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July 7, 2009
Michael Jackson is still... oh look! It's Sarah Palin!By Greyhawk
No doubt those who voted against Obama/Biden last November did so in part because they remember the sorts of quotes from the first half of this video...
...but while likely disgusted with the outright hypocrisy revealed in the second half, they can't possibly be as disgusted as the folks who voted for Obama/Biden based in large part on the same sorts of comments from the first half. The sense of betrayal among authentic members of the latter group must be consuming, I'm not sure how it could be otherwise.
For those unable to see the video - part one is from April, 2007, (full version here) and features Biden taking credit for leading the charge to deny funding "the surge" - calling Petraeus "wrong" and declaring that no one agrees with him on the possibility for stabilizing Iraq, etc. - specifically in response to a how do you answer those who say we need more time sort of question. What he didn't say was that the reason for the lack of surge-related progress was because only two of the surge Brigades (ultimately there would be six-plus) were deployed at the time - and no one in the media was willing (or able) to call him (or any other members of the "surge has failed" crowd) out. (Full disclosure: I was part of the surge - I acknowledge this impacts my opinion). The second half (full video here, transcript here) begins with Biden declaring victory in Iraq, taking credit for current conditions ("the Obama/Biden plan...") and arguing against potential congressional funding cuts (due to lack of progress) in the Afghanistan mission because not all the troops are even in place yet so it's too early to judge.
Watch the video. And watch it again. Then ask your friends to watch it too. This is America, this man represents us to the world - so this is who we are. I challenge anyone - be they "pro" or "anti" war - to explain the upside. I want to play it for laughs - I want to think it's funny, in a Daily Show kind of way (which it is) but I can't - and here's why.
I can propose one reason (beyond willful blindness) for those "anti-war" Obama/Biden supporters denying what's happening before their very eyes. If you watch the entire video you'll see George Stephanopoulos counter Biden's claim for "his" successful plan for Iraq by stating that Dick Cheney is concerned with the drawdown - at which point Biden immediately points out (accurately) that the plan belongs to George Bush and Dick Cheney. While that's a pretty transparent example of an "if it works it's ours - if it fails it's theirs" sort of explanation (and also the fastest 180-degree political position shift I've ever seen) it could also lead one to believe they're dealing with a blithering idiot with no idea what he's talking about. If that perception of mere ignorance somehow gives solace to jilted-feeling "end the occupation now" voters then so be it - I can't understand it, but perhaps others can.
But while Biden '09 comfortably contradicts Biden '07, there is someone else who counters the newly triumphant Biden '09 and offers hope to those dismayed by his militant statements. That someone is none other than Joe Biden - who tells Americans that we're "securing victory" and assures our Iraqi allies that "he came with a message of continuing support for the country even as the U.S. military pulls back" and "the enemies of Iraq want to again reignite sectarian violence ... they will fail" - while simultaneously "warning Iraqi officials Friday that the American commitment to Iraq could end if the country again descended into ethnic and sectarian violence" - something that just maybe an enemy whose strategic handbook is titled The Management of Savagery might appreciate hearing. Biden, of course, can be secure in the knowledge that no American media outlet will publish those quotes together, and that his biggest fans will cling (like an abused, codependent, lover) to only one.
And if you think that's a trait unique to the VP, (or believe that Biden, too might be on the list for a pending psychiatric diagnosis) think again - his boss plays the same dangerous doublespeak game with Afghanistan and Pakistan - perhaps calming "the base" but with the same inevitable results there.
That could also be a subtle nuance to which I'm not attuned, that I can't hope to comprehend - but it seems to me that if you want to try executing something similar on a personal level you could seek out the rowdiest looking bar in town, walk up to the roughest looking customer in the house and tell him loudly that you're about to kick his candy ass - unless he punches you, in which case you'll just walk away. I'm one hundred percent certain he'll look at you like you're an idiot, and I'm willing to bet you're going to get hit. How hard depends on how many times and how loudly you repeat your intent - and whether he's really as rough and tough as he looks.
Does anyone want to take that bet?
You see, that's the problem with making statements to appease your "anti-war" base that counter what you tell your allies in the war zone - everyone hears both messages, including the enemy. In fact, they're paying closer attention than Americans (Look! It's Sarah Palin!) are. And when they "punch" people die - usually in large numbers. (Unlike our hypothetical "bar" scenario, however, someone other than the individual making the misguided statement ends up eating their teeth.) That sort of wartime incitement is understandable (in a sick, twisted way we used to call "treason" back in the bad old days) when every one of those deaths equates to a vote for you while the other guy is running the show. But someone's got to be awfully confident of media cover if they think they can get away with the various 180's and self-refuting counterpoints that Biden (and so many others) have pulled off over the past few months, don't you think?
Hence the title of this post. Funny, huh?
And now, ladies and gentlemen, your moment of zen:
Previously - an in-depth look at Biden's visit to Iraq: Salvage Operation
Posted by Greyhawk / July 7, 2009 7:54 AM | Permalink
Back around the Fourth of July when Sarah Palin's Runner's World profile appeared online, web luminaries were amused to discover the shamefully disrespectful treatment the American flag was given in one of the accompanying photos. Daily Kos: "Today, I ... 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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