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July 21, 2008

Generation Kill Review – Part Two

The Cradle of Civilization
Review by Richard S. Lowry,
Author of Marines in the Garden of Eden
July 21, 2008


In part two, The Cradle of Civilization, Ed Burns' and Eric Wright's credibility started to erode. While the series remained visually stunning and the characters seemed like real Marines, the story started to stray from the truth.

When it comes to the battle for Nasiriyah, I will probably end up being Burns' and Wright's worst critic. I know too much about that fight to be dazzled by their literary license. The Generation Kill story is unfolding to be quite an adventure and we still cannot tell which direction the writers will be taking us. It appears that they will portray 1st Recon's enlisted Marines as gruff good guys and officers and other units as lacking in courage, intelligence and morals. Last night, I was particularly offended by the implication that 2d LAR indiscriminately killed civilians north of Nasiriyah. I was also disgusted with the distortion of the truth in the events surrounding the fight in Nasiriyah.

Let's start with March 23, 2003. The day Task Force Tarawa attacked into Nasiriyah. All of our 1st Recon "heroes" were stuck in the traffic jam, south of the city. Eleven soldiers and eighteen Marines were killed in, and around, Nasiriyah that day and about twenty Marines were wounded. Captain Eric Garcia flew the last CASEVAC at sunset. There were no other casualty evacuations that night. It was horrible to lose twenty-nine Americans in a single fight, but the number of casualties was nowhere close to the 200 claimed in Generation Kill.

Ambush Alley – street was straight and wide, buildings were low.

Tank in Ambush Alley – nothing like Generation Kill

Which leads me to 24 March; when our 1st Recon "heroes" arrived at the Euphrates River Bridge, there was quite a fight going on. This is absolutely true, but it was the 2d Battalion, 8th Marines, not RCT-1, that got into a large scrap at the bridge that day. The fight did not erupt until after LtCol Eddie Ray had taken his 2d LAR Battalion through "Ambush Alley." By the way, not a single shot was fired when Ray charged through the city. 2/8 sustained a few injuries in their fight, but none were serious. There was never an artillery friendly fire incident at the river. No Marines were wounded or killed by friendly artillery fire. I challenge the writers to support this claim.

It is very true that Colonel Dowdy, RCT-1's commander, hesitated and would not order his regiment through "Ambush Alley." Generals Conway and Mattis were extremely unhappy with his lack of aggressiveness. This was the second of several incidents which caused Dowdy to be the first Marine regimental commander to be relieved on the field of battle. Notwithstanding, the Marines of RCT-2 fought courageously in Nasiriyah. Colonel Ron Bailey, RCT-2's commander, drove through Ambush Alley just after 2d LAR with only a few vehicles to visit his battalion, north of the city.

Godfather 6 concluded last night's installment with a couple disagreeable statements. He claimed that the enemy "stared us down" in Nasiriyah. In fact, the enemy was decimated in Nasiriyah. 1st Battalion, 2nd Marines, another Task Force Tarawa battalion, lost eighteen brave Marines because they pressed the attack and did not give up until they had met their objectives which were the two bridges in Nasiriyah. By sunset on the 23rd, both bridges were secure and RCT-2 was waiting for RCT-1 to pass through the city. Again – the war did not revolve around the 1st Recon Battalion.

I studied the battle of Nasiriyah for quite some time. I interviewed nearly one hundred soldiers, sailors and Marines who were actually there in the fight. I am not happy with the way the writers have bent the facts to fit their story and overlooked the courageous stories of men like Major Bill Peeples; Captain Eric Garcia; Lieutenants Fred Pokorney, Brian Letendre, "Ben" Reed and Mike Seely; Sergeant William Schaffer, Corporals Nick Elliot and Pat Nixon and many, many more. Burns and Wright have lost their credibility. I will have a hard time believing anything in the last five segments.

Richard S. Lowry is the award-wining author of "The Gulf War Chronicles" and "Marines in the Garden of Eden." He served in the U.S. Navy Submarine Service from 1967-1975 and spent the time from 1975 to 2002 designing sophisticated integrated circuits for everything from aircraft avionics to home computers. He is currently working on his next book, "New Dawn," which will tell of the fight to free Fallujah. Visit www.marinesinthegardenofeden.com for more information.

Posted by Cassandra at July 21, 2008 06:03 PM

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Comments

Well, there you go. He interviewed people with first hand experience and got the truth.

Posted by: Cricket at July 21, 2008 06:46 PM

I much prefer propaganda films. They at least, are very clear on what they hope to accomplish, whether that is killing more insurgents or making war out to be glamorous to self-absorbed people.

The thing is, these kinds of programs are too ambiguous. You don't know what the heck they are going to do. And if they invite other writers to "write" new episodes... well then you'll definitely never know what these people are intending to produce.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at July 21, 2008 07:28 PM

Truth has no place in HBO miniseries. Ever.

Posted by: vanderleun at July 21, 2008 07:40 PM

Posted by: Ymarsakar at July 21, 2008 08:02 PM

It's fascinating how HBO and producers like Creative Assembly seek to recapture the glory of Rome, an Empire that fell more than a thousand years before we were born.
Fall of Constantinople was eerily similar to the Fall of Saigon and various other defeats suffered by the West due to Islamic deceit and superior strength.

It makes one wonder what future generations will look back and see America as. Will we be the theme of a war game sometime in the distant and unimaginable future for new generations to learn anew about, such as is true for Rome Total War?

HBO's Rome tv series perhaps may be seen to be akin to Generation Kill, in that both are trying to capture the glory or the special traits of such times and people. YouTube link to a Caesar speech in the series

But the trouble with trying to portray greater truths or to pierce the veil of historic illusion in the present is that you don't have the works of countless generations, as you would have had you done something on Rome.

But the advantage is that you have real life people to interview and speak. How much better could Rome be portrayed if we could know and speak to the primary actors in the histories?

Then again, human fallibility also assures that even if we can speak to the people fighting and dying, people can still get things wrong.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at July 21, 2008 09:00 PM

Lowry had a lot of good things to say about Part One. Did Cass post it? In case she didn't, you can read the review here: http://www.mudvillegazette.com/archives/030546.html

As to Part Two, although there are some facts in dispute, I don't see Lowry panning it.

What I am noticing is the noticeable dearth of reviews for this series on conservative blogs. I wonder why that is?

Posted by: jeffrey at July 21, 2008 10:05 PM

What I am noticing is the noticeable dearth of reviews for this series on conservative blogs. I wonder why that is?

Conservatives don't find it particularly beneficial to become fanatical fans of the new and latest commercial entertainment product out there. Thus, it skews the stats.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at July 21, 2008 10:27 PM

I still think if people want a complete thesis on war, peace, and the dichotomy between the military and civilian spheres, they should look up and download the torrent for Legend of the Galactic Heroes.

It's a 100 times more complete in terms of human themes and accuracy than the latest modern products.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at July 21, 2008 10:28 PM

Interesting insights, but...
what bugged me were the little quotation marks around what he describes (twice) as "our 1st Recon 'heroes'."

What is that supposed to mean? The guy who admits he wasn't there, a former submariner, seems to be taking a belittling swipe at this unit with the quotation marks? As though they are only ironically deemed "heroes"? A circuit board designer is mocking a legendary combat unit? Perhaps he meant the actors, not the unit...still...

Posted by: sean at July 21, 2008 11:48 PM

It seems to be like Conservatives would love this show. Even Lowry admits that its an authentic protrayal with certain exceptions that he spells out in part two. So here we have a well-documented series depicting the early days of the war which was a resounding military victory for the U.S. and Coalition Forces and nary a word on B5 or most other sites. Very odd indeed.

Posted by: jeffrey at July 22, 2008 12:07 AM

Conservatives would love it if they could disengage their mind from the reality and just have fun. But given the fact that there's something unsubtle about entertainment that isn't openly propaganda to support the war, as was done in WWII, and given that people are still dying in Iraq, it's hard to have a laugh or have fun given the bleak backdrop of reality here.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at July 22, 2008 01:13 AM

Jeffrey:

I don't think you need to read much further than this:

It appears that they will portray 1st Recon's enlisted Marines as gruff good guys and officers and other units as lacking in courage, intelligence and morals. Last night, I was particularly offended by the implication that 2d LAR indiscriminately killed civilians north of Nasiriyah. I was also disgusted with the distortion of the truth in the events surrounding the fight in Nasiriyah.

...for an explanation of the quotation marks.

I didn't read Richard's review as casting aspersions on the heroism of the 1st Recon's enlisted personnel (let's not forget that those are the only people included in that "heroes"), but on HBO's depiction of them as the good guys and everyone else as either cowards or indiscriminate killers of civilians. Given that Lowry did a hell of a lot more in depth research on the battle of Nasiriyah than HBO (and given that I am rather skeptical that the battle just "happened" to fit the standard Hollywood template of "enlisted guys smart/good, officers stupid, corrupt/evil" and even more reluctant to buy off on the demonstrably contrafactual proposition that 1st Recon [reading comprehension and typing improve drastically after your first cup of coffee :p] were the only ones who contributed to the fight:

1st Battalion, 2nd Marines, another Task Force Tarawa battalion, lost eighteen brave Marines because they pressed the attack and did not give up until they had met their objectives which were the two bridges in Nasiriyah. By sunset on the 23rd, both bridges were secure and RCT-2 was waiting for RCT-1 to pass through the city. Again – the war did not revolve around the 1st Recon Battalion.

For some of us, the names in that review up there are personal. And we don't appreciate a bunch of Hollywood types smearing the reputations of men who died fighting valiantly, and who cannot now defend themselves.

Maybe that's why you haven't seen much about this series on conservative blogs. And won't, especially here.

Posted by: Princess Leia in a Delayed Bikini at July 22, 2008 05:14 AM

It sounds like all HBO's succeeded in doing is taking the story line from Platoon, combining it with Apocalypse Now and billing it as today's We Were Soldiers Once...

Posted by: BillT at July 22, 2008 06:02 AM

Not interested in this series at all. Mr. Lowry's review only reinforces my original suspicions.

Posted by: Semper Fi Wife at July 22, 2008 08:07 AM

But you did post a review, Cass. At least, Lowry's more negative of the two. That's what I'd expect from a Conservative blogger.

Conservative blogs, especially MilBlogs, normally are outraged if anyone (especially Liberals) should dare to suggest that Marines use foul language. But in this case, many are suspiciously silent.

Also, when you write that Lowry did more research than HBO, HBO just worked off the book. Shouldn't you be comparing Lowry (who wasn't there) with the book's author Evan Wright, who was?

Posted by: Jeffrey at July 22, 2008 09:39 AM

I'm not in the least outraged about the suggestion that Marines use foul language, Jeffrey.

In the entire time I've been blogging (four-plus years) I don't think I've ever posted a review of any TV show. So if you'll excuse me, I don't think my 'failure' to post reviews is at all suspicious.

I posted this because it is from a friend whose work I have posted in the past. That is the "pattern", if you're looking for one.

Not that it is critical. The content was irrelevant. His first review was favorable and I'd have posted that one but it contained something that violates a rule I have for VC (which ironically had absolutely NOTHING to do with HBO - it is personal, reflects my principles, and is not something I am willing to back down from). Richard and I discussed it, he fully understood my reasons for not posting it, and he posted it elsewhere.

That's what I like about him. I don't expect him to edit his work in order to post here and he doesn't expect me to compromise my principles for him. We get along fine :p

re: HBO 'working off the book'. Yeah. And script writers never change the literal facts for dramatic effect either, I'll warrant. That would be unprecedented.

Posted by: Cassandra at July 22, 2008 09:53 AM

Why don't you try reading Richard's book, Jeffrey:

http://www.amazon.com/Marines-Garden-Eden-Battle-Nasiriyah/dp/0425209881

Posted by: Cassandra at July 22, 2008 09:56 AM

Marines swear?

That just shocks the shit out of me....

Posted by: Semper Fi Wife at July 22, 2008 09:56 AM

*snort*

Posted by: Cassandra at July 22, 2008 09:58 AM

Actually, what I should have said was,

[wait for it]

"B**tch, please"

*running away*

Posted by: SFWife's bratty sister at July 22, 2008 09:59 AM

Conservative blogs, especially MilBlogs, normally are outraged if anyone (especially Liberals) should dare to suggest that Marines use foul language.

Got an example? *I* can't think of any, but then, I'm only a dumb MilBlogger...

Posted by: Bill le T at July 22, 2008 10:01 AM

Ohh snap!!!

Posted by: Semper Fi Wife at July 22, 2008 10:02 AM

*ooow!*

Not the thong!

Posted by: Bill le T at July 22, 2008 10:06 AM

There's just something about a guy in an electric blue mini...

Posted by: Semper Fi Wife at July 22, 2008 10:13 AM

I wrote "Conservative blogs, especially MilBlogs, normally are outraged if anyone (especially Liberals) should dare to suggest that Marines use foul language."

Sorry, I thought my sarcasm would have been self-evident. I guess not. Next time I'll spell it out a little more plainly.

My opinion is that milblogs are leaving the series alone because it reflects these Marines in a realistic light, with their flaws showing as well as their courage. Milblogs like B5 for example, seem to me to have a very low tolerance level for anything remotely negative about the military. Since in this case they can't claim it to be a false portrayal without losing all credibility, they say nothing.

Personally, I think its a great series - foul language (snark) and all.

Posted by: Jeffrey at July 22, 2008 11:03 AM

Jeffrey, your opinion is incorrect. It isn't portraying them in a 'realistic' light, but the perception the producers have and want to fob off on to the public. IOW, the truth isn't being told. B5 certainly can claim it is a false portrayal especially if the guys who were there
say it is.

Posted by: Cricket at July 22, 2008 11:13 AM

Well, I don't hang around B5 so I couldn't comment on whether they normally review HBO miniseries or not :p

In fact, I don't normally hang around any milblogs. B5 seem highly unlikely to have a problem, however, with a depiction of Marines swearing given Uncle Jimbo and some of the ladies in the sidebar. A while back they had some chick in a thong up there, so honestly, the idea that Milblogs are trying to preserve some pie in the sky image of the military as squeaky clean milquetoasts seems rather silly.

Posted by: Cassandra at July 22, 2008 11:15 AM

Lowry says the credibility starts to erode. Now, what could that be if not the events? Here is what he says:

"When it comes to the battle for Nasiriyah, I will probably end up being Burns' and Wright's worst critic.I know too much about that fight to be dazzled by their literary license. The Generation Kill story is unfolding to be quite an adventure and we still cannot tell which direction the writers will be taking us. It appears that they will portray 1st Recon's enlisted Marines as gruff good guys and officers and other units as lacking in courage, intelligence and morals. Last night, I was particularly offended by the implication that 2d LAR indiscriminately killed civilians north of Nasiriyah. I was also disgusted with the distortion of the truth in the events surrounding the fight in Nasiriyah."

Posted by: Cricket at July 22, 2008 11:18 AM

BillT and Semper Fi Wife, that is so thongue in cheek.

Posted by: Cricket at July 22, 2008 11:22 AM

Since in this case they can't claim it to be a false portrayal without losing all credibility, they say nothing.

If the facts of the matter are contrary to the HBO portrayal and you can cite those facts, who's lost credibility?

Milblogs like B5 for example, seem to me to have a very low tolerance level for anything remotely negative about the military.

Nope, just a low tolerance level for bullshit -- such as that statement.

Posted by: BillT at July 22, 2008 11:51 AM

Actually, I believe I've criticized much of the Milblog community for what I see as a tendency to piddle inside the tent. Which rather puts the lie to that statement, since I'm more of a political blogger than a milblogger :p

Posted by: Cassandra at July 22, 2008 12:01 PM

BillT, the military can cite those facts 'til the cows come home but once the spin has been on the tube, the truth matters not. A troll on another blog gets all their perceptions about the US from the media. That could be anything from television, movies, YouTube, blogs, the left and the right. But what makes that especially egregious and intellectually dishonest is the refusal to learn and listen to the other side and modify the opinion accordingly.

We call that an exercise in futility.

Posted by: Cricket at July 22, 2008 12:08 PM

"We call that an exercise in futility."

Or trying to teach Wilber the pig to sing..

Posted by: Semper Fi Wife at July 22, 2008 12:17 PM

Cass, for the second time, I used foul language as sarcasm. I'm referring to any critical news about the troops - e.g., higher incidences of PTSD, instances of lack of equipment, instances of poor medical treatment, investigation of crimes committed by, etc. Many Milblogs (and political blogs now that you mention it) appear to have a zero tolerance policy for that kind of thing, immediately blogging about the bad media who is twisting the facts, or skewing the statistics, or (fill in the blank). Yet here comes Generation Kill and .... silence.

Cricket - did you watch the show? Has any commenter here watched it besides me?

Posted by: Jeffrey at July 22, 2008 01:02 PM

Well, once again Jeffrey, I believe several milblogs posted Richard's first review, which was favorable. What does that do to your theory?

Also, as I said, I can't really speak for other bloggers, but I don't make a habit of reviewing HBO specials. They aren't "news". They're "entertainment".

On your other comment, there is a difference between complaining about the media and demonstrating (often with statistical backup, as I've done many times in the past) that the media just flat out have their facts wrong :p

Odd that you see this as "having a zero tolerance policy". I guess it's fine for the media to put out false information (which they have, many a time) or twist the facts in support of an agenda, but if a blogger actually puts out MORE information than the news article he or she is refuting, that's a "zero tolerance policy".

Posted by: Cassandra at July 22, 2008 01:14 PM

Perfect example is that NY Times article I wrote about a while back where the Times cherry-picked a particular statistical starting point simply because it made the current month look artificially bad. But when you looked at the entire timeline, it was apparent that they had intentionally picked the lowest point on a four year timeline to support a pre-determined conclusion (and sure enough, the next few months the numbers fell right back down).

What a surprise. But you know us - zero tolerance for those brave truth tellers.

Posted by: Cassandra at July 22, 2008 01:17 PM

I can see the seventh installment now:
Marine Recon and the Deathly Hallows.

Posted by: Bad Cricket at July 22, 2008 01:59 PM

It does nothing to my theory. I never said all milbloggers. I said many. How many milblogs are there? Of those, how many have reviewed or even mentioned Generation Kill?

As to false information and the twisting of statistics, everyone is susceptible. Some do it more than others. I'd still trust the NY Times and the International Herald Tribune to get the facts straight over most bloggers (with a few exceptions like Bill Roggio and Michael Yon who are exemplary).

Posted by: Jeffrey at July 22, 2008 02:10 PM

What is that "trust" based on?

A credible blogger will link to his or her sources and give the reader the opportunity to evaluate the data for himself (something the IHT or NYTimes doesn't do, and you apparently consider irrelevant even when evidence is presented to you that ought to make you wonder about the accuracy of what you've been told). Your trust appears to be based more upon your emotions than any dispassionate analysis.

Posted by: Cassandra at July 22, 2008 02:16 PM

Cricket - did you watch the show? Has any commenter here watched it besides me?

Jeffrey -- There are a couple of conservative bloggers who watched the show, ALa of Blonde Sagacity and TRO of Reluctant Optimist. found those two just in my normal surfing, and I don't surf that often or that far from home. No comment from ALa yet, but TRO wrote that the first episode was overly stereotypical, but the second was well done. He recommends the show.

Happy now?

Posted by: BillT at July 22, 2008 02:22 PM

Of those [MilBloggers], how many have reviewed or even mentioned Generation Kill?

Well, considering that a whole bunch of MilBloggers are either deployed or on trainups for deployment, and access to HBO is either limited or nonexistent, I'd feel safe in saying "Not many."

I, for one, don't have HBO over here.

Of course, I don't have a TV either...

Posted by: BillT at July 22, 2008 02:33 PM

...but I can get a thong in the PX/BX.

Go figure.

Posted by: BillT at July 22, 2008 02:43 PM

I have a tv AND HBO but I don't watch that kind of stuff during deployments at all and rarely when we're not dealing with deployments.

That said, Mr. Lowry has extensively studied and written the book about the battle for An Fallujah. And with that knowledge, reviewed the show and found it lacking in accurate detail. Whether the show is well done or not, it simply isn't accurate with regard to the actual events the show is advertised as portraying.

That's not a difficult concept to grasp, is it?

Posted by: Semper Fi Wife at July 22, 2008 02:45 PM

"...but I can get a thong in the PX/BX"

You're such a tramp....:)

Posted by: Semper Fi Wife at July 22, 2008 02:49 PM

...yeah, but I have redeeming social values.

Two or three, in fact. I keep them in a drawer with my clean -- ummmm -- socks.

Posted by: BillT at July 22, 2008 03:05 PM

Oh crap...scratch Fallujah and put in Nasiriyah..

Fallujah is his next project.

Bill, stop distracting me with your thong..

Posted by: Semper Fi Wife at July 22, 2008 03:20 PM

Cass wrote: "Your trust appears to be based more upon your emotions than any dispassionate analysis."

It's not based on emotions or dispassionate analysis although both are involved from time to time just as they are for everyone else. I simply stated my opinion based on my experience as a consumer of different types of media.

Perhaps a rigorous study has been done on this topic - I don't know, do you?

Posted by: Jeffrey at July 22, 2008 03:26 PM

My take would be that it's a bit early for a rigorous study on the topic.

Geez, they've only aired the second chapter...

Heh.

Posted by: BillT at July 22, 2008 03:33 PM

Well, I don't know that one needs a rigorous study to figure out that the media don't disclose their sources :p The Times and their anonymously sources stories in particular don't engender trust.

Neither do the media tend to link to published sources even when they are in the public domain. Nor do they disclose the methodology behind their "analysis", even in the online editions of their articles. And yet you trust them? Why?

I work with statistics in my job, and so I am acutely aware of the problems with the way the Times (in particular) distorts combat data. I've pointed it out over and over again, always linking to primary sources and always explaining exactly how I arrived at my critique of the media's "analysis", which is far more than they ever bother to do. And I allow comments on my posts, so readers like you are free to disagree, or fire away at anything I've said in real time.

But I have a zero tolerance policy? :p

Posted by: Cassandra at July 22, 2008 03:37 PM

I'm sorry to say that I'm not a long-time reader of your blog, Cass, although I may become one. I just started reading it the other day when Grim linked to it, so I'm confident that nowhere in my above posts did I say that "you" have a zero tolerance policy. I said "many Milblogs appear to have a ZTP ...".

As to why I trust some news outlets more than others, and almost all more than blogs, it's because they usually have better access to original sources as well as an editorial and fact-checking process in place. They also have more to lose if they screw up. And while they don't provide links, they do provide sufficient information for me to find the source if its publicly available. Having said all that, and if the article is of sufficient importance and of interest to me, I'll still do my own fact-checking before forming an opinion.

Posted by: Jeffrey at July 22, 2008 04:08 PM

Many Milblogs (and political blogs now that you mention it) appear to have a zero tolerance policy for that kind of thing...

The zero tolerance isn't for reporting bad news, it's for bad reporting of the news -- inventing stories, skewing statistics to further agendas, the myriad flat out lies and just plain stupidity exhibited by so many so-called journalists.

Posted by: BillT at July 22, 2008 04:09 PM

As to why I trust some news outlets more than others, and almost all more than blogs, it's because they usually have better access to original sources...

Food for thought. Some of the original sources the news outlets use *are* blogs.

Posted by: BillT at July 22, 2008 04:13 PM

Fair enough :)

I don't trust the Times because I've caught them out one time too many on subjects where I happen to know something about what they're reporting on.

I like the WaPo, but again they allowed a reporter to continue reporting long after he was involved in the story (L'affaire Plame) which is a clear conflict of interest and said reporter serially misstated facts right in the public record. That bug me and I know for a fact people don't bother to read Congressional reports.

That's what they count on. And why I've looked up the sources and quoted from them. Sadly, I don't have time to do that as much anymore.

But their "layers of fact-checking and editorial control" are sadly lacking, Jeffrey. They have on many occasions grossly distorted easily verifiable facts.

Posted by: Cassandra at July 22, 2008 04:13 PM

I certainly agree that some very reputable news outlets have dropped the ball more times than I would like, including the NYT. And in some cases, as BillT pointed out, blogs ARE the source. Further, depending on the topic, I prefer blogs over major newspapers. For instance, Armscontrolwonk is my number one source for anything related to nuclear weapons.

And while the editing cycle at a mass media outlet isn't perfect, it's frequently better than the hit and miss self-editing that I've seen on many blogs. For every Villainous Company or Zenpundit (who does a fine job even though I disagree with Matt politically) there are 50 slop troughs masquerading as "news and opinion" blogs.

Posted by: Jeffrey at July 22, 2008 05:28 PM

That's definitely fair, Jeffrey. I don't defend bloggers across the board. Many times we pick on the media and then turn right around and do exactly what we lambaste the press for doing :p

That's one reason I won't put a PayPal button on my site. My blogging is nowhere near professional. I write for my own pleasure - I try to be accurate, but I am only human and this is only a hobby: something I crank out in the few minutes I have before work starts every morning.

Posted by: Cassandra at July 22, 2008 05:32 PM

Especially since I came back, I really regret that I don't have time to do the kind of job I would like to do.

Posted by: Cassandra at July 22, 2008 05:32 PM

It's not based on emotions or dispassionate analysis although both are involved from time to time just as they are for everyone else. I simply stated my opinion based on my experience as a consumer of different types of media.

Hey Jeff! Blogs are free! You really should get one of your own, if only for the heady exhilaration that comes with of being put on the defensive every time you decide to offer your unbidden opinion to the world. Of course, you might find it a bit tougher to come up with your own content every-freaking-day, particularly if you've got some other job that needs doing. But (and you've got to trust me on this) when it’s all clicking just right, then there you are: Master of the Universe. (And if you’re savvy enough (unlike our hostess), you can even turn your online ramblings into advertising dollars!)

I've read your comments, Jeff, and while they pretend to border on the edge of polite conversation, it is MY opinion, and MINE alone, that you are either a provacatuer or an insincere pain in the ass. Nice opening, dude.

Of course, creating your own blog, where only you have the responsibility to generate whatever content you choose, everyday, just might be the perfect answer.

Send me the link, would you? I'll be happy to provide you with comments.

Posted by: spd rdr at July 22, 2008 08:02 PM

Spits chardonnay...
bwahahahahaha....

Yeah, Jeff, you were pretty insulting while maintaining a fine veneer of civility...
A very fine veneer...

Posted by: Semper Fi Wife at July 22, 2008 08:29 PM

I'm sure spd doesn't want to hog all the good comments and of course he would share, right?

Posted by: Cricket at July 22, 2008 08:37 PM

OK Bill.

Time to cover up again. I can see you've gotten everyone's blood het' all up. Naughty boy.

Never could unnerstand why the PX carries those durned thongs. Distracting, they are.

Posted by: Cassandra at July 22, 2008 09:43 PM

re: HBO 'working off the book'. Yeah. And script writers never change the literal facts for dramatic effect either, I'll warrant. That would be unprecedented.

Visual propaganda is so different from literature propaganda that even the thoughts and mannerisms have to be portrayed differently from each other.

There's a lot of internal dialogue you could get from a book that is almost non-existent in Hollywood produced illusions. And there's a lot of body language or facial expressions or sounds that can't be accurately portrayed in a book format easily.

Grab a book that's good and full of the truth, turn it into a movie, and suddenly you realize that a lot got lost in the translation to be replaced with... stuff.

*I* can't think of any, but then, I'm only a dumb MilBlogger...

merciless myrm[i]don of a mass murderer, Bill. Come on man, don't sell yourself short here!!

Sorry, I thought my sarcasm would have been self-evident. I guess not. Next time I'll spell it out a little more plainly.

You mean you'll be less obtuse and circumlocutious?

Milblogs like B5 for example, seem to me to have a very low tolerance level for anything remotely negative about the military.

Propaganda has never been about negative portrayals or positive portrayals. Positive portrayals of terrorists is not necessarily a thing that furthers the good nor is negative treatment of war crimes committed by the Left's allies, necessarily a detriment.

Well, I don't hang around B5 so I couldn't comment on whether they normally review HBO miniseries or not :p

Jimbo's usually the one that lambasts, as in basting lambs, people like Billy Arkin who are "negative" on the military.

People that don't know how to use propaganda often seem to think negative is bad and positive is naturally good. X nay.

Which rather puts the lie to that statement, since I'm more of a political blogger than a milblogger :p

J[u]nkie...

But what makes that especially egregious and intellectually dishonest is the refusal to learn and listen to the other side and modify the opinion accordingly.

They never learned the shat they got from enemy propaganda in the first place, Cricket, so how they can "unlearn" what they never learned? It is just programming, which is a different thing from learning or critical thinking.

It was always the propagandists that modified their opinions. So when they hear Republican views, they don't know how to change their programming, Cricket.

Cass, for the second time, I used foul language as sarcasm.

Which translates as the second time you've accused others of being what you yourself are.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at July 22, 2008 11:31 PM

re: HBO 'working off the book'. Yeah. And script writers never change the literal facts for dramatic effect either, I'll warrant. That would be unprecedented.

Visual propaganda is so different from literature propaganda that even the thoughts and mannerisms have to be portrayed differently from each other.

There's a lot of internal dialogue you could get from a book that is almost non-existent in Hollywood produced illusions. And there's a lot of body language or facial expressions or sounds that can't be accurately portrayed in a book format easily.

Grab a book that's good and full of the truth, turn it into a movie, and suddenly you realize that a lot got lost in the translation to be replaced with... stuff.

*I* can't think of any, but then, I'm only a dumb MilBlogger...

Merciless myrm[i]don of a mass murderer, Bill. Come on man, don't sell yourself short here!!

Milblogs like B5 for example, seem to me to have a very low tolerance level for anything remotely negative about the military.

Propaganda has never been about negative portrayals or positive portrayals. Positive portrayals of terrorists is not necessarily a thing that furthers the good nor is negative treatment of war crimes committed by the Left's allies, necessarily a detriment.

Well, I don't hang around B5 so I couldn't comment on whether they normally review HBO miniseries or not :p

Jimbo's usually the one that lambasts, as in basting lambs, people like Billy Arkin who are "negative" on the military.

People that don't know how to use propaganda often seem to think negative is bad and positive is naturally good. X nay.

Which rather puts the lie to that statement, since I'm more of a political blogger than a milblogger :p

J[u]nkie...

But what makes that especially egregious and intellectually dishonest is the refusal to learn and listen to the other side and modify the opinion accordingly.

They never learned the shat they got from enemy propaganda in the first place, Cricket, so how they can "unlearn" what they never learned? It is just programming, which is a different thing from learning or critical thinking.

It was always the propagandists that modified their opinions. So when they hear Republican views, they don't know how to change their programming, Cricket.

Cass, for the second time, I used foul language as sarcasm.

Which translates as the second time you've accused others of being what you yourself are.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at July 22, 2008 11:32 PM


Sorry, I thought my sarcasm would have been self-evident. I guess not. Next time I'll spell it out a little more plainly.

You mean you'll be less obtuse and circumlocutious?


*****

I had to separate out the comment into sections because Cass's spam filters were trying to block me.

I told you, Cass, that I wouldn't dare to challenge the Mistress of Statistics ; )

Posted by: Ymarsakar at July 22, 2008 11:34 PM

Spd_rdr, Semper Fi wife, and Cricket: My blog is at www.intelfusion.net. You're more than welcome to leave comments, but frankly, it's not a political or military blog so you may not be interested.

Posted by: Jeffrey at July 23, 2008 12:08 AM

Well, I can say why one milblogger isn't talking about it. I'm not watching it. 2 reasons. 1) I don't get HBO. 2) The people who were all super happy about it and telling me I *had* to watch it were antis. Kind of tells you what the expected larger narrative is going to be. THe marketing apparently grabbed a certain set by the mental short hairs.

Now, that is judging a book by its cover, so to speak, but why put myself thru that crap?

I also tend to think there's a problem with the reasoning in play here. It sets it up as a logic gate of only two outputs possible. That's false. There's a third option possible, one like my own, where, basically, many milbloggers saw who produced it, where it was airing, and the marketing of it and decided to take a pass to save themselves the aggrivation; and therefor have nothing to say about it, positive or negative. I think a straw man was employed here, whether intentional or unintentional.

Doubt what I'm saying? When Bertz of Game Informer, a dude who goes out and blasts a video game for not heaping scorn on PMC in his review (amoung other impositions of his opinion of the war in Iraq into the magazine) says he's just salivating for this series I knew I wanted to take a pass on it. I watched and reviewed PBS specials on the Iraq War over at Castle Argghhh! some time ago, so it isn't like I can't handle opposing view points, it's just that, well, when people I know who will use *anything* to justify their position, such as the grumbling complaints of a few Servicemen, I know I likely will have many problems with the accuracy and legion of bogus stereotypes presented(like in the FX series).

So, in sum, maybe it's because we saw who was gung ho about it and took a powder. Which sort of throws a wrench in the whole 'well, since they're saying nothing it must be because...' thing.

Posted by: ry at July 23, 2008 03:00 AM

Hey Jeff, didn't you used to have a different style for Intelfusion? I remember when Soob, the guys at Coming Anarchy, and a few others wer big on you a couple months ago the place had a different 'face'. I prefered that set of graphics to the current one.

Posted by: ry at July 23, 2008 03:35 AM

merciless myrm[i]don of a mass murderer, Bill. Come on man, don't sell yourself short here!!

Hey, us heartless running dog red-headed step-chillun of Attila the Honeybun know our worth. Economics is the very first thing they cover in Mercenary School, right after Rape and Pillage 101.

Okay, okay, Economics is the very *second* thing they cover...

Posted by: BillT at July 23, 2008 03:44 AM

rv - I did have a different template up until a few weeks ago. I switched because I like the organization of this one much better, esp. the TOC style list of topics and the "INSIDE" button. It's definitely been getting a mixed review from readers, however.

Posted by: Jeffrey at July 23, 2008 09:45 AM

rv - Yes I changed the template a few weeks ago. Interestingly, Coming Anarchy uses a template from the same designer.

And thanks for reminding me about CA. I've just added them to my blog reader.

Posted by: jeffrey at July 23, 2008 10:01 AM

Whoops, second comment of mine was a reproduction of the first. Guess I ate my own comment partitions up.

Since I can't get the offending section to post, I'll put it on my blog and link to it.

Link

Posted by: Ymarsakar at July 23, 2008 12:28 PM

Why not watch it?

Easy. It is HBO and political. You have no reason to believe that it will be fair, accurate or remotely sensitive to the persepctive of anyone to the right of Che.

If HBO has done a better job than that, it is a pleasant surprise, but I still probably won't watch.

Posted by: KJ at July 23, 2008 02:33 PM

If BillT is the red headed stepchild heir apparent to Attila the Poufter, I want to be alongside as the direct descendant of Gingerbread Khan.

Posted by: Cricket at July 23, 2008 03:42 PM

Actually, "red-headed stepchild" is just a figure of speech.

But "grey-headed stepchild" *is* pretty outré...

Posted by: BillT at July 23, 2008 04:07 PM

Khan was a chld of the steppes.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at July 23, 2008 04:49 PM

Thanks, Jeff. I promise to check out your blog. And I think you'd be rather surprised at the kinds of blogs I read. But then, my reading habits were not a topic of the discussion, were they? Too cute by half.

Posted by: spd rdr at July 23, 2008 08:24 PM

Well, my hair used to be blond with streaks of red. Now it has faded to dishwater brown and the streaks of red are white...
Attila Honeybun and Gingerbread Khan. They'd be so proud!

*sniff*

Posted by: Cricket at July 24, 2008 01:03 PM

Wait, so youre throwing out their credibility because they took artistic license on the OOB?

Dude.

Who cares.

Youre like the grognards that tear apart every war film and complain about lack of credibility because the enemies uniforms werent the correct ones, and infact that division was on the other side of the world. What difference does it make if 1st this or that, was to the right, and engaged, and the movie says 3rd this or that was to the right and engaged. Even movies that strive for accuracy still get it wrong (ala band of brothers: Panzer IVs in Normandie? Why do the germans have a Breda 631 20mm field gun from 1936? A tiger? But, theyre all deployed against the soviets, why are there fallscmjager on day 4 when they were still in Norway at the time)

A completely accurate war movie would be so boring. Itd be hours and hours of tedium, and a few seconds of terror. They have to make the buildings taller, the tanks bigger, the casaulties higher. Its hollywood. It doesnt impress people to see the grass sway from bullet fire, they need every gun to loaded with tracers, so they can see all the fire, they need to see people engaged at 10m when in reality it was closer to 100m. The explosions are bigger, the sounds louder and crisp.

The important part, is the relationship between the characters. Their relationships and experiances are whats important. And like Band of Brothers, or Das Boot, Generation Kill captures the men and women involved in the real life war, perfectly.

Posted by: Tom at August 28, 2008 05:15 PM

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