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!
December 14, 2003
December 7, 2003 (Part IV)By Greyhawk
Does Senator Clinton "get it" with respect to the troops? Let's see if Tim Russert got the answer he was looking for:
MEET THE PRESS, NBC TV, DECEMBER 7, 2003
So what is "Centrist warhawk" Clinton's plan for Iraq?
FACE THE NATION MR. ROBERTS: You've talked about the need to internationalize the operation there. What do you mean when you say internationalize? How can it be more internationalized than it is already? You already have troops from a number of different countries there. You have a number of different countries participating in the rebuilding.
Andrew Sullivan writes in the Sunday Times of London (or, if you prefer, The Sunday London Times):
British anti-war liberals, lefties, and conservatives have just won a new enemy. This gung-ho member of the neocon cabal, this imperialistic threat to world peace, this destroyer of multilateral alliances actually believes that president Bush is too soft for the Iraq war. The president is too swift to turn over sovereignty to Iraqis, according to this critique. He needs to pour in more troops, display more resolve, demand more from allies, and take more time to get the job done right. Who is this foe of the anti-war left? Drum roll, please. It's Hillary Clinton.
Which I must presume is an apt view, as I am no expert on British politics, but an incorrect one insofar as I don't think for a minute that Sen. Clinton wants a "get tougher" policy on Iraq. Her stance is rhetoric; she may as well shout that the president should stand on his head in the capitol rotunda and sing The Star Spangled Banner as call for a greater "international presence" (code: France Germany Russia) in Iraq. It ain't gonna happen. And the Senator knows it.
And Mr. Sullivan is savvy enough to know politicking when he sees it, as he so aptly proves:
It was a nifty rhetorical strategy - far shrewder than anything most of the Democratic candidates have been saying. And as the blogger Mickey Kaus observed, she can't really lose. If Bush's strategy succeeds, she can say that she favored the war and its objective of a stable democracy in Iraq. If Bush's plan fails, she can claim that she supported different tactics. Certainly she cannot be accused of selling out American troops, being weak on national security or wishy-washy in the war on terror. Maybe she's sincere. Maybe she's not. Either way, she wins.
If I may be so bold, I suggest a slightly different spin: Sen. Clinton chooses to avoid a line in American politics that many of her Party cohorts have pranced far across (though some perhaps long before they joined the Party); that point where loyal opposition approaches treason. The Democratic party's Far Left, in what many view as descent into lunacy, have in many cases abandoned all but the thinnest veneer of patriotism. The current crop of contenders for the highest office in our land all define themselves by degree of opposition to the president, which is what 'opposition' candidates must by definition do.
So yes, an outstanding opportunity indeed for Ms Clinton. She can stand bemused on the sidelines and watch them race themselves to the edge of the proverbial cliff. But will the antics of this small and tragic group of cliff divers define the landscape of American politics? Ms Clinton is hardly "centrist", unless one accepts that Dennis Kucinich defines the Left and George Bush the Right. And that is how so many would shape the current political stage, but they'd be wrong. For Bush, in response to that far left exodus in the Democratic Party, has also taken steps to the center.
Andrew Sullivan again:
It's the reverse of Bush, who has such emotional support from the right that he can do nothing to stop abortion, spend money like Lyndon Johnson, enact the biggest new welfare state entitlement in a generation, and still be enormously popular with the party base.
The unspoken implication is that there is a "vast right wing" somewhere beyond the president, and indeed there is. The mistake is to marginalize that wing. Folks "right of Bush" are likely a more potent political force then "folks left of Kucinich". Ignore them at your peril, those of you who are convinced you have the shape of the American political landscape figured out.
THIS WEEK ON ABC (emphasis added): MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: Let's talk about President Bush. You're in Houston this week and I want to show our viewers something that the "Houston Chronicle" reported you said: "President Bush has not only been radical and extreme in terms of Democratic presidents, but in terms of Republican presidents, including his own father, his administration is making America less free, fair, strong, smart, than it deserves to be in a dangerous world." Radical, extreme, less free, fair, strong and smart. Those are very tough words. Is that really what you said?
Because Hillary Clinton is not the center, and never has been. The center is still firmly occupied by a large group of fine Americans, who will tire of being branded "right wing extremists" in short order. Who will tire of Hillary and others of her sort claiming to belong to their group while actually occupying ground far to their left, and who recognize a significant portion of the Democratic party moving far beyond the pale.
Posted by Greyhawk / December 14, 2003 7:43 PM | 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.
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