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May 1, 2004
Voices of the FallenBy Greyhawk
Today marks an anniversary, the one-year mark from a moment the American left has forever tattooed in poison ink on the hate glands in their minds; the President's declaration of an end to combat ops portion of the invasion of Iraq. On that day there was (and is) so much work still to be done, but this GI felt proud of that moment, that minor break from the intense task at hand, that pause to say "well done" before continuing on with the battle. In spite of that suggestion of a desire for cessation of hostilities on our part, our enemies at home and abroad have given up none of their violent hatred. Be it this past week's attacks on the Senate floor or tomorrow's in Fallujah, their bitterness likely grows, festering even now, seeking some new low.
The latest attack from the home front? A continuing, desperate and still as-yet futile search for a spokeperson to rise up from among the wounded Iraqi war vets, or from the surviving relatives of a fallen hero, and denounce the war and demand it's end. Perhaps even more importantly to them, to call for an end to the administration of the current President of the United States. Lacking success in getting such a deeply wounded person to champion their cause (their faux "support for the troops") they have tried things ranging from lies about them in comments on this and other blogs (see comment from 'Jody' here)to fabricating them in comic strips.
The photographs of the gruesome mutilations of corpses by 'people' in Fallujah were displayed before the public in a similar desire: turn people against the war. The recent uproar over the images of flag-draped coffins follows the same twisted logic. Both examples also add this bit of wrong-think to the debate: The voices of the dead. The suggestion is that these many fallen would argue a side of a political debate supporting those who would declare a failure and demand retreat.
Nothing could be farther from the truth. No act more heinously in opposition to all those ideals for which so many have fallen. Here, in other words, is the desire most recently displayed by the televised recitation of names of the dead for no other acountable reason: Lacking a voice among the living, the enemy claims the dead speak for them. In another vicious twist of the knife, those false voices will assure us only of one thing: for every American who so aides and comforts the enemy's cause there will be even more joining the ranks of the dead.
But from their perspective, that, we must assume, is desirable. Each flag-draped coffin is another faint hope for a weakening of American resolve. Another voice of freedom silenced, another false voice raised within that silence. Another misplaced desire for a loved one, wracked with pain, to abandon the cause for which their hero fell.
Why has the left failed thus far in this desperate and vile game? It could be because most wounded and most survivors would echo the sentiments of Ronald R. Griffin
The debate, or rather the topic of criticism, had been simmering even before the first of the fallen heroes in their Flag Draped Coffins began to arrive at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware.
Since the start of Operation Iraqi Freedom, opponents of President Bush have used the deaths of soldiers as political fodder, excoriating him as an uncaring man for not attending their funerals and for keeping in place the policy of no media coverage during the transport of deceased military personnel. The simmering debate has become an inferno, for there are now pictures.
More to come...
Posted by Greyhawk / May 1, 2004 2:42 AM | Permalink
May 3 - From the Mudville Gazette, a must read: Voices of the Fallen. A lot of things in that one for reflection and remembrance. I wonder if those opposed to the war truly believe that Americans didn't understand beforehand... 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.
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