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August 14, 2009
Lynndie goes to the Library (Update/Bump)By Greyhawk
Lynndie England will discuss her biography Tortured: Lynndie England, Abu Ghraib and the Photographs That Shocked the World at the Library of Congress Veterans Forum on Friday August 14 at noon in room 139 on the first floor of the James Madison building.Read the whole thing - here's a bit about the author:
I am a Library of Congress employee and a veteran.* I retired with an honorable discharge after serving for 25 years in the Air Force. I was the chief prosecutor for the military commissions at Guantanamo Bay for more than two years and I resigned in 2007 in large part because I believe waterboarding is torture and my superiors, Tom Hartmann and Jim Haynes, did not. I believe my views on torture have been clearly expressed, so it should come as no surprised that I am more than a little disappointed that the library that belongs to the United States Congress is hosting one of the most infamous torturers in modern time so she can promote her book. I'm even more disappointed that the event is sponsored by a veterans group. Perhaps I should start a rival group within the LOC called Veterans with Values and our motto will be "we don't honor the dishonorable." It doesn't appear that we'd overlap in any way with Mr. Moore's group.
Update - Shhhh... no talking in the library!:
WASHINGTON -- Organizers have canceled a lecture at the Library of Congress by the woman who became a symbol of the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse scandal after threats caused concerns about staff safety. [Link]
Something about that reminds me of the story of how the Daughters of the American Revolution got Jimi Hendrix kicked off the Monkees' tour.
"Free speech in America is dead"? "brawl like a town hall meeting"? Stunning.
Dave Dilegge reports no contact from the police or the library regarding the alleged threats. I encourage him to contact them and offer to assist in any way possible with the investigation.
More from the last link above:
Moore said he won't plan future lectures because of the England problems and that he's canceling three already scheduled, including ones by a woman who wrote about sexual harassment in the military and anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan, whose son Casey was killed in Iraq.And from the first link:
Veteran Moore has weathered a wave of criticism in recent days, but he remains steadfast in his hatred for Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney and his admiration for Lynndie England's "guts."
And this is from Wall Street Journal coverage prior to the cancellation:
A representative for the book's publisher, Bad Apple Books, asked to clarify that the biography is written by Gary S. Winkler and not by England. Further, the scheduled Friday appearance at LOC is not an official promotion.
"The author, Mr. Gary Winkler, was threatened with an injunction by Ms. England's representative prior to the release of the book." [Source]
Meanwhile, over at NPR:
As an earlier posting by my blogging partner Mark suggested, England sounds fairly unrepentant.
The AP, (referencing the first Small Wars Journal post) noted "The posting had 19 comments by Friday afternoon, including several criticizing England." More remarkably, it has several defending her, too.
Posted by Greyhawk / August 14, 2009 5:10 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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