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March 17, 2005
At Home and AwayBy Greyhawk
Glenn Reynolds has your must-read post of the day. In fact I'm tempted to call it your blog from Iraq of the day too. Check it out, it looks like one that will be updated frequently.
Stop by here later as I'll update this post too.
Update: Note the reference at the link to emails home, etc. That point grabbed me. For several months while I was in Iraq I felt I had a second mission - not to be over dramatic but nearly as important as my official one (though my priorities were always straight). That second-level effort was to counter the doom and gloom reporting that was being sent out from the various hotel rooms in Baghdad for re-writes on international desks in newsrooms in London, Melbourne, New York, Washington, LA, and points between.
Stop and think about that for a minute. The troops at the front had to counter the negative (and non-factual) reporting of America's media. Don't just read these words - really, think about the ramifications. America's media had let it's readers/viewers down. By design or by incompetence there was never anything in major media to indicate that Iraq's elections would be anything other than a dismal, bloody, and catastrophic failure. Overall they were guilty of incredible ignorance or unpardonable crimes.
Go read this.
You might have some idea why I believed the Iraqi elections would be every bit as successful as they were.
Then try these posts - one per day for the week prior to the Iraqi elections. If you read them when they originally went up, try reading them now with the benefit of hindsight, and see what you think.
I wasn't the only voice, of course, but I'm proud Mudvile became a place for others to sound off too. While I was still in Iraq I posted a story about action involving John Lucas' son. In no time flat Mr Lucas had emailed clarification and additional details he'd heard from his son. (Note this is the same John Lucas mentioned in Glenn's post)
Most of the last year's msm stories of Iraq should be acknowledged as the finest examples of journalistic malpractice in history.
But now all the vets of Operation Iraqi Freedom II are coming home. Home to tell the truth about their war. Home to counter the garbage that's been trumpeted by those back here claiming to speak for them for all these months. A great example is this response from a Vermont guardsman to the headline grabbing stunt pulled by the left in that state.
Likely the main stories of returning vets you'll see from that same msm now will be of GIs coming home and killing their wives. Guys who's wounds have left them struggling. Guys who can't adjust, guys who wake up screaming...
Some will even be true. But it will be increasingly difficult not to tell America the full truth when their sons and daughters, husbands wives and neighbors come marching home.
Posted by Greyhawk / March 17, 2005 5:56 PM | Permalink
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Instapundit has an excellent post up showing how many in the military, and many of their friends and family, have viewed the press over the last two years.
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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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