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March 5, 2006
You Don't Say?By Greyhawk
In a recent press briefing General George Casey (the commander of Multinational Forces in Iraq) countered virtually every inflated claim made by the media regarding Iraq's recent "civil war" in the wake of the Shrine bombing in Samarra. But there are significant disconnects between what Gen Casey said and how his words are reported.
Q General Casey, David Cloud with the New York Times. You mentioned, I think, a few minutes ago that there were reports of ISF assisting the militias. Can you expand on that a little bit, and how widespread was it? I think you mentioned east Baghdad . Can you just give us a sense of how widespread the problem of sectarian violence within the ISF has been over the last few days?The report on those comments that appeared in the New York Times:
Casey said that in some instances, the mostly Shiite security forces gave armed Shiites free rein in Baghdad and Basra, where reprisal attacks on Sunni mosques and clerics took days to contain.And the Washington Post
Moreover, in Baghdad, Iraqi security forces in several instances aided the militias' movements, allowing them to pass unhindered through checkpoints, according to military reports cited by Casey. He said the militias were primarily responsible for attacks on mosques in Baghdad, where militias in neighborhoods such as the predominantly Shiite Sadr City had taken to the streets immediately after the Samarra bombing.Immediately following the attack on the Shrine, the Washington Post reported that 120 Sunni mosques had been attacked in retaliation, other media reports claimed as many as 184. In his press conference, General Casey explained that "it took us a few days to sort our way through what we considered in a lot of cases to be exaggerated reports" and provided updated totals:
We can confirm about 30 attacks on mosques around the country, with less than 10 of those mosques moderately damaged and only two or three of those mosques severely damaged.Here's how the Washington Post reported those comments:
He said 350 Iraqi civilians had died in a surge of sectarian killings, militia violence and revenge attacks on about 30 mosques around the country after the bombing. "This, obviously, is unacceptable," he said.The media is free to dispute the General's claims - that's expected of them. But in this case they aren't, they are simply using his words selectively in a manner that supports their own previously published fictions. There's no law that says U.S. media outlets are required to report accurately or completely on comments made by military or government officials. Likewise there are no requirements for media outlets to acknowledge that they are printing unverified claims made by "other parties" in the war as confirmed "news" - as was the case in the aftermath of the Shrine bombing (See here and here). But consumers of those reports should be aware of their flaws. Citing sources or linking to full texts are not difficult tasks, and certainly serve to keep people well informed. After all, a well-informed public is the motivation for all good journalism, right?
Read the whole thing. How easy is that?
Posted by Greyhawk / March 5, 2006 3:00 PM | Permalink
The MSM, doing what it does best, according to the Mudville Gazette:The media is free to dispute the General's claims - that's expected of them. But in this case they aren't, they are simply using his words selectively in a Read More
You Don't Say?Greyhawk In a recent press briefing General George Casey (the commander of Multinational Forces in Iraq) countered virtually every inflated claim made by the media regarding Iraq's recent civil war in the wake of the Shrine bombing in Read More
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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.
Furthermore, I will occasionally use satire or parody herein. The bottom line: it's my house.
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Original content copyright © 2003 - 2011 by Greyhawk. Fair, not-for-profit use of said material by others is encouraged, as long as acknowledgement and credit is given, to include the url of the original source post. Other arrangements can be made as needed.
Contact: greyhawk at mudvillegazette dot com