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March 20, 2005
There's Just No Place For Street Fightin' Maaaaan.. No!By Greyhawk
Ev'rywhere I hear the sound of marching, charging feet, boy
Hey! Think the time is right for a palace revolution
Hey! Said my name is called disturbance
Street Fightin' Man, by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, 1968.
Like the engine of a '64 VW Bug that song still sounds great after 40 years, eh Moondoggy? Speaking of hearing marching charging feet boys...
All around the world this weekend demonstrations marked the anniversary of the Iraq war. From London to New York, San Francisco to Sydney, Chicago to Athens, the smell of protest was on the breeze and thousands of feet were on the march, as citizens of the world went out to rail at... well, uh... who knows what exactly. The injustice of it all, perhaps. And the war! Yes, certainly we can all agree that war is bad! And we can demand... well.. we can demand, uh... stop the war! No more blood for oil!
But at least one city seems determined to steadfastly refuse to get with the program - Baghdad, Iraq:
Even though tremendous forward strides towards freedom have been made there it looks like the people of Baghdad are a bit too busy to stop and join hands with "the global community" today.
And if citizens of Iraq think Jordan isn't doing enough then what would they think of the few diehard former regime loyalists in the American media who urge the terrorist forces to just hang in there a little longer. "Success is within your grasp" they cry, "the US is almost defeated." In page one headlines the Washington Post declares Two Years Later, Iraq War Drains Military. Not to be outdone and ever-eager to claim the crown as the most "jihaddi-friendly news source in America" the Miami Herald's front page cries out: Two Years Later, U.S. Bogged Down In Iraq. "The guerrilla conflict is grinding away at the resources of the U.S. military, there's uncertainty over the fitness of the all-volunteer force, U.S. troops are stuck in a grinding war..." those quotes just from the first paragraph of each page one 'news' story. In each case 'grinding' is apparently la word du jour, indicative of early AM coffee-break-inspired prose.
Al Jazeera could not raise the hopes and spirits of future suicide bombers higher than these American newspapers. But off shore the world becomes even more bizarre; and on bizarro world the war's toll is just now starting to hit home. In fact, today's front-page headline in the International Herald Tribune screams just that: U.S. Toll In Iraq War Starting To Hit Home. For years, apparently, Americans have been ignoring events there.
More potential good news for terrorists debating that tough personal choice between med school and Mosul. But according to the story the word isn't getting out! People everywhere are blissfully ignorant of the growing "stop the war" movement. Who's fault is this international ignorance? According to the IHT, the blame lies with the media, who've failed to rally the world to The Cause.
(No statements from actual Vermont Guard members accompany the piece.)
But where there's life there is hope! Though off the front pages, where the headlines don't scream from kiosks for the attention of passers-by, some papers run identified opinion pieces like this one in the NY Daily News:
Or this piece from the New York Post, that actually cites a rival:
So take heart, those of you who were inspired by the example of the people of Baghdad or disgusted by the behavior of those who march against them.
And be familiar with these numbers from the Philadelphia Inquirer - even if they aren't front page news:
The best way to note this second anniversary simply may be to present some numbers about Iraq that have accumulated since March 19, 2003 - the good and the bad. Iraqi Olympians in 2004: 31.
Posted by Greyhawk / March 20, 2005 8:02 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.
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