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!
October 12, 2004
Rocket BingoBy Greyhawk
A lot of folks suggest drinking games for the debates; take a drink each time Kerry mentions he's a Vietnam veteran, or declares Iraq or Afghanistan a failure, etc. I can't really watch the debates here - the time difference being one problem; another is one participant's relentless assaults on what we're doing. In form and substance it's beyond my capacity for tolerance.
I hear NotBush has a new campaign slogan: notthesandsofIwoJima. I look downward, and indeed its sand I see, but the sands of Iraq, so once again a completely irrefutable and useless fact is logged by the anti-American faction in this war. Not-the-sands-of-Iwo-Jima indeed.
There is commonality though. The sands of both locations have drunk their share of American blood.
There is no still no close comparison, of course - over 6,821 Americans died securing that tiny island, 19,217 were wounded. Sixty years ago Americans faced an enemy desiring to kill us in large numbers; a foe willing to die in suicide charges, committed to a fanatical religious belief. But for 60 years generations of Americans have dedicated themselves to ensuring no nation or group, regardless of it's desires, could inflict casualties upon us in those numbers again. The result? NotthesandsofIwoJima. They were so successful that other Americans labeled them war mongers and war profiteers for their efforts.
So yes, notthesansdsofIwoJima contains American blood, and though these sands aren't quite drenched in that blood the way the sands of Iwo Jima are it's because we've learned, and these sands are no less deserving for our amazing success. Tragically it's in spite of the best efforts of many that this is the case. More tragically, that group is represented by a significant number of Americans.
Lighten up: Here's a drinking game we play here, let's call it "Jolly Roger": monitor the radio chatter; with every utterance of "roger" you take a drink. "Roger that" requires downing the bottle. Sadly we have no beer, so when I return to Germany I'm obligated to consume 4,627 pints. I should stop listening to the radio now.
Now, truthfully we really don't play that game at all. Here's a game we do play. To the best of my knowledge, all Americans in Iraq participate. Rocket Bingo. Here's a round-a-bout explanation.
Ever had one of those moments where you missed something by a mere instant, or something happens to someone near you? Ever heard one of those stories where someone misses their plane then that plane crashes? Ever wondered what turning left as opposed to right at some point does to impact your life? In a way, that's sort of the concept of Rocket Bingo. Every once in a while nottheJapanese launch a rocket or mortar into one of our camps. It's not a guided weapon, so who knows where it might fall. It's often a dud, so it often doesn't matter, but sometimes it's not. The result? Rocket Bingo.
Going to lunch? Rocket Bingo. Staying at work? Rocket Bingo. Doing laundry? Rocket Bingo. The only rule is you have to play. Stay in your bunk all day - Rocket Bingo.
But the fact that you're playing just stays in the back of your mind. You leave work with a buddy, "Hey, wanna go to the gym?" "No - gotta do laundry." And you imagine yourself later saying "Damn - he should have come with me" - or imagine him saying the same.
Compared to the odds of walking uninjured off of Iwo Rocket Bingo ain't that bad.
And you know what makes it possible to play at all? The absolute and resolute courage of everyone else playing. They know they do so for a purpose, even if that purpose is scorned by some. Just as every Marine on Iwo knew the way home was through victory, every American in Iraq (and the vast majority of Iraqis too) knows the way home is a democratic Iraq. No, that won't solve all our problems, but it is another island on the road to victory in a war on terror.
And those of you who swore you'd vote for a lamp shade over President Bush certainly have an opportunity to prove your sincerity this November, though personally I'd rather you stayed home, playing drinking games.
Posted by Greyhawk / October 12, 2004 5:46 PM | Permalink
While the rest of the nation plays silly drinking games during the debates, Greyhawk over at Mudville Gazette is playing Rocket Bingo. Here's a game we do play. To the best of my knowledge, all Americans in Iraq participate. Rocket Bingo. Here's a roun... 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.
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