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January 15, 2007
Here's how a surge works.
Wednesday morning, the phone rings. “Who the heck is calling at this hour?” As I turn over to reach for the nightstand, I glance at the windows in the room. They’re still dark; no hint of light. And I mutter under my breath, “It’s never good news if it’s dark.” As I reach for the phone, the green numbers on the clock say 5:30. I pick the phone out of its cradle and push the “on” button.Some stay late:
I just got off the phone with my son. One of the wonders of the modern world is that I can actually talk with my boy even though he is so far away serving his country...The President of Iraq:
‘The ideas announced by the American president, shows a new effort to improve security in Iraq, and they concur and correspond with Iraq’s government plans and ideas...Here's how the enemy responds: What? Already running away!?
Here's a request from a soldier's mom:
Do not undermine the most difficult thing these military men and women will ever be called upon to do.
The decision to increase the American military presence in Iraq is being greeted with a blend of optimism and anxiety among American soldiers and their families, those most directly affected by the change. Unlike in Congressional corridors and across the civilian landscape of the country, there seems far more support than outrage, more cheer than cheerlessness, and a hope that maybe this will do it.
In Baghdad, Hillary Clinton responds
In an exclusive interview with ABC News in Baghdad, Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., called the situation in Iraq "heartbreaking" and said she doubts Congress and the American people believe the mission here can succeed.CNN:
KURTZ: Pam Hess, has the sending of 20,000 additional troops gotten a fair hearing in the media or has it gotten caught up in this wrenching, emotional debate about whether the war itself was a mistake?These are issues that make for difficult decisions. But it's easier to be "anti-war" once you've been trained to believe that only George Bush has anything to lose.
President George W. Bush made clear on Saturday he would not back off his plan to send more troops to Iraq despite bipartisan hostility to the idea and he accused his critics of failing to offer an alternative.Odd that although the plan has "bipartisan support" and "bipartisan hostility" Reuters chooses to acknowledge only the later.
But Reuters' coverage isn't "isolated".
Bush isolated more than ever on Iraq with plan for troop buildupThe Washington Post:
Opposition To Iraq Plan Leaves Bush IsolatedThe Los Angeles Times
Democrats Feel Free To Defy Bush On IraqThere are two sides in this war. You can't call for defeat of one without simultaneously calling for victory for the other. It's fine to be concerned over the whole "surge" concept - I'm among that number myself. But if you live in the United States or enjoy the protections we afford so many other nations, then you have a stake in this war, and will bear both the unforeseable and predictable consequences of failure. Sadly, too many - perhaps because of those very perceptions of protection here and abroad - feel too much distance from that threat, and can summon adequate "courage" to participate in a simultaneous (and safer, at least as far as immediate likelihood of a participant's physical injury or death) political "war".
The stakes are high in that more genteel battle too, but I fear those who think victory in that sphere will somehow justify defeat in ours are in for a rather rude awakening should they grasp that brass ring of their fondest dreams.
Posted by Greyhawk / January 15, 2007 2:10 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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