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June 12, 2003
NEWS FROM THE BEACHBy Greyhawk
According to CNN ten US Soldiers have been killed in Iraq the past couple weeks. I wonder how many Iraqi's would have died in that period if they weren't there? Unfortunately, the talking head on CNN uttered this statistic in the same breath as she raised the WMD question.
The troops in Iraq know why they are there. Do not betray them. Only the reporters went home. The war is not over.
Meanwhile, a US Senator holds several hundred Air Force officers hostage, demanding Air Force aircraft for their release.
I have a small mattress that resembles a baby crib mattress only a little longer. I keep it on the roof with the ripped side up, held in place against any windstorms that might come up by the weight of a large sand bag. I keep the ripped side up so that I can remember which side was exposed to the blown sand all day, reminding me to flip it over at night before I lay down to sleep. At least I try to keep one side away from the constant layering of sand that occurs throughout the day. It is amazing the amount of sand that can accumulate within a 24-hour period; I can only imagine how much sand I have breathed in over the last 4 months. I am surprised that I don't like cough up mud balls from the inner depths of my lungs.
The Chief is over there working with POWS (interrogations). He discusses their sleeping arrangements:
The prisoners have been really worried lately about the increase of scorpions and snakes infiltrating their area. Every time we go out there they let us know how many of each they have seen or killed, in an effort to alarm us to the point of giving them cots to sleep on, thus getting them up off the ground. You would think creatures from all directions were invading them. We did empathize with them and yes we did get them some cots to sleep on. It was nice seeing their faces when the cots arrived, you would of thought it was Christmas.
So as always, sleep well, America! And here's a letter the Chief says was sent from an Iraqi doctor to an American Colonel.
Colonel, I wan to express how I feel in my heat and if you can, I ask that you pass my words to your leaders and commanders and the marines and soldiers who suffered and are suffering for my country. I want all of you to know that the great majority of Iraqis applaud your coming, your success in battle and your efforts to be kind, decent people now.
We suffered for many years and no one would help us, not even our Arab brothers. Only America had the strength, not only in military power, but also in vision, in character, in moral authority, in love for its fellowman to come to our aid. I know it is hard for the soldiers now, they have no air-conditioning in their vehicles, they must live on our streets to protect us, and they are away from their families. I want them to know that we know the sacrifices they make for us. I pray to Allah that they will sacrifice no more: too many already have sacrificed so much.
I also want to apologize for some of our young people who are not mature enough o understand what you have done and what you have given us. We have not known freedom for a long time, so it will take time to truly appreciate what a glorious gift you have given us.
Many of us blame the sanctions for all our problems. It was not the sanctions that created what we see today, it was the regime that existed everywhere, to include this very building that I work in, the Ministry of Health. It was the regime that cheated the people out of what was rightfully theirs by God's laws.
When I talk with my family and friends, I tell them that what is going on now, with the shortages and suffering, is like a surgery for cancer. Saddam was a cancer. When one operates for a cancerous tumor, one must cut through the muscle and sometimes the bone, to get the entire tumor out. After the tumor is removed, the patient's muscles and bones hurt greatly and the pain continues while healing. Over time, the patient sees a change, the patient begins feeling and doing better. That is how it is in Iraq. The Americans came and took out the awful cancer and now we must work through the pain of recovery, but eventually we will enjoy a full life, free of pain, with no fear of cancer. I want to thank all of you from the bottom of my heart.
Lots of good first-hand stuff (including pictures) at the Chief's Blog. A must read.
I found the Chief through Bernie Slattery, an Aussie Blogger and real live conservative-leaning professional journalist. You should visit Bernie too.
Posted by Greyhawk / June 12, 2003 5:20 AM | Permalink
November 26, 2010
I think anyone who's ever pondered the "comment" option - once only available on blogs and bulletin boards, now ubiquitous on almost any web site - will appreciate this:
The so-called faculty of writing is not so much a faculty of writing as it is a faculty of thinking. When a man says, "I have an idea but I can't express it"; that man hasn't an idea but merely a vague feeling. If a man has a feeling of that kind, and will sit down for a half an hour and persistently try to put into writing what he feels, the probabilities are at least 90 percent that he will either be able to record it, or else realize that he has no idea at all. In either case, he will do himself a benefit.
That's wisdom from the past, captured for posterity at the US Naval Institute, shared via the web on the institute's 137th anniversary.
From their about page:
"The Naval Institute has three core activities," among them, History and Preservation:
The Naval Institute also has recently introduced Americans at War, a living history of Americans at war in their own words and from their own experiences. These 90-second vignettes convey powerful stories of inspiration, pride, and patriotism.
Take a look at the collection, and you'll see it's not limited to accounts from those who served on ships at sea, members of the other branches are well-represented.
I'm fortunate to have met USNI's Mary Ripley, she's responsible for the institute's oral history program (and she's the daughter of the late John Ripley, whose story is told here). She also deserves much credit for their blog. ("We're not the Navy nor any government agency. Blog and comment freely.") We met at a milblog conference - Mary knew (and I would come to realize) that milbloggers are the 21st-century version of exactly what the US Naval Institute is all about. Once that light bulb came on in my head, I mentioned a vague idea for a project to her - milblogs as the 21st century oral history that they are.
"Put that in writing," she said (of course - see first paragraph above!) - and here's part of the result.
Shortly after the first tent was pitched by the American military in Iraq a wire was connected to a computer therein, and the internet was available to a generation of Americans at war - many of whom had grown up online. From that point on, at any given moment, somewhere in Iraq a Soldier, Sailor, Airman or Marine was at a keyboard sharing the events of his or her day with the folks back home. While most would simply fire off an email, others took advantage of the (then) relatively new online blogging platforms to post their thoughts and experiences for the entire world to see. The milblog was born - and from that moment to this stories detailing everything from the most mundane aspects of camp life to intense combat action (often described within hours of the event) have been available on the web...
And et cetera - but since you're reading this on a milblog, you probably knew that. And you know that milblogs aren't just blogs written by troops at war, that many friends, family members, and supporters likewise documented their story of America at war online in near-real time, as those stories developed.
The diversity in membership of that group is broad, the one thing we all have in common is the impulse to make sense of the seemingly senseless, and communicate the tale - for each of us that impulse was strong enough to overcome whatever barriers prevent the vast majority of people from doing the same. Everyone at some point has some vague idea they believe should be shared - we were the people who, from some combination of internal and external urging, found and spent those many half hours persistently trying to write it down.
But where will all that be in another 137 years? Or five or ten, for that matter. That's something I've asked myself since at least 2004 - when I wrote this:
Membership in the ghost battalion has grown in the years since, and an ever growing majority of those abandoned-but-still-standing sites are vanishing. Have you checked out Lt Smash's site lately? How about Sgt Hook's? If you're a long-time milblog reader you know the first widely-read milblog from Operation Iraq Freedom and the first widely-read milblog from Afghanistan are both gone from the web. If you're a relative newcomer to this world you may never even have heard of them - or the dozens upon dozens of others who carried forth the standard they set down.
If you have a vague notion that something should be done about that, (a notion I've heard expressed more than once...) then you and I and the good folks at the US Naval Institute are in agreement. Preserving the history documented by the milbloggers is just one of the goals of the milblog project, the once-vague idea that we're now making real.
And it's a big idea, if I say so myself - too big to explain in one simple blog post, so stand by for more. Likewise, it's too big a task to be accomplished by just one person. So if you're a milblogger (and exactly what is a milblogger? is a topic for much further discussion on its own) I'm asking for your help. All I'll really need is just a little bit (maybe just one or two of those half hours...) of your time, and your willingness to tell the tale.
We've already made history, it's time to save it.
(More to follow...)
The Mudville Gazette is the on-line voice of an American warrior and his wife who stands by him. They prefer to see peaceful change render force of arms unnecessary. Until that day they stand fast with those who struggle for freedom, strike for reason, and pray for a better tomorrow.
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Original content copyright © 2003 - 2011 by Greyhawk. Fair, not-for-profit use of said material by others is encouraged, as long as acknowledgement and credit is given, to include the url of the original source post. Other arrangements can be made as needed.
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