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October 19, 2005
The Trial of Saddam HusseinBy Greyhawk
No doubt most readers here are aware that Saddam Hussein's trial began (albeit briefly) today. Accused of a long list of atrocities, fewer probably know the specifics of the current charges. The LA Times has details:
Once a torrent of water coursed through this central Iraq town, which takes its name from Nahr Dujayl, the Little Tigris River that for centuries nourished its lush palm groves and orchards.Read the whole thing, of course. Much interesting background information.
While reading, consider the people of Iraq. Used as cannon fodder in a lengthy war with Iran or slaughtered for opposing their own government. Forced to march into Kuwait then punished economically by the world after the defeat in that war. Murdered by the thousands by their own government for over a decade and finally invaded and occupied. Now as Baathist remnants continue their slaughter of their political opponents and foreign fighters slip across the border to add to that death toll the people go to the polls to vote on their future.
Rebuilding this devastated nation will be a project of many years. Most of the world and half of the population of the US are missing in action from the effort, if not in outright opposition in word or deed.
As for the trial itself, perhaps no event will reveal as much about the heights and depths to which those who support or oppose this effort are willing to rise or fall.
The New York Times, for instance, leads with this:
But what should be a moment of triumph for his victims is instead stirring concern about the fairness and competence of the court itself.And offers a litany of reasons they consider the as-yet unheld trial to be a failure. No word on the qualifications of the stenographer or the comfort of the press gallery seating, but future entries will no doubt tell the tale.
There are those who will find themselves agreeing with the Times - and they should carefully examine their motives. The thin veneer of a call for "legitimacy" offers cover, but it's the implicit claim of illegitimacy of the current system in Iraq that nourishes their hunger to dismiss the effort. That is their right, of course, as witnesses to history - a luxury the participants seldom enjoy. Even mere bystanders in these historic times can speak out without fear of repercussion - and can do so with or without the obligatory disclaimer that the accused is, of course, guilty - dismissed immediately with the requisite "but...".
They can say what they will, for as long as the 'less talk more action' crowd are inclined to protect them from the Saddam Husseins of this world.
The rhetoric was soaring, the goals were grand, the ideals were large. And yet, by the standards of modern human rights and international law, the International Military Tribunal that tried and sentenced the Nazi leadership in Nuremberg should have been a failure.She's found the signal in the noise, of course. Read it all.
Odd that the Post identifies this as an opinion piece, while the Times claims theirs is news.
Posted by Greyhawk / October 19, 2005 7:20 PM | Permalink
The trial of deposed Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein is underway and as expected, the details of his cruel reign are far more disturbing than was previously thought. While some of the better known charges leveled against Hussein include crimes against Read More
... The only "trial" I'd give the **** is a 60 second head start across the desert with couple dozen Peshmerga in hot pursuit. (I wouldn't give them guns, just clubs and knives-- See how fair I am?) ... Read More
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.
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