LOL no I am not suicidal. That’s a lyric from a long-departed Florida hardcore band called Failure Face that I’ve been thinking about lately. It’s been a year since I last took a vacation, and during that year I’ve traveled to a war zone for a month, written at least two reported 1000-plus word pieces a week, covered an administration changeover, and typed — according to FDL’s handy content management system counter thing — 2,693 posts (and that’s not counting late May/early June 2008 when this blog was at ThinkProgress). Now, I blog/report/write for a living, and that’s an extremely extremely extremely privileged lifestyle, considering we’re in the midst of two wars and an economic calamity. So I feel churlish for complaining. But I am burnt out, spent, ground-down and I need a vacation.

So for the next week I’m going to be offline, relaxing with my girlfriend and 20 of our friends on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. My goal is not to blog at all. Given that many of the friends I am vacationing with are themselves professional bloggers, it may be a challenge. But this blog will be in very good hands, as I’ve recruited an enviable guestblogger platoon. Allow me to introduce the crew. Some of them you’ll recognize from comments; others from their own blogs; and some are new-to-you voices. 

Joshua Foust is a defense consultant for the U.S. military. (His opinions are his alone, and neither that of his employer’s, nor that of the U.S. government.) His blog Registan is the most informative Central Asia blog I know of, and his cantankerousness rivals my own. Whenever I write something about Afghanistan, Pakistan or the surrounding ‘stans, I wonder if Josh is going to say I don’t know what I’m talking about, which he does with great abandon. So why not go to the source?

Niel Smith is a Major in the U.S. Army working at Fort Leavenworth, KS. (Any opinions expressed here are his and his alone.) I met Niel at last year’s U.S. Army/Marine Corps COIN Center conference at Leavenworth, where we talked about institutionalizing counterinsurgency like we were debating Jim Lee vs. Todd McFarlane at a comic book convention. An Iraq veteran, he’s Cavguy on Small Wars Council, and here’s a goofy picture of him.

Nadezdha. Nadezhda Nadezhda Nadezhda. Na-dezh-da. She’s a peripatetic commenter and occasional blogger on foreign policy and financial crisis matters at American Footprints. Who remembers when American Footprints was Liberals Against Terrorism? I do. That’s when I started reading Nadezdha’s stuff.

Sgwhiteinfla is perhaps the most prolific Attackerman commenter lately, and judging from his Twitter feed, he really hates Morning Joe but will not stop watching it. Just change the channel! I don’t get it. Anyhow, he’s a former athlete living in Tampa,FL — originally from Memphis, TN — who started blogging at Smooth Like Remy after commenting at Ta-Nehisi‘s place for awhile. 

David Kasten, a young defense wonk on the make, recently helped CSIS’s Anthony Cordesman research his Afghanistan reports. His interests include political violence, comparative counterinsurgencies, and arguing with pomocons. Any opinions expressed here are his alone, and not those of any past or future employer.

My friend Richard Smith, a front-page writer for’s VetVoice, is a veteran of both the Afghanistan war and the Florida hardcore scene. (And with that we come full circle.) Check out his personal blog Rock The Boat.

I’ll see you guys in a week. You’re in good hands.

Spencer Ackerman

Spencer Ackerman