Too Legit To Quit

Congratulations to my friend Andrew Exum, whose excellent counterinsurgency/college football/Middle East/soccer/rugby/fashion blog will move to the Center for a New American Security as Ex becomes CNAS’s newest fellow. If CNAS is the shadow Pentagon, then Abu Muqawama is the shadow… I don’t know, the COIN Center blog? Some premier SIPRNet site I don’t know about? Hopefully my other friend Erin "Charlie" Simpson will continue blogging at the new CNAS-enhanced Abu Muqawama as well. And also congratulations are in order for CNAS for recognizing that it should expand its blogospheric presence. Just please stop before you start Twittering.

A parlor game that several blogger friends and I occasionally play is to wonder about the breakout political blogs every year. Abu Muqawama got started in 2007, but 2008 was really its breakout year. If you wanted to keep track of the intellectual development and rising influence of the counterinsurgency community — and I would argue that you should, if you’d like to understand the next however-many-years of the national-security debate –you needed to read Abu Muqawama and Small Wars Journal regularly. With Abu Muqawama going to CNAS and the first generation of CNAS scholars & directors going to the Pentagon, 2009 will be an even more prosperous year for both the blog and CNAS.

It can be weird when unbuttoned blogs go over to respectable institutions. The first incarnation of Attackerman was hosted by the Center for American Progress, and while I loved my time over there and everyone I worked with, it wasn’t the greatest fit, tone-wise. I didn’t want people to judge the merits of a valuable think tank by the profanity of this blog, so I left, and FDL is a much more appropriate mothership. And while Abu Muqawama is a much more tasteful operation than this one is, one thing is probably inevitable: lazy reporters are going to read AM and make the jump from what he writes to what Undersecretary of Defense Michele Flournoy, the co-founder of CNAS, is going to implement. Ex will have appropriate (and humorous) reactions to that when it happens, I’m sure. And such challenges are minor compared to the opportunities provided by AM’s new home.

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Spencer Ackerman

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