I still remember where I was when we first started bombing Baghdad in 2003–at some concert with some chilanga at the late, great Key Club in Los Angeles, still just a freelancer for this infernal rag. Everyone at the Weekly opposed the Iraq War, because we knew it was unjust, would accomplish nothing, and titanically bankrupt the country, and guess what? That all happened! Sigh…
However, we also knew the war would represent an amazing time for us to cover the hell out of the homefront, and we would go on to do that for the next 10 years, to the tune of awards, accolades, hate letters, investigative pieces, amazing profiles–in short, what the Weekly exists to do. The following represents just a smidgen of what we did, and my apologies to past Weeklings if I missed one of your great stories, although I'm sure I'll hear from ustedes and will correct me, at which point I'll add your stories. And I wish I could include some of the fabulous cover images we had commissioned over the years to match our stories, but all those damn website updates…
*"Rogue Statesman": On the one-year anniversary of 9/11, Moxley wrote this legendary exposé of Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (R-Taliban Lover) longtime advocacy for the Taliban and constant meddling in Afghanistan over the years. Rohrabacher has never forgiven Moxley for this story–tee-hee!
*"War College: 67 things you might want to know before the bombs drop": Our A-Z guide on Iraq two months before the start of the war. A beautiful, amazing story…that only has the index as of this publishing because it got lost in the last website update! Don't worry: our handy-dandy web team is finding it as we speak!
*"Everybodys All-American Mexican": I really do think it was God's will that the first casualty of the Iraq War was Jose Angel Garibay–a Mexican, and a former illegal immigrant who only received his citizenship at his funeral. Matt Coker dealt with that incongruity shortly after his passing in this news story.
*"Burying the Dead": Orange County Register columnist Gordon Dillow made much hay about his "journalism" in Iraq in the early days of embedded reporters, and the national media let him. Only our Anthony Pignataro proclaimed fraud, and he let him have it in a masterful 2003 takedown that reminds me how, even a decade after he left us, we dearly miss Tony Long Pant…
*"Where Have All the Blowhards Gone?" Our staff-written fall 2003 checkup with all the OC chickenhawks who demanded we invade Iraq, who gloated after we took over the country so quickly, and who ducked our calls when we checked in on them for this story, when everyone finally began to realize what a nightmare the war's aftermath already was.
*"Operation Phoenix Rises from the Ashes of History": Our resident war nerd is managing editor Nick Schou, and he covered the Iraq War from the home front as good as anyone. In this 2004 story, he predicted the coming Abu Ghraib and waterboarding scandals long before anyone did.
*"Hail the Hesitant Hero": This was my 2004 profile on Robert Acosta, a SanTana native who signed up for the Army as away to escape the city's mean streets, got his arm blown off, and subsequently became a pawn of the Left and the Right to advance their respective agenda. Acosta tried to become the face of the then-nascent anti-war movement, but the pressure of it all forced Acosta to move to rural Oregon to make peace with himself. I haven't heard from him in years, and hope he's fine.
*"Bring 'Em On": People 'round town still remember Rebecca Schoenkopf as Commie Girl; I remember her as a fabulous, touching writer and few columns were better than her 2005 visit with Cindy Sheehan outside the Dubya Ranch.
*"The Scars You Can't See": In 2008, Nick checked in with vets of the Persian Gulf and Vietnam wars to hear their opinions on what Iraq War vets would face upon returning. Even a decade later, vets still lack even the basic medical services–the ultimate tragedy of this damn war.