The End of an Era, and the Beginning of a New One

Greetings all. It’s been a while. I wanted to take a small post and update you all on what’s happening here.

As many of you know, for the past few months, I’ve been at Stanford as a Knight Fellow, researching foreign news and online content. This fellowship ends in June. I have decided to depart the Middle East then and head for Pakistan, where I will be working on a new blog project, InsurgencyWatch. You can read more about the idea behind the new site here. You can also catch its latest posts via the RSS feed to the right.

Back to Iraq will continue to exist, but mainly as an archive and republishing site for the new content on InsurgencyWatch. I hope you’ll all join me over at the new site, and we can make interesting things happen again in the field of foreign correspondence.

New look coming…

There’s a new batch of software in town: [MovableType 4](http://www.movabletype.org). So far, it’s very nice and in honor of the cleaned up code and new functionality, I’ll be changing Back to Iraq’s look and feel. This will be the third or fourth iteration of B2I through the years and it’s become a bit of a tradition for me to shake things up and try to make reading the site a pleasant and useful experience for you. So please bear with me while the work continues.

Thank you,
The Management

There’s Competence and Then There’s “Competence”

I’m coming a bit late to this because of server problems, but it’s something that’s been bugging me about the whole Reid-Pace “competence” imbroglio.
The question nagging at me is not who called whom incompetent or whether Reid was wrong or right to do so. I mean, Pace had just been fired, so Reid’s not that far off calling the former chair of the joint chief’s abilities into question.
No, what I wonder is why Reid’s comments didn’t get picked up by the bloggers in the conference call.
Why did the almost all of the liberal bloggers deny he said that Pace was incompetent when from the “transcript posted on Talking Points Memo”:http://electioncentral.tpmcafe.com/blog/electioncentral/2007/jun/14/obtained_a_tape_of_reids_conference_call_with_bloggers_reid_did_blast_pace, he did, and it appears pretty clear he’s talking about Pace? Did they screw up or are they trying to cover Reid’s ass, since he’s “on their team,” so to speak?
Now, I say this as a blogger with both indy cred — you’re reading it — and strong ties to the so-called MSM. But if bloggers are supposed to be an alternative/side dish or even an antidote to the excesses and failings of the mainstream press, why did they miss this? It’s a genuinely Big Deal, so was it a miss or a willful omission?
If it was a willful omission, it’s a horrible one. And it would prove that most liberal blogs — or conservative ones — shouldn’t be considered credible alternatives to anything if they can’t step up to their responsibility and report on newsworthy items even if it might get “their guy” in hot water. The right-wing blogosphere has had this problem for years now. Has it infected the left side as well?
On the other hand, if it’s a mistake, it’s a doozy. Any reporter who missed that would be tarred and feathered by editors. (And it’s significant that mainstream reporters in were the ones who broke this story, even though bloggers had every opportunity to break it.) So, why are the bloggers given a free pass on this lapse?
Indeed, it was Talking Points Memo itself that in 2002 was instrumental in bringing down another Senate majority leader. The mainstream press was heckled and criticized for missing Lott’s noxious comments. (And rightly so, in my opinion.)
But shouldn’t bloggers — in a friggin’ conference call with the current Senate majority Leader, for crissakes — need to be held to the same standards of accountability and, dare I say it, competence, that they hold the MSM to? Why the double standard?

Back Up and Running

BEIRUT — Hello all. Here at Back-to-Iraq.com, we’re back up and running at our new, zippy servers at LivingDot.com (who have been lovely, really.) Yahoo has been left in the dust, which was a long time coming. The domain may take a little while to propagate out, but within a couple of days, things should be back to normal.
This downtime came at a terrible time, what with things hotting up up north at Nahr el-Bared and Iraq always on fire. I’ve also got a nasty eye problem at the moment that prevents me using the computer for long, but that also should be cleared up in a couple of days.
In other news, I’m due to start a column for Spot-on.com soon, which will in theory put me on the Op-Ed pages of the Washington Post.. Look for that to happen this week or next.
I’m also the new US media roundup writer for IraqSlogger.com, Eason Jordan’s amazing all-Iraq news site. Please be sure and check it out.
So, as soon as the eye gets better, I’ll see you all (heh) then. In the mean time, I’ll bug Johannes to write some more posts.