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July 6, 2005
Did Somebody Say...By Greyhawk
Where have I heard that before?
Smash has an update here (with links to others).
Phil Carter has a New York Times op/ed here (with a very interesting editorial comment)
Also interesting is that Scott Ott made the call last month.
Problems recruiting? You bet. There are lot's of reasons to join the military, and most who do cite several. But a certain percentage of the population has always joined "for an education" or some other purpose related purely to their own self interest. In wartime that percentage melts away. It's easy to simplify that to "not joining because of the war" but the reality is as simple as stated above.
A good percentage of people, however, like to convince themselves that they would serve, if conditions were more to their liking - to fight a hypothetical war they supported, for instance. The reality of their situation is that they wouldn't serve under any circumstances - call it cowardice, call it what you will. But to maintain some shred of dignity they use whatever excuse they find convenient for not supporting their country in time of war. They didn't serve in the Cold War, Iraq the first time around, Kosovo, Bosnia, Haiti, Somalia, Afghanistan, or anywhere else for that matter - and there are no circumstances under which they would ever do so.
They in turn project their motives onto others who support the war but aren't in uniformed service. See, you support the war but don't serve, therefore you are a coward. I, on the other hand, am not a coward because I am not serving because I don't support the war. I am clearly morally superior to you.
If you are of that mindset you know that war is undeniably barbaric, after all, and it's quite easy to convince yourself that you are a superior specimen of humanity - like a few others you are above that sort of thing. Eventually the rest of the population of the world will evolve to your high level - certainly before the barbarians come knocking on your door.
I'd go one step further and propose that there are those who "oppose the war" purely out of fear that they would ever be expected to serve. And that those who shout "chickenhawk" the loudest and most often are most likely in this group.
You can find out how to join the Army right here, by the way. The benefits? How about making history, saving civilization, etc.
Then you can join MilBlogs here. What are the benefits of that? Glad you asked.
One is that lefty bloggers will never link you - you represent everything they can't comprehend about service. They don't much care about what military people really think, say, or care about after all. Which by itself, is further support for what I proposed about the whole motivation behind the chickenhawk thing anyway.
Posted by Greyhawk / July 6, 2005 8:29 PM | Permalink
I'm one of those who enlisted for purely selfish reasons... I saw something in the eyes of the Marines that I'd met, and wanted that something for myself. It turns out that something is the immense pride that comes from serving ones country. 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...)
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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