Western YouTubers and Influencers touring Iraq

a picture of baghdad at night along the river

Not something I ever thought I’d see.

“A lot of YouTubers and influencers from the West started coming,” Haroun, a native of the ancient city of Babylon, told Middle East Eye.

Iraq: Western YouTubers and influencers a new ‘phenomenon’ for tourism, Middle East Eye

And apparently this has been going on for a while now. The security situation has gotten better, for sure, but it seems that the proximate cause is the easing of entry requirements.

But the Iraqi government also took a big step in March 2021 when it decided to allow citizens from countries like the United States, the United Kingdom, and European Union countries to obtain a visa on arrival at airports or land and sea borders. 

Before, the cumbersome process to get a tourist visa could take months and cost thousands of dollars. Even more enticing for some, Iraq did away with the requirement that tourists have a government-approved guide with them.

Agreed. Getting a visa in advance coupled with a government-sponsored minder would be a major hindrance to visiting.

I’ve watched a couple of the videos, and they’re a bit mind-boggling to watch.

This is a good development. I hope it continues.

Could you even imagine?


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Flying the F-35 and making YouTube videos

a aircraft from a computer game

This was a different kind of Cognitive Crucible episode. Not really focused on information warfare, but information processing.

During this episode, after a couple war stories, US Air Force pilot MAJ Hasard Lee discusses how the F-35 is embedded with technology which tends to reduce operator cognitive load and maximize human sense making. Our conversation also touches upon “chair flying”–a mindfulness practice, human-machine interface, g-force effect on the human body, dehydration, along with other physical and mental training initiatives which may optimize for better peak performance. The conversation concludes with a brief discussion about Air Force COL John Boyd and the OODA loop.

#71 LEE ON THE F35 AND COGNITIVE LOAD

It’s an interesting episode – especially the vignettes about what it’s like to sit in the cockpit and do the work.

But I found myself more interested in the fact that MAJ Hassard Lee helms an incredibly impressive social media empire. Check out this video below from his YouTube page (175k subscribers).

I find this interesting because he’s not alone. If you start poking around, there are lots of these military-themed influencer pages across the services.

I’m in my own little Army bubble but there is so much more of this going on out there.

It’s refreshing to see, and whether we like it or not, it’s the future.

The ease and comfort that younger generations have with “putting it out there” isn’t a fluke.

You can rage against the machine and fail, or embrace it and win.


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