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June 27, 2009
Rapidfire: Jump that Shark!By Greyhawk
Let's get one thing straight (as possible, at least...) - Congress left the Obama admin out to dry (or maybe covered for them, who really knows?) by not funding the Gitmo closing in the defense budget or the supplemental. It's about the only funding they didn't like - "Cash for Clunkers" somehow made the grade for the defense budget, this did not. As usual, plenty of other non-defense related items (many - but not all - of which are pure pork) passed muster, too. On top of that, more F22s than the DoD asked for and various other increases critical to continued home-district support found their way into the bill.
As for things considered that didn't fit, a Lieberman/Graham amendment to ban release of any additional detainee abuse photos received overwhelming support as a stand-alone measure (putting the Senate in line with the Supreme Court and the White House on that issue.)
And, oh by the way - the bulk of the cash goes to continuing the various wars (or "supporting the troops" if you prefer). Who would complain over a few tens of billions on top of many more tens of billions for that? This is the third year in a row all this has gone on under a Democratic controlled congress, although only the first prepared for the signature of a Democrat in the White House.
At some point, it will occur to the the useful idiots subset of those who voted for change (in 2006 or 2008) that they are no longer useful. When that reality strikes it will be interesting to see what they do about it. (Prediction: cry.) But that day is not today.
Up armor the trailers!!!!! (FWIW: I get emails from troops in Afghanistan saying their Under Armour gives them a rash.)
On the other hand - no, we don't need more F22s in this year's budget - regardless of what the Democratic-controlled Congress might say to the contrary. There are plenty of good reasons for that, but unfortunately MSNBC went with John ("The Rangers killed Tillman for Bush!!!!) Soltz over just about anyone familiar with the issue. (On the third hand, loud group chants of Republicanz R teh Suxorz!!! led by the VoteVets crew might be just the thing to keep the useful idiots useful and distracted while we buy more shiny new F22s to fly overwatch at Gitmo. Or, maybe "cutting" the ridiculously small - 7 or 12 - number of extra F22s the DoD doesn't want from the budget will be a bone to throw at the useful idiots to make them still feel useful...)
And for those not in on the inside joke at This Ain't Hell, I am Sam Elliot.
Looking forward, non-shark jumping news follows:
Here's a comparison/contrast of the operational environments (and other factors) confronting ISF and SoI troops, from Boss Mongo - who is currently mentoring ISF forces in Iraq. (Always a critical task, but one that will be very much so next week...)
Hmmmmm... speaking of next week:
Of particular concern is a new rule that bars U.S. troops from using mine-resistant armored vehicles in urban areas during the day, officials said....I believe someone is misinterpreting the guidance here. Obviously "combat troops out of cities" means we won't be doing routine solo (meaning sans ISF) security patrols in town, and I've heard that routine travel (to and from) various urban locales (say, resupply to the security stations and other locations where our many "non-combat" adviser and support troops are stationed) will be at night when the roads are less crowded, but this description paints a different (and, I suspect, erroneous) picture.
And speaking further of next week - for those not wanting to be surprised by the news I highly recommend the Iraq section of yesterday's Dawn Patrol for read-aheads. (And just because I'm biased towards the efforts of the awesome lady who compiles that information doesn't mean I'd steer you wrong.)
Posted by Greyhawk / June 27, 2009 3:26 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.
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