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December 12, 2005
The World Speaks...By Greyhawk
... does anybody listen? A quick round-up of key quotes on Iraq, from all over the world this past week. Some made headlines, others went mostly unheard.
Kerry: Let me--I--first of all, there is so much more that unites Democrats than divides us. And Democrats have much more in common with each other than they do with George Bush's policy right now. Now Joe Lieberman, I believe, also voted for the resolution which said the president needs to make more clear what he's doing and set out benchmarks, and that the policy hasn't been working. We all believe him when you say, 'Stay the course.' That's the president's policy, which hasn't been changing, which is a policy of failure. I don't agree with that. But I think what we need to do is recognize what we all agree on, which is you've got to begin to set benchmarks for accomplishment. You've got to begin to transfer authority to the Iraqis.December 5, Danish Foreign Minister Per Stig Moller
Denmark: We're Staying The Course In IraqDecember 5, USA, Democrat Party Chairman Howard Dean:
"The idea that we're going to win this war is an ideal that unfortunately is just plain wrong".December 5, Japan, Iraqi Prime Minister Ibrahim Jaafari
Iraqi Premier Asks Japan To Extend Troop MissionDecember 7, USA, President Bush:
Democracy can be difficult and complicated and even chaotic. It can take years of hard work to build a healthy civil society. Iraqis have to overcome many challenges, including longstanding ethnic and religious tensions, and the legacy of brutal repression. But they're learning that democracy is the only way to build a just and peaceful society, because it's the only system that gives every citizen a voice in determining its future.December 8, USA, Howard Dean:
Democratic Party Chairman Howard Dean said Thursday his assertion that the United States cannot win the war in Iraq was reported "a little out of context," saying Democrats believe a new U.S. strategy is needed to succeed there.December 8, Poland, Ukraine, Georgia:
Joining the U.S.-led military coalition in Iraq has brought real military and diplomatic benefits that help offset the cost in blood and treasure, top officials from three East European allies said in interviews this week.December 8, USA, Senator John Kerry:
The United States needs to reduce its forces in Iraq by "at least 100,000" by the end of 2006, sending a message to the Middle East that Americans are not interested in maintaining a permanent military presence in that country, Sen. John Kerry said Thursday.December 9, Japan, Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi:
Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi announced Thursday that his government had authorized extending the SDF deployment to the end of 2006, although the troops could be withdrawn earlier depending on conditions there.December 9, USA, congress:
Representative Gary L. Ackerman, Democrat of New York, offered the fiercest comments from his side, referring to "the president who lied" and "the lying administration." Scolded by other members, he refused to back down. "They misled and lied; I'll say it again," Mr. Ackerman said.December 11, USA, Representative John Murtha (D-Pa) :
Representative John Murtha, the Pennsylvania Democrat who roiled Washington by calling for a quick troop withdrawal from Iraq, refused Sunday to back away, despite disagreement within his party.December 11, Iraqi people:
An opinion poll suggests Iraqis are generally optimistic about their lives, in spite of the violence that has plagued Iraq since the US-led invasion.
Posted by Greyhawk / December 12, 2005 6:55 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.
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