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February 4, 2007
Surging OnBy Greyhawk
Omar, writing from Baghdad, January 28th:
Azzaman says it learned from "informed sources in Baghdad" that major operations will start on the 5th of February. The anonymous sources, according to Azzaman, said that operations against leaders of militant groups and vital targets will be performed to as part of the preparations for major operations that will start on the first week of February.Accurate or not, that may explain a certain sense of urgency among factions in Baghdad this weekend:
BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) -- A suicide truck bomber struck a market in a predominantly Shiite area of Baghdad on Saturday, killing as many as 121 people among the crowd buying food for evening meals, one of the most devastating attacks in the capital since the war started.Omar's brother Mohammed today:
The security plan isn't at work yet and Baghdad is receiving heavy blows. This is not unexpected because the enemies recognize what Baghdad means to the outcome of this war. Life and stability in this city will mean defeat for terrorists of all backgrounds and they feel they must fight hard to stop this from happening.As for U.S. forces, one Brigade Combat Team (BCT) involved in "the surge" has been in place since late January:
BAGHDAD (Army News Service, Jan. 22, 2007) - The 82nd Airborne Division's 2nd Brigade Combat Team arrived in Baghdad last week as part of the first wave of a planned escalation of forces in Iraq's capital city.A second will join them soon. The 4th Brigade, 1st Infantry Division will depart for Iraq over the next few weeks. Technically part of "the surge", the brigade is actually deploying as scheduled months ago. The three remaining "surge" brigades will deploy in March, April and May, a few weeks ahead of their departure dates originally scheduled last fall.
As the surge rolls on, congress continues to pretend to be ignorant of the entire plan.
Debate on rival nonbinding resolutions — notably, one spearheaded by Senator John Warner, Republican of Virginia, that opposes any troop buildup, and another, led by McCain, that supports the administration's planned increase — is to begin Monday.Against a backdrop of surge troops already in combat - if rumors from Iraq are true.
To add to the fun, all Republican Senators, including John Warner, have pledged to block the Warner Resolution. Credit them with a great degree of intelligence only if in doing so they at last publicly acknowledge the surge for what it is.
Whatever happens, it seems likely that news from Iraq will be prominent this week. Regardless of whether increased "security operations" in Baghdad begin or not, violent acts will occur. Twenty thousand additional troops are going in locked and loaded, and the enemy they'll confront is well aware of the enormous propaganda value of any action they take this week. As you read these words, American soldiers are counting ammunition, suicide bombers are preparing farewell videos, reporters are outlining stories, and speechwriters are typing furiously away.
As six million people in Baghdad wait and pray.
Posted by Greyhawk / February 4, 2007 8:39 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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