November 05, 2007

Hold Music

Sorry for putting you all on "hold." I'm packing for Fallujah and the Blog World Expo in Las Vegas at the same time. I hope at least to have another excerpt from House to House: An Epic Memoir of War by Staff Sergeant David Bellavia before I fly off to Kuwait. In the meantime, buy that book. It is extraordinary. And it will help put my own dispatches from Fallujah (whatever they happen to be about) into the proper context.

I will be speaking at the convention if you want to come by and listen or say hi. Matt Burden from Blackfive will be on the same panel with me.

Thursday, November 8 (2:45 – 3:45)

Posted by Michael J. Totten at November 5, 2007 07:19 PM

Be careful down there in Vegas, I hear it is dangerous.

Posted by: jvon at November 5, 2007 10:58 PM

Yes, I hear that there are pirates boarding each other's ships all the time, and lots of explosions. It is a quagmire; the US should pull out of Vegas.

Posted by: Keith at November 6, 2007 06:30 AM


I know that you're probably in transit, but if you have time here are the first two chapters of Ian Klaus's book on his experiences as a teacher of English and American history to Kurds in Kurdistan: "Elvis is Titanic: Classroom Tales from the Other Iraq."

Chapters One and Two.


Posted by: Jeffrey -- New York at November 6, 2007 10:26 AM

In the meantime, buy that book

Did. Buzzed through it in two days, going to start loaning it to friends now.

The descriptions of combat is about as far from what you see on CNN as it is possible to get.

I was also very surprised at how the author pointed out the number of men in his squad who were either born outside the US or were sponsored for citizenship by the Army... the people talking about creating a 'path to citizenship' are ignoring one that already exists. As far as I'm concerned, anyone willing to become an American by serving in Iraq is welcome- they've earned it.

Posted by: rosignol at November 6, 2007 11:58 AM

I have long been thinking the USA should have an "American Legion" where those wanting to immigrate could get a "fast path" by joining and serving.

I just looked at the US DOD website, and they have a special section on bloggers -- mostly Colonels.

You might want to ask them for a link and a list of those journalists who have been embedded or received any Army assistance.

Can I also suggest you prepare an Iraq pamphlet, with pictures, for publication BEFORE Christmas? After you win the Wizbang best ME blog, you can even use it for advertising, a bit...

Posted by: Tom Grey - Liberty Dad at November 7, 2007 10:03 PM

Guess I will buy * That Book* just to see how far off this overview really is...

Acmahdinejad is the little bully with big buddies China and Putin behind him.

Both Russia and China like the West squirming in Iraq and Afgfhanistan. Status quo.

China does not want any big Nuke going off though, because of their oil pipelines,[lifelines] Iran/Pakistan to China. [ Al-Jazeera ]

There is talk about special outfitting of stealth US bombers for deep bunker busters designed to reach down and squeeze Iran*s centrafuges. Silly talk, really.

Makes no sense as that would unleash the hoards in a bash where everyone loses.

The real sleeping giant keeping a low profile are the Saudis. Massive wealth means massive power. They just pay to have big bombs delivered like you and I order a pizza.

The US would be wise to just wait and say nothing for now. There are so many powerful cross tensions between Saudies, Syrians, Kuwaits, Iranians, Qatar, Turkey and even Egypt, that Iranian nukes would be more or less frozen anyway.

I remember reading in a translated Iranian newsfeed where Putin gave Achahdinejad hell for both his threats to Nuke Israel and his late payments for scientific equipment from Rusia.

As long as Bush keeps from doing anything rash between now and his next election, Iran is in no position to do more than hand weapons to the Talibs and Muctada al Sader black shirts.

Today*s impression, after the book.. who knows?= TG

Posted by: TG at November 8, 2007 11:57 PM

Lieberman suggests WWIII

In the stunning speech he delivered today, which I,[John Podhorertz],wrote about just below, Sen. Joseph Lieberman sheds some horrifying light on one of the issues that made last week’s Democratic presidential debate so contentious — the amendment he co-sponsored in the Senate declaring the Iran Revolutionary Guard Corps a terrorist organization for the purpose of imposing economic sanctions on the group. For her vote in the affirmative, Hillary Clinton came under withering assault from her rivals for supposedly giving President Bush a green light to attack Iran militarily.


The reason for [the] amendment was clear. In September, General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker testified before Congress about the proxy war that Iran—and in particular, the IRGC and its Quds Force subsidiary—has been waging against our troops in Iraq.

Specifically, General Petraeus told us that the IRGC Quds Force has been training, funding, equipping, arming, and in some cases directing Shiite extremists who are responsible for the murder of hundreds of American soldiers.

This charge had been corroborated by other sources….It was also consistent with nearly three decades of experience with the IRGC, which has been implicated in a range of terrorist attacks against the United States and our allies—long before the invasion of Iraq.

In months past I [TG], may have suggested Bunker Busting Iran*s centrafuges, [ flippant blogger..tongue in cheek ].

Coming from US powerhouse Lieberman however, it makes one*s stomach churn.

With Russia and China ready to protect their interests, anything more than conventinal counter measures is loony suicide talk. = TG

Posted by: TG at November 9, 2007 09:42 AM

TG, if we don't take action to prevent the nutjobs that currently run Iran from getting Nukes, who will?

How did "conventional countermeasures" work with North Korea, or Syria, or Libya, or .....?

And exactly what do you think Russia and China will do if we take military action against Iran (proof sources such as consensus expert military opinion would be nice)?

Loony suicide talk is an objective, rationale observation, don't you think?

My comments are not tongue-in-cheek.

Posted by: Ron Snyder at November 9, 2007 04:34 PM

Good luck with the next assignment!

I find myself wondering if we could get you to write from places where the British forces are operating. It might help some families to know that a straight and honest statement of affairs were being reported for their guys and the people with whom they are working and protecting. Often the news that we hear comes from within that 'military bubble' to which you have referred.
Either way, have a safe journey Michael.

Posted by: Martin - UK at November 9, 2007 05:22 PM

Best of luck with the air travel (shudder).

Posted by: TallDave at November 9, 2007 09:08 PM

Finished reading House to House, what an incredible book. Also, you should read "We Were One", written by Patrick O'Donnel. It's the Marines version of the attach on Fallujah. Equally as good. Stay safe.

Posted by: Kyle at November 10, 2007 07:16 AM

Ron @ 4:34 pm said..

TG, if we don't take action to prevent the nutjobs that currently run Iran from getting Nukes, who will?

That*s the reason I*m here sucking up what Totten and informed commentors like are filling in.

Trying to understand the overall picture is not as easy for me as it may be for you.

I suspect the nutjobs have N-weapons now and are just building numbers to the point where they can get pushy.

Seems we have no need to do anything. Russia and China have more on the line than we do and the Saudies will likely be the first to limit Acmahdinejad by stealth anyway.

Wish I could give you a link but I sure welcome your guidance or links to a more concrete framework than this. = TG

Posted by: TG at November 10, 2007 01:43 PM

TG, I'd recommend spending a few days reading articles from John Burns (NYT), Bill Roggio, Victor Davis Hansen, Michael Yon, Austin Bay, Bill Gertz, Charles Krauthammer, Mark Steyn, Christopher Hitchens, numerous sources contained in,, and Pajamas Media.

MJT has a good list of other resources on his site (far left hand column).

Most of these sources will lead you to other sources, which will lead you to other sources, etc.

At the end of the day, it will still be a judgement call.

Posted by: Ron Snyder at November 11, 2007 06:29 AM
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