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January 31, 2006
AP/NY Times: Guard Recruiting Exceeds GoalBy Greyhawk
The guys toiling in our department of headlines we thought we'd never see are busy these days. Today's gem comes from the AP, in the NY Times:
Turnaround In Recruiting Puts Guard On Path For ExpansionFirst time since 1993 - wow. But some of the surprise wears off when the AP reveals why it can now publish stories like this. (Read closely - it gets tricky). The story points out that just when things are really turning around, President Bush wants to shrink the Guard!
National Guard officials said Monday that recruiting had accelerated so much in recent months that they expected to expand the Guard even as the Bush administration proposes to shrink it.But wait - because here's where things get tricky:
In his 2007 budget, to be sent to Congress on Feb. 6, President Bush would pay for a Guard of 333,000 soldiers; its Congressionally authorized limit is 350,000. Administration officials say that is not a cut, because the Guard now has 333,000 soldiers.So setting aside enough money to pay the actual people in the Guard, rather than the authorized number of people in the Guard - is a cut. (Some fiscally responsible people might call it a good one.)
Army Secretary Francis J. Harvey had said that if the Guard was able to grow beyond 333,000, the Army would shift money from elsewhere in its budget to pay for the extra soldiers.In other words, the number of troops authorized in the Guard won't be cut, there just won't be any money frozen to pay the salaries of Guard toops until they actually exist. (Or if you prefer, "if needed, your check will be in the mail". How you respond to this should be an indicator of your level of trust in "the system".)
Which brings us to how the AP/NY Times decide to frame the issue:
The administration's plan to pay for a smaller Guard has stirred opposition in Congress and among groups like the National Guard Association of the United States, which represents current and former Army Guard and Air Guard officers.But the final word on this belongs to Congress, and you can bet they'll vote their home-State pocketbooks on this one.
Not on the Guard issue so much - that's just an opportunity to look like good guys who stood up to Bush - if the local papers run the story just so. My prediction: the money will be "found". After all, those dollars will represent a fairly small drop in a rather large bucket of taxpayer dollars.
Bucket? Perhaps trough is the better term. Last year's $82 billion supplemental spending bill for the war on terror in Iraq and Afghanistan included $20 million for a road project in Mississippi, $5 million for the Fort Peck Fish Hatchery in Montana, $2 million for an upgrade of chemistry laboratories at Drew University in New Jersey, and $1 million for the Woody Island and historic structures in Philadelphia. Don't be fooled by any outraged congressional table-thumping over this Guard funding issue - watch your congressman's other hand.
But that, good friends, is half the story. For whatever reason they actually ran it, that headline in the NY Times was too good to just use just once. So here:
Turnaround In Recruiting Puts Guard On Path For ExpansionGood stuff.
Posted by Greyhawk / January 31, 2006 7:44 PM | Permalink
Rep. Murtha, call your office. Mudville Gazette points to some of the most welcome (and therefore certain to be underreported) news in years: the National Guard's recruiting is at the highest level since 1993. Neither the article nor Greyhawk offer 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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