Tag Archives: War

Anthony Bourdain is debriefed by Blogs of War and it’s a smash!

“Find myself in Beirut during the 2006 war was clearly a defining moment for the show–and some kind of crossroads for me personally.”

Food, culture, conflict are things with which chef, author and restauranteur Anthony Bourdain must contend in producing his TV shows, “No Reservations” and “Parts Unknown.” The brutish, chain smoking and potty mouthed host glowers his way through his shows but his sensitivity to his hosts is never far fromABsmoking his mind. 

I used to think that basically, the whole world, that all humanity were basically bastards. I’ve since found that most people seem to be pretty nice–basically good people doing the best they can . There is rarely, however, a neat takeaway. You have to learn to exercise a certain moral relativity, to be a good guest first–as a guiding principle. Other wise you’d spend the rest of the world lecturing people, pissing people off, confusing them and learning nothing. Do I pipe up every time my Chinese host serves me some cute animal I may not approve of?

Bourdain recently debriefed Blogs of War about his culinary (and otherworldly) exploits,

I’ve been able to look at places like post Benghazi Libya, the DRC, Liberia, Haiti, Cuba, Gaza, the West Bank, Kurdistan and recently Iran from a very intimate angle. Those are all very long stories–and if you don’t take that time to listen, to take in the everyday things–the things that happened before the news story, there’s not much hope in understanding them.

Bourdain says sometimes food tells the real story of what’s happening in a country, as he found out recently in pre-revolutionary Egypt,

When we expressed a desire to shoot a segment at one of the ubiquitous street stands selling ful, our fixers and translators, who, no doubt also worked for some sinister department of the Interior Ministry, were absolutely adamant that we not do it. What was it about this simple, everyday, working class meal of beans and flatbread that just about everyone in Cairo was eating that was so threatening? Turns out, they knew better than us. The price of bread had been going up. The army controlled most of the bakeries and stocks of flour. There had been riots over bread elsewhere in the country. And the inescapable fact was that ful was ALL that much of the population was eating and the bastards knew it. That was an image they apparently considered sensitive , dangerous: their countrymen eating bread.

Read the rest at Blogs of War here. 

Apologize to this Iraqi woman, Mr. President.

Obama says in the “days head” he’ll think over his move in Iraq; leaves town as ISIS radical Islamists creep closer to Baghdad.

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Photo by Christian Science Monitor

The fall of Iraq has been dramatic and painful. The blood and treasure spent to get rid of Saddam Hussein and bring some semblance of organized self rule to this country has been the victim of two things, 1) Mission creep by President Bush and, 2) a breach of faith by President Obama. 

The president left town on Friday to attend fund raisers and go to a golf outing. Before hopping on Marine One he gave a press conference on Iraq in which he said he’d be making a decision on what to do with this mess “in the days ahead”. This was after the Islamists had already sacked Fallujah, Tikrit and were a 100 miles away from Baghdad. 

Re-litigating the war in Iraq is unnecessary. We know of Saddam’s sponsorship of terror, his successful ruse to the world that he was this close to getting nuclear weapons and the hot and cold running terrorists using his country and money to commit acts of terror. We know of the Iraqi who helped in setting the table for bin Laden’s 9/11 plot. 

Highlights in Iraq include the Second Battle of Fallujah, Operation Phantom Fury, in which we flushed out the Al Qaeda types in close, close combat that hadn’t been seen since Vietnam (according to Our Man in Fallujah); the Anbar Awakening, when President Bush and General David Petraeus surged troops and enlisted Sunni tribal elders to drop dime on Al Qaeda, winning hearts and minds; and presiding over national elections, in which women were fully given the franchise (see the picture above of a woman who proved she’d voted by dipping her finger in ink). 

Now we are told Islamists who sacked the Nineveh province have dropped leaflets instructing secularists and others to toe the line…or else. Women should only go out if necessary. Shop owners will be given ‘a chance’ to convert. 

Here are some of the rules, as translated by reporter Jenna Moussa


“Repenting” involves throwing in with Islamists or be killed.


Gun confiscation will occur.


And women: do you REALLY need to be on the street?

Obama has brought this on. 

We always should have left our troops in Iraq. We won. To the victor go the spoils. No, not oil (although I’m not opposed). The spoils could have been a presence, such as the ones we have in Germany and Japan. President Obama couldn’t be bothered with reopening the Bush Status of Forces Agreement as President Maliki desired, however. He phoned it in. He voted present. There is no  further SOFA because he didn’t feel like it. 

The president has misused American power. He doesn’t know how to make deposits in the bank of badass, he only knows how to plunder them. He assumed America’s reputation was an automatic that, like a button, could turbo charge his dealings with world leaders. He thought giving speeches fueled leadership. He remains clueless on how to fill the tank. 

Obama allowed Iraq to fall under the spell of Islamists. Iran’s Quds forces have rushed the border to help Iraq’s president, Syrian friendly Islamist groups have flooded the zone to fight them.

Now, President Maliki is asking Obama for help. We shouldn’t send ground forces. I think when you’ve ground your heel into the spilled blood of our troops through sheer fecklessness unbefitting a serious person it’s unfair to ask our troops to do it again. We couldn’t trust Obama to keep our troops there much less trust him with sending them back. 

This is not only a failure of leadership. It’s a failure of an American public so rapturously involved with their own navel gazing they were beguiled into thinking they “were the ones we’ve been waiting for.” Well President “We’re the ones we’ve been waiting for”, you own it. It gives me no pleasure to say you can’t blame this one on President Bush, though the friendlies in the media will try.