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September 14, 2008
On Guard (Part Two)By Greyhawk
(Part one is here.) In this episode: Did Sarah Palin promote an Alaskan National Guard General because he "changed his tune" and switched from attacking her to praising her over the past few days? Read on...
“I deal with trade issues with Mexico and Canada all the time, so you have that,” Napolitano said in an interview. “You’re the commander in chief of your National Guard and, in this context, many of us have been to Iraq and Afghanistan. We’ve been deploying Guard over there. We talk to the families of those who have died over there. So I think the current crop of governors has more relevant foreign policy experience perhaps than our predecessors.”That's Arizona’s Democratic Governor Janet Napolitano, in July, 2007 explaining why a Governor would be a great pick as a Vice Presidential candidate.
After John McCain picked a governor as his running mate, one of the first knowledgeable individuals to attempt to educate political reporters on the State and Federal roles of the National Guard and the role of the Governor therein was the previously (see part one) quoted Maj. Gen. Campbell of the Alaska National Guard in this August 31 AP story:
Maj. Gen. Craig Campbell, adjutant general of the Alaska National Guard, considers Palin "extremely responsive and smart" and says she is in charge when it comes to in-state services, such as emergencies and natural disasters where the National Guard is the first responder.It's possible, however, that Democrats think Americans are ignorant of the respective roles of State and Federal forces, and that they suspect that Republicans are preying on this ignorance by not stating clearly that "as Governor of Alaska, Sarah Palin commands the National Guard when used in Alaska or in disaster relief efforts in other States but does not lead them in fixed-bayonet charges against the enemy if they are federalized."
CNN's Campbell Brown and John McCain spokesman Tucker Bounds sparred over this issue a few days later - both come off looking like blithering idiots. Barely able to hide her disgust, Brown attempts to get Bounds to acknowledge the "Guard Commander" position does not endow "foreign policy" credentials on the Governor (true). Rather than acknowledge that, Bounds insists that however little experience she may have in the "commander" role, it is more than Barack Obama has (true). But given a golden opportunity to mention that Obama's experience is "a speech in Germany" (or attending elementary school in Indonesia) he blows it. Given a chance to point out that at least Palin visited her troops at Landstuhl when she was in Germany, he passes. Perhaps he didn't know, or perhaps he did - and felt that mentioning the fact would be a low blow. (Some would argue, however, that that's his job.) And suddenly, Republicans are arguing that Palin's Guard Command is foreign policy experience. It doesn't and they aren't - at least not to the extent that Governor Napolitano did prior to Obama's Biden choice - but the rapid response is amazingly unstoppable - and likewise it has begun to denegrate the National Guard.
Many might not have noticed, but Maj. Gen. Campbell did:
As governor of Alaska, Sarah Palin has commanded the Alaska National Guard. Joining us live is Major General Craig Campbell from the Alaska National Guard. Major General, tell me, how long have you known Governor Palin?That's certainly ebullient praise, but you can decide for yourself whether that contradicts his earlier comments:
Maj. Gen. Craig Campbell, adjutant general of the Alaska National Guard, considers Palin "extremely responsive and smart" and says she is in charge when it comes to in-state services, such as emergencies and natural disasters where the National Guard is the first responder....but I say no. The later interview is certainly far more detailed, and includes actual quotes and not paraphrasings, but still there is no difference between the two. But for some reason Democrats have been obsessed with that earlier quote - more specifically, just the second paragraph, without a direct quote, and without all that "extremely responsive and smart" nonsense that preceded it. Now that someone (specifically, Campbell) has dared to tell more of the story, the rapid response kicks in again:
Realizing that Campbell was severely undercutting one of the campaign’s main talking points, it appears someone leaned on him and got him to change his tune…Leading the charge, the Democrats' own VoteVets group:
But suddenly--and strangely--the commander of the Alaska National Guard, Major General Campbell, changed his story. By the end of the convention, he was praising Palin's experience, talking on TV about how she had taken control of Alaska's National Guard operations and how she was a "great" leader.They are particularly incensed that Campbell also just got promoted to a third star: "If nothing else, this series of events raises serious questions about what's going on. And the media would be wise to probe this further." No doubt they will, and no doubt they won't get it right. If they did it would be a first for this month, at least.
Before anyone else gets their knickers in a twist over this issue, it should be noted that "This state promotion carries no financial benefit to Campbell. When serving in state status, the Adjutant General receives commissioner pay and benefits. When serving in active-duty status (federal), the Adjutant General is paid under the federally recognized rank of Major General."
So why the promotion? Because of events subsequent to the Hurricane Katrina fiasco. Among other things, the promotion establishes the Adjutant General as the ranking Guard member on scene in his or her state - an important distinction if other state's (or federal) forces are present for disaster relief:
Palin took the opportunity to promote Campbell ahead of any pending emergency that may occur with the upcoming fall storm season. This allows Alaska to have more of a say in times of state disasters.While Alaska is one of the first states to take this step, others are expected to follow. That excerpt above is from a press release on the promotion issued by Palin's office. But the wording comes directly from a memo from Campbell, dated 28 August, 2008 and found on Andrew Halcro's web page:
Point Paper On Adjutant General State PromotionHalcro was one of Palin's opponents in the 2006 governor's race, so kudos to him for publishing the full response. You can read that link for background on issues confronting the Alaska National Guard prior to 28 August, 2008.
Wait - 28 August? That means Palin's decision precedes her selection as McCain's running mate - and has nothing whatsoever to do with any imaginary "behavior change" on the part of the General towards the press during September of this year. (In fact, it dates back far before 28 August - but this example is far more fun, for reasons we'll soon see.)
Back to the Democrats' VoteVets page - because you really aren't going to believe how stupid these people think you are:
See if this timeline is as eyebrow-raising to you as it is to me:Well, given that Friday, 28 August: Campbell had already responded to other isues raised by Halcro regarding his pending promotion, I'd have to answer that 'eyebrow' question "no". Given that VoteVets then links (in an update that says only "Whoah. The plot really thickens now.") Halcro's piece that completely destroys their own thesis (apparently they didn't notice THE DATE) I'd have to say it actually makes me laugh out loud.
Okay, fall in, line up, no shoving - facts be damned - let's see who's ready to believe anything and everything they're told.
Alaska National Guard General gets promoted after retracting damaging Palin statementsReally? If it's so easy, how did you fail so badly?
Palin promotes general after he changes his stance on her experienceThese morons even link the Halcro piece, too:
The promotion was first noted by VoteVets' Brandon Friedman.Think Progress had the sense to put their headline in the form of a question: Did Palin Promote Alaska National Guard General Because He Changed His Tone To Support Her Credentials? The answer is "no" of course, but they only provide the question.
The Sniffington Post has the story, too - but in fairness, it''s a complete re-post of the VoteVets primary idiocy.
More to follow, I'm sure. What many of these stories have in common is a demand that mainsteam media report their lunacies as fact. But now that the story has been thoroughly and completely discredited, how long before the mainstream media reports that "questions have been raised" about Campbell's promotion?
Posted by Greyhawk / September 14, 2008 2:52 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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