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January 25, 2005
Welcome to MudvilleBy Greyhawk
Many thanks to Hugh Hewitt, whose mention of The Mudville Gazette on both Fox News and CNN yesterday led to a surge in search engine hits, which I note has also translated into a noticeable upswing in visits from bookmarks. Given that there are apparently a few new readers visiting this site please allow me to introduce myself. I'm an American GI currently on the ground somewhere in Iraq. Normally I'm stationed somewhere in Germany, and my family is at "home" there. Under the circumstances you'll likely understand my reasoning for keeping any additional aspects of my identity under wraps. And somewhere down the right side of this page you can find my disclaimer:
Unless otherwise credited, the opinions expressed are those of the author, and nothing here is to be taken as representing the official position of or endorsement by the United States Department of Defense or any of its subordinate components.
etc. etc. If you're looking for someone bemoaning his fate and complaining about his situation or that of the world you've come to the wrong place. I'm quite proud of what I do in the service of my country, harbor no illusions as to the difficulty of the task, and understand full well that those whose opinions are molded by what they've read in the papers or seen on TV will find my commentary upsetting. Those folks are now (and for some time) have been getting a small fraction of the story of our "War on Terror" and the things I discuss here are generally not going to fit their entrenched concepts of what's going on.
In fact, given that I can't reveal much of what I do here on a daily basis due to obvious security issues I've determined to use this space to provide a contrast to the endless doom and gloom trumpeted into your living rooms through your normal media channels. Further, I'll expose purely fraudulent reporting on the part of those who seem to be driven by an agenda. For an example of what I mean, click here and see how much of your opinion of events of Abu Ghraib has been shaped by those who either don't know (or don't care) what the truth really is.
What's my motivation? Glenn Reynolds captures it in this statement:
THE PRESS DID ITS BEST TO IGNORE the Afghan elections. I suspect that, since that's not an option with the Iraqi vote, they'll be doing their best to portray it as a failure somehow. I also suspect that it won't work. One of the things that made press coverage so damaging in Vietnam was that it was the first time anyone remembered American reporters saying bad things about an American war effort. By now, hardly anyone is alive who remembers anything else.
All of this earns me a couple of labels: Right-Winger, mainstream media basher, and some less courteous. So be it. "Right Wing" is in the eye of the beholder; I personally claim no political doctrine other than independent. As for the media, I note that there are some fine reporters willing to put themselves at risk to get the real story of what's happening in Iraq. No one should expect that story to be a happy one at all times. When Kevin Sites captured on-camera a Marine shooting an insurgent in Fallujah many saw it as a reporter doing his best to undermine the cause. I saw just another incident in a war. People get killed, and it ain't pretty.
On the chance that this might be your first (or an early) visit to a Blog, I welcome you to the fun part of the internet. The word Blog is a shortened version of web log, and the purpose of such sites is whatever the author intends. They are generally composed of separate brief entries, the most current appears on top, and after a week or so entries drop off the main page and into the archives. You can view the monthly archives of this site by clicking the month you desire from the list in the right hand column. You'll also find several lengthy lists of other blogs there.
Mudville was launched in March 2003. At the time I first listed the site on this registry of blogs there were around 2000 other sites listed too. There are now approximately 19,000. Other sites that don't require actual registration list blogs in the millions.
In November 2003 I launched the MilBlogs Ring, a group now consisting of well over 100 blogs run by Active Duty, Guard and Reserve members of all branches of service, along with spouses, retirees, and veterans whose blogs focus on military issues. The MilBlogs page on this site is devoted to providing links to my fellow military bloggers, and contains numerous links you won't find on the front page.
A final important point, the Mrs. actually runs this site, and several of the entries you see here are hers. This one includes the only known picture of yours truly. My part in all this is now just to type fast and email stuff in to her, she gets credit for all the rest. Other members of the family appear in the comments section quite frequently. Should you see anything here you wish to comment on, you can. Click "comment" under any entry and unload. Agree, disagree, prove me wrong - freedom of speech is what I'm all about. (Caution: family site - certain words will be automatically banned. Keep it clean.)
Welcome aboard, enjoy your visit, come again soon.
Posted by Greyhawk / January 25, 2005 1:59 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