Optimus Prime update

Web’s first indie war correspondent begins his tour

My friend Chris Allbritton, of Back To Iraq, has begun his postings from on the road in the region. He arrived in Turkey today and has some interesting conversations with his contacts there:

The region is rife with conspiracy theories. Aykut said that if I went out and asked the people on the street, half would say the United States committed 9/11 so it could go after Iraq. (Interestingly, almost half of Americans — 45 percent — believe Saddam was personally behind 9/11.) Turkey is also rippling with an anti-Bush sentiment. Turks like Americans and sometimes, even America. But more than 90 percent oppose this war and a similar percentage absolutely loathe George W. Bush. Aykut sheepishly admitted he hoped the war would go badly so Bush would lose in 2004.

Mehmet also said that the Turks, Iranians and Syrians were coming to an “understanding” regarding Iraqi Kurdistan. The upshot is that Iran and Syria would get Turkey’s back if it moved on the Kurdish enclave in defiance of America’s wishes. Iran would even send in its own troops, he said, if the Turks invaded unilaterally. I have no idea if this is true, but Stratfor had something on this not too long ago claiming the exact same thing.

Chris’ trip is all the more significant given that more and more blogs by commercial war correspondents are being shuttered. A few days ago, I noted that CNN shut down the blog of its correspondent Kevin Sites; today, Howard Sherman pointed out to me that Time just asked Joshua Kucera, one of their war reporters, to shut down his blog too.

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I'm Clive Thompson, the author of Smarter Than You Think: How Technology is Changing Our Minds for the Better (Penguin Press). You can order the book now at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Powells, Indiebound, or through your local bookstore! I'm also a contributing writer for the New York Times Magazine and a columnist for Wired magazine. Email is here or ping me via the antiquated form of AOL IM (pomeranian99).

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