I might as well request the Easter Bunny`s e-mail address.

[Originally posted at Vox Veterana on 28 AUG 07.]

Is there any place where legitimate, well-intentioned, respectful, intelligent, and rational discourse about politics and military affairs can occur?

I don`t mean the narcissistic mutual admiration societies where we all sit around talking about how barking mad the other side is--I mean an actual (by which I mean virtual, online) place where you can have a reasoned debate with unlike-minded individuals and at least maintain some semblance of civil conversation.

One of the legitimate criticisms often levied against the military weblog community is that we tend to act as an echo chamber. It`s hard to know how much of that is just navel-gazing and how much is legitimate unfied concern over a major topic--particularly when it`s hard to agree what even constitutes An Important Thing. [Witness the whole Beauchamp saga.]

Comments are often full of "You are so right" and "God bless you and the troops" and "Free Viagra Prescription" (damned spambots) with the occasional "Bushitler and his thugs will all rot in hell" comment thrown in for good measure. Some of the better sites will have some respectfully dissenting opinions, but these are noteworthy for their rarity.

[Now, to be perfectly fair (which I do only when I have 3:1 odds), the military weblog community is far from the worst offender in this area. But just because other parties *coughhippies*cough* might do it doesn`t absolve us of responsibility to promote the common good.]

I guess I`m just not terribly comfortable with the journal-as-debate-forum model. One pompous blowhard (me) gets to write something, and then normal people tell him/me why he/I is/am full of crap in the comments section. It`s powerfully slanted my way, which would be a problem if I were not right all of the time.

But Sig, the argument will go, they can always open their own blog. And that`s true. But now the power relationship is reversed, and I`m leaving nasty comments about their grammar and personal hygiene and political views. In neither case is a reasonable and even-keeled discussion possible.

Maybe I`m hoping for something which can`t exist. But I recall some rousing good discussions Back In The Old Days--in my case, text-based BBS networks and moderated UseNet groups from the mid-90s. Where do people go for discussions now?

This is not a rhetorical device--I`d really like to know.


Vox Veterana Archive

In which Sig has collected the entirety of his wisdom scribed at VoxVeterana.com prior to its conclusion--a rather short collection, admittedly.

On the hidden evils of news aggregators

Should circumstances land me a sentence of community service some day in the future, I am totally going to use this argument. "Your honor, I have to protect the Internet from stupid people."

I like to write titles that only vaguely reference the subject matter.

What was my point? Oh yeah. I like civilized discourse of important issues (like guns) between people of varied but experienced and/or educated backgrounds who can argue politely and concede when they are wrong and even allow themselves to be uncertain from time to time. At least, I think I would like that, if such a thing existed.

Writing hither and thither

On writing here, and writing there--including a new there.

The writing that I'm not doing

It's kind of hard to motivate myself to spend time in front of the computer after spending all day in front of the computer. You may have noticed that my content comes in fits and spurts--nothing for a week, and then four or five things in a day. I'm trying to be more diligent, but it's kind of hit or miss.

It is possible that I am barking mad.

What it really comes down to is that our ideal naive vision for the future includes owning our own home and property, home schooling the kids, being active and useful in our church and community, and spending as much time together as is humanly possible until one of us--probably me--keels over.

The Sound of Mortars

I have been debating posting this for a while. I wrote it on Suck Hill back in late June/early July during Operation Mountain Thrust.


Actually, the sound of mortars is the sound of a hundred guys yelling "HOLY SH*T!" but that's not terribly compelling.

Writing to kill time

This is really quite novel for me. As a rule, I only start writing; I never finish because I’ve never known where I was going. I still didn’t, but I kept writing, revising, and editing to answer my own questions until some sort of reasonable conclusion was reached. Along the way I employed every hack technique at my disposal—Sudden Appearance of Sidekick, Inexplicable Stupidity of Villain, Deus Ex Machina, Random Leap of Intuition, etc.—to explain to my own satisfaction what happened. I even resorted to It Remains a Mystery To This Day, which was oddly gratifying.

Killingmachines @ the Wayback

So basically, I'm another one of those self-absorbed Intarweb 'writers' with delusions of importance and relevance. What else is new?

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