Friday, April 14, 2006

Dialogue with Barnacle Bob

Barnacle Bob-

Thanks for your comments and your visits, no matter how infrequent, to our single-issue blog. Your comments called to mind a recent "Remember When" posting on AmericaBlog, to which I would add the following:

REMEMBER WHEN suggesting to a healthy heterosexual young man, who strongly and publicly supports U.S. military intervention overseas, that he consider military service for himself, was NOT described as a "blatant and directed effort to harass people simply because they dare to express a view that you disagree with," by others [such as Barnacle Bob] who also appear to support the same U.S. military intervention overseas?

'Sorry, but I never thought that a true American patriot such as yourself would consider a polite invitation to the American patriot described above to consider volunteering for our great military to be "harass"-ment, especially given your assumption that College Republicans who support the war disagree with us. I. Where did you get the idea that they disagree with us [on the war in Iraq, I assume]? Certainly not from this blog.

II. Regarding your specific criticism, we focus our efforts on self-identified College Republicans publicly supporting the war; in many cases, the College Republicans' websites include e-mail addresses of the chapter officers. 'Sorry, but if a club officer publicly posts an e-mail address, it should be no surprise if real Americans write to the club officer at that address. That's called democracy, the free exchange of ideas, and robust, uninhibited debate.

Besides, remember junk mail? If you don't want to read a particular e-mail, just delete it, something high school students do to communications from military recruiters all the time. The junior Senator from New York does the same with all mail from her 'constituents,' assuming she even knows what they are.

III. Also, not every critical communication is "hate mail;" an example is your posting on this blog. It is possible to be civil and polite, even in the absence of agreement on the issue being discussed. We support civil discussion of our topic, even though we would not post some of the comments verbatim.

IV. Here's another question: Do you think our military recruiters need help from real Americans in encouraging good prospects to consider volunteering for military service? Or, is everything going perfectly? Looking at the slightly bigger picture, nothing would please Operation Yellow Elephant more than a fully successful military recruiting situation, based on credible national leadership setting an example to convince all Americans to support, and serve in, our military. It would be great if this wasn't satire. Don't you think so?

V. You've criticized some of the things we have been doing; do you have any specific suggestions for things we could or should do? If everything is already perfect, of course, you probably don't. But if you do share our concern about the future of our military, as represented by current recruiting challenges, we welcome any further ideas you may wish to pass along.


At 14 April, 2006 23:48, Blogger bob said...

Thanks for the speedy reply Karl. I must admit, I'm a bit confused by portions of your response:

"Where did you get the idea that they disagree with us [on the war in Iraq, I assume]? Certainly not from this blog."

I apologize if I jumped to any conclusions. Should I assume from your response that you support the U.S. military presence in Iraq?

At 15 April, 2006 01:44, Blogger Karl said...


There's nothing in the blog that says anything direct about our opinions on the U.S. military presence in Iraq, in general, or mine in particular. In I, I'm objecting to your claim that CRs who support the war "disagree with us."

Many of our contributors and commenters oppose the U.S. military presence in Iraq, but there's nothing on the blog itself that allows that conclusion to be drawn about the entire blog. You can't say the CRs "disagree with us" because the blog doesn't have a position on that.

The basic focus of this blog is the national leadership responsibility of the future leaders of our governing party to set a good example for the rest of us. That applies to all of us on this blog regardless of our personal opinions on the continued U.S. military presence in Iraq.

If you're asking for my opinion, here it is:

In my opinion, if our country, through its national leadership, decides to go to war, then please do it right. And if, for whatever reason, you can't do it right, then you should perhaps think carefully about doing it at all.

Former Secretary of State Colin Powell was correct with the Pottery Barn Rule: You break it, you own it. Even though many of the stated justifications for the war turn out to be incorrect, to put it mildly, we did break it, and we do 'own' it.

I want my country to succeed. Let's face it, we're in Iraq right now, and even though we're trying to do the right thing, it doesn't appear that we're going about it in a fully effective way.

Don't forget: Our governing party controls both Houses of Congress as well as the White House; President Bush has yet to veto a single bill. It's clear where the national leadership responsibility lies.

That's why we're focusing on the College Republicans and others eligible to serve who support the war but haven't [yet] considered personally serving in our military. This is a single-issue blog for a reason: We're sincerely trying to Save America.

At 15 April, 2006 01:52, Anonymous Samwise Galenorn said...

Bob, if you won't listen to Karl, will you listen to a veteran? Me? Try listening to the veterans protesting the war.

The war in Iraq is based on lies, and the worst thing to do is for the president to lie us into a war, and leave it to the military to do his dirty work.
I think that one of the main ways we as Americans can do to fight back against the idiot president is to NOT join the military.
And to the 'I-support-the-troops-I-won't-join' college republicans, I say thank you in helping us war protestors in starving the military of people.

You can realistically support the troops by:
Helping homeless veterans with financial assistance.
Helping families of military personal pay their bills, while the main bread earner has to take a pay cut, due to being activated.
Holding politicians accountable when they cut funding to VA Hospitals (which I used to go to).

Buying a stupid 'I-support-the-troops' bumper sticker does nothing.

At 15 April, 2006 05:47, Blogger bob said...

Samwise, Please rest assured that I feel a basic obligation to pay attention to all veterans opinions, and I wish I had more to give to organizations that help soldiers and their families cope with their absence, be it temporary or tragic. I fully agree that buying a bumper sticker is not the best way to help current or former military personel.

Karl, I'm grateful for your 347 word response to a yes or no question, and admire your writing skill. Perhaps you should consider becoming a career politician.

My first take on this blog, which was not posted here, but in a comment I made on The People's Republic of Seabrook six months ago, was that OYE is "a single, flimsy talking point taken to ad nauseum extremes." Six months later, I am still of the same opinion.

I'm a big fan of satire, and during my research of the OYE archives I often wondered if this entire blog was some kind of sick joke. Unfortunately, Karl has informed me otherwise:

"This is a single-issue blog for a reason: We're sincerely trying to Save America.

I sincerely doubt your sincerity, and with good cause and after ample research, maintain my informed opinion that this blog exists for purely partisan purposes.

On the bright side, reports less than 300 visits per day, which might explain why Karl would be compelled to dig up a six month old comment from an unrelated site, and respond to it.

Regardless of sincerity or purpose, OYE seems to be about as effective as a yellow ribbon bumper sticker.

At 15 April, 2006 13:27, Blogger Mr. Ed said...

Bob - I don't consider myself a very good writer so I hope they comments come out the right way.

I'm a vet too. 1978-1982, US Navy. As I stated in another post on this blog I'm very proud of my service.

Where I work, big computer company, there's only two veterans that I know of in my area, some 40+ people. Both of us vets are over 50. The military is just the farthest thing from my co-worker's minds. I remember one college kid we had in as a pre-professional hire, captain of his baseball team, athletic and smart. I tried to suggest to him that he might be a person who could make it as a Navy pilot a la Tom Cruise. Well! He couldn't have been more offended. All he wanted to do was graduate, get a good paying job (this was back in the late 1990's - the Y2K heyday) and buy a BMW.

Also, my father-in-law is a WWII vet. Didn't see active combat, but lived in tents in the south Pacific for a while and ended up in China right at the end of the war. At his 90th birthday his nephew, my wife's cousin, made a nice speech about my father-in-law being a part of the The Greatest Generation.

I used to hear about "The Greatest Generation" and that bothered me. Who picked those guys, anyway? WWII happened on their watch, so they get to be The Greatest Generation?

I thought that when 9/11 happened maybe there would be a groundswell of people joining up for the military, and today's generation would become the new Greatest Generation.

I don't care what your party affiliation is, take a look at the names that served during WWII - George H. W. Bush - actual combat, John F. Kennedy - actual combat, just read Casper Weinberger's obit - he was the Army as well.

Are today's youth who will be the political leaders of tomorrow joining the military? Not from what I can see. Here's all these people professing support for the war. Well, I served. Now it's their turn. I know it's a volunteer military, and I fully support that. But I don't want to hear chest-thumping and then hearing you support the troops better from over here.

Not an on-the-ground infantry combat type? No problem. The Coast Guard is one great, vital, and hardworking bunch of men and women. Why not join them?

I now feel The Greatest Generation deserves the title and I can see why - because across the economic and political spectrum so many people served. Ted Williams, Yogi Berra, actors, business leaders, truly the cliche "all walks of life."

Karl - I like your website. As I said, I don't think I always get my thoughts across very well but your site matches my own feelings most closely.

Sorry for the long post, just some things I've wanted to say for a while.

Apologies again for not being a more eloquent writer.

Mr. Ed

At 15 April, 2006 22:31, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like how Bob tries to marginalize your website by saying it only gets 300 hits a day as if that somehow negates the content of the site. This while he himself is visiting the site. If he's so UNimpressed by such a puny site why did he bother to write about it (thus bringing it more attention that it supposedly deserves)?

The whole point of this site (and those who agree with it) is simple: If you support the war and are of eligible military service age and health then you should be in the military. Period. Anything else is shallow, mealy-mouthed jingoism.

At 16 April, 2006 02:07, Blogger bob said...

Mr. Ed, You did a fine job of getting your point across. My former father-in-law also served in WW-II. Although he successfully convinced the Army that he was 18 when he was actually 17, they rejected him because he was underweight. As he tells it, he spent all of his money on bananas because they were the heaviest food he could find for the price, ate them the next day and successfully enlisted. Although I don't miss being married to his daughter, I do miss chatting with him. He rarely mentioned his service, and when he did the stories related his interactions with other soldiers and places he went. If he mentioned combat at all, it was always a brief reference and subordinate to the major topic he was talking about.

After 20 years of gathering piecemeal tidbits from our chats, and with the help of the internet, I concluded that he landed behind enemy lines in Normandy on a glider in preparation for D-Day, as a part of a very risky operation that the majority of his division would not live to (not) talk about.

The Greatest Generation was faced with great challenges, and it made great sacrifices. In all, 62 million lives were lost as a result of World War II. Civilian casualties among the Allies outnumbered military losses by nearly a 2 to 1 margin. I'm pretty good at math, but in human terms, that number is simply beyond my comprehension. Perhaps one of the greatest achievements of The Greatest Generation was surviving the terrible grief that must have accompanied such tremendous losses.

I wish that current generations were more aware of the scale of human suffering that occurred and the sociopolitical environment during WW-II. For example, there were doves as well as hawks, and a pre-Pearl Harbor draft that mandated 12, then 18 months of service. After the U.S. officially engaged, the mandated length of service was extended even further, and the draft was in effect for the duration of the war. There were also many, many volunteers, such as my father-in-law. The acts of war on September 11, 2001 also resulted in a surge of enlistments.

Evolution doesn't move fast enough to foster a theory that current generations are biologically different than our forefathers, or that they were any different from theirs. Therefore, current and future generations have the same potential for achieving greatness as those that preceded them.

Among many other things, WW-II resulted in new borders, the cold war, the League of Nations, the birth of the concept of international law, and the prohibition of secret alliances between sovereign states. I'm not smart enough to say if the gains were worth the tragic deaths of 52 million human beings, but if I understand the situation accurately, alternatives to U.S. participation in WW-II were not feasible. I do strongly believe that the notion of regressing to the era of the Ottoman Empire is disrespectful to those 52 million souls, their survivors, The Greatest Generation, and those to come.

I hope that current and future generations are never presented with an opportunity to rise to the level of greatness and associated sacrifices that accompanied the second "war to end all wars" but will instead search for greatness in other ways.

Well, I've rambled on this tangent for way to long. So Mr. Ed, there is no need to apologize for the length of your post, or its quality. It's one of the better contributions I've seen here.

At 16 April, 2006 06:52, Blogger Karl said...

I guess my "347 word response to a yes-or-no question" was too much for Barnacle Bob.

He's merely denounced this blog as partisan (it's not) and has yet to offer any specific comment or idea on our central question:

Do those who are eligible to serve and support the war have an obligation, at least, to consider military service to our nation in its time of need?

Barnacle Bob-

If you support the war, how is our nation to achieve success or victory, if so many well-qualified 'patriots' won't even consider serving?

At 17 April, 2006 21:32, Anonymous Anonymous said...

the # of hits this site gets is only one measure of the popularity and influence Operation Yellow Elephant holds in the blogosphere - add to that the numerous websites, many among the most popular blogs, who participate in OYE, and publicity of the project thru banner ads and blog references, and you'll see a much wider impact (alyhough, alas, so far short of its "save thw world" goal, but at least it's trying...

At 02 May, 2006 17:05, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Leandro said

i think that the barnacle is a
piece of chit its too old we should destroy it "no im just playing" WHAT I ACTUALY THINK IS THAT WE SHOULD SAVE IT FU%# YOU


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