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July 24, 2007
A day's WorkBy Greyhawk
While you were sleeping, U.S. and Iraqi soldiers were busy:
Monday, 23 July 2007 Three Iraqis freed, their captors detained
Monday, 23 July 2007 Iraqis take lead in island clearing operation
Monday, 23 July 2007 Allons Soldiers render medical aid to Iraqis after VBIED blast
Monday, 23 July 2007 Truck Bomb destroyed during Marne Avalanche
Monday, 23 July 2007 12 al-Qaeda terrorist facilitators captured
Monday, 23 July 2007 Coalition Forces kill 9 terrorists, detain 8 and destroy weapons caches
Monday, 23 July 2007 Warlords find EFP cache
Monday, 23 July 2007 Combined operation nets cache find in Jamia
Monday, 23 July 2007 Suicide car bombers miss target, kill 3 civilians, wound 13 others
Monday, 23 July 2007 Soldiers search for missing comrades leads to discovery of weapons caches
Monday, 23 July 2007 Task Force Marne Soldier died of wounds
Monday, 23 July 2007 Soldiers attacked during combat logistics patrol
Monday, 23 July 2007 IA Forces, U.S. Special Forces detain al-Qaida Terrorists linked to U.S. casualties
Monday, 23 July 2007 Search nets seven terrorist suspects in Bulayj
Monday, 23 July 2007 IA, U.S. Special Forces detain alleged terrorist finance chief in Ninewa Province
Monday, 23 July 2007 ISF, U.S. Special Forces detain five suspected extremists
Sunday, 22 July 2007 Insurgents target ambulance
Sunday, 22 July 2007 Iraqi Army, Coalition Forces detain suspected Al Qaeda cell leader near Taji
Sunday, 22 July 2007 Coalition Forces Detain Two Suspected Weapons Smugglers
Sunday, 22 July 2007 Coalition Forces kill one terrorist, detain 14 suspects
Not a bad day's work from hard working soldiers. (And there are more stories here. And there are even more stories that aren't - stories that time and security considerations won't allow.
Then, while they were sleeping:
Throughout this Haditha investigation our family has believed in the innocence of our son L/Cpl Justin Sharratt, we knew he was innocent. There are things I do not understand and I would like to find the answers. We do not seek revenge, but we would like to see justice. In a conversation with Congressman John Murtha, my questions still remain unanswered. With the help of the American people, I hope to find justice.Daily Kos:
But do I still support the individual men and women who have given so much to serve their country?The New Republic:
We were already halfway through our meals when she arrived. After a minute or two of eating in silence, one of my friends stabbed his spoon violently into his pile of mashed potatoes and left it there.Daily Kos:
According to the July 30, 2007 issue of The Nation magazine, damning photos of a U.S. Soldier using a spoon to literally scoop out the brains of a dead Iraqi and pretending to eat the gray matter were recently acquired.(Notice Michelle Malkin's screen capture - a disclaimer paragraph that wasn't in the original piece appears by magic in the text...)
And here's the referenced story from The Nation:
Over the past several months The Nation has interviewed fifty combat veterans of the Iraq War from around the United States in an effort to investigate the effects of the four-year-old occupation on average Iraqi civilians. These combat veterans, some of whom bear deep emotional and physical scars, and many of whom have come to oppose the occupation, gave vivid, on-the-record accounts. They described a brutal side of the war rarely seen on television screens or chronicled in newspaper accounts.If not the first, at least the first since John Kerry fled Vietnam.
The Nation contacted various anti-war groups to find veterans willing to make such claims:
To find veterans willing to speak on the record about their experiences in Iraq, we sent queries to organizations dedicated to US troops and their families, including Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, the antiwar groups Military Families Speak Out, Veterans for Peace and Iraq Veterans Against the War and the prowar group Vets for Freedom. The leaders of IVAW and Paul Rieckhoff, the founder of IAVA, were especially helpful in putting us in touch with Iraq War veterans.I doubt any Vets for Freedom members contributed atrocity tales - those guys would have had the courage to act while still in uniform.
That Nation hit-piece was by Chris Hedges. His semi-disguised public relations campaign for Iraq Veterans Against the War also appeared in the LA Times earlier in the month:
AFTER FOUR YEARS of war, most Americans still remain sheltered from the day-to-day realities of the occupation of Iraq, especially its effects on Iraqis. With reporter Laila Al-Arian, I spent the last few months interviewing 50 combat veterans, and in thousands of pages of transcripts, they told a brutal story.
That this many stories on the same theme appeared in so many leftist publications nearly simultaneously over the past week is as coincidental and unrelated as the multiple operations American and Iraq soldiers performed yesterday. We'll look at motivation tomorrow.
"Tomorrow" for me comes with this disclaimer. Astute observers will have noted that my "day's work" listed above actually stretched over two days. That was one day in my world - I worked from 4PM Sunday until 5 PM Monday without a break. Then, instead of going out and killing Iraqi babies I went back to the tent and wrote a song to my wife via flashlight.
Posted by Greyhawk / July 24, 2007 8:37 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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