Nowruz, the Iraq War, and my eyeballs

Today is Nowruz, the ancient Iranian holiday celebrating the arrival of spring and, in the Iranian calendar, a new year. That really lovely holiday has unfortunately been marred since 2003 by the fact that it falls on the same day as the anniversary of the start of the Iraq War, for which I suppose we should note that no one has ever been held accountable despite the fact that it was a thoroughly criminal act that set of a series of other thoroughly criminal acts perpetrated by the American government.

Yeah, good one bro

As to the third part of the title to this post, well, I just got back from getting dilated at the eye doctor, and even staring at my computer screen for the time it’s taken me to write this has been enough to make me want to scoop my eyes out of my head with a melon baller. So I would invite you to enjoy the post I wrote on this date a year ago, which is short but angry, and includes a link to my own Persian language-inflected attempt at a Nowruz explainer if that’s something you’re interested in reading. And I would say that it is unlikely that I’ll be writing a conflict update this evening–the real conflict, my friends, is with my comically wide open pupils and any source of light. Seriously I expect my eyes will be fine in a few hours but I don’t think that will leave me enough time to actually churn one of those monster posts out tonight. If I’m wrong, I’ll see you later, but otherwise, see you tomorrow.

I suppose it feels like the war is over to most people in the US, which is all well and good, but try telling that to the Iraqi people, who haven’t known so much as a month of uninterrupted peace since the morning of March 20, 2003, when the Project for the New American Century finally got its new American century, the rest of the world be damned (literally). And yeah, Saddam Hussein is no more, and the human race is richer for his demise. But at what cost? At what ongoing cost?

The utterly unnecessary and comprehensively disastrous Iraq War animates a lot of my own views on war and peace, American foreign policy, and the unjustified/unjustifiable deference our political and media discourse still gives to the Professional Experts and Very Serious Pundits who watched the most avoidable foreign policy fiasco in American history unfold before them and did nothing, or else cheered it on. By and large those people haven’t suffered so much as a minor professional inconvenience over their malpractice–they certainly haven’t suffered anything like the Iraqi people have suffered for the past 13 years.

Source: Nowruz, and the Iraq War at 13

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Slow blogging


It may be a little light around here for the next couple of days. I’m trying to work on a couple of freelance ideas and it’s been a struggle because I am in one of those periodic burnout ruts at the moment. A couple of days away from writing and following a normal human sleep schedule should help me snap out of it.

As always, it’s possible I could be back in form tomorrow, but I’m going to plan on taking a bit of a break and getting back to normal Sunday evening or Monday. Thanks for your support and patience!

Site update



Although when I started writing those conflict/world news digests I said they would not become a nightly feature, they have become basically a nightly feature, with only occasional breaks when I’m indisposed and/or at the end of my rope. Which is fine, people seem to appreciate them and it helps me stay on top of world news, which I like because I am a gigantic nerd with atrophied social skills. But I think I am going to try to take Saturday nights off from now on unless something absolutely demands otherwise, because those things are a beast to put together every night. I’m starting tonight because inasmuch as this is a three-day weekend, the possibility of taking a night off seems even more pleasant than it does in general. As always, thanks for reading!

Derek update: February 11 2017


Sorry folks, but you’re going to have to muddle through without me for at least one more evening. I’m not feeling well, and to top that off I’ve been having some irritating computer trouble–nothing serious, but enough of a distraction that it’s kept me from writing anything. Hopefully we’ll have this place back up and running tomorrow.

On the road again


I’m going to be hitting the road for the next week, starting today. More family stuff to take care of. I’m hoping to maintain a steady if lighter blogging presence while I’m traveling, but I hope you won’t begrudge me maybe a couple of days to recharge my brain. Between personal issues and trying to keep up with the sheer volume of crap coming just out of Washington–forget the rest of the world–these days, I feel like I’m spending most of my time in a daze. I could really use a little break.

Out for the weekend


Things will be going all or at least mostly quiet around here until at least Monday due to family matters (in this case, a memorial service). I was thinking I would get one more day of blogging in today before closing up shop for the weekend, but there’s just too much stuff that needs to be done in preparation for me to be writing today. Thanks for your patience and support.

Conflict update: January 20 2017

Site Update

The rest of January is going to be a difficult one for regular blogging. We have guests in from out of town who are participating in tomorrow’s march in DC, and while things will return to normal early next week, I’ll be traveling at the end of the week for family reasons. Tonight’s post will be short because, well, not that much has happened today and also because it’s too hectic around here right now to write a lengthy post.

The Gambia

In the end, Yahya Jammeh backed down pretty quietly, and it’s likely that he didn’t have much choice. Faced with a West African invasion force on Gambian soil and virtually no support from any corner (the commander of the Gambian military declared his allegiance to new President Adama Barrow earlier in the day), Jammeh announced in a speech this evening that he would step down. He will likely leave The Gambia in a matter of days, but his final disposition is unclear. This isn’t entirely over yet–Jammeh could always change his mind again–but at this point it looks like the crisis will end without a shot being fired in anger. That’s about as good an outcome as anybody could have wished.


A ceasefire has reportedly gone into effect in Wadi Barada, allowing repair teams to once again get into the area to try to restore water to Damascus. The ceasefire was reached after Bashar al-Assad’s forces had made significant military gains and reads more like a rebel capitulation than a true ceasefire, with its offers of amnesty and plans for evacuating intransigent rebel fighters to Idlib.


Doctors Without Borders is saying that the death toll from Tuesday’s mistaken Nigerian air strike (there are some serious questions that need to be answered as to how any pilot could have made that particular mistake) on a camp for displaced persons in northeastern Nigeria is at least 90 and could rise to 170. Compounding the situation, a group of perhaps 100 Boko Haram fighters attacked the same camp earlier today, though they were repelled by Nigerian soldiers.

Hi, how’s it going? Thanks for reading; attwiw wouldn’t exist without you! If you enjoyed this or any other posts here, please share widely and help build our audience. You can like this site on Facebook or follow me on Twitter as well. Most critically, if you’re a regular reader I hope you’ll read this and consider helping this place to stay alive.