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June 12, 2009
Boumediene vs RatherBy Greyhawk
If you're like me you thought Dan Rather had faded into the sunset once he was booted from CBS after featuring forged documents in a story questioning President Bush's Air National Guard service.
But it turns out Dan got himself a cable Tee Vee gig - and he just scored a scoop: an interview with recently freed Guantanamo inmate Lakhdar Boumediene. In this clip from Dan's show you'll hear Boumediene describe the torture he experienced as a U.S. captive in Cuba:
Shameful - but as we know, all that came to an end when Barack Obama took the oath of office, right? Well, not according to Boumediene - it got worse:
"Nothing changed in Guatanamo"... "They torture me in the Obama time more than Bush" - disgraceful. But ol' Dan Rather wasn't born yesterday - he checked in with someone he identifies as "Boumediene's lawyer":
So whatever Boumediene says (ahem) "should be taken in full context with perspective." When his client says "they torture me in Obama time more than Bush" that means he isn't talking about torture using techniques that were used under the Bush administration... okay, I won't pretend otherwise - obviously these guys haven't coordinated their stories yet.
So Dan got a third opinion - this time from the Admiral commanding the Guantanamo facility, the man whose troops were just accused of crimes:
So he says no torture, Boumediene says more torture under Obama than Bush, and his lawyer says the torture used when Obama was president was different than when Bush was president because Obama had outlawed those techniques. Rather than sort that all out for his viewers, Dan presented all sides of the story fair and square. (And since I'm fair and square too you can see the whole thing here.)
Then after his broadcast he went on the Rachel Maddow Tee Vee program to tell her viewers what they missed out on by not knowing he was even on television anymore. (Please don't bother trying to figure out the picture of Dick Cheney in a Darth Vader costume in the background - that set decoration isn't important to this story):
Wow - I do believe either Dan's memory ain't what it use'ta was or else he's just gone and tied all the details of the story into a whole nuther pretzel altogether. Then he up and sprinkled it with all sorts of sheeit that just don't matter.
But hold on a minute, pa'dnuh, did I hear this right? "Some of those people who are working there now, looking, saying 'Guantanamo's going to close' - sort of take their last shots"?
Well I'll be durned - guess I did. And we never saw or heard Boumediene or his invisible lawyer say that. So heh - foxy Dan sure showed that cocky Admiral a thing or two, didn't he?
Shucks, back when ol' Dan was working that Abu Ghraib story after he got them nudie pitchers from one of them fellers that stacked up that there nekkid pyramid I thought he was doin' his dangdest to get abusive U.S. GI's off the hook, blame it all on the President. I don't know what's changed but I guess he ain't goin' to help any of them out any more.
But now take a look-see at this feller from ABC over here - looks like he got himself a piece o' the story 'ol Dan either forgot about or just plumb missed out on:
Well, I sure hope that Mr Boomerdeen feller and his lawyer can git together before that trial and come up with some sort of story they can both agree on as to what exactly went on there in Guantanamo.
Okay, at this point you folks might be every bit as confused as I was. You got Boomerdeen saying one thing, his lawyer saying another, and Dan Rather claiming somethin' else altogether. The only thing they all agree on is that under orders or in violation of orders, U.S. military folks sure like to torture them some prisoners. Anyhow, I took all the confusin' parts and put them all together in one last video to see if I could figger it all out. You see, I do agree with that wily ol' codger on this here: "It's one of those cases where you take a listen to both sides and make up your own mind".
So there you go. Now I ain't the sharpest tool in the shed, so all I kin say fer now is all of 'em might be lyin', but there damn sure ain't more than one of 'em tellin' the truth.
Posted by Greyhawk / June 12, 2009 4:41 AM | Permalink
Over at Mudville, you'll see Dan in a somewhat-akin-to-the-fake-but-real maneuver about alleged torture at Gitmo. [Actually, torture might be described as watching the Queen of Smug with the King of Fake-But-True] Read More
Welcome to the Dawn Patrol, our daily roundup of information on the War on Terror and other topics - from the MilBlogs and various sources around the world. If you're a blogger, you can join the conversation. If you link to any of these stories, add a ... 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...)
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