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August 4, 2004
Hot! Ready! Legal!By Greyhawk
Look! It's Lindsay Lohan - Hot! Ready! Legal!
And If that doesn't have America's youngsters shoving their hands into their pants pockets and whipping out their wallets then how about the 2004 Hot List: Hip Hop, Sex, Metal, Politics, Rock, Models, Blogs, and Intoxicants!
What more could you want? Record reviews? Got 'em. Movies? Those too. Traffic cancelled their tour, and Van Halen is this week's top artist at the Real Player music store.
No doubt about it - Rolling Stone is every bit as hip and 'now' and cutting edge today as it was in 1977.
And the hard-edge gritty news is there too, Duke, so don't fret. See the little box nestled in Ms Lohan's Hot! ready! Legal! hair? Abu Ghraib - not quite the gonzo approach you'd have taken to the story perhaps, but hey, times change.
In the classified files, some of the photographed soldiers also provide firsthand accounts of the abuses. Pvt. Lynndie England testified that on November 8th -- the evening of her twenty-first birthday -- she went to the Hard Site to visit Spc. Graner, her boyfriend. Just after midnight, seven Iraqi detainees accused of taking part in a fight at one of the many tent compounds used to house prisoners at Abu Ghraib were brought to Tier 1A. For England, the evening was a break from the tedium of her job processing prisoners. For Nori Al-Yasseri, detainee number 7787, it quickly became a "night which we felt like 1,000 nights."
Osha Gray Davidson is no Hunter S. Thompson, certainly no Seymour Hersh; there's nothing really new here and even those details twisted into new shapes aren't really that shocking any more. Perverse, disturbing, disappointing - at least - but the shock is gone. A young woman chooses to spend her 21st birthday brutalizing prisoners? C'mon, Seymour would've alluded to a "Happy Birthday" phone call from Rummy himself, prompting her to trot off to a date with detainee number 7787 and his buds (following a quick reminder not to forget the camera).
But the media-spun version of The Story is fracturing, as details emerge in England's Article 32 hearing this week at Ft Bragg, North Carolina.
"She wasn't even trained as a guard" - an aspect of the story that was made clear when the story line was systemic failure of the institution of the Army. (A part of the Failure to Plan series that forms the foundation of John Kerry's current explanation for voting against funding for equiping the troops.) But she wasn't trained as a guard for a good reason - she wasn't a guard. She was an admin troop out for a good time.
"Just following orders"? She was likely violating orders.
From the Fayetteville Observer's coverage: Chief Warrant Officer Paul Arthur, an investigating officer, testified that England told him the motive for the incidents was to have fun. He described her as calm and cooperative during the investigation. "She was a little nervous, but not enough to cause me any concern." He says she did not think the incidents were very serious.
But here's how the NY Times reported the day's hearings:
An Army investigator, Paul D. Arthur, testified at the hearing today that he believed the reservists from the 372nd Military Police Company, based in Cresaptown, Md., were responding to the stress of being in a war zone.
Reads a little different?
Of course, the 'fun' angle would explain why she didn't contact her commanding General:
The general who headed the U.S. military prison at Abu Ghraib said in an interview broadcast Tuesday that there had been a conspiracy to prevent her knowing about prisoner abuse there.
The General, by the way, is also one of those folks described as untrained and unprepared in numerous articles explaining this case. A business consultant in civilian life, many reports have noted that she had no experience at running prisons.
If so, then in addition to leadership and command, what was her Army background?
General Karpinski, the only female commander in the war zone, was an experienced operations and intelligence officer who had served with the Special Forces and in the 1991 Gulf War, but she had never run a prison system. Now she was in charge of three large jails, eight battalions, and thirty-four hundred Army reservists, most of whom, like her, had no training in handling prisoners.
And some say that's an oxymoron! (Never did think that was funny...)
Posted by Greyhawk / August 4, 2004 7:10 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.
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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.
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