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December 8, 2005
Is it Raining?By Greyhawk
President Bush addresses the troops on the war in Iraq. Sound outrageous? No - but Fox News reports that "some" feel the President shouldn't be discussing "politics" with the GIs:
WASHINGTON — Speeches by President Bush in recent weeks before military audiences about the Iraq war debate have raised questions about partisan issues being brought up in front of U.S. Armed Forces.James Taranto takes it from there, offering a fairly comprehensive round-up of Democratic attacks on the military over the past few days. (And spare me the " we support the troops" line - there's an old saying, "don't piss on my leg and tell me it's raining" that applies.) My disgust with the Dems is centered on the fact that as a member of the US Armed Forces, subject to be deployed in harm's way, I want a loyal opposition to the administration - and they've failed in that responsibility. (Has any other American political party leader in history ever declared that the US was destined to lose a war we were involved in?) The approach indicated in this Fox story (they're positioning themselves for the inevitable backlash - see also here for a somewhat sane response) is yet another example of that failure - bash the military until they completely loose faith in you, then bash them for supporting your opposition. For the special "Democratic" touch try to incite a little fear in the electorate; give a mental image of "other" countries (nudge nudge wink wink, you know - "other" countries).
How bad is it? Read this:
Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman, increasingly isolated in his own Democratic party because of his strong support for the Iraq war, today called on the White House and congressional leaders to form a special "war cabinet" to provide advice and direction for the war effort.First, three cheers for Senator Lieberman. But consider this: the situation has deteriorated to the point that he has to suggest a new organization that can do what the US Congress was once expected to do in time of war. (By the way, that story is several days old - had you heard about it? As Kathleen Parker notes, the news for weeks now has been Murtha, Murtha, Murtha, Murtha, Murtha, Murtha, (Lieberman), Murtha, Murtha, Murtha.) But before you start thinking there's still hope for them yet - his fellow Dems have already shot the idea down.
"Very small proportion of the people that are involved in the insurgency are terrorists or how I would interpret them as terrorists."So why are a large majority of their attacks on Iraqi civilians? I mean, with all due respect sir, why the #%$^ are a large majority of their attacks on Iraqi civilians?
BAGHDAD (AP) - A suicide bomber detonated explosives Thursday inside a packed bus bound for a southern Shiite city, killing 32 people and wounding 44, police said. The blast pushed the three-day death toll from suicide attacks in the capital to at least 75.Once more, for effect:
Speeches by President Bush in recent weeks before military audiences about the Iraq war debate have raised questions about partisan issues being brought up in front of U.S. Armed Forces.Retired generals bashing the administration or tap dancing en masse across the stage at the Democratic National Convention disturb me much more deeply than do the 90% of GIs who support a sitting Commander in Chief. We can make up our own minds - and know when it's raining.
Posted by Greyhawk / December 8, 2005 9:44 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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