Wednesday, October 12, 2005

To Blog or Not to Blog - Anonymous is the Question

Commander Salamander makes a good contribution to the discussion on anonymous blogging. Although most of the current milblog discussion centers around the OPSEC issues from deployed folks, he looks at how blogging can affect careers by responding to a Ralph Peters Navy Times article on writing in general.

While it's easy for Peters to discuss good intentions on the part of readers "...Time and again, I’ve found our best leaders frustrated by their subordinates’ unfounded conviction that an officer who wants to get promoted keeps his pen in his pocket (or his fingers off his keyboard)." We know that, especially if we're lucky enough to have served with those leaders. But how intentionally is he moving quickly beyond the recognition that this is a trait only found in "our best leaders?" But what about the mediocre and bad leaders? There are enough to go around. Far from having an unfounded conviction, I am occasionally reminded by experience that some men and women are without honor; petty, vindictive, and self promoting. If these types can succeed by facilitating your failure, they will. Why provide them documentation?

This is where anonymous blogging can contribute. If the goal is to truly advance discussion on the state of a community or practice (not be a whiners' club), it can be done anonymously. The things that are missing from the context are the opportunity to judge the author's credibilty based on verifiable credentials, and the author's ability to get credit for his ideas. The first is a genuine concern - but anonymity allows the idea to be judged solely on its own merit - not because it came from Captain Bigbrain. As for the second, well, if you want credit - don't publish anonymously, which is more important to you - advancing the idea or making sure you get credit (tangent to balance discussions here).

I'd also take issue with Peters' unsupported assertion that "The Internet and the print world aren’t adversaries. They’re mutually reinforcing. But print remains the main attack, with the Web a supporting axis of advance. Print articles posted on the Internet are still more widely and enduringly read than electronic originals." This sounds remarkably like the groan of a dying paradigm. (Like the CNO view in 1919 that while naval aviation might assume greater importance than it had in the past, the battleship would still remain the fleet’s main striking force) I tend to believe the opposite. If looking to survey serious research, I'll be on line on a University system or on the web. Printed material? I'll still use it because it's easy to read at the beach or by the pool.

Bottom line: (1) For an uncensored discussion - go anonymous.

On a slight tangent: As a retired CMC visiting an old command recently, seeing old "shipmates" I was reminded of the von Goethe quote
"You can easily judge the character of a man by how he treats those who can do nothing for him."


Head back over to the Mudville open post

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Is God Punishing the Jihadists Now?

The Tsunami, hurricanes Katrina and Stan, now the earthquake. They are unmitigated tragedies in the truest sense, causing pain and loss that no compassionate person would wish upon another.

According to the Telegraph, some terrorist training camps have been destroyed by the earthquake.

It wasn't too long ago that Islamo-fascist jihadists were claiming that Katrina was the wrath of God brought down on the evil Americans... Have they reconsidered?

What is it? Is God angry at both sides now? Is He punishing the Jihadists for ascribing their own motives to His will?

Be careful before you elevate yourself to where you can interpret God's intent or reason for events. It's arrogance of the highest sort to presume that men can understand God's intent. It may be revealed as time passes, but trying to read the Lord's will into current events is not the game of a true believer. More likely a mortal trying to justify his own actions.

Link to Mudville Open Post

Saturday, October 08, 2005

There's Only One Law That Supreme Court Judges Interpret

I haven't been sure where to fall in the debate over whether the President made a good choice in picking Miers. There are some very interesting political angles to the nomination - how should Democrats react? Democrats who've been screaming "No Right Wingers!" Now that much of the right wing is screaming "she's not one of us..." Kinda takes the wind out of thier sails. This strategy certainly has advantages.

But I'm really more interested in the approach a judge takes to the Constitution... I buy it that the legislatures should legislate. That's why the SCOTUS medical marijuana ruling, and the justice department going after Oregon's assisted suicide law are wrong. It's not about drug use or the sanctity of life... It's about the federal government's power to limit the several states' action in those areas. The 10th amendment has been gutted in the last half century, it's time to get back to the words meaning exactly what they say.

Our federal government is limited by the Constitution - the founders meant for the Federal Government to only do what the Constitution explicitly said it could. It's really not that complex a document. Are Supreme Court Justices any smarter than anyone else in the law profession, politics, or gubmint for that matter? I doubt it. I think Baby Troll got it right that "...It presupposes that the Constitution is and ought to be so mysterious a document that application of its principles cannot be made by mere mortals..."

So really it's more important that a SC Justice nominee be a person of intelligence, integrity and committed to the limitations that the Constitution places on the power of the federal government to limit the actions of the states.

Yet to see whether the nominee is that person, but the arguments about what school she went to and how she's never been a judge fall flat for me.

Head on over to Mudville's Dawn Patrol

Friday, October 07, 2005

President Speaks to Victory

The whiners and peace at any price crowd, like the pacifists of 1939 have seen nothing new in the President's speech yesterday. I thought he was quite clear.

"Yet while the killers choose their victims indiscriminately, their attacks serve a clear and focused ideology, a set of beliefs and goals that are evil, but not insane.
Some call this evil Islamic radicalism; others, militant Jihadism; still others, Islamo-fascism. Whatever it's called, this ideology is very different from the religion of Islam. This form of radicalism exploits Islam to serve a violent, political vision: the establishment, by terrorism and subversion and insurgency, of a totalitarian empire that denies all political and religious freedom. These extremists distort the idea of jihad into a call for terrorist murder against Christians and Jews and Hindus -- and also against Muslims from other traditions, who they regard as heretics. "

The President clearly states the nature of the enemy, but I'm not sure about the comment "...this ideology is very different from the religion of Islam..."

According to Silas at
the Koran 9:29 says "Fight those who believe not in God and the Last Day and do not forbid what God and His Messenger have forbidden--such men as practice not the religion of truth, being of those who have been given the Book--until they pay the tribute out of hand and have been humbled."

I would certainly like to see some more Islamic scholars, shieks, imams, and mullahs reconcile this publicly. In English. According to the Koran I read, the ideology of warfare and subjugating or slaughtering one's enemies is very much in the tradition of Islam. They need to come out against Bin Laden's vision of a new caliphate. Otherwise The President said very clearly "The United States makes no distinction between those who commit acts of terror and those who support and harbor them, because they're equally as guilty of murder."

The Commander in Chief has given us clear marching orders.....

"...We don't know the course of our own struggle -- the course our own struggle will take -- or the sacrifices that might lie ahead. We do know, however, that the defense of freedom is worth our sacrifice. We do know the love of freedom is the mightiest force of history. And we do know the cause of freedom will once again prevail. .."

On to Victory, Men.

Head on Over to Mudville Dawn Patrol

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Birmingham, Bali, or Baghdad. . Men must choose.

A row of shotgun houses. They’re the typical old Southern homes where poor folks live. Poor white, poor black. The homes are the same. Small wooden structures, maybe 15 or 20 feet wide, and twice as long. A front porch. A screen door, a small sitting room, a couple bedrooms and the kitchen in the back. The back door. They’re called shotgun houses because you can shoot a shotgun straight from the open front door and through the back door. Actually, the doors are lined up this way to let the cool breeze through when it’s there. Summers are hot in Alabama. Why don’t we call them cool breeze houses? If only the world were so peaceful. But we live in shotgun houses.

It’s a cool autumn night. You’re sitting in the front room when the horsemen ride up. You hear the yelling and laughter of wicked men. The children are afraid. We know about these men. They’ve hurt many people, but always far away. We were told here that if we just kept our heads down and didn’t cause no trouble the riders would stay away. Don’t cause no trouble like those other folk. Talkin’ ‘bout freedom and rights. Stay quiet and they stay away. In our hearts we knew that wasn’t true. The riders don’t need a reason to come to your house. Their hate is all the reason they need. They come when they want. Who they comin’ for tonight?

Shadows dance through the window. The wicked men outside have torches. Fire. The light burns brightly. You know what they’re burning. You shake your head as you slowly stand up. How could men who hate this much claim to do anything in the name of God. God’s love is pure. Only men could corrupt his message into something of evil and hate. But their God is not our God of peace, humility, love, and brotherhood. These men worship fire and death. Their only brotherhood is with others like them. They love power. They will make the weak submit. Submission.

They call your neighbor’s name. It’s your time to choose.

Some say to just stay inside. They’ll go away. Yeah, that’s okay as long as they ain’t comin’ for you tonight. You know they’ll be back. They’ll hurt other people before they come back for you. Strange fruit.

Others say to run out the back door just as fast as you can. Save yourself and your family. But a man can’t run forever. What about your neighbors and friends? Are you leaving them alone? You want to come back when it’s safe, but who will make it safe?

Some have said you just go out on the porch and have a chat. Find out why they so angry. If they know you they won’t hate you. The people who say this don’t understand true evil. The bad men do know us. They live just down the road. Anyway, some have tried talking. A talker coming out on the porch with empty hands brings a smile to the lips of evil men. The evil men see weakness. They see the submission they want. No reason to kill you now. You are vanquished and you don’t even know it.

Some say to fight. These men are pure evil. Their hate knows no bounds. They will kill their own children to destroy us. They know no reason. They are deceived and corrupt. Only their destruction will bring peace. I understand this option. It goes against the teachings of peace and non-violent resistance. But it rings true. With this enemy, non-violence is not resistance. It is submission. Tonight I will make my stand.

I hope my neighbors will stand with me. We can do this if enough of us stick together. Some will want to stay inside or run away. Others still want to talk. I have made my choice. To live in peace, sometimes you must go to war.

I pick up my shotgun and step onto the porch.

Open post at Mudville