Greetings! You are reading an article from The Mudville Gazette. To reach the front page, with all the latest news and views, click the logo above or "main" below. Thanks for stopping by!
November 30, 2009
More Over Tora BoraBy Greyhawk
Carl Levin is all over Tora Bora:
Senator Kerry's new report concludes that Senator Kerry was right in 2004 when he said President Bush had lost the opportunity to capture or kill Osama bin Laden when he "outsourced" the job to Afghan forces.
But that's all in the past, and Senator Levin has a vision for the future of what Democrats used to call "the real central front in the war on terror" - he wants to turn it over to Afghan forces: "The key here is an Afghan surge, not an American surge," said Levin, D-Mich. "We cannot, by ourselves, win (the) war." And he wants it done fast - according to the linked story, Levin feels McChrystal's goal for training Afghan security forces (400,000) should be accelerated from 2013 to October, 2012 - one month prior to the next US presidential election.
Senator Jack Reed, D-R.I., (another member of the Armed Services Committee) is on board with that plan: "And the key element here is not just more troops. The key element is shifting the operations to the Afghanis," Reed said. "And if that can be done, then I would support the president."
They don't mention it, but not only was "shifting the operations to the Afghans" the strategy for Tora Bora, it was the key component of a new plan for Iraq President Bush unveiled exactly four years ago this weekend. "Today I want to speak in depth about one aspect of this strategy that will be critical to the victory in Iraq, and that's the training of Iraq security forces," the then-president said in his U.S. Naval Academy speech:
Whatever President Obama has in mind for Afghanistan, West Point is certainly not Annapolis. But Obama aides are eager to point out other differences between the current president and his predecessor. "Officials" are promising that Obama's speech will last "roughly twice as long as then-President George W. Bush took to outline his Iraq 'surge' strategy."
You may recall the "surge strategy" as the one adopted by President Bush in 2007, after it became clear that while the goal was worthy and desirable as one part of a comprehensive plan, the over-emphasis on transferring responsibility to Iraqi forces was not winning the war.
But maybe we don't need to worry about tax dollars wasted in an over-emphasis on training Afghan forces. Last September the Senate stripped $900 million in funding in the defense bill from the administration's request to train and equip Afghan security forces.
But on the subject of taxes, let's give a final word here to Senator Levin, who wants you to know it's probably too late for Congress to raise your taxes - because of Bush.
Senator Carl Levin said a war tax on higher-earning Americans is not out of the question to support a surge of troops in Afghanistan, but believed such a tax is now too late.
Posted by Greyhawk / November 30, 2009 5:15 AM | 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.
Furthermore, I will occasionally use satire or parody herein. The bottom line: it's my house.
I like having visitors to my house. I hope you are entertained. I fight for your right to free speech, and am thrilled when you exercise said rights here. Comments and e-mails are welcome, but all such communication is to be assumed to be 1)the original work of any who initiate said communication and 2)the property of the Mudville Gazette, with free use granted thereto for publication in electronic or written form. If you do NOT wish to have your message posted, write "CONFIDENTIAL" in the subject line of your email.
Original content copyright © 2003 - 2011 by Greyhawk. Fair, not-for-profit use of said material by others is encouraged, as long as acknowledgement and credit is given, to include the url of the original source post. Other arrangements can be made as needed.
Contact: greyhawk at mudvillegazette dot com