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November 30, 2003
Battle GroundBy Greyhawk
Fox news reports that the fighting in Iraq continues:
MADRID, Spain — Seven members of Spain's military intelligence agency were killed and one was injured on a highway south of Baghdad Saturday when their convoy was ambushed.
Some additional details from Sky News:
...seven members of Spain's National Intelligence Centre and two Japanese nationals were killed in separate attacks...
Have we lost the peace? Perhaps not. In stark contrast, MilBlogger Jb at Jb's Sanctuary (Who am I? Well I'm a Program Analyst. In the National Guard I'm a Special Forces Team SGT, Prior Intelligence NCO and Communication NCO 12 years active duty) links to Paratrooper.net posts on some different news coming out of Iraq - forward progress being made towards shutting down some of these anti-coalition attacks and helping the people of Iraq to a better future.
The 82d Abn. Div. has conducted three offensive operations, all of which were cordon and searches. Soldiers also carried out 167 patrols, including eight joint patrols with the Iraqi Border Guard and Iraqi Police, manned 47 observation posts along Highway 10. During this time, one enemy personnel was wounded and 78 were captured.
AR RAMADI, Iraq – In a raid last night, soldiers from 1st Battalion, 124th Infantry Regiment of Task Force “All American” captured the individual believed to be responsible for the attack on the Ar Ramadi police chief’s son two nights ago. Coalition forces believe the captured man has also been carrying out attacks on soldiers in the region.
Based on a tip by a local Iraqi citizen, soldiers from the 1st Battalion, 34th Armor Regiment conducted a search of a house near Habbaniyah. At the house the soldiers detained four former regime loyalists and found two grenades, a shotgun, a computer with printer (found printing counterfeit Dinar as soldiers entered the house), rounds packed with C4 plastic explosives, three sticks of dynamite, 12 blasting caps, a 50 lbs bag of propellant, and a satellite phone. The tip that led to the search further demonstrates the increased cooperation between the local populace and coalition forces.
Could this all be true? are there two sides to the battle? CNN didn't report it! Reuters, the BBC, and Agence France Presse have no details either. So where's the truth?
Maybe we'll know soon, because on the heels of President Bush and Senator Clinton's Iraq visits comes this. (Hopefully not in the tradition of Jane Fonda, Howie Dean's brother, Rachel Corrie or the human shields - hey, I haven't heard, have the human shields gone over to help rebuild?)
Anti-war groups arrange Baghdad trip for families of servicemembers
So why do they go? One of the mothers had this explanation via press release on Global Exchange's homepage.
"I know it is very risky to go to Iraq right now, but I feel compelled to go there. I want to see my son and daughter and talk to the other troops. I want to talk to the Iraqi people, especially the women," said Anabelle Valencia, a military mother traveling with the delegation.
Sounds reasonable. (Though I'm not sure why women are more important to her then men.)
"And I want to talk to the US authorities there and ask them when they are going to send our troops home and allow the Iraqis to run their own country."
We'll await the answer with bated breath.
Speaking of Senator Clinton in Baghdad, John Galt, in Iraq with the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA), reports (via his Blog Deeds, a "Friend of MilBlogs") some ground truth on that event. Mr. Galt, who met the Senator during her stay, offers a few words and lot of insight.
She seemed disappointed at the cool reception she got at the CPA mess hall for lunch. Most just stared silently.
Some things are just bad for your digestion.
Posted by Greyhawk / November 30, 2003 4:25 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...)
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