war crimes, and he joins us from Kyiv.

Human Rights First is an organization that defends human rights and democracy around the globe. They’ve been active in Ukraine since the annexation of Crimea in 2014, and now after Russia’s invasion, have provided technical and logistical support, training, and other aid. They’ve issued dozens of reports and commentaries, and work to hold Russian leaders and war criminals accountable.

Mike served in the US Army, deploying to Iraq and Afghanistan. He also co-founded the International Refugee Assistance Project, a global legal aid and advocacy organization that fights for the right of refugees to freely move and have a path towards lasting refuge.

To support Human Rights First and the people of Ukraine, visit

Mike Breen:

So, we use mobile advertisements based on geofencing to send ads directly to Russian soldiers’ telephones in Russian, that said, “The world is closely watching what you are doing in Ukraine, and if you commit these crimes, these consequences (and they listed the consequences) will follow you for the rest of your life.”

Ken Harbaugh:

I'm Ken Harbaugh, and this is Burn the Boats, a podcast about big decisions. My guest today is Mike Breen, the president and CEO of Human Rights First, an organization that defends human rights and democracy around the globe.

I've known Mike for a long time. We met in law school, what seems like a lifetime ago. I always knew Mike would go on to do great things, but I never imagined I'd one day be interviewing him as he dialed in from Ukraine on a mission to document Russian war crimes.

Mike has seen firsthand evidence of the Russian military's systematic torture of Ukrainian civilians. Before we get to the interview, here's a short video he recorded right before we spoke, from a basement in a Ukrainian city, recently liberated from Russian occupation.

Mike Breen {via Twitter Video}:

With local partners in an attempt to document war crimes, we’ve seen attacks on hospitals, attacks on schools, ballistic missile attacks on shopping centers, entire apartment buildings destroyed.

And now I am standing in the basement of the village school, which locals tell us was used as a torture facility. There are electric wires running down into this basement. You can see behind me a small room that was used to hold civilians as they were tortured by the Russian military.

There are Russian military documents and equipment left in this basement as the Russians fled. And you can see to my right, there's a volume of Pushkin, a portrait of the great Ukrainian writer, Gogol and Vladimir Lenin.”

Ken Harbaugh:

Mike Breen joins us now from Kyiv. Mike, welcome to Burn the Boats.

Mike Breen:

Thanks, Ken. It's good to see you, albeit at a hell of a distance.

Ken Harbaugh:

Yeah, no kidding. You just got back I understand from visiting several cities and towns that suffered tremendously under Russian occupation. Tell us what you saw.

Mike Breen:

Yeah, we just got back to Kyiv late last night, just in time for a drone attack on the city. So, spent less of last night in an underground parking garage while Ukrainian air defenses were shooting down some Iranian drones around us.

Earlier, we were up in Kharkiv, which is kind of a really terrific city right up near the Russians border, a really strong spirit to that city. Kind of almost a city of the Ukrainian version of Pittsburgh Steelers fans. This is a gritty bunch of people with an ironic sense of humor who are just not going to go down for anybody. And I say that as a guy who grew up as a Patriots fan with grudging admiration and respect.

But just a terrific city. They've been under tremendous heavy Russian attacks since the beginning of the war. We got to be there on the first Saturday night when the lights of the city came back up and people got to go out. It's blackout conditions the night before, blackout conditions, the night after. You need a flashlight to get around downtown, but for one night only people were back in the streets.

But a huge amount of destruction just in that city. Civilian buildings hit, the north end of the city, entire apartment complexes with the front of these buildings just ripped off by rockets and artillery fire, airstrikes.

We visited one apartment complex, completely abandoned, building’s gutted, one lone Ukrainian woman with a broom, just like trying to sweep up human size rubble. But that really, I think, gives you a sense of the spirit.

But the really tough stuff is north of the outskirts of the city. And then up into the villages, which were taken and occupied at the Russian high watermark late last year.

We went to a village named Tsyrkuny, a few other places within about five miles or so of the current frontline in the Russian border, and these are communities that are systematically destroyed by the Russian military.

So, I saw gutted and burned hospitals, gutted and burned schools. They're still rockets embedded in the floors of buildings. Rockets embedded in the ground outside, the woods are still mined. The place is essentially unlivable due to an unexploded ordnance and continued artillery attacks. About 17 of the villages just around us were hit with artillery strikes just that day when we were out documenting.

So, it's still very much a live combat area. And then, really, I think disturbingly common occurrence, some locals, there were few people left and they took us to the remains of the village school, like a grammar school and let us down into the basement.

And there's a cluster of electrical wires running down into the basement. And by all accounts, in all appearances, essentially a torture facility for civilians. A tiny little room in the back where people were held on these bed frames and all the leftover Russian military equipment and documents and pretty clear that they'd been using at least electrocution and other means of torture. Probably looked like maybe some water boardings going on there too, of just civilians, just locals.

So, there's no discernible military intent or advantage to be gained behind what we see. It's just an attempt to terrorize and subjugate the civilian populations through sheer brutality.

A couple nights we were in Kharkiv, they're using S-300 surface-to-air missiles, it’s like these incredibly inaccurate ballistic missiles, just lobbing them at the city and the circular error probable on those things, it's like measured in kilometers. It's ridiculous as a military weapon, they're just using them as terror weapons because they have them in the inventory.

So really, it has (I think as far as I can tell, from start to finish), just been a complete war on the Ukrainian people at a level that's really hard to get your head around.

Ken Harbaugh:

Yeah. You talked about the destruction of these towns and villages, the hospitals and schools that are flattened, the forests that are littered with mines.

But it's really about the destruction of the Ukrainian people. It's one thing to lose your hospital and school. But the systematic torture is directed. It's strategic. How do you separate those two when you walked into a bombed-out village but understand that the real attack is on the spirit of the Ukrainian people? And that's what those torture chambers are for.

Mike Breen:

Yeah, that's really well said, Ken. And yeah, at Human Rights First, we're working, we have been supporting local Ukrainian human rights organization since 2014 and before, as we've been working here for some time, including in places like Kharkiv.

There's a tremendous effort that's gone on. Every human rights organization, every advocacy organization in Ukrainian civil society is now a war crimes investigation. It's been an all on deck effort to try to document these war crimes.

The volume of that effort is just staggering. You sit and talk to the people who are trying to pull this together, both Ukrainian prosecutors and NGOs, and they're sorting through every village, every situation, it's endless.

We will be dealing with the consequences of this from an accountability perspective for decades. And I think it's really important that the international community continue to stay focused on that.

Earlier in these past couple weeks, we've been working with a local human rights organization for some years now. It's kind of the Ukrainian equivalent of PFLAG, that the parents of younger Ukrainians who kind of come out as LGBT.

And it just happens that one of the founders of that organization is purely nice woman in her 50s who lived at Bucha, which is now a name that kind of sends and fills up the spine. It's often described in the media as a village.

It's not a village. It's a suburban city within about 20, 30 minutes to the Kyiv City Center. Think Bethesda or Chevy Chase, a pretty affluent community. She took us to the church where the local priest remained, and because the locals were not allowed to bury their dead in normal funerals, the church became a mass grave site for these just essentially random civilians that were systematically tortured and murdered by the Russian military.

This is all over the country, and it really is, I think, a volume of human rights, abuse and war crimes that we could talk about Syria, we could talk about Yemen, we could talk about other conflicts, but this is really an attempt, again, to just use war crimes as a weapon against an entire nation.

Ken Harbaugh:

You bring an exceedingly rare perspective to this work as the president of a human rights organization who's also a former soldier and experienced combat. The question I want to ask is around how you talk about justice in an active combat zone.

I have some experience with this having been in Afghanistan as a civilian researching some of these crimes. And there's a real tension between the war fighters, and in the case of Ukraine, those defending their country and the documentarians, the ones who are thinking 10 years down the road to war crimes trials. How does your perspective as a former soldier apply in this context?

Mike Breen:

Good question, Ken. United States, I was an army officer, I served in Iraq with an infantry unit in Afghanistan and the Pech and Korengal Valleys with an Airborne unit as a platoon leader.

And so, that experience, of course, colors my entire life. It colors the work I do now in a lot of ways. The work I do now is an extension of that experience.

I think one of the most powerful things that experience taught me is that the moral high ground is just as essential as the physical high ground. And while the tension that you describe is very real, and these discussions are not always easy. I think Ukrainians, civil society and government from top to bottom, in my experience here so far, they understand in their bone marrow how important that moral high ground is.

And this is partially about a war about whether Ukraine will survive as a nation, and … any doubt that they will. This is also a war about whether Ukraine is allowed to join the international community or is kept away from that by a Russian dictator. And that desire is palpable.

So, there are tough conversations going on here about how do you treat Ukrainian citizens who are trapped in Russian occupied areas? What counts as collaboration? What counts as resistance? How do you think through the consequences of that? What do you do about Russian conscription of Ukrainians, in occupied areas into the armed forces? So, Ukrainians forced to fight against Ukraine.

These are tough issues for a nation of war, as you can imagine, and passions are high. But the documentarian effort here is really heroic and really massive. I've never seen anything like this, this scale of a society really working to document war crimes, even as they're happening. I think there's a deep understanding of how important it is.

You hear a lot this sort of sense of we have to win the war and we also have to win the future. And these two things are the same. Yeah, I'm not saying Ukraine’s behaved perfectly in this conflict, and there are tough discussions to have about that too.

But say if it's a clear case of Russian aggression, there's a lot of discussion about the actual international crime of aggression, being levied for the first time in a long time, the case is so clear. And so, I think there really is a sense, again, they've got to hold the moral high ground. They understand that the rule of law is a part of that.

And they also understand that they're documenting in many ways world history here and the history of their nation. It's very important for them to get it right. So, tough discussions, as you can imagine, but they're happening here.

Ken Harbaugh:

How much hope do you have that accountability will actually happen? And then how much faith do the Ukrainians have that their efforts will actually amount to something?

I have to believe some of it is cathartic on their part, but at the end of the day, they have to believe that the trauma they're enduring documenting these atrocities, exhuming these graves and going through every forensic analysis of these torture chambers, that it's going to mean something.

When you're talking about a power like Russia that can protect its criminals the way we know it can, what hope do you hold out that something like the indictment of Vladimir Putin at the International Court is actually meaningful?

Mike Breen:

Yeah, I'm a realist about these things. I think you have to be. Is it meaningful? Absolutely. Is it a panacea? No, of course not. It's not going to be the satisfaction of a media justice most of the time, through sanctions, through travel restrictions, through things like the ICC investigation.

In some cases, prosecutions in Ukrainian courts, in the case of people who are actually in Ukrainian custody, have committed war crimes. Some things can be done, and those things are meaningful, and they do matter.

Some Ukrainians that we work with and talk to, I think really believe this. And for some, it's a struggle for obvious reasons. But I also think when you're talking about justice in this context, especially, you've got to take the long view. Life is long, political conditions change.

And I remember as a law student, doing some work on the extraordinary chambers in the courts of Cambodia, where decades after a genocide, the leaders of that genocide as very old men were finally in the dock, ending their lives on trial for horrific crimes against human. It took a while, but we got there.

I don't know what Russia's going to look like in 20 years. I don't think anybody does. But the consequences of war crimes once documented, follow you for the rest of your life. And they need to. And so, I think, the 25-year-old Russian company commander who's thinking about what he's going to do tomorrow, needs to know that for the rest of his life, if he crosses that line, his name is going to be on that list. And sooner or later justice is going to come for him.

Ken Harbaugh:

Well, talk about that because that's not just wish casting. Sometimes it is when we're in the halls of Yale Law School and we talk about the deterrent effect of these things.

Mike Breen:


Ken Harbaugh:

But you were on the front lines. You were one of those soldiers. Talk about the deterrent effect of an international legal framework that eventually does exercise the long arm of the law and hold war criminals accountable.

Mike Breen:

First of all, you have to know about it. You have to put this information in the decision cycle of somebody who's got a lot, as you know, and who may be, and in the case of the Russian Army is very likely receiving orders that completely contradict everything I've just said.

So, we've attempted to do that in our own way, at Human Rights First, we into last year ran what I think was a pretty unprecedented direct messaging campaign. So, we used mobile advertisements based on geofencing to send ads directly to Russian soldiers’ telephones in Russian that said, “The world is closely watching what you are doing in Ukraine, and if you commit these crimes, these consequences (and they listed the consequences), will follow you for the rest of your life.”

And we know we got a lot of views on that. We hit over 1.1 million Russian cell phones. So, we really oversaturated the battle space, if you will, with that message. And it was shared a lot and a lot of people looked at it.

What effect that have? We'll never know. But I think we've got to continue to make this point to every soldier we can and just saturate their understanding with it.

I don't know what the real deterrent effect of this is, but I do know that brick by brick, conflict by conflict does matter to build the world, where that consequence happens, accountability is key. And it's a long-term road, but I think this is the work of the entire global human rights community, because ultimately justice really, really does matter.

Ken Harbaugh:

I want to talk a little bit about that Russian soldier, and it's hard to reserve any sympathy at all. But what happens to an army that then employs systematic torture? And what is the corrosive effects on the culture that creates that army?

We have micro examples of this in the U.S. military, like Abu Ghraib and just the devastating effect that has on the military that perpetrates that.

But talk about what a culture of brutality and torture does to the people who are directing it.

Mike Breen:

Yeah, we can talk about the follow-on effects on everybody else in that force. We could talk about what happens to that unit and then when it's widespread. You mentioned Abu Ghraib, yeah I was in Iraq for the events leading up to that. And also, when the abuse there was disclosed, and I vividly remember this. We used to go on raids, suspected bomb makers and people like that all through, late 2003 and into 2004.

And a young lieutenant that I was, you'd go through the door, you'd find somebody who'd, by all likelihood done some pretty terrible things. But who also had a family who loved them and was very worried. And they were used to dealing with soldiers in the previous regime who would take dad out in the front yard and shoot him. Or torture him horribly.

And so, I used to give this very Eagle Scout speech about how we're Americans, we don't do that sort of thing. We're not going to torture your dad; we're not going to murder your dad. And of course, all those guys were processed and sent to Abu Ghraib, which at the time meant nothing to me.

Fast forward into 2004, and I'm on the outskirts of Fallujah down in an Iraqian police facility, and I go down to inspect the holding cell in the basement where they're holding up detainees, ironically to make sure that they're be being treated up according to standard.

And they see me walk down the stairs in my American uniform and they start panicking and they're like screaming at the Iraqi guards, like, “Don't let that guy take me.” And I can't figure out what's going on. And they have the pictures of Abu Ghraib. That's how I learned about it.

So, in that moment, I felt what it was like for a second to be a soldier in the kind of military that people are terrified of in that way. And it was one of the worst experiences of my life to feel that way about the flag.

You talk about an entire military that's involved in this kind of human rights abuse in a systematic way, they've been taught to believe that entire civilian population is Nazis, demonized and everything else.

And I think it's hard to get fully inside that, but there is a kind of dark power to atrocity initially, you've crossed a moral line. It's hard to imagine crossing back. So, you get this victory or death mentality that can happen.

And so, it can for a minute have this dark cohesion to it because no other group except the unit around you in the military you're part of will ever accept you in civil society again. You have that sense that you've crossed a moral line, you're in a different moral universe. How could you ever leave?

But that doesn't last very long. It corrodes the soul; it corrodes the unit. And I think ultimately it just rots the entire organization from more then. And you see this with the Russian military, I think we're looking at a military, you can look at Syria, you can look at now in Ukraine, this is an army that is good for essentially no military task except terrorizing civilians.

They're terrible at combat. They're terrible at war. The only thing they're good at is essentially committing war crimes. I think there's a direct connection between how much of that they've done and the culture they've created for themselves.

Ken Harbaugh:

And then the psychic blowback to Russian culture at large seems to be something we're not talking about enough, and that's going to reverberate for decades if not generations. I watched these clips of Russian moms in rural areas saying they'll give all four of their sons to defeat the Nazis in Ukraine.

This brutal mindset seems to have pervaded not the whole of society, but more of it than we want to admit. We hear about the protests in cities, but you talk about the corrosion of the souI, I look at Russia today and I worry about it's next 50 years.

Mike Breen:

I agree with you completely. We have a good friend, a senior advisor of Human Rights First, incredibly courageous Russian human rights and political leader, Vladimir …

Vladimir survived two poisoning attempts by the Putin regime prior to this current full-scale war in Ukraine. His family reached safety. They're still safe in the Washington DC area in the United States. Vladimir became a global activist for accountability against the Russian regime and for political change in Russia.

But when the war began, he left safety in the DC area, flew to Moscow and started getting on the radio and calling for the end of the war, and calling for the Russian people to stand up against the conflict.

He is, as we speak on trial for treason, a complete sham trial. And he's essentially in — and this is a man, a Russian who was willing to sacrifice his entire life, to say the right thing. I'm not going to run.

But I think what we see now is this great sorting and it's like any form of extremism. It's the big lie. If you buy in, you're all the way in. And how do you get back out again? And if you don't buy it, you have an equally strong reaction. But the world bifurcates into people who've entered the fantasy reality of the big lie.

And the people who haven't bought it were no strangers to this, unfortunately, in our own world. In the case of Russia, it's a truly massive, monstrous, murderous lie. But once you're in, you're in, and you enter a world where it's very hard to move out of it.

So, I don't know what the political future of Russia is. I think political change is one of these things. The little like Hemingway's description of going bankrupt. It happens slowly, then quickly. It's churning under the water, and then all of a sudden it happens. And it's a big surprise. That could happen tomorrow in Russia.

But for now, yeah, it's really worrying, and it is hard to see from the outside what could tip the balance and bring sanity. It's hard to see it.

Ken Harbaugh:

Why should Americans care? Why isn't this (as Ron DeSantis characterized it), a territorial dispute?

Mike Breen:

That's such an unbelievable misreading of what's happening. It's hard to even begin to address it. But-

Ken Harbaugh:

It’s not a misreading. He knows perfectly well what's happening.

Mike Breen:

Yeah, of course, you're right. I'm being charitable and God knows what Ron DeSantis believes from five minutes to the next, I don't even know if Ron DeSantis knows.

But why does this matter? This matters on so many levels. It matters because I don't want to live in a world, you don't want to live in a world, our kids certainly don't want to live in a world where the international community is okay with dictators who run countries with large militaries just starting wars of aggression.

That's the first half of the 20th century. That's millions dead on the battlefield. We know exactly what that world looks like. We have nuclear weapons in the game, now. The great achievement of the United States since 1945 has been to build a world where it's harder for that to happen. And that is absolutely at stake in this conflict.

And I think, equally at stake is the future of democracy. If you put this conflict into context for Ukraine, a lot of the human rights activists and soldiers in Ukraine today are people who marched against, in some cases gunfire, peacefully marched to the Maidan less than 10 years ago to overthrow their own whoopy dictator and stand up for democracy.

So, this is a country where people have faced bullets in the streets from their own police forces and security forces to overthrow a strong man. Now they're facing external invasion by another dictator, and they're standing against incredible odds. That becomes a referendum on essentially the entire democratic world. Do you stand up for a country like that or not? Do you stand up for those values or not? So, that's significant.

And then we could talk about American national security. Clearly Russia is a massive national security threat to the United States. That hasn't changed at all. We'd be crazy from a national security perspective not to support an allied nation in effect, as they fight in armed conflict against the adversary.

And then finally, China's watching, China's watching very closely. And it's not just China. But if you can get away with this kind of thing in a place like Ukraine where we don't have strong security commitments and U.S. forces aren't directly implicated, it makes it a lot more likely that in places like South China Sea and Taiwan, where U.S. forces would become involved, almost overwhelmingly likely, very fast conflict. What's the incentive structure there look like?

So, this really does matter. And I think the outcome here will affect our lives at a personal level. There are stakes for all of us.

Ken Harbaugh:

Do you ever step back and just marvel at the fact that the party of Reagan, that Republican party that drew a hard line against Soviet expansionism is now the party of appeasement? And in some cases, if you look at people like Marjorie Taylor Green, borderline collaboration, it's insane to think about that shift.

Mike Breen:

I can't get my head around it, Ken. I couldn't get my head around it when people like Tucker Carlson started attacking the FBI like six years ago. Right wing pundits are going after the intelligence, right wing pundits start going after military leaders, the woke generals saying, and now we're at the point, yeah …

The idea that the party of Reagan wants to appease a Russian dictator is … what do you say to that?

Ken Harbaugh:

Yeah, I don't have the words at all. What do Ukraine's neighbors say? Because if there's anything that can shake Americans from their complacency, it's the alarms raised by the next dominoes to fall. I'm not a proponent of the domino theory, bad analogy. But in this case, you have the people who should know best, who have the most at stake saying this should matter to the free world.

Mike Breen:

Yeah, I think actions speak loud. I've seen plenty of Estonian and other Baltic nations flags spray painting on the side of vehicles here. People have shown up from those countries. Poland, has taken in huge numbers of Ukrainians, given them refuge. Poland just announced its commitment to build the largest land army in Europe. That's not for no reason. They're rapidly expanding their military capability, because they know they're next, if this doesn't go well.

So, the further east you get, I think the more you see spines start to stiffen. And even Western Europe, let's not forget at the beginning of the conflict, everybody was really afraid that France and Germany are just going to roll over. And the opposites happened. We've got Sweden arguing about joining NATO. This is like stuff you could not have imagined two years ago.

So, I hope this puts to bed the idea that Putin is some kind of like chess master forever, because he's just launched the most self-defeating war of the century at least. But also, the danger is palpable, clear present and is all kinds of clarity, you thinking the closer to the porter, you get, as you say.

Ken Harbaugh:

The best chess analogy I heard was that Zelenskyy is playing chess and Putin is eating the pieces, is pretty apt.

Mike Breen:

It's pretty apt.

Ken Harbaugh:

I've got a personal question for you. How do you walk into a torture chamber in the basement of an apartment building or a school and take a dispassionate view? How do you do human rights research without losing your mind?

Mike Breen:

That's a good question. I think at a high level, anybody who does any kind of work like this, you got to find a way to balance. You got to lead a life that has joy in it. You got to make sure that you're taking care of yourself.

For combat vets, this is a good conversation to have, but for human rights people too. I still go see a trauma therapist pretty regularly, and I kind of look at it like vitamins. As long as I have this job, I'm going to take my vitamins. Because even if I feel like I'm fine, I'd better make sure. And I think for all of us who’ve served, I think that's true too.

But a big piece of it is a couple days ago going down the stairs, the guy who brought me there is this 25, 30-year-old Ukrainian, and he's living at a tent outside a community center that has a Grad sticking out of the floor still. And he's working out this thing. That was his community.

Ken Harbaugh:

The Grad is?

Mike Breen:

The Grad is a Russian surface to surface rocket. So, there's this big tube sticking out. He's point being — his house is destroyed, community is broken. He's not running. He's there trying to serve his community; he’s there trying to rebuild. He's there trying to provide aid, and he knew everybody that got dragged down there.

So, if he can walk down the stairs, who am I not to? And then you do your job, you do your job just like you do your job as a combat leader. And sometimes you compartmentalize and sometimes you have to deal with the consequences of having compartmentalized a little bit later. And that's just kind of the business we're in, right?

Ken Harbaugh:

Yeah. What can people do to help Human Rights First?

Mike Breen:

Well, thank you. We're trying our best to support Ukrainian organizations who are working on the ground. So, our function here is to let them take the lead in that capacity. They know what's going on.

It's an … effort. We can always use donations and support. That's huge. So,, financial support's extremely welcome, support to Ukrainian organizations is welcome. We're happy to help direct that support if people want to get in touch with us and talk about that. But we also pass the support given to us onto those organizations as well.

If you're a lawyer and you want to get involved in the effort, we have a ton of pro bono partners. If you're a veteran, join Veterans for American Ideals. This is a 10,000 strong, growing organization of veterans who want to stand up for human rights. If you're a technologist, get in touch with us. We have an innovation lab. We're building tech solutions for Ukrainian groups and others around the world.

So, we need your skills, if you've got them. We certainly need the resources. And then in the public debate, don't be shy. Feel free to talk about what you see and talk about what you hear.

Ken Harbaugh:

Great. Well, thanks Mike. We'll make sure to put all of those links in the notes. Really appreciate you coming on. Stay safe.

Mike Breen:

Thanks, Ken. I appreciate it. Always good to talk to you.

Ken Harbaugh:

Thanks again to Mike for joining me. To learn more about human rights first, visit

Thanks for listening to Burn the Boats. If you have any feedback, please email the team at [email protected]. We're always looking to improve the show.

For updates and more, follow us on Twitter @Team_Harbaugh. And if you enjoyed this episode, don't forget to rate and review.

Burn the Boats is a production of Evergreen Podcasts. Our producer is Declan Rohrs and Sean Rule-Hoffman is our audio engineer. Special thanks to Evergreen executive producers, Joan Andrews, Michael DeAloia and David Moss.

I'm Ken Harbaugh, and this is Burn the Boats, a podcast about big decisions.

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