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January 27, 2006
Imagine for a moment what the reaction would be from the Democratic Party establishment and their friends in the MSM if a number of Republican politicians, from congressmen to state legislators, signed on in support of a demonstration spearheaded by a... Read More
The news that Saddam Hussein has filed a lawsuit against President Bush and Tony Blair has caused speculation that the former Iraqi dictator has been receiving counsel from either the editorial board of The New York Times, Joel Stein, or Read More
In the Jerusalem Post today, Binyamin Netanyahu described the Hamas win in the Palestinian elections the establishment of a Hamastan. I don't think that the disaster here is that a terrorist organization has achieved a majority position in the Palestinian Read More
By email from Haider Ajina:Greetings, The following is my translation of a news release by the Iraqi news agency on January 26th.“Iraqi security forces take over total security in south central Iraq.” “Iraqi security forces have taken over total ... Read More
Terrorist organization Hamas distanced itself today from its radical "political wing" that took control of the Palestinian parliament in a surprise electoral upset on Wednesday.... Read More
In reference to the current debate over the NSA "wiretapping" issue, we have been here before. The situation is in many ways similar, but, it was a different time. It was a time when an attack on American soil awakened a sleeping giant, that then... Read More
Celebrities. They keep us entertained. They keep us informed. They set the values of society. And what do we give them in return? Money? Hah! These people deserve their own carnival, which is what I provide. Read More
(Mexican military incursions reported -- Part 6. See my previous related post here.)U.S. can't rule out Mexican soldiers' foray EL PASO, Texas (AP) -- The chief of the U.S. Border Patrol said yesterday he cannot rule out the possibility that Read More
The St.Pats four got a visit from a supporter Wednesday. Dahr Jamail is a journalist who spent time in Iraq reporting on the wrongdoings of the US government in the war. Jamail says he backs the four protesters from Ithaca because he feels they f... Read More
Robert Burns, born 25 January 1759 in Scotland, became a revolutionary rebel and subversive, and because of his written words, when he died at the age of 37, he was under threat of debtor’s prison. ... Read More
Apparently some GOP mayors support that horrible Kelo decision. Smooth move boys, nothing like doing something that will thin out the ranks of potential... Read More
I meant to blog on this yesterday, but with the home internet-less it had to wait until today. Four Democratic senators sent a letter to the President about the NSA program and their concerns. I was intrigued by the comments Read More
The Pentagon has made a big splash by saying that the reservists have really cried wolf on the financial impact of the call ups. They financed a RAND study which showed (at first glance) that the recalled civilians are actually Read More
Front Page Magazine (via The Sixth Column) has a most disturbing report on how the Dems are trying to find ways to silence free speech on blogosphere/internet. Read More
I got a kick out of this story describing how the army test soldiers and equipment in cold weather in Alaska, more specifically Delta Junction and Ft. Greeley. During my four years in Alaska as an Arctic Infantryman, I spent many a sub-zero day and nig... Read More
I don't believe the RC's get their just due. As a soldier currently stationed at Fort Knox, one of my duties keeps me closely involved in mobilization training of Reserve and Guard units, and I see on a daily basis their professionalism and dedicatio... 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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