August 13, 2007

Out of Iraq

by Michael J. Totten

I am safely out of Iraq and back in the United States. It's hard to write while embedded with the military. I had little time and no work space. But now that I'm Stateside again I'll have time to publish the material I spent the last month collecting. My next dispatch is more than half written and will appear shortly.

Thank you for being patient.

UPDATE: Michael Yon writes: "So much war, so many missions, but never enough time to publish dispatches covering more than a small fraction of it." I hear you, brother!

He has a new article up on his site, though, if you want some fresh reporting to tide you over until I publish my next one.

Posted by Michael J. Totten at August 13, 2007 08:29 AM

Good to hear you got back safely. Looking forward to the new material

Posted by: mantis at August 13, 2007 09:00 AM

Whew! I am glad you are home. I look forward to buying you a beverage of your choice as soon as you come up for air.
I'll bet you are enjoying this 70 degree weather!


Posted by: lindsey at August 13, 2007 09:53 AM

Welcome back!

Posted by: mary at August 13, 2007 09:54 AM

welcome back, michael. def. glad to hear of your safe return!

kind rgs,

Posted by: scott moshen at August 13, 2007 10:41 AM

Welcome home!

Posted by: leo at August 13, 2007 10:56 AM

Welcome back to the US... and it couldn't have been at a better time, Congress is at recess :)

Posted by: MichaelBrazell at August 13, 2007 12:08 PM

Wow, that was fast.

But I'm glad you got out in one piece. Think you'll go back again?

Posted by: Yehudit at August 13, 2007 01:06 PM


I'll definitely go back. And it wasn't that fast. I was there for a month. Felt like six!

I have ten or so dispatches coming, plus video of foot patrols in Anbar Province. So it was a productive month. I have too much material to sit on. Had to leave for now so I can write it.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at August 13, 2007 01:52 PM

Michael, it's good to have you back, and no worse for the wear, I presume. I'm looking forward to my weekly? fixes on the action in Iraq. Frankly, I guess I've turned into a war junkie. Is that bad?

Posted by: templar knight at August 13, 2007 02:46 PM

templar knight,

A strong commitment to being accurately informed about the course of a war is a good thing. If you find yourself invading neighboring countries yourself in order to be kept up to date as much as possible, then you have reached the "bad thing" stage. In between is a lot of gray area, but acquisition of armored vehicles and heavy weaponry is usually pushing you closer to the darker parts.

It is still OK if you only purchase and maintain Unimogs and Pinzgauers, though.

Posted by: Patrick S Lasswell at August 13, 2007 10:55 PM

So you were there a month... Any conclusions on whether the US can fix Iraq and get past the war? Or is this going to burn like herpes for the rest of our lives?

Posted by: Graham at August 13, 2007 11:28 PM


Do your really think the Germans, Japanese, Italians, and Koreans like to be compared to Herpes because they have US bases after losing to us? Probably this is correct for Kim Jong Il, both literally and figuratively...but still.

Posted by: Patrick S Lasswell at August 14, 2007 12:21 AM

Welcome home, Michael - looking forward to your posts. And you, Patrick, are hilarious.... I get the impression that your trip with Michael in Turkey (the crazy one from Istanbul to Iraq) didn't have too many dull moments. :o)

Posted by: Aram at August 14, 2007 01:19 AM

Welcome back!

Posting from Haifa, Israel


Posted by: Andrew Brehm at August 14, 2007 03:35 AM

MJT, have you and Mike Yon met?


Posted by: Ron Snyder at August 14, 2007 04:42 AM

Graham:Any conclusions on whether the US can fix Iraq and get past the war?

Maybe. I don't know. Sometimes I'm optimistic. Sometimes I'm not.

It's definitely possible, but whether it actually happens is another story.

Watch Baghdad. If Baghdad goes the way of Anbar Province, the war will be over. Baghdad, though, is much more difficult to repair than Anbar and there is only so much the US can do. It also depends on Iraqis and on Iran.

I don't know what's going to happen, and I'm learning to resist the urge to predict and look like an idiot.

Iraq only looks more complicated up close.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at August 14, 2007 04:46 AM

Aram to Patrick: your trip with Michael in Turkey

Sean LaFreniere went with me on that trip. Definitely no dull moments.

Ron Snyder: MJT, have you and Mike Yon met?

We tried to meet, but couldn't do it. We email and speak on the phone a lot, though.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at August 14, 2007 04:50 AM

Glad you're home safe dude...

Posted by: Microraptor at August 14, 2007 07:19 AM

Glad you're home safe dude...

Posted by: Microraptor at August 14, 2007 07:20 AM

We are all glad you are back safe. I am a big fan of travel/food shows, like No Reservations and Bizaare Foods. Any chance you got to sample any local cuisine, or was it mostly MRE's?

(I know, this is a political blog, but still ...)

Posted by: Zak at August 14, 2007 07:29 AM


I have eaten with Michael a lot of meals in Iraq. Five months ago we sat at the table of a major political operative where I had a platter of truffles at my right hand 30 cm across piled 8 cm deep. I offered Michael plenty, but he was across the table and didn't take as many as I did.

Although we've been treated to many wonderful meals at the houses of our good friends, we are from a city with fantastic cuisine and we are deeply spoiled. We both love great coffee, and we have both been extensively disappointed in our travels in Iraq on this essential requirement to our lives. While Michael might have gotten better coffee traveling with the Army, you cannot find great coffee locally in Iraq. (If you live within a mile of Pike Place Market, you can call Starbucks local, otherwise it is a giant corporate that we start to long for after the first week.)

Michael likes good beer and loves great wine, which makes Iraq less of a happy place for him, even when he is not traveling with the best armed prohibitionists in history. (Occasionally, we get really good wine, but it is not easy and it is not cheap.)

Posted by: Patrick S Lasswell at August 14, 2007 10:33 AM


I came across your blogs by accident whilst surfing the electronic broadsheets.

Thank you for what you do.

So often we see articles that have become so overworded and oversold that they cease to effectively communicate the reality of what is happening.
You cut through the normal press 'garbage' that I hate so much in the UK press and give us clear concise fact on a personal level.

From a guy in a small town in the countryside of England - THANKYOU, and I give thanks that you are home safely.

Martin Davies, UK.

Posted by: Martin - UK at August 14, 2007 12:18 PM


I know you're pressed for time, but I wonder if you read the latest article in Der Speigel about the war in Iraq.

Two things jumped out at me after reading it.

One, there is no military force in the World that would attempt to do what the US Military is trying to do in Iraq, whether you agree with the war or not.

Two, I couldn't believe anyone in the European Press was reporting in an objective manner about Iraq. A refreshing change.

As you know, some things are bad in Iraq, but there is a hell of a lot that is good going on there. And I, for one, am damn proud to be the father of a soldier in the United States Army.

Posted by: templar knight at August 14, 2007 01:24 PM

M.J.T. did you know that you have a sizeable group of readers out here on Cape Cod?
Thanks for inspiring great conversation on my construction site!
Great oysters out here...

Posted by: Brian at August 14, 2007 03:47 PM

it wasn't that fast. I was there for a month. Felt like six!

From here it seemed like 2 weeks. I guess my life was moving faster than I thought! :-)

I look forward to the rest of the material. I still need to post about my trip to Portland. (I met someone tonight from Portland and I asked him if he knew your house. He thought maybe but he wasn't sure.)

Ditto on the Speigal article, but about a third of the way in it rehearses the usual antiwar tropes about how Bush lied us into the war, evil Cheney, etc. Other than that. it's great.

Posted by: Yehudit at August 14, 2007 07:49 PM

You cut through the normal press 'garbage' that I hate so much in the UK press and give us clear concise fact on a personal level.

Posted by: Wire at August 15, 2007 12:24 AM

Your web site goes off every now and then... why?

Posted by: Winston at August 15, 2007 06:35 PM
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