Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Doubts

I read military blogs because I want to know first hand what is going on in the Middle East. I want to feel that I am a part of the war effort and not so detached, as other Americans seem to be. I feel like our country is at war and that men and women are sacrificing their lives for an important cause and keeping us safe. I think that if more people showed their support for our military, things would be much better for our soldiers. By reading personal accounts of the war, I feel like I know some of the soldiers and their real problems. By being a Soldier’s Angel, I feel like I am doing something to help and support our military. I feel like I do very little, but at least I do something. This is an important time in American history. People need to realize how important our military is and how important the job they are doing is to our everyday life. People need to understand this is a war. I want my Marine cousin, Jim, to understand how important blogs can be to the American people. They are a voice of truth and reality.

Although I have talked to Jim about blogging twice now (once before his first deployment and now before his second deployment) he is not interested for two reasons. First, he does not like the idea of hate-mongers being able to comment on his thoughts – not so much for himself, but he does not want his family and friends to have to see those kind of comments. Second, he said that he had been told that lots of military guys had gotten in trouble over blogs, "shooting their mouths off and such". I could have argued with Jim on both of these points as could all of you bloggers out there, but I chose to not be pushy (really difficult for me). If Jim does not want to blog, he does not have to. Jim knows that his emails home will be passed around by all of his friends and family and find their way into lots of stranger’s homes. He has given me permission to blog his mass emails and take any heat that comes my way. Still, I want to show him some great blogs.

Yesterday while reading some of my favorite military blogs, I ran across this on TF Boggs site. Tim said, "I believe that milbloggers in theater have a unique opportunity to share real time updates and give readers an on the ground insight into the fight. I liken milblogs to the letters soldiers have written in past wars and believe they will have an historical significance in the future for anyone wanting to learn about the war in Iraq and Afghanistan. I would and do encourage soldiers with half a brain to write about their time here in country and value what they have to say more than most of what the media does."

I thought that Tim said that pretty well, and I copied it thinking to send it to Jim. Then I went over to American Citizen Soldier. I read through Buck Sargents’s latest post. It was really great – very informative, very interesting. But as I read, I thought hmm, maybe it is not such a good idea to send Jim to this blogsite. Jim might consider Buck S as one of those "guys shooting his mouth off." I was worried that I could possibly get Buck S in trouble. Personally, I think that Buck S is a warrior and a patriot. He wants to win the war. Right now, he is feeling the frustration of politics and bureaucracy. He is like a dog on a leash that wants to be let loose. His latest post was a bit critical, yet I know he just wants to do his job and do it well. As I read his post, I could not help but think that some "higher ups" might not see Buck S as so patriotic, but who am I to question military rules and regs. Then I read through the comments and found that someone else had the same thoughts that I had had. Someone called Jarhead had questioned Buck S’ wisdom in being so critical in a public way. At that point, things got ugly. Everyone turned on Jarhead for his comments including Buck S and TF Boggs. I thought it was quite uncalled for and inappropriate, but who am I to say? I am a middle-aged grandma with no military background at all, yet I had been worried about Buck S getting in trouble, as did Jarhead.

The whole thing gave me kind of a sick feeling. It reminded me of being attacked on a Christian chat site years ago because my beliefs were different. I wanted to stand up for Jarhead, but I did not want to be attacked as he was (been there – done that). I have made friends with some of the same bloggers that read American Citizen Soldier, and they might turn on me too. But I want to support Jarhead. Am I wrong here? Was Buck’s response appropriate? Was Jarhead wrong to question Buck S? Is this just some sort of Army/Marine macho argument?

None of this made me want to show my cousin any blogs. None of this would encourage him to blog his thoughts. Maybe my cousin is right.

6 comments:

Dale (MSgt, Ret, USAF) said...

Lou,
What has made this country GREAT is the freedom we have to speak our minds. It's ok if we agree to disagree on whatever the subject is. What I don't like is when someone starts to bash someone else because they have a different view. We also live in a country where the majority is supposed to rule and where the opinion of the majority is supposed to take the lead. I'm with you on the war in Iraq. Working in the VA Hospital is am able to see the results of the era of veterans from WWII through the Present War. I've seen the WWII veteran that was treated like a hero when he came home but was often too humble to accept the praise. To the Korean Veteran War veteran that often feels like he or she was in the forgotten war. To the Vietnam War where the veterans came home to accusations and hatred and feeling as though the nation still owns them something and in most cases we still do. To our current veterans young men and women that seem to be caught somewhere in between. What scares me is that while we have thousands of youngs men and women fighting to preserve our freedoms we enjoy in this country, our politicians in Washington are worried about getting re-elected rather then doing the right thing. We have to remember to tell each and ever veteran we encounter how proud we are of them, and THANK them for their SERVICE to our country, PAST and PRESENT!

GOD BLESS THE USA!!

Laurie said...

I couldn't read it all. :(

Bag Blog said...

Wow Dale, you signed up and now you can comment - good for you. I look forward to hearing what you have to say.

I certainly agree with you that polictians can muck things up in a hurry. I am glad these soldiers have a place like blogs to speak their views, but I do hate it when they are rude to someone over his views.

I sometimes wonder if when you sign up in the military, you have to forgo some of your rights to speak out - for the good of the whole? Are there things which should not be said when you put yourself under military leadership and authority?

Buck said...

Thanks for the link, Lou. It took me a while, but I read it all, including the comments. Well, not entirely true...I skimmed a few of the superficial comments, reserving my attention for the more substantative entries.

First off, I found myself nodding the ol' gray head up and down slowly as I read Buck's issues with the Baghdad pacification program. Assuming what he says is true, and I have no reason to doubt him, then we (the US and the Iraqis) have some serious issues. This impression is offset by the fact that neither Buck nor I see the "big picture." Still and even, Buck makes some damned good points from the prespective of a guy who's on the ground, doing the work.

Second: I agree with the comment you left on the blog. The individual posting as Jarhead was very polite in making his initial point - which has more than a little basis in fact - only to be shouted down in a rather boorish way. That's a shame, in more ways than one.

Third...one does "forgo some of your rights to speak out" when one takes the oath. It has always been this way and most likely will always be that way. The more interesting aspect of this tradition (and law) is the fact that critical comments, points of view, op-eds, and other such speech will occasionally bring down the wrath of the Powers-That-Be upon the "offender," but you are completely free to praise and support the policies of the politicians in charge. The true military professional is completely apolitical... but one almost never encounters such a person. I guess it all goes back to what is "predjudicial to good order and discipline." Negative comments are "predjudicial," positive ones aren't.

So much more to say about this subject, but this is already way too long for a simple comment!

Bag Blog said...

Buck, I thought that Buck S made some very good points, too. Thanks for reading through it all to make your comment here. I needed some imput on this one. I do hope that the "higher ups" get their act together and make wise decisions for our men on the ground. And I hope the men on the ground stay positive in their roll as warriors.

Bec said...

Some heavy stuff there. I tend to agree with you, Lou. I understand why you were worried. The stress and worry that Buck is under each day must make that blog very cathartic. I understand why he'd want his frustrations to be heard and understood.
However, even in everyday life, I'll write a comment and then decide not to publish it and I'm often glad I didn't. I can't imagine walking that tightrope everyday in Iraq everyday.
And Newsweek? Oh, boy.

I left a comment there but I wasn't as brave as you, Lou.