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August 23, 2008
Reds (Part Two)By Greyhawk
(Part one is here.)
A Fuzzy Pink Jackboot
Here's another book I think I'm fortunate to own: Winter in Moscow, by Malcolm Muggeridge. I say fortunate because Like Steven Vincent's Red Zone, the book is increasingly difficult to find - but they share other commonalities. Both tell the story of one man standing against the accepted narrative to reveal the true brutality of reality that others would prefer remain hidden - even though most would rather not see it anyway.
Let's draw a line from one to the other...
As to the unquestionably repressive nature of the regime, Mrs Eardley-Wheatsheaf thought that visitors from more civilized countries ought to keep their heads and to see things in proportion. It was true, as she explained at many subsequent lectures, pursing her lips tightly, perhaps a little venomously, that Soviet officials sometimes disappeared (she accentuated the word "disappeared" to give it its full significance); and naturally she deplored such goings-on, just as she deplored the press censorship and the suppression of all opposition opinion. A the same time she had to admit that, given the peculiar conditions prevailing in Russia, administrative disappearances carried with them certain advantages which she for one was not going to overlook.
If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face--for ever.
We might reasonably have expected that with the demise of the U.S.S.R. the Useful Idiots would have shut down their operations, even if they could not bring themselves to actually apologize for having shilled for the most monstrous tyrannies in human history. Not a bit of it.
Let’s go back to the Iraq before we invaded, there was a good education and health care system, food for everyone. That system didn’t belong to Saddam it belonged to the Iraqi, it belonged to years of creating what a civilization needed. If your parents didn’t send you to school they could be put in jail.
An amazing statement, given that a mere three years previously even the "liberal media" acknowledged the nature of the free education provided in Saddam Hussein's Iraq.
Reared on paeans to Saddam Hussein and forced to chant "Long live Saddam" whenever a teacher strode into the room, Iraq's kids will never learn quite the same way again. The Coalition Provisional Authority governing Iraq has ordered that the country's textbooks be stripped of pro-Saddam propaganda. Iraqi Education Ministry officials can't rewrite everything before school starts in September, but they're fixing what they can. Some items slated for pruning:The New York Times, October, 2003:
''We had to include him in every lesson plan or we'd be in trouble with the Baath Party,'' said Nada alJalili, an elementaryschool teacher at the Tigris School for Girls in Baghdad. ''When we taught about bacteria in biology class, we explained that Saddam brought antibacterial soap and drugs into Iraq. Whenever his name was mentioned, it had be followed with 'God protect him and keep him our president.' ''But three years later, the statement "If your parents didn’t send you to school they could be put in jail" (or perhaps just "disappeared") would be used as a defense of Saddam Hussein's Iraq.
Who could make such a claim? The same person who the year previously said this...
Were we as anti-war activists in the US really resisting? And if not, what would have to change?...even as the "resistance" slaughtered innocent Iraqis in the streets.
These days Jodie Evans has taken a break from defending the boot eternally smashing the human face and encouraging terrorists to slaughter women and children and has turned her energies to fundraising for Barak Obama (an effort at which she has enjoyed significant success). But as he explained in his book, in 2003 Steven Vincent met her at a party in Iraq.
More to follow...
Posted by Greyhawk / August 23, 2008 8:20 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.
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