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February 28, 2005
Seems like it's getting increasingly difficult for some reporters to hide their contempt for the military (if they're even trying to hide it anymore).
Take Dana Milbank - (please!). Eric Pfeiffer in NRO's Beltway Buzz reports that Milbank's petty attack on Donald Rumsfeld from the front page of the WaPo is now being echoed by other 'journalists' who share his lack of interest in facts:
The BBC?s Katty Kay echoed Milbank?s sentiment on ?Meet the Press? this weekend, adding, ?look at Donald Rumsfeld this week. If ever we saw Donald Rumsfeld back in fighting form this week and giving everybody up on Capitol Hill, Republicans and Democrats alike, a hard time, this was it: refusing to answer questions about Iraq, refusing even really to be very courteous up on Capitol Hill.?
A lie gets halfway 'round the world while the truth is lacing up it's shoes, as they say. My speculation was that Milbank and his superiors at the Post were motivated by the numerous instances of Rumsfeld making reporters look foolish - Pfeiffer points out that Rummy actually trounced the Post a bit in his testimony:
Could his article have been in response to Rumsfeld?s Washington Post critique during his testimony? For the sake of full disclosure, shouldn?t Milbank have mentioned the criticism in his article? More importantly, his editors should have insisted on such transparency.
Milbank is pretending to be ignorant of the fact that Rumsfeld is the first Secretary of Defense to actually be known and admired by the troops. And one of the reasons for that is the fun of seeing the guy verbally bitch-slap reporters like Dana - just by refusing to give anything but straight answers to stupid questions.
But when it comes to contempt for those who serve, Ariana Huffington makes Milbank look like a piker. Here's what she's huffing this week:
The Bush administration will do just about anything to manipulate public opinion. It paid pundits to say nice things. It created bogus - and, according to the controller general, illegal - video news reports. It gave us Gannon/Guckert-gate.
"Desperate Military Housewives." heh - that's funny, huh Mrs. G?
The Pentagon Channel may be seen as a threat to the terrorist POV touted by Huffington and her cronies over the past several months, but actually it's a rather harmless collection of brief bits and news stories - and far from being anything new and devious from the "Bushies" it's just the stuff Armed Forces TV has been doing for a while. "Hi mom" shots of the troops at the front, etc. To be honest, it's probably going to elicit more than a few groans from those familiar with AFN work - "they try hard" is a compliment most will agree to. Huffington assumes the ignorant American masses will be brainwashed by this sort of stuff.
Let's try and put some of her fears to rest. "Why I Serve" is simply some brief profiles of individual Soldiers, Sailors, Airman, and Marines who each explain how they ended up in uniform. The reasons run the gauntlet; family tradition, education, escape from home town, etc. Nothing new. "Korea Destinations" gives quick looks at tourist spots in (believe it or not) Korea. Not sure exactly what it is she finds contemptible about all this, but apparently in her mind it must be some sinister Karl Rove plot.
Milbank and Huffington do take feeble steps to hide their anti-military bias. Milbank pretends it's the evil upper echelon of the military that he's attacking, and that the ignorant low level brainwashed minions are people he supports with all his heart. Some day I'd like to hear from Dana and others of his type exactly what rank is the cut off above which troops no longer get their support. Likewise Huffington can pretend President Bush is responsible for the Pentagon Channel and that her contempt is directed at him, not the hard working young GI's who produce the content she dismisses with a sneer but without ever seeing. What she's really calling for is censorship and an end to free speech that isn't my speech - the battle cry of the disconnected left. That attitude has this in common with the Pentagon Channel; there's nothing new there.
Posted by Greyhawk / February 28, 2005 8:15 PM | Permalink
I've been lazy. Go figure. Ethan woke up about 2 hours after he went to sleep last night. And then he went back to sleep until almost 8am. How about that? Wundervoll! (That's German, ya'll) My face has been breaking... 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...)
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