16 March 2007

Frickin' Cool

Army Public Affairs Goes YouTube!

That freakin' rocks. Outstanding initiative on the part of some guy, probably a PA Soldier whose chain of command has appropriated lots of credit and will appropriate more as this gets more popular. Hope he or she at least gets a Certificate of Achievement or something.

Anyway, near as I can tell, the point is to put short videos of varying quality--some are really good--on the internet of actual, boots-on-the-ground operations. You want to know what Iraq sounds and looks like?

Clickyclickyclicky!

Compare with this Guardian video, which takes a really cool, upbeat story about the massive progress in al-Anbar Province and does its level best to hammer it into a neat little pessimistic box with vauge concerns about the "civil rights" of al-Qaeda operatives.

Speaking of Army Public Affairs, one of my wife's compatriots from Oregon did an excellent story on the last combat veteran from World War I. While there are seven more veterans from that war still living, none of them deployed overseas before the shooting actually stopped. Unlike the glosses found in most places, this actually goes into a bit more depth about who he was and what he did. Interestingly, he was a truck driver whose duties varied from driver's training (this was 1917 and most US recruits had probably never driven a motor vehicle) to ambulance driving, to chauffering high-ranking officers. He volunteered for service, was refused due to being underweight, and gorged himself on bananas and water before trying again.

This is the end of an era. It is fitting that we should recall this. Soldiers are a tradition-driven lot, aware of the weight of centuries upon our shoulders and the contributions of our past. Now, after the passing of our eldest brother, is an appropriate time to reflect on the contributions of that generation of Soldiers.

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