Bloggers in Iraq and the Middle East

If you are new to reading blogs, or if you haven’t heard anything new about the war in Iraq for ages, you should get familiar with these four bloggers: Michael Yon, Michael Totten, Bill Roggio, and Bill Ardolino. They all write from Iraq and other Middle Eastern locations, and have unique access and expertise due to their self-directed tours and (in some cases) military experience.

There is an explanation for why when some of these young soldiers and Marines go home and people are trying to talk with them they might be caught silently staring out a window. Many people back home seem to think they have an idea what is happening here, but most do not. And nobody is here to tell the story of our people in this war.

(Ring ring.)
Hezbollah: Alloe?
Me: Yes, hello sir, may I please speak with Mr. Hussein ________?
Hezbollah: One moment please.
(Cheesy 19th Century American Wild West saloon music played in my ear while I was on hold.)
Hezbollah: Alloe?
Me: Yes, hello sir, is this Mr. Hussein ________?
Hezbollah: (Suspiciously) Yes.

The travel is long, and it can be boring if you let it get to you. But you’re surrounded by a bunch of soldiers, Marines and contractors that are also traveling, many of them alone. … This is an interesting time to speak to them, because they are not as engrossed in the daily grind of Iraq as they are when I see them while I’m embedded.

The primary intent of my trip is to assess parts of the situation in Anbar, one of the two pivotal political and warfighting theatres of the conflict in Iraq. Of course the other theatre, subject to intense media attention, is Baghdad, the internationally recognized political center of gravity and violent microcosm of the country’s larger ethnic divisions. Don’t mistake outsized media focus for narrative clarity, however: trying to decipher just what’s going on in Baghdad – much less the entirety of Iraq – is a bewilderingly complex task…

Also, don’t miss Michelle Malkin’s posts from her ongoing trip outside the Green Zone. “We have much to report and will be publishing a multi-part video and audio series, blog posts, and op-eds on security conditions, media malpractice, and the big picture on the war next week.”

The blogosphere enjoys a lot of excellent military writing from all over. Some of the best “milblogs” include Blackfive, Op-For, and Mudville Gazette. There are also excellent bloggers currently on active duty, such as Acute Politics (which takes its title from a Robert Frost poem).

Mr. Yon, Mr. Totten, Mr. Roggio, Mr. Ardolino, and others like them undertake serious risks to cover events in the Middle East that traditional media cannot or do not cover. (It is expensive to send a professional journalist to Iraq.) They are supported primarily by readers’ donations and non-profits like Spirit of America. The war is so politicized, yet so thinly covered, that all responsible citizens should thoroughly inform themselves by reading these and other embedded bloggers, as well as traditional reporting.


UPDATE: The commanding officer of the author of Acute Politics is blogging too, at Badgers Forward.

3 Responses to “Bloggers in Iraq and the Middle East”

  1. Bloggers in Iraq and the Middle East: Follow-Up « Zeal and Activity Says:

    […] Zeal and Activity Religion, politics, business, books, and music. « Bloggers in Iraq and the Middle East […]

  2. Citizen Journalism « Zeal and Activity Says:

    […] (co-branded with Blackfive). PMI will also support Michael Totten’s current trip to Iraq. (We profiled Mr. Roggio and Mr. Totten back in January, and here is a […]

  3. Welcome Michael Totten « Zeal and Activity Says:

    […] news.  Michael Totten is heading back to Baghdad (via Instapundit).  We’ve featured Michael several times in Bloggers in Iraq and the Middle East. You can find his reports at Most […]

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