Greetings! You are reading an article from The Mudville Gazette. To reach the front page, with all the latest news and views, click the logo above or "main" below. Thanks for stopping by!
August 29, 2007
Wearing the Black Flag (3)By Greyhawk
Speaking of the Petraeus report....
It seems that those who routinely feed from the various toilets along the left wing information sewer are currently being instructed how to feel about said upcoming report. (Not think, mind you, but feel. Feel might not be exactly the right word either, but it's closer to it than thinking, which is an altogether different process.) It's a pretty slick trick - once again begging the question "are the people who write this stuff ignorant, or do they just think their readers are?"
Which explains this:
A majority of Americans don't trust the upcoming report by the Army's top commander in Iraq on the progress of the war and even if they did, it wouldn't change their mind, according to a new poll.No doubt they feel very strongly about that.
A Tactical Operations Center in Iraq is a place where the oldest of military "technology" meets the newest. In some locations it's actually located in a building, in many others it's a tent - a wood floored, air conditioned work space for a lot of folks whose job it is to monitor everything happening in their battlespace 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Communications feeds from a dizzying amount of sources run via wireless and wire into a multitude of computers and viewing systems, and from there through the eyes and into the protein data banks of highly trained and specialized individuals who will further process the data and determine what of all this does the boss need to know?
It's a big tent.
Source one: Man down. Location.
Source two: We are ready to respond.
Source three: Weather is below minimums.
"How bad is it? Will it clear soon?"
In a corner a computer screen displays a satellite view, one tweaked to reveal the spread of dust just above the surface of the earth. It will not improve for hours - but it won't get worse either. How bad is it? Doable - just barely - but bad enough that authorization must come from higher.
Elsewhere: A group of Americans clusters around a fallen member of their team. They've done what they could for him - stabilized him to the best of their training. Started an IV. Moved to a location where a helicopter can land. Now they wait. Minutes pass like hours.
The battle Captain makes the call to higher. Higher consults a staff weather officer. Higher gives okay.
It's now up to the crew. They can declare the situation too risky at their discretion at any time during execution. They make their own final and very brief check with the weather guy. He tells them nothing reassuring - just the facts.
Then they very quickly go. Did you think it would be otherwise? Minutes after they leave the TOC the sound of helicopters pounding the air into submission can be heard. They lift off, lights on, but only for the brief amount of time they are in "friendly" air space.
There is one thing "good" about flying in such conditions - you aren't sharing air space with any other craft. So you don't have to worry about the other guys buzzing in from nowhere and accidentally bumping you to the ground.
Because you'd have to be crazy to be out flying at a time like this.
They pass over the wire about 10 seconds after launch, and the lights wink out. The noise of the rotors fades.
Back in 2004, as U.S. forces preparred to clear Fallujah, the New York Times took great pains to point out that the Real Problem was Ramadi:
RAMADI, Iraq, Oct. 21 - The American military and the interim Iraqi government are quickly losing control of this provincial capital, which is larger and strategically more important than its sister city of Falluja, say local officials, clerics, tribal sheiks and officers with the United States Marines.
Major General Rick Lynch, Commanding General, Multi-National Division Central:
General Odierno has charged Task Force Marne with securing the areas south and east of Baghdad and stopping the flow of weapons and violence through those areas. We're committing troops to these neighborhoods, and with the help of the Iraqi army and the police, demonstrating to the Iraqi people that we're not leaving until they have security and they're capable of maintaining it through their own efforts.
Levin, while saying military progress was being made, said the troop build-up could not be considered a success because its purpose was to make way for political reconciliation, and that hasn't happened.So, first the U.S. Congress will take a vacation...
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California, told CNN in an interview Thursday that the surge in Iraq "has not accomplished its goal," and the first item on her agenda after the recess will be the war in Iraq....then after that vacation, they'll take a "recess"...
Q And the second one is, there's been some confusion about the whens, hows, wherefores of the Crocker-Petraeus testimony to Congress. Can you say when they're going to testify before Congress and under what conditions?...and then hear from General Petraeus.
The story continues here.
Posted by Greyhawk / August 29, 2007 2:38 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...)
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.
I like having visitors to my house. I hope you are entertained. I fight for your right to free speech, and am thrilled when you exercise said rights here. Comments and e-mails are welcome, but all such communication is to be assumed to be 1)the original work of any who initiate said communication and 2)the property of the Mudville Gazette, with free use granted thereto for publication in electronic or written form. If you do NOT wish to have your message posted, write "CONFIDENTIAL" in the subject line of your email.
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