Military stories from past to present, both wars.

Mil Blog weekend

April 25th, 2006 Posted in The SandGram v1.0

Washington D.C. in the Spring is one of the most beautiful places in the world. Actually, driving over to my folk’s house in Arlington with all the azaleas blooming along with the dogwoods brought back instant memories of growing up. I traveled from Texas to DC this weekend for the first MilBloggers conference, and I must say that at first I didn’t know what to expect. “Capt. B” from “One Marines View” drove up from North Carolina and I figured that we would get together; tell war stories, drink some beer, smoke cigars, and rant and rave about our time in Iraq. It was all that and more! This was one of the most professional, well-orchestrated conferences I have ever attended. Andi, from “Andi’s World” must have slaved 24/7 to pull off such a flawless show.
Things started when we drove downtown for happy hour at Fran O’Brien’s, the steakhouse that donates the dinners for the wounded troops. What a great crowd there! Of course, with many beers, some shots and two cigars, it’s a bit hazy. I did indeed wear my kilt Friday night and, as a couple gals found out, I wore it traditional. Ha!! It was very cool to put faces to screen names of other Bloggers who showed up. My mom has been into blogs in general (especially keeping up on the Swiftboat forum during Kerry’s attempted run) and all the MilBlogs of the guys over in the Iraq theater. She is the one who would tell me to read up on this guy or that.

This weekend has opened my eyes on the future of Blogs in general. They are no longer daily journals, but the voice of the average guy on the street, telling you about a situation that the mainstream media just won’t cover. Whether it’s due to the owner’s agenda at the station, or the networks’ bias towards a person or group. Take for example Africa. There are countries engaged in a civil war where brutal dictators kill thousand of people monthly and no one even bats an eye. Maybe that nasty gal from “All in the Family” Silly Sally Something ruined it with her high-pitched annoying voice as she enlisted the help of all the couch potatoes to give their monthly beer drinking money to feed the children. A local example is the grass roots efforts to save Fran O’Brien’s Steakhouse from closing. It was posted on someone’s Blog, then pick up by another until it hit the news desk at Fox, and was written about in The Washington Post and The Washington Times. Crazy how fast something can spread.
I started sending updates into when I first arrived in Iraq, because I was told the Marines didn’t like Bloggers. I shamelessly used poor Marty Horn as my Webmaster to post my views of life in general in Iraq until “Capt B” helped me get my Blog up and running. The thing that burned me up the most while over there was how CNN and the others would run a six-word ticker at the bottom of the broadcasts about a bombing in Baghdad. What they didn’t show you was that our boys/gals in uniform over there were flying all these wounded civilians to our hospitals in and around Iraq, calling for walking blood banks [what is a walking blood bank? A soldier?] if they were short of a certain type of blood to help save the Iraqi lives. Why doesn’t the news cover that?

No, they don’t want to show the big bad U.S. doing something productive and helpful to the fledgling democracy. They could do a wonderful positive human interest story on the sixty lives saved after some Islamic terrorist bomber just blew himself up at the market place with a C4 vest and tons of little BB’s. Instead they televise the death and mayhem it caused. Why not focus the attention where it belongs? First on the people responsible and second on who we saved in the aftermath of the bombing. Can you imagine the pressure the press could exert on these terrorist groups? Maybe causing the Iraqis to standup and say “enough is enough” ???
That’s where I see the future of our young Marines/Soldiers out there, reporting to you the things that national news just won’t cover for fear of it all stopping. They would then have to go back to covering who is sleeping with who in Hollywood. What would everyone’s attitude be towards terrorists if they made them out for what they are; bad guys with an agenda to kill all non-Muslims.
While in Iraq, I had endless material to write about, but now I’m back to the grind of flying all over the country, playing with the family, and that chapter in my life is slowly closing. I’m thinking about writing stories that have happened to me over the course of almost twenty years in the Marines. I don’t think I have the clout to ponder the bigger picture of the war, and I don’t think my opinions would gain me any favor among the brass in the Military or the Liberals. I heard one statement this weekend that rang true, “write about what you know.” I can tell stories–love to tell stories, and I think that is the route I will go with in the future.
For those Marines and Soldiers out in the Sandbox, please keep sending the truth out to our folks back home. Never give up and if you have to, type it up and save it for later because the moment of clarity will pass after months and begin to cloud. If you are worried OPSEC, then just hold on to it till later when it would be right to send out to the world, and you won’t put any of your men in jeopardy.
Well Gang, on my next layover, I will put some thoughts down, and you tell me what you think. Thanks again for everyone who worked the conference this weekend, to my folks for putting up with two Marines, and to my wife for letting me go…
Semper Fi,