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March 9, 2005
Guilty! Guilty! Guilty!By Greyhawk
"Lately even the harshest critics of President Bush have been forced to admit maybe he?s right about freedom?s march around the globe. What if we are watching an example of presidential leadership that will be taught in American schools for generations to come? It?s an idea gaining more currency."
The prosecution: That's wrong, but only because history isn't taught in schools any more. Still, the NBC news crew deserves expulsion from the Loyal Order of News Reporters, and worse. I hereby call for shunning at the toniest parties and relegation to less desirable tables at certain hot spots around town.
The judge: Surely they aren't guilty of such a heinous transgression?
The prosecution: Your honor, I have video...
The defense: Objection!
The judge: Silence. Let's watch television!
Judge: (To defense) You disgust me.
(Transcript below fold.)
Update: I tend to agree with what Andrew Sullivan tends to agree with here. (And maybe the post immediately below it too. Can anyone set my mind at ease about the second one?)
NBC NIGHTLY NEWS MARCH 8, 2005
BRIAN WILLIAMS: Lately even the harshest critics of President Bush have been forced to admit maybe he?s right about freedom?s march around the globe. What if we are watching an example of presidential leadership that will be taught in American schools for generations to come? It?s an idea gaining more currency.
Tonight NBC News chief foreign affairs correspondent Andrea Mitchell takes on the question.
ANDREA MITCHELL: Elections in Iraq, Afghanistan and the Palestinian Territories; pro-democracy demonstrations in Lebanon; local elections, at least for men, in Saudi Arabia. Is this an historic turning point, like the fall of the Berlin Wall? And if so, should George Bush get the credit?
DANIELLE PLETKA [foreign policy expert]: President Bush has changed the order of our priorities in the Middle East and has put questions of political and economic reform to the long hand for liberty and democracy. He put those issues at the forefront; that has made a big difference.
MITCHELL: Even some of the president?s critics are rethinking the war in Iraq. Jon Stewart joked about it.
JON STEWART [The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, January 31]: What if Bush is the president ? ours -- has been right about this all along? I feel like my world view will not sustain itself and I may ? and, again, I don?t know if I can physically do this ? implode. [Laughter]
MITCHELL: In fact, the Bush team is getting grudging respect in "old" Europe from opponents of the Iraq war. The German news magazine Der Spiegel wrote: "Now it seems that true freedom of expression and democracy are evolving from that wrongful war. If that?s the case, then there?s good reason to cheer."
Even some Democrats agree.
SEN. CHRISTOPHER DODD [D-Conn.]: So each case, each country, I think there are different motivations; but certainly the president?s policies, having shaken things up in the Middle East, have been part of that dynamic.
MITCHELL: Other experts say the Middle East was poised to move toward democracy and George Bush just got lucky. Most notably, Yasser Arafat?s death last November led to new Palestinian leadership and peace talks with Israel.
And, skeptics say, Lebanon?s divided opposition only came together because of the assassination of former president Rafik Hariri.
SHIBLEY TELHAMI [Middle East expert]: There was tremendous momentum before the Iraq war toward reform in the Arab world.
MITCHELL: Whatever the cause, no one is questioning the powerful appeal of democracy as Arabs see their neighbors voting for the first time.
Andrea Mitchell, NBC News, Washington.
Posted by Greyhawk / March 9, 2005 10:03 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...)
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