Saturday, May 08, 2004

Who's behind Doc in the Box

This is part of a letter I wrote responding to an email with some editorial changes. Little about my self and what I think about Milblogs.

First off I think this is the latest voice of this generation and we're still in the infancy of the blog movement. I don't think it will replace the regular sources of news but it does give the average reader a taste of someone's life here on the ground. Blogs are just giving more people voices, if you're doing something interesting or a good writer, people will read your stuff. I'm not even among the better war blogger's out here, I like blogging but I know when I'm beat. My main connection to the world is through my fotopage, I've been in the top twenty for the last 7 months or so, since I got out here I've been number one or in the top five out of 15000 or so fotopages. That's my real love, but I'm a big follower of blogs, I've been hanging around the blogging circles for a while, making comments on web sites and message boards till peer pressure from some fellow bloggers led me to start up a "respectable" blog.

I started out with a fotopage by way of Salam Pax the Iraqi blogger. He had a link from his blog to a fotopage that he started up, at that time I was using an MSN group to post pictures, and fotopages offered me unlimited posting, blog like features like commenting and a great sense of community. Lot's of like minded people there that leave comments on your site (except for political troll that has been leaving comments over there). I've always been a shutterbug and it grew to a point that my guys always wanted copies of my pictures, it was easier posting them online then giving out individual pictures or emailing them, 380 Marines, too much work for one person to handle without it being a fulltime job. So here I am the unit's unofficial photographer. Back in the rear, I publish a photo CD every 6 months or so of my unit's adventures (or when I get enough good pictures to fill up a CD) which I sell to the members my unit, proceeds go towards new equipment (cameras, blank CD's, CD stompers, printers, etc, low overhead). I made a slideshow video with music a month after coming out here titled Kuwait Take One and everyone started offering money to me for copies to send home to their families. That's become one of my side projects out here. Just finished "Iraq Take " with a little bit of fanfare. The fotopage lets the family back home know that their loved ones are doing alright. It's grown a bit out of my control in some ways, if don't post pictures frequently and my CO and SgtMaj get on my case (in a joking manner, I think) and I get hate mail or sad comments from family members. So the fotopage is here to stay.

As for the blog, you've probably noticed I've tried to stay away from the personal viewpoints on politics. I'm a supporter of the war, but I don't really lean to the right. I don't always agree with reasoning that they used to justify coming in here, there were many good concrete reasons like Saddam using chemical weapons on his own people, mass graves, etc. Saddam was a pretty bad dude and I have a firm belief that the world is a much better place without him. Of course there is no clear cut black and white answer to exactly we came out here, maybe it was the war on terror but only historians further down the road are going to be able to give the world the true story. People can dance on streets yelling for answers and protesting but I don't think it's going to make it come any quicker.

Terrorists need to be stopped, now do I believe that we can do it? I look at it this way, the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing, these guys are some pretty evil bastards in my book.

A little bit of personal history on myself, I came in originally in 91, missing the entire first gulf war while at school. Was stationed at El Toro Marine Corps Air Station with an F/A 18 squadron then at Naval Weapons Station China Lake. Got out of the Navy in 99 to pursue a different career field, was out for 3 years in school and worked in a field totally away from medicine. I'm one of those that came back in because of 9/11. Figured my skills could better used here. So I'm doing my little bit, saving lives when I can, making sure my guys stay healthy and keeping the families in touch with their loved ones. A side note it gives the rest of the world a snapshot of my mundane life (most days). As for the legal aspects of my internet life, I've been running all of the pictures that go on my fotopage through the base public affairs office for clearance (they've been cleared) and as for my blog I really don't say anything that would violate OPSEC, keeping a fairly low profile by not rocking the boat. Yes I have links to people that are Anti-American but that's deliberate choice on my part. Sometimes it's good to hear what the other side is saying. I think the best way to brain wash someone is to only give them one point of view. If you want that, go listen to Rush. I don't tell of troop movements or anything that plans into the future. Definitely don't talk about people that have died, that's a big no no. There is no real message behind my blog or fotopage except for saying we're regular people out here too. It has increased the size of my voice, I've had more attention in the last year then I've had most of my life. If something does happen to me while I'm out here at least I'll have left some kind of mark on the world. Plus this is a great spring board to see what people think about my writing and pictures. Who knows, I could find a future doing something of this sort.