July 22, 2008

Blog Talk Radio

I was a guest on The Rick Moran Show earlier today, and we spent an hour talking about the Balkans, Iraq, and Lebanon. Rick introduced me as "the most interesting man in the world," which is a hilarious overstatement. Thanks, Rick, but come on, man. Only one person can be that interesting, and it ain't me. Anyway, we had a good time for an hour, and you can listen to the whole thing here.

Posted by Michael J. Totten at July 22, 2008 11:20 PM
Comments

Michael-You need to spend a little more time watching beer commercials like the rest of us. Dos Equis has an ad campaign featuring a Maximilian Schell look alike who is introduced, after a series of interesting things are mentioned that have happened to him, as "The most interesting man in the world." Do the dolphins escort you when you swim in the ocean? And he gives career advice such as finding out what you can't do then don't do it.

http://staythirstymyfriends.com/

Posted by: Pat Patterson Author Profile Page at July 23, 2008 4:42 AM

You may at least have the world's most interesting passport.

(Anyone with a more interesting passport probably is actually using several different ones, with multiple identities.)

Posted by: Eric Akawie Author Profile Page at July 23, 2008 6:27 AM

Eric,

Actually, I do have two passports. But they're both the same identity. (My second one is so I can visit the "Zionist Entity" without getting banned by Arab reactionaries.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten Author Profile Page at July 23, 2008 9:59 AM

I thought that there was an option where Israel could stamp a separated passport page for that?

Posted by: double-plus-ungood Author Profile Page at July 23, 2008 10:56 AM

DPU,

Yes, there is that option. The problem is that some of the passport control agents stamp passports anyway -- because they aren't paying attention, out of sheer habit, malice, or whatever. I don't know the reason and don't care, but I know a couple of people that has happened to. So I have a separate passport just in case, and I let them stamp it.

I showed up once with my passport full of Lebanon stamps and was detained for five hours. When I show up with my passport that includes only Israeli stamps, I breeze right through the airport.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten Author Profile Page at July 23, 2008 11:26 AM

I showed up once with my passport full of Lebanon stamps and was detained for five hours. When I show up with my passport that includes only Israeli stamps, I breeze right through the airport.

Huh. I have to do the same thing for my trips to Cuba. US customs is a pain after they see the Cuban stamps in the passport.

Kidding!

Posted by: double-plus-ungood Author Profile Page at July 23, 2008 12:12 PM

DPU: US customs is a pain after they see the Cuban stamps in the passport. Kidding!

It would sure be a pain if I showed up here with a Cuban stamp in my passport.

I'll go to Cuba, though, and possibly soonish. Journalists can legally go.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten Author Profile Page at July 23, 2008 12:19 PM

Michael:
Do you have any comment/thoughts re the little tiff about McCain's statements on the surge and the Anbar Awakening?

Seems the argument from the critics is that the Awakening predated the surge and for McCain to credit the surge with it is inaccurate.

The response is, of course, that without the surge and the presence of the troops the Awakening would have failed or, to put it differently, not have been as successful.

Thanks.

Posted by: SMGalbraith Author Profile Page at July 23, 2008 2:13 PM

It would sure be a pain if I showed up here with a Cuban stamp in my passport.

Actually, while I've never been there, lots of my family members have, and they've reported no problems at US customs.

Of course, they're not US citizens.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood Author Profile Page at July 23, 2008 2:13 PM

SMGalbraith: without the surge and the presence of the troops the Awakening would have failed or, to put it differently, not have been as successful.

Yes, I agree. Any Iraqi involved with the Awakening will tell you that.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten Author Profile Page at July 23, 2008 2:40 PM

Michael:
Yes, I agree. Any Iraqi involved with the Awakening will tell you that.

Thanks.

What about the issue of whether the "Awakening" took place before the surge occurred and that the surge had no role in its origins?

Not success; but origins.

I recall you writing about the early reports we had of skirmishes between the Iraqi Sunnis and AQ and the puzzlement by our troops as to what was occurring.

I guess the critics are calling this "the Awakening" and since the surge had not yet begun, crediting it with starting that turning is inaccurate.

Of course, all of this depends greatly on what we mean by the "Awakening."

Posted by: SMGalbraith Author Profile Page at July 23, 2008 2:49 PM

It's true that the Awakening movement began a few months before the surge. But if the US began to pull out at that time, the Awakening would have been smashed and Al Qaeda would still have its state-within-a-state in Iraq.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten Author Profile Page at July 23, 2008 3:04 PM

If that's what you think of the surge, can you say whom you favor in November?

Posted by: greeneyeshade Author Profile Page at July 23, 2008 7:46 PM

If that's what you think of the surge, can you say whom you favor in November?

Barack Obama says he thinks the surge was a bad idea even though he now acknowledges it has been effective. I can't vote for someone who thinks it's okay to lose a war we're in the middle of fighting because he'd rather spend the money on something else. This is precisely the reason so many people think the Democratic Party isn't serious about national security.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten Author Profile Page at July 23, 2008 7:59 PM

Pardon the critique, but this Rick Moran gentleman seemed a bit unprepared. Getting your website wrong at the beginning, awkward long pauses, and interuptions (on his part) were frequent. It became noticeable that you picked up on this and were a bit hesitant to continue with your points almost anticipating the obligatory interuption and tangent.

Of course, I am just an AM guy when forced to listen to any kind of radio. It could be just the format differences with commercial and segment restraints that seem to flow with better transition.

Apologies for commenting on style rather than substance. The nuts and bolts of which were just fine to listen to....once he would just let you continue, that is.

Posted by: anuts Author Profile Page at July 24, 2008 4:54 PM

I was hoping you'd sound a bit more like Morgan Freeman. Oh, the letdown!

Posted by: lee Author Profile Page at July 24, 2008 8:06 PM

Michael, you have the BEST written blog in the world. Long enough to be interesting and serious. Topical enough to be important.
Written well enough to be a star in any news magazine interested in honest reporting.

OK, some of your great early stuff, like the short story with the ice, isn't 'news' -- but it's great writing. I remain so jealous, with American envy "wanting to be as good, or better". But realistic...

Funny how NONE of the "Awakening before the Surge" critics of McCain are willing to follow the logic -- Rumsfeld's 'small footprint' was working to get the Iraqi's to free themselves.

The Surge, AFTER the Awakening, is possibly the optimal timing for minimizing total US casualities and also for minimizing the time before Iraqis take control themselves.

In Kosovo, like in Bosnia, the locals do NOT have control. Iraq will be more truly sovereign sooner than Bosnia -- because Iraqis had to decide to fight terrorists for themselves, and in the Surge they did decide that. Where a huge Occupation Force really takes over, the locals remain non-responsible longer.

More info on the Iraqi heroes, according to Iraqis, would be good to hear about.

Posted by: Tom Grey - Liberty Dad Author Profile Page at July 25, 2008 6:05 AM

In Kosovo, like in Bosnia, the locals do NOT have control. Iraq will be more truly sovereign sooner than Bosnia -- because Iraqis had to decide to fight terrorists for themselves, and in the Surge they did decide that. Where a huge Occupation Force really takes over, the locals remain non-responsible longer.

I think you are comparing apples and oranges. The US is not in Bosnia or Kosovo to fight foreign Jihadists or natives who have taken guns against the government or US troops. They're there to mainly keep the peace among ethnic groups and to send a clear message to Serbs that they cannot interfere militarily.

While the US /NATO is there it's obvious that there is no 'sovereignty' as the guy with the biggest gun has it, but then these are brand new nations so some trade offs need to be made until things clam down

Posted by: nameless-fool Author Profile Page at July 25, 2008 8:47 AM
Post a comment









Remember personal info?




Winner, The 2008 Weblog Awards, Best Middle East or Africa Blog

Winner, The 2007 Weblog Awards, Best Middle East or Africa Blog

Read my blog on Kindle



blogads-blog-button.png


Recommended Reading