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!

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.

A personal note


First of all, I want to profusely thank everybody who has been supporting this site either via PayPal or Patreon. Our Patreon has more than doubled in the last month and I’m humbled by your support. It’s very gratifying to know that I’m building an audience here that values my work enough to support it. Thank you especially to the folks who have been contributing for a while now; it’s exciting to have a bunch of new supporters but you guys have been there for months now and I’m so grateful for it.

Those of you who are maybe still on the fence about throwing a couple of bucks this way, I get it, but I hope you’ll decide to contribute. Every little bit is needed and appreciated.

Now, with that said, I need to tell you that things are going to be slower than usual here through the holidays. There are three reasons for this:

  1. It’s the holidays, so some slowdown in posting is inevitable.
  2. I’m going to be interim editing LobeLog again, for at least a couple of weeks, starting later this week, and while that’s not necessarily a huge commitment, it can be a pretty big one depending on posting volume and how much editing any given day’s submissions need.
  3. Personal issues. I’m not really prepared to get into details, but we’ve been dealing with some family matters that have required my attention, and that in particular will require me to do some extra traveling beyond what we would normally be doing for the holidays. The traveling and attention aside, it’s been difficult to get in a mindset to write lately because of what’s been going on. The backlog of things I should be working on for LobeLog attests to that.

I won’t be disappearing entirely and plan to try to keep at least doing my nightly conflict roundup on a semi-regular basis. But I didn’t want to severely curtail the frequency of posting around here without providing you all with some explanation after so many of you have just recently signed on to support the site. Thank you again for your support and your patience, and I’ll try to get things back to normal as soon as I can.

Out for the evening

We’ve been going through a bit of a time here at attwiw HQ. We’re all dealing with some unfortunate family stuff, nothing I could or should talk about here. Also, on the less upsetting but still debilitating front, between my daughter and my dog I haven’t had a full night’s sleep in about a week. So I’m afraid your blogger-host is kind of at the end of his rope this evening. I will be back tomorrow with more undoubtedly bad news from around the world. Thank you for your patience and your readership.

If you read only two things today…

I’m fighting off a bug and have a sick child home from school, so unless something moves me greatly I think the blog will be quiet for the rest of the day. But if you’re looking for something to read I’ve got a couple of suggestions. First, Atrios’s righteous anger is pretty good:

Monday morning quarterbacking – figuring out went wrong, with hindsight – is a certainly fair to engage in, but it isn’t necessarily an indictment of the people involved. Hindsight makes everything clearer, or so it seems at least.

But a bunch of people assumed the responsibility of protecting the nation from Donald Trump. This wasn’t a game, a sportsball contest, this, you know, mattered. And they lost. Jeebus help us all because of it. Most of them aren’t going to see their family members be deported or die of pregnancy complications. With great responsibility comes great responsibility. They took on a job, and they fucked it up. They lost the election to Donald Fucking Trump.

As for all of the absolutely horrible non-campaign surrogates, I suppose it depends on what they thought their job was. That’s the problem with the modern cable news and twitter campaign. I used to think Dems needed to close the hack gap, but that assumed our hacks would be any good. They weren’t.

Not very constructive, I know, but still necessary. But here is something more constructive, from New York Magazine’s Eric Levitz, on the ways Bernie Sanders (who wasn’t the best messenger, as Levitz acknowledges and I concur) is right about where the Democratic Party needs to go:

Without question, the non-economic dimensions of disadvantage in the United States — which women, LGBT, and nonwhite voters are acutely aware of as a function of their identities — must be addressed by any political party that considers itself progressive. And identity-based social movements like Black Lives Matter helped the Democratic Party better earn that label in 2016, by forcing both its presidential candidates to adopt platforms more representative of their voters’ interests.

But racial justice and gender equality cannot be achieved without confronting economic inequality — not when people of color and women are overrepresented among the financially disadvantaged. And it’s difficult to see how the Democratic Party will ever take aggressive action to combat inequality, unless its downscale wing becomes both larger and more class conscious.

This is really a thoughtful piece and well worth a read.