Greetings! You are reading an article from The Mudville Gazette. To reach the front page, with all the latest news and views, click the logo above or "main" below. Thanks for stopping by!
November 7, 2003
The Dangerous GameBy Greyhawk
A quick thought. I'm still working this one through.
Here and there around the blogosphere (and elsewhere) you can find speculation about the possibility of escalation of the current war on terror. Whether it be sincere voices calling for an evaluation of our relationship with the Saudis, or others decrying our imminent invasion of Iran or Syria (seems less likely lately), or those alarmists expecting another major terrorist strike on US soil and the expected US response, there are voices in the wilderness on this issue. I use that "wilderness" terminology intentionally, because even though it exists, the escalation scenario is given little (albeit some) consideration in public discourse these days.
But escalation is a real (and currently undesirable) possibility, with a number of scenarios. Rumsfeld, IMHO, was approaching this (among other things) in his infamous memo, getting people to think about "how we're doing".
Meanwhile, the press has eagerly been filling its roll of thorn-in-the-side of the current administration, focusing on the negative aspect of current events. Admittedly, happy positive stories don't sell newspapers or win Pulitzer prizes. Still most lucid people think the bias is distinctly anti-Bush.
This serves the purpose of the Democratic candidates for president. There is no organized collusion between the press and the Democrats, but there might as well be. A significant number of Democrats appear to be ready to use whatever methods are needed to lower public opinion of the current President. A not-unpredictable goal, but one that some people would consider as being practiced a bit too enthusiastically lately, given that we are at war.
Stay with me: What's bad for our side in a conflict is good for the other. Thus it is inferred that the press/political opposition to the current administration (and please believe me I wear the uniform of this country's armed forces to ensure your right to said protest) benefits the terrorists, lending them hope that there are those in this country whose interests parallel their own, if only on a shallow level. (And perhaps in some radical cases on a deeper level.) A simplified analogy from a comment I left at Deans: if two people are fighting and a third begins pummeling one of them, it is pointless to argue whether he is hurting that one or helping the other; he is doing both regardless of his motive.
So then: if the situation were to escalate, at what point would the press/political opponents of the current administration switch sides and begin to trumpet support for our cause?
Would a small nuclear device detonated in an American city do it? Or would the headlines the next day hint at Bush's ultimate responsibility for the event? A successful shoe bomber? Would Howard Dean in his next appearance on MTV Rock the Vote decry the villainy of the president?
Where will the candidates jump off the bandwagon and rejoin mainstream America? Surely each has a point they will not pass? Surely there are levels to which some lingering shred of personal integrity will not let them sink? There are endless possibilities here. Some Democrats and some members of the press seem to take the current situation for a simple opportunity to benefit themselves. It's not hard to imagine the worst of this bunch quietly cheering each American death in Iraq, though most are simply playing a game. "I'm the better man then him" being the theme.
It's a dangerous game though, and I truly wonder how far they are willing to take it.
And now the vicious circle closes, because I think their current actions increase the likelihood of that escalation.
Posted by Greyhawk / November 7, 2003 5:37 PM | Permalink
Here are some links to some must reads in the Blogosphere. Maybe someone will eventually notice my little blog on the hill eventually, and send me some hits as well... and maybe I'm a Chinese fighter pilot. Mudville Gazette contemplates... Read More
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.
Furthermore, I will occasionally use satire or parody herein. The bottom line: it's my house.
I like having visitors to my house. I hope you are entertained. I fight for your right to free speech, and am thrilled when you exercise said rights here. Comments and e-mails are welcome, but all such communication is to be assumed to be 1)the original work of any who initiate said communication and 2)the property of the Mudville Gazette, with free use granted thereto for publication in electronic or written form. If you do NOT wish to have your message posted, write "CONFIDENTIAL" in the subject line of your email.
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.
Contact: greyhawk at mudvillegazette dot com