December 21, 2007

Merry Almost-Christmas

It’s that time of year again. The holidays really seemed to come quickly for me this year because I spent most of the run-up time in Iraq.

I have a long dispatch more than half-finished, but Internet traffic is crashing now because of the upcoming holidays. It happens every year, and I had forgotten about it until just now. So I think I’ll hold off on publishing my 5,000-word essays on the blog until my audience comes back. It seems a waste to go all the way to Iraq and spend the better part of a week writing one of these things if half my readers won’t even see it.

So. Between now and New Years Day I will try to publish shorter and more frequent blog posts here and at Commentary, and I’ll save the big pieces until everybody returns to the Internet world. None of these articles are time-sensitive, so I don't see a downside.

I have around ten long essays to write about what’s going on in Fallujah. We’ll knock them out after the holidays. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you all.

Posted by Michael J. Totten at December 21, 2007 03:56 PM

Merry Christmas indeed. I'll be back after the holidays as always, and I'll probably find time to trash desperately around the empty blogosphere during the holidays as well, but that goes with the territory of being a news junkie.

I can wait until after Christmas, and if I can wait anyone can. I'm excited already.

Merry Christmas again, to you and to fellow news junkies.

Posted by: Tor at December 21, 2007 06:28 PM

desperately around the empty blogosphere

Sad, isn't it? :(

I'll have something up here as much as I can, though. For the junkies as well as myself.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at December 21, 2007 09:55 PM

Merry Christmas.

You know it occurs to me that the newer photograph you put up of yourself looks a bit peved. It seems to say, "I can't believe the trolls on the internet. You know who you are."

Posted by: Josh Scholar at December 21, 2007 10:16 PM

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, Michael. I hope this holiday finds you at home with friends and family.

We can wait for your articles. But not too long, I hope. Stay safe.

The Hobo

Posted by: Robohobo at December 21, 2007 10:49 PM

Merry Christmas Michael. We seem to have a lot to celebrate this year, as your posts from Iraq show. A long way to go, certainly, but not the situation last Christmas that called for near blind optimism. Keep up the good work, and enjoy the time at home.

Posted by: Jason Holliston at December 21, 2007 10:59 PM

Josh: It seems to say, "I can't believe the trolls on the internet. You know who you are."

Ha ha, yeah I can see that.

I've been thinking about putting up a happier one for a while now.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at December 22, 2007 12:07 AM

Merry Christmas, Michael. Thanks again for all you do. This is my first post in your comments, but I've been reading. I'm a big fan as you probably already know. Thanks both to you and your wife.

My credit card number was acquired by some nefarious individual and I have a new credit card on the way, probably waiting for me at home. One of my deployed brothers is on leave and I won't return home until he returns to A'stan. If it happens to cause a glitch or delay in my automated support toward your much needed talent and service, not to worry. I will get it corrected by the 1st week in January.

Be safe and thanks again.


Posted by: Ginny at December 22, 2007 01:23 AM

Many thanks, Ginny, for reading and for your support.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at December 22, 2007 01:57 AM

Glad that you are home safe MJT. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you and your family.


Posted by: Ron Snyder at December 22, 2007 04:01 AM

Merry Christmas. Looking forward to some new posts.

Posted by: Edgar at December 22, 2007 08:32 AM

Sad, isn't it? :(

Kind of, though friends and family will enjoy being able to wrest me away from the computer for a change. There are bright sides to just about everything.

I'll have something up here as much as I can, though. For the junkies as well as myself.

I'll be reading.

Posted by: Tor at December 22, 2007 08:38 AM

speaking of bandwidth mike, your homepage is fat enough to choke a horse! my treo sez this page runs 2.8 mb and I couldn't get the javascript comment to work till the whoooooole page had loaded. oy gevalt! have you considered this? maybe a pda page like insty and others? reading you on mobile brings the pain! no offense.

Posted by: nichevo at December 22, 2007 09:56 AM

plus a 3mb page on mobile exceeds my cache at least so I gotta reload it each time. gag! and at least I have all u can eat data plan on Sprint, others pay!!!

this would incr yr readership maybe, if we could read/comment on a more lightweight page.

oh and merry christmas happy new year etc.

Posted by: nichevo at December 22, 2007 10:03 AM

I have around ten long essays to write about what’s going on in Fallujah.


Can't wait!

Posted by: TallDave at December 22, 2007 10:16 AM

Merry Christmas. Enjoy some time off with family and friends. I'm looking forward to your articles next year!

Posted by: Aram at December 22, 2007 10:18 AM


Sorry about that, but the site isn't designed to be read on a mobile, which less than one percent of readers use.

The 3MBs are the photos below.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at December 22, 2007 10:42 AM

Merry Christmas, Michael. :)

Posted by: Lynnette in Minnesota at December 22, 2007 11:17 AM

Chicken-and-egg, Mike...if you built it, they might come. You would just have to have a second page with the graphics cut out and replaced with links, easy as pie I would think.

And it's funny that you write precisely about the bandwidth issue. You must be the biggest site I regularly hit!

You know me, I never complain about the free ice cream, just trying to help. (Happily the Red Roof Inn in this little NC town has wi-fi.)

Looking forward to the forthcoming tubs of free ice cream, here and at the kosher site ;>

Posted by: nichevo at December 22, 2007 09:19 PM

Merry Christmas Mike and Happy New Year!

Thanks for all you have done and risked to give us a window into the Middle East.

Posted by: Barry at December 23, 2007 04:09 AM


Do you want me to post the "Christmas in Iraq" picture?

Posted by: Patrick S Lasswell at December 23, 2007 10:57 AM


I have an email correspondence going with Nir Rosen, whose articles on Iraq and whose book "In the Belly of the Green Bird" you may be familiar with. He has been back to Iraq recently and I asked him if his recent visit altered in any way his former view that Iraqis have no future and that "Iraq doesn't exist anymore." He replied that what he saw on the ground only re-confirmed his earlier analysis. Swearing on the Talmud, Bible, and the Koran, he says that the current lull in violence is only a brief period of time that will allow the Shia and Sunna to re-arm and he predicts that another round of the civil war is inevitable.

What say you?


Posted by: Jeffrey -- New York at December 23, 2007 12:00 PM


I don't agree. He is probably wrong. But he might be right.

Predicting events in the Middle East is a fool's game. I've said too many stupid things while trying to figure out what will happen in the future, and have decided it's better to just describe what is going on now as accurately and thoroughly as I can.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at December 23, 2007 12:48 PM

Merry Christmas Michael!

Posted by: mary at December 24, 2007 08:59 AM

Merry Christmas, Michael.

This has been a great year for you. I've enjoyed watching you grow as a writer. You're doing good stuff.

Thank you.

Posted by: OregonGuy at December 24, 2007 09:57 AM

I always thought of it as the peeved grizzled war veteran look.

Merry Christmas to all.


Posted by: M. Simon at December 24, 2007 03:18 PM

Sorry about that, but the site isn't designed to be read on a mobile, which less than one percent of readers use.

That's going to change in the next year or two. I expect Apple to sell around a zillion of the Touch iPods- I've been playing with one for two days so far, and it's the best web browsing I've seen on anything that wasn't a full-blown computer.

Posted by: rosignol at December 26, 2007 03:52 PM
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