Was the U.S. invasion of Iraq ever popular?

I remember the country turning against the war, but did the country ever really support the war?

Democrats won control of Congress in 2006, in part because the catastrophic War On Terror™ turned voters against Bush and Republicans. At least that’s how I remember it.

This morning I read a newspaper column I wrote in November 2002 (13 months after the Afghanistan invasion, 5 months before the Iraq invasion). It was about public opinion polling and whether the then-pending invasion of Iraq actually had the support of the public.

Was the Iraq war ever popular with the American public? It depended on how pollsters asked the question. Me in 2002:

To witness first-hand how small wording changes can alter answers, try asking these two questions next you’re at a bar. Question : Do you enjoy having sex? Question : Do you enjoy having sex with me?”

I then share bits of a Pew Research Center poll from October 2002 showing that a majority of Americans favored the invasion in general, but a majority disapproved of an invasion if there were significant U.S. casualties or we proceeded without support from allies.

Put another way, the public approved of the hypothetical best-case scenario (an internationally supported invasion with few casualties) that was sold to them by Bush and credulous journalists, but the public disapproved of a go-it-alone invasion that killed and injured huge numbers of people, which is what countless people who were actually paying attention (ex. me!) warned was about to happen.

Americans didn’t really support what the war was going to be. They only supported the fantasy version. 

Speaking of fantasies, check out how much a 3-bedroom house with a yard cost in East Atlanta in 2002. From the classifieds of the same November 2002 issue of Creative Loafing:

My column from that week, if you’re curious.

Sleepfluencer

I was recently interviewed by WebMD about one of my hobbies.

Nouraee, who lives in a suburb of Atlanta, made some changes that typically lead to better sleep – not eating close to bedtime, drinking less alcohol, and decreasing evening screen time. He also cut down on caffeine, switching from black to decaffeinated tea. And he sets his watch to vibrate 15 minutes before bedtime as a reminder to start winding down.

“I’ve absolutely changed my behavior. It worked,” he said. He now gets deeper sleep.

Everybody’s good at something. Turns out I’m very good at lying still in my bed for eight hours at a time.

Read more about how sleep technologies can help you get a better rest on WebMD.

There’s a new picture of downtown Atlanta emerging—but who will it be for?

For the January 2023 issue of Atlanta Magazine I spoke to the Darin Givens (@ATLUrbanist), Bem Joiner (Atlanta Influences Everything), Kelly Parry (Atlanta Downtown Neighborhood Association) and Rohit Malhotra (Center For Civic Innovation and the pending makeover of Downtown Atlanta and who the neighborhood should be for.

A snippet:

Why has the intown residential influx of the past two decades skipped the part of the city that actually has the physical infrastructure to support growth? Kelly Parry, a downtown resident who sits on the Atlanta Downtown Neighborhood Association board, thinks office tower owners’ interests have thwarted people-friendly improvements. She points to the city’s March 2022 decision to remove a pedestrian lane from Peachtree Street in front of Peachtree Center, a fortress complex infamous for its hostile-to-streetlife elevated people-moving tubes. “If Tim Keane [Atlanta’s recently departed head of planning] can’t say Hey, y’all, let’s pedestrianize this one lane on a street that’s generally dead, then the problem isn’t that we don’t know how to do urbanism, or that there’s no appetite for it. It’s that we have powerful people and a culture actively preventing it,” Parry said.

You can read the rest for the low low price of free on Atlanta Magazine’s web site, but you should subscribe to Atlanta Magazine.

How I’d Fix Atlanta

An essay I wrote about Atlanta last year:

How I’d Fix Atlanta: More Atlanta
Andisheh Nouraee

Twelve years ago, Atlanta Magazine asked me to write some pithy advice to then-incoming ATL Mayor Kasim Reed. If I’d known then what I know now, I could’ve offered suggestions such as “never tweet,” or perhaps “send regular ‘don’t do crimes’ reminders to everyone in your office.”

Instead, I suggested Reed come out and say that the BeltLine would never be the transit project its inventor Ryan Gravel intended. Indeed, the one its civic boosters said it would be. That it was instead destined to be a great linear park, and nothing more.

Twelve years later, the only mass transit on the BeltLine is people violating the “one rider at a time” rule on rental scooters. I was right. But I also think I missed the point entirely.

Read the rest at Austin L. Ray and, more importantly, subscribe to his free newsletter for great essays from great Atlanta writers and thinkers like King Williams, Sonam Vashi, Jewel Wicker, Thomas Wheatley, Darin Givens, Muriel Vega, Sarah Lawrence, Gray Chapman and of course, Austin L. Ray.