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Tomorrow I will be unable to post - so here ya go one day early. News time
Don’t tread on my blog: A study of military web logs
DOD Joint Course in Communication 06A
University of Oklahoma
As the popularity of Web logs increases, so, too, have the number of military Web logs. Service members, veterans, and family members are blogging from home, from the base, and from the battlefield. These milbloggers are able to write daily reports that anyone in the world – friend or foe – can read. Military public affairs officers may find it harder to manage the message as milbloggers become conduits for information to the public and the media. Little is known about milblogs. How do they tell the military story, and what messages do they convey? Are they perceived as credible? Do they contain more emotional content? This paper analyzes the content of milblogs and how they depict the military and its personnel. It also compares the credibility and tone of milblogs, traditional media, and Defense Department news sources, and how the content from these three sources influences readers’ attitudes toward the war in Iraq and the U.S. military’s continued presence in there.
Somewhat off-topic for the day, but the ThreatsWatch server has been taking a pounding from GoogleNews linking to an analysis of SecState Rice's offer of nuclear talks to Iran and media, editorial and pundit reactions to it. Figured it may be of interest to a handful of readers here at MilBlogs, even though direct military implications are not applicable...yet: PrincipalAnalysis: US Offer to Iran of Nuclear Talks Widely Misunderstood
Back on topic, Dr. Judith Klinghoffer said "Thank you" to MilBlogs readers and contributors for the help provided to her yesterday.
MilBloggers in general and, in my humble view, the specific collection of bloggers and readers Greyhawk has assembled right here, continue to make an important difference.
In contrast with the prominence of the Haditha story in the U.S. media, the deaths have received little attention here.But yes, the next beheading video will include a reference.
Maybe you saw that recent story about the two Navy corpsmen who rescued an Iraqi oil rig worker in the North Arabian Gulf after he collapsed from smoke inhalation? Turns out they saved his life on the deck of a burning oil platform, while everyone else was evacuating.
Missed it, did you?
Many anticipate - some eagerly - that the Haditha incident will enrage the people of Iraq, perhaps even stir the rage of the oft noted and much broader "Arab street".
It's the height of American arrogance to believe our boys coudn't have done such a thing, and to think that others care.
Jed Babbin at Real Clear Politics echoes what SMASH has been saying over at The Moderate Voice. I'm afraid his predictions for media (and partisan political) exploitation of this story is already coming true as the hours progress.
Babbin urges us to be faithful to the vast majority of those who are likewise faithful to their service:
Just as the few disgraced the many at Abu Ghraib, the very few who may have committed murder in Haditha will place a burden on the shoulders of every soldier, sailor, airman, marine and coast guardsman fighting terrorism. Each of us has a duty to not add to that burden, and to help relieve it as well. If those few Marines killed innocents in Haditha, their conduct is an aberration, not the norm. It is up to each one of us to ensure that the events of Haditha do not tarnish the brave and selfless service of the many who came before, or any who come after. Except for the aberrant few, the Marines are always faithful to America. In times such as this, we cannot fail to be faithful to them.
(Greyhawk here - I bumped this one up - keep 'em coming.)
I need your help:
This John Murtha thing has me so fired up that, in the spirit of Shakespeare, I've decided to "kill him with kindness" by sending Mr. Murtha a belated Memorial Day gift—a signed copy of Home of the Brave: Honoring the Unsung Heroes in the War on Terror. At least this way Mr. Murtha (aka "The Irresponsible One," or "TIO" for short) can know just what kind of men and women he is smearing and undermining.
Here's where you come in:
Whoever posts or emails me the best John Murtha book inscription will receive a signed copy of Home of the Brave. If sending email, just put “Murtha Book Contest” in the subject line. MilBlogs contributors (those names on the left) will decide the top five inscriptions. Then Greyhawk, Andi, and Blackfive will select the winner, so send effusive praise of their blogs (or bribes) their way. Enter as often as you like. Friday (June 2nd) we'll announce the top five entries and crown the winner.
Bring on the wit!
As for this comment by the media relations office at Queens College:
The Queens College media relations office said it had videotaped the commencement but could not immediately provide a copy of the tape or a transcript.
Sounds suspect to me.
One of our own reflects:
As I was making my rounds today carrying out the mundane but highly technical tasks of a REMF, I chanced upon the camera gear that represents a physical connection to the last few moments of the lives of Paul Douglas and James Brolan. Their shattered equipment, which they used to record and report events in Iraq, lay broken and twisted on the floor, covered in specks of blood and pierced in various places by the shrapnel that always accompanies an IED’s concussive force in the milliseconds after the triggerman sets it off.That's Trevor on his blog Will to Exist. Read the whole thing.
Meanwhile, here in Germany:
A CBS News correspondent critically wounded by a car bomb in Iraq that killed two colleagues was heavily sedated and breathing through a ventilator yesterday at a US military hospital in Germany, a spokeswoman said.All done!
Dozier, an American, was flown to the hospital in southern Germany on Tuesday after sustaining critical injuries on Memorial Day when a car bomb exploded, killing two colleagues, a US soldier, and an Iraqi translator.
Dozier, 39, is still in intensive care in critical condition. However, she is now considered stable and the ventilator is a routine measure, Shaw said.
Those of you who were fortunate enough to attend the MilBlogs conference met Michael Fay, Marine warrant officer, artist and milblogger.
I was with the Marine rifle company named in the Haditha incident. During the month of October 2005, up to the Iraqi constitutional referendum vote, I patrolled the streets of Haditha with them. Due to blog entries here at Fire and Ice back in October several news organizations have contacted me for comments. I had intended to make a statement here with my personal reflections, but will not do so at this time.I suppose there are those who would make an issue of that request, but it's a reasonable one. And Michael has several other posts he points to in that entry above that should be read - like his work from Haditha last fall offering insightful commentary, revealing photos, and his incredible drawings of Marines and the people of the town.
The Public Affairs Office and Judge Advocate General of the Marine Corps have asked Marines to temporarily refrain from publicly speaking about the November 19, 2005 incident in Haditha, Iraq. Here is their request, which I will gladly honor.
(Once again, kudos to Mrs G for putting everything in one place.)
One thing we do know about whatever happened at Haditha, it was no My Lai. Those who are making comparisons are diminishing the significance of a much more horrific event, in which as many as 500 civilians may have been killed - and not in an immediate response to a violent attack.
As we've noted here before, if not for the courage of army warrant Officer Hugh "Buck" Thompson, the numbers would have been higher.
Thompson died earlier this year. Here's a tribute to the man by a fellow Vietnam vet who met him years later.
Swaraaj Chauhan responds to my comments by making some strange analogies about prosecuting body parts, quoting heavily from General Tony McPeak (ugh), and finally bringing up the assassination of Thomas Becket in 1170:
The king's exact words have been lost to history but his outrage inspired four knights to rid the realm of this annoying prelate. They arrived at Canterbury and immediately searched for the Archbishop. Becket fled to the Cathedral where a service was in progress. The knights found him at the altar, drew their swords and began hacking at their victim finally splitting his skull.
So the present day "Kings" have to just speak aloud in a macho language to spur their young "knights" into "action". So if we just blame the "knights" and seek "law and justice" and punish them for their barbaric acts, do we believe that the "Kings" of today are not acountable and are above the law and the justice system?
In reply, I challenge Swaraaj to back up his accusations with some, you know, facts and stuff:
You're strongly implying that these Marines allegedly committed mass murder on the "suggestion" of their superiors. Yet you provide no basis for your accusation, besides the 800-year-old precedent of the assassination of Thomas Becket...
So here's my question to you, Swaraaj: Do you have any factual basis whatsoever for your accusations, or is this all just speculation?
On a positive note, I'm getting some backup from the other commenters.
Good thing the ship sailed - here's Sen. Charles Schumer, D-NY, on CBS TV's Face the Nation last Sunday:
There's no light at the end of the tunnel. We're told 18 months ago that we're going to turn over the policing duties and the military duties to the Iraqi armed forces, and they can't do the job at all. We don't have body armor for our troops, either on their bodies or their humvees.In case anyone was wondering if that lie would ever go away.
James Taranto posted an excellent mini essay as part of Opinion Journal’s Best of the Web on Wednesday, on the subject of Baby-boomer liberalism, “with its smug sense of moral superiority and its impatience with America's imperfections.”
The spur for Taranto’s fine critique was an essay by Dotty Lynch at CBS News’ web site, in which Lynch expresses puzzlement over the lack of (significant) student protests against the war in Iraq.
Taranto describes Lynch’s theories for why student are silent as “pretty trite stuff,” which surely they are. What Taranto finds most interesting is the underlying assumption deeply embedded in Lynch’s befuddlement: that all wars are supposed to result in opposition. Call it the "Vietnam Assumption."
One of my NCOs made a pointed observation about there being certain points of common understanding, understood but intentionally unspoken. “There’s the BS we tell others, use to strut our stuff, compete, hold our own against other sections [units, services, etc.], and then there’s what we know between ourselves. It’s all good, unless you start believing your own BS.”
This “peace protest,” counter-culture generation was oh so full of itself, and still is. As Taranto observes, for a variety of reasons, reality never punctured the bloat of false identity and self image. Those who have done so much to coarsen and diminish both culture and politics, have likewise cheapened and undervalued the credos and principles of our republic. Their extreme undervaluing and dismissal of military service as a citizen’s responsibility is but one small but critical component of that undervaluation. They have sold cheap what once was dear.
Only a generation that fooled itself into “believing its own BS” could think that whatever they dreamed up to “fight the system,” to “give it to the man,” or to give “power to the people,” was anything more than youthful exuberance, hubris, and no small amount of self-aggrandizement.
My answer to Lynch and her contemporaries? Iraq is no “Vietnam” as you dream in it your imaginations, at least in part, because Vietnam in all its stark reality was no Vietnam, either.
You changed the world, but many of us who are inheritors now fail to see in what way it was improved. At least by the efforts of which you’re most proud.
(Full Post with excerpts back at home.)All done!
We send them off to class, then a few hours in an expecially equipped car.
Next we take them out to the country and let them practice while we sit in the passenger seat.
It would be so much easier if all the other drivers followed the rules of the road.
We spend months in the right seat, pointing out an endless stream of obstacles and hazards.
"That jack$$$ is going to pull out in front of you, that kid is going to run into the street, you're going too fast, or too slow". It is a harrowing exerience for all involved.
Eventually we take them to be tested, then they drive alone.
We know it is a dangerous period.
The road is filled with dangerous drivers who refuse to obey the rules of the road.
We know mistakes will be made, and pray it won't be more than a minor traffic violation or a fender bender.
Our prayers are not always answered.
Last week coalition forces drove alone 29 times.
Iraqi Forces drove alone 152 times.
There were 208 trips with Coalition and Iraqi Forces Driving together.
Looks to me like the MHC's are being replaced by various combinations of new capacities like the H-60S and other platforms and modules, including UUVs and other goodies that can move into the littorals without being slow moving targets. I think the new catch phrase is "organic capacity."
I note that all but three of the MHCs seem to reside in the NRF as it is. Not that there's anything wrong with that.
A quick glance through some of the links here sort of helped calm me down. I mean "Organic MCM to Enable STOM/OMFTS" is just special, you know...
It seems to me that someone has a plan.
Over at Castle Argghhh!, a post in which I save you the need to read One Woman's Army, the Commanding General of Abu Ghraib Tells Her Story... by Janis Karpinski.
I gave her a chance. She hung herself.
You know nobody cares about mine warfare or antisubmarine warfare until the second flaming datum. At least the mine guys have a Congressional caucus!
Stick with me a bit on this.
- Army: Mmm. We aren't fighting tanks right now - lets get rid of all our sabot rounds. If we need some, we'll ask the French for a few.
- Air Force: Mmm. We don't seem to be fighting other aircraft - lets get rid of all our BVR (Beyond Visual Range) capability. If we need some, we'll ask the Germans for a few.
Of course, that isn't happening. What does all the above have to do with the price of tea in China? Well, check out this little tidbit.
...of 19 Navy ships damaged or sunk by adversaries since 1945, 15 were victims of mines.Not to mention the DESERT STORM Princeton and Tripoli "issues" with those thingies and the fact that every bucket-o-FOD nation out there has them. What is the Navy doing?
All 12 of the Navy’s small MHC coastal minehunters would be decommissioned by 2008. All of these ships of the Osprey class were commissioned from 1993 to 1999.While it is good to focus on the here and now (yes Haditha, Michael Moore, and Jesse are hot topics), there are long term military problems that we cannot wish away, and we cannot recreate overnight. You come to war as you are. Mine and Anti-Submarine Warfare will be the "unarmored Hummer vs. IED" of the next Navy war. Put a bet on it now, China is. Fundamentals people - fundamentals.
Like the Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon, the "six more months" storyline is spreading...
BAGHDAD, Iraq - The U.S. ambassador said Sunday that Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki will have no honeymoon and will be immediately challenged by al-Qaida and other terrorists.
In an interview with the Associated Press one day after the seating of the new leadership, U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad outlined the immediate challenges facing the government of national unity and said the next six months will be "truly critical."
Remember when anti-war types were making a big deal about the troops apparently not having enough equipment? Now, it looks like they're the ones trying to keep our troops from getting the equipment they need:
"A ship carrying military gear bound for Iraq pulled away from this Puget Sound port Wednesday evening after a week of protests in which more than three dozen people were arrested.
"At least 100 protesters chanted "Stop that boat!" as the 950-foot cargo ship pulled away from a dock at the Port of Olympia...
"...Activists began protesting at the port more than a week ago after learning that Stryker vehicles and other Army gear from the 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, a 4,000-soldier unit stationed at Fort Lewis, were being shipped to Iraq."
I just wish they'd make up their minds...
I would just like to say here that Sgt. Damon Moore is performing a beautiful piece of work with respect to his lawsuit. It's art, I tell you.
May he and his wife acquire every dollar they want, and not have to hand it all over to lawyers. May the other guys follow suit (puns not intended).
I got an e-mail soliciting a visit to this site: http://www.tt-iraq.com/
It looks like a fairly comprehensive roundup of current news relating to Iraq and Iran. They claim not to have any political agenda. Anyone heard of Templeton Thorpe?
BAGHDAD - Ahmed al-Batawi, an insurgent accused of beheading hundreds of people, who was captured by Iraqi forces on Monday
Someone accused of BEAHEADING hundreds of people.
An "Insurgent", not a murdering thug, not a war criminal, NOT A TERRORIST.
PAUL REVERE was an INSURGENT. WILLIAM WALLACE was an INSURGENT.
It's only Wed. evening and my inbox is already flooded.
Getting some stellar stuff. Keep it up!
The provocation which reduces the killing from murder to manslaughter is an answer to the presumption of malice which the law raises in every case of homicide; it is therefore no answer when express malice is proved and to be available the provocation must have been reasonable and recent, for no words or slight provocation will be sufficient, and if the party has had time to cool, malice will be inferred.
The Investigators and Lawyers need to finish their work. People who write headlines need to STFU.
CN8, Comcast Cable's News Channel, will be broadcasting a Haditha Debate LIVE on both cable and the internet. Be sure to tune in at 9PM EDT (appx 30 minutes from this posting).
At the above link, to the right of the top image, hit the 'WATCH LIVE' link.
MilBloggers, call in and voice your opinion. From the show info:
Time To Leave Iraq? Are too many innocent people dying and are we making the situation worse? Tune in and tell us what you think by calling 1-877-CN8-LIVE.
That those are the two most baseless questions posed should not go without saying.
You have your orders.