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February 8, 2004
Political WarsBy Greyhawk
Why do Democrats insist the War on Terror is a staged political event? Why do they think events in Iraq are timed for the benefit of Republican political campaigns? Why do they believe every action that the President takes as Commander-in-Chief is designed to advance his personal agenda and humiliate them?
Retired General Wesley Clark has this answer: Because it's what they would do.
Some top Clinton administration officials wanted to end the Kosovo war abruptly in the summer of 1999, at almost any cost, because the presidential campaign of then-Vice President Al Gore was about to begin, former NATO commander Gen. Wesley K. Clark says in his official papers.
Clark's chances of securing a Democratic nomination for the Presidency are all but finished, and comments he made regarding frontrunner John Kerry's comparatively limited military experience render him an unlikely VP candidate. But details revealed in Clark's papers, which he made available in response to a request from the Washington Post, indicate why he has never been embraced by the Party apparatchiks.
"All along, I always had a terrible feeling about Milosevic, that we were really sort of making a compromise with Hitler in 1943," Clark said. He expressed particular regret that both Washington and Europe had failed to intervene against Yugoslavia in the summer of 1998, when, he said, Milosevic had timed a campaign of ethnic cleansing to coincide with Western officials' summer vacations.
Which may help explain why the French government was convinced it could "call the shots" on America's post-911 war on terror.
Tim Blair notes that Clark is crazy but thinks the "French approval" paragraph has the ring of truth. Elsewhere, Andrew Sullivan and Glenn Reynolds cast doubt on the veracity of Clark's claims. But if false, what, exactly, is motivating the General? Clark is undoubtedly aware of the "Dr. Strangelove" aspects of his reputation; these revelations do little to directly discourage that view. The real question is would his desire to set the record straight (or "get even with the Clintons") overcome his duty not to discredit his own party (or his own common sense)?
Does Clark desire to establish a MacArthur-like, noble-warrior-at-odds-with-leadership persona for himself (sans "fading away")?
From a military perspective, Clark's story does have the ring of truth. Perhaps begun with the purist of intentions, every campaign mounted during the Clinton administration (and they were endless) had the ever-oppressive pall of being driven by political expedience, and lacked a sense of true purpose or real commitment. Although not invented at that time, the "cut and run" was perfected in Africa, and the "shoot and run" in the Middle East. Meanwhile, to this day American troops and resources, needed in the war on terror, are bogged down in a European quagmire.
Quite the legacy.
A side issue: Note the number of people smiling in the photo accompanying the story. A distinct difference from more recent images.
Posted by Greyhawk / February 8, 2004 9:59 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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