July 23, 2006

I'm Back

by Michael J. Totten

Me and Sign to Baghdad.jpg

I'm back from my consulting job. As you can see from the photograph I spent most of my time in Iraq, in the Kurdistan region. (Jeez, it is hot there in July!) I wasn't misleading you when I said my work was non-writing related. I don't have nearly as many stories as I would have had if I went there as a journalist. Unfortunately I can't tell you what I was doing or who I was working for. For now, though, I will say that I was not there working for any government. My gig was a temporary private sector one, and maybe (I don't know yet) I'll be able to explain it sometime in the future.

Getting out of the Middle East during the Lebanon/Israeli conflict was a lot more...interesting than being in Iraq. War and the flow of refugees put the kibosh on my travel plans home, and I had to route through Tel Aviv at a time of war to get back. This was totally unexpected and -- I imagine this goes without saying -- unpleasant. I will explain when I recover from exhaustion and jet lag.

Many thanks again to Callimachus for filling in for me when blogging just wasn't possible. Many thanks also to those of you who sent Pay Pal donations while I was away from regular email access. I will try to send individual thank you notes as soon as I can, late though they may be.

Posted by Michael J. Totten at July 23, 2006 07:37 PM

Welcome back, sir, and I'm looking forward to what you can tell us about your travels.


Good to see you in one piece, too, of course

Posted by: TmjUtah at July 23, 2006 08:04 PM

Welcome back Michael

Posted by: Dawnsblood at July 23, 2006 08:07 PM

Welcome back Michael. Look forward to interesting reading from you.

Posted by: Jono at July 23, 2006 08:11 PM

Callimachus was a perfect stand-in. Well, except for that one quiz about related words early on. He performed excellently and brought out the best in all but the surliest amongst the crew. This was not a walk in the park given the ME exploding.

Posted by: allan at July 23, 2006 08:14 PM

It's good to have you back, Michael. I can't wait to hear what you've been up to once you can tell us.

Posted by: Joshua Marinacci at July 23, 2006 09:04 PM

Welcome back! I kept checking to see if you had returned - and wondered if your work location was someplace in Iraq...

Posted by: Rebecca at July 23, 2006 09:34 PM

Welcome back. I can't wait to read your wise assesment of the ongoing tragedy.

Posted by: Josh Scholar at July 23, 2006 10:17 PM


Longtime reader here. Glad to have you back safe and sound. The blog's certainly been interesting this past week or so. :)

Posted by: Bad Vilbel at July 23, 2006 10:53 PM

I am glad you are safe, and glad you are back. I look forward to your assessments of issues.

Posted by: Jauhara at July 23, 2006 10:55 PM

By the way, update your Beirut to the beltway link. Now they're at:

Posted by: Josh Scholar at July 23, 2006 11:01 PM

Thank God you're okay. that's all.

Posted by: popskull at July 24, 2006 12:56 AM

Michael - Warm welcome back. Excellent choice in Callimachus as a fill in.

If you haven't already, check out http://www.ouwet.com/n10452/personal-opinions/hizbullah-s-filthy-methods/

Posted by: Fighting Sullyvan at July 24, 2006 03:59 AM

Glad you're home safe.

Posted by: Joel Rosenberg at July 24, 2006 04:39 AM

...and you find the same (I suppose!) temperatures in River City as you thought you'd left behind! Good to have you back; I second the previous comments!

Posted by: Ken Stewart at July 24, 2006 08:17 AM

Nice picture...you dork! I am not surprised you went through israel even as they are bruning your "second" home. Since Hezballoh is controling lebanon these days, does that mean you won't be able to return?

Posted by: Rami at July 24, 2006 10:17 AM

Welcome Back!!

Now please give us the lowdown on Lebanon.

Posted by: Brooklyn at July 24, 2006 10:31 AM

Welcome back to Stumptown, Michael!

Posted by: malm at July 24, 2006 10:39 AM

Rami: I am not surprised you went through israel even as they are bruning your "second" home.

I had little choice...

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at July 24, 2006 10:46 AM

Welcome back Michael, I'm so happy you are home with your family and safe!

Posted by: Cathy at July 24, 2006 11:34 AM

Cool Shades.

Posted by: Solomon2 at July 24, 2006 11:49 AM

Good to have you back!

Posted by: Nathan at July 24, 2006 01:28 PM

Private sector & you can't talk... sounds very cloak & dagger...

Posted by: Brian at July 24, 2006 02:52 PM

Callimachus was a perfect stand-in.

Seconded. I hope you let him to continue to post from time to time.

Posted by: rosignol at July 24, 2006 11:18 PM

Welcome back! I look forward to the new posts!

Posted by: Nouri at July 26, 2006 01:31 PM
Winner, The 2007 Weblog Awards, Best Middle East or Africa Blog

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