Tuesday, June 28, 2005


Happy Carolina Day!

Here's what we had to say about it last year over at Jeff Quinton's.


Shelby Foote, dead at 88

Historian, novelist Shelby Foote has passed away.



Battling Bushwhackers


UPDATE: Lots of email messages and word on the street that our piece is getting blogged all over the place. It was even picked up as part of radio talk-show host Rush Limbaugh's Daily Stack of Stuff.
Clearly, however, the nicest comments of the day were from Jeremy Parker, The MUSC Tiger.
Much appreciated!

Semper Fi,

Sunday, June 26, 2005


Return from St. Simons

The pure warrior
He certainly was the quintessential soldier...
The image “http://www.cviog.uga.edu/Projects/jeo300/Oglestat.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.
He is British Gen. James Edward Oglethorpe (his statue is in Savannah), founder of Fort Frederica on beautiful St. Simons Island, Georgia. More on him in just a moment...
Anyway, just returned from the island where I shared with writers from around the country the finer points of non-fiction writing, developing ideas, querying editors, etc. at the Southeastern Writers Association 2005 conference. It was a marvelous gathering - the second time I've taught at this conference since 2003 - saw many friends from two years ago (met a few new ones), and the talent among those in attendance was simply far better than what I've found at other conferences.
Beyond that, enjoyed long predawn strolls on the beach (Thursday morning at o-dark-thirty with the lighthouse and the full moon was particularly nice); also afternoons and evenings on the beach; hanging out at Brogen's, Mullet Bay, Gnat's Landing, and one or two other watering holes; and two visits to the former British garrison at Frederica. The fort was constructed in the 1730's - under the direction of Gen. Oglethorpe - as a stronghold to defend against the Spanish in Florida who had their eyes on the Carolinas.
Oh, and aside from being the prototypical British Army officer and founding Fort Frederica, Oglethorpe is credited with founding the entire state of Georgia. Here is more about him.

Semper Fi,

Saturday, June 25, 2005


Hunley torpedo battery powered?

My buddy Jeff Quinton has an excerpt and link to an article suggesting that the Confederate submarine Hunley's torpedo that sank the USS Housatonic in 1864 was battery powered. See it here.
C'est très intéressant!


Saturday, June 18, 2005


Much goings on!

& I only have time to touch on a fraction of it all...
Anyway, our latest piece, Sharkman of the Delta, at MilitaryWeek.com is making the rounds, getting blogged all over the place - including over at Jeff Quinton's Backcountry Conservative, CadillacTight, and The Mudville Gazette - as well as republishings at both NavySEALs.com. and IntelDesk.com (was just today introduced to this great site, which is billed as "your comprehensive source for OSINT and SIGINT").
Then, Richard "Rogue Warrior" Marcinko, the subject of the piece, has had it posted at DickMarcinko.com.
Beyond that... Remember a few weeks ago when our story on Fighting Kentuckians was published, then picked up by the Scripps Howard News wire? Well, the soldiers who were the focus of that piece have since been awarded a variety of decorations for heroism and wounds received. It was reported over at Argghhh! (a really cool military weblog, by the way), followed by a linking at Dean's World, Assumption of Command, Instapundit, ... and linked from THE CORNER at NATIONAL REVIEW ONLINE, among other sites.
Other great things are happening with that one piece, but we'll just keep that under wraps for the time being.
Meanwhile, I'm working away writing other things, prepping for my forthcoming course of instruction at the Southeastern Writers Association 2005 conference, and judging (for upcoming awards) some really fine pieces by several of the writers with whom I will soon be sharing the finer points of non-fiction writing.
OK, back to work!

Thursday, June 16, 2005


Return of the Rogue Warrior

Interview with the SHARKMAN
We chat with Richard "Rogue Warrior" Marcinko for MilitaryWeek.com
See it here.
Semper Fi,

Sunday, June 12, 2005


Remembering the first Naval action of the American Revolution

June 12, 1775
Today is a day for flying flags and remembering the heroic actions of America's sailors throughout our history, because 230 years ago - this very day - a group of patriot sailors attacked the British ship, Margaretta, in what would become the first Naval action of the American Revolution.
The action, which took place in Machias Bay, Maine, was an American victory, but it wasn't bloodless. After several exchanges of fire, Margaretta was a boarded by Americans from the merchant vessel, Unity. A fierce hand-to-hand struggle ensued. The American sailors defeated the Brits, mortally wounding their commander, and capturing the enemy warship and several guns, including: four three-pounders and 14 swivel pieces.

The image “http://www.capitolflags.com/images/navy-flag.gif” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

Non sibi sed patriae
Semper Fidelis,

Saturday, June 11, 2005


pencil whipping pistol scores

Josey Wales, he (Gen. Eres) ain't!
My buddy Jeff Quinton weighs in on the saga (initially blogged by Phil Carter) of California National Guard Major General Thomas Eres, who apparently cheated on his pistol-shooting qualification test.
I can see how a California Guard general could "pencil-whip" his shooting scores (as long as he did it in his office and not on the range), though that surely was a pathetic thing for him - particularly being a general officer - to do.
Anyway, Jeff says he's "been in units where pencil-whipping a PT score or a range score happened on occasion. That was one of the worst units morale-wise I've ever encountered or been a part of. I don't know that the two things were directly related but I find that an interesting coincidence at the very least."
My own take is, I honestly don't see how a young soldier, NCO, or junior officer could "pencil whip" any score on any test unless there is a problem with the system.
Back when I was a member of Uncle Sam's Misguided Children (USMC), I had to regularly qualify at the range (rifle and pistol) and take PT tests. I also had swim qualification in boot camp, then another swim qual in Sea School, then another swim qual a couple years later before my company went to the SEAL base at Coronado, CA to go through a very tough cycle of amphibious raid training.
There was also training and testing on weapons and close combat skills at Little Creek, VA. There, I remember the guys who administered our tests being field grade USMC officers (shotgun training and testing), a few Secret Service agents (for submachinegun training and testing), and an FBI martial arts guy for close combat skills training and testing.
I also remember my final evaluation for close combat consisted of climbing into the ring with this martial arts guy and then basically getting my ass kicked (complete with getting kicked in the head, my nose bloodied, and lots of lovely bruises... though bruises were an everyday feature of training) though I did get in a few good licks myself... and apparently, I passed the test.
At any rate, those were just a few of the myriad tests I was constantly taking during my four-year hitch. It seems like we were always being tested for something.
Range scores were kept by marksmanship judges (scorekeepers, whatever you want to call them), PT tests were administered by staff NCOs and officers, and swim tests were administered by USMC divers and water survival guys... and believe you me, the testees (for lack of a better word) who were most scrutinized, were the ones who seemed as if they might have the greatest chance of failing.
It was almost as if the Corps was looking and hoping to fail them.
In fact, we had a guy going through the Mountain Warfare course in Northern California who suffered an unexpected bout of paralyzing fear before rappelling off a cliff (despite the fact that he had rappelled off many different towers, many times before). The Corps' response? He was quickly out-processed as being unfit for military service and discharged. In fact, I remember the boy's name well - even though that was 20 years ago - but will not mention it here for obvious reasons.
Oh, and here's me back in the day (notice the old steel pot).
Semper Fi,

Thursday, June 09, 2005


Homeless people

Jason Trommetter over at New Trommetter Times and TarHeel Voice is commenting about his recent witnessing of two Charlotte, N.C.-area cops giving a homeless woman a hard time: Demanding to see an ID and shouting at her about having to "go to the courthouse to find out when her court date would be."
Don't cops have anything better to do? Of course, they're most probably doing what they've been directed to do: Getting unsightly panhandlers off the street so that the fine, upstanding, well-fed, freshly scrubbed citizens of Charlotte don't have to be bothered with the so-called "dregs of the gutter."
I'm sorry folks, but this burns me up! For the most part, the homeless are harmless... in fact, they are often the ones victimized by those a little higher - though not by much - on the socio-economic ladder.
I've been confronted by the homeless many, many times... and it certainly doesn't inconvenience me in the least to be asked for something by someone who, for whatever reason, possesses absolutely nothing of material value beyond the filthy clothes on his or her back.
They - not me - are the ones inconvienced. They are the ones enduring a life most of us can not even begin to fathom... even if it is their fault.
In fact, years ago I lived among the homeless for several days - researching a story I was working on about them - and I was greatly humbled by what I experienced and learned. More later on that.
In the meantime, the next time you see a homeless person, try to remember - despite what some might tell you - homeless people DO NOT enjoy the station they hold in life. With few exceptions, they are not a threat to any of us (in fact they are the most vulnerable members of society). And they are every bit as loved and valued as you are by God.


Monday, June 06, 2005


June 6, 1944

Hitting the beach!
The image “http://www.schoolshistory.org.uk/images/d-day.gif” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.
Sixty-one years ago, today, Allied airborne and seaborne forces struck the Normandy coastline and began kicking in the front-door of Hitler's Fortress Europe. I'm proud to say, uncles on both sides of my family were there kicking in the door. Here is what I said on this date, last year, at NATIONAL REVIEW ONLINE.

UPDATE: Michelle Malkin gives us a nice mention, as does my pal, Jeff Quinton, as does my editor, Kathryn Jean Lopez, at NRO, as does Barry Ready at The Palmetto Pundit, as do a few others who have been reported to me... though I've yet to check them out. Stay tuned!

Semper Fi,

Sunday, June 05, 2005


weblog vs website

uswriter.com is the site of record
Recently - particularly over the past several days - I've received quite a bit of email regarding my web pages (why? I dunno.), and all enquiring as to whether-or-not my weblog (this site you're visiting now) is perhaps replacing my official website.
For the record, NO!
uswriter.com is the OFFICIAL WEBSITE... this page that you are now visiting is simply a weblog of my veeeeeery casual postings.
Interested in visiting the real deal? Click on uswriter.com.
Want to bypass the really cool intro page (designed by the lovely and talented Donna Bunting), go directly to the uswriter.com main page (also designed by Donna).
Thanks for your interest.



More about "Gitmo"

My buddy Jeff Quinton says Brad Warthen blogged yesterday on a "Krauthammer piece" about Guantanamo Bay.
In Brad's post, he referred to Guantanamo as "Gitmo" after I posted my rant about outsiders freely using Marine/Navy jargon as if they were also on the Marine/Navy team. See my comments here to know what we're talking about.
Of course, Jeff is absolutely correct: Brad probably didn't see my comments. And had he done so, he probably still would've said Gitmo like every other American has since that Tom Cruise/Jack Nicholson flik a few years back.
Anyway, I'm gonna cut Brad some slack... he is, after all, a good guy, and his brand new weblog looks a whole lot better than mine :-(

On another note: Of those blogging my recent interview with Janine Di Giovanni, two of the more interesting ones are Dean Esmay at Dean's World, who says, "Sometimes what you find on blogs is simply astounding. Case in point: W. Thomas Smith Jr.'s interview with veteran war correspondent Janine Di Giovanni;" and Rusty Shackleford at The Jawa Report, who says, "W. Thomas Smith Jr. interviews the very hot Janine Di Giovanni on her experiences as a war reporter in Yugoslavia during the darkest days of the conflict."


Saturday, June 04, 2005


"incredibly cute Laurin Manning says... "

The Laurin Line

OK, so incredibly cute Laurin Manning says that I'm her "new favorite freelance journalist" and she's now tempted to rush right out and buy a copy of National Review because I'm her new fav :-)
Folks, this is great! I'm flattered, and her comments now make me wanna rush right out and buy a brand new pair of powder-blue Converse high-tops.
Kidding, kidding, kidding.
Actually, for those of you who don't know me, that may sound somewhat condescending. It's not at all intended that way. Laurin IS INDEED AS CUTE AS SHE CAN BE! What red-blooded American male could possibly think otherwise? She's also - obviously - incredibly bright, adventurous, ambitious, and a pretty darned good writer to boot.
Now, if I could just get her to switch colors, politically...
Oh, here's Laurin... see what I mean?
That cuteness factor is waaaaay up there ;-)


Friday, June 03, 2005


Is it just me?

Is it just me? Or are others annoyed by outsiders using insider jargon as if they too are part of the team.
For instance, I'm sick of how everyone so coolly and freely refers to Guantanamo Bay as "Gitmo." As if they are somehow familiar with that sweltering hot stretch of American-controlled Cuban coastline that was so-christened by American Marines and sailors decades ago.
As a young Marine, I never felt it was my right to call the place Gitmo until I'd spent time there. Now everyone in America refers to it as Gitmo as if they have some sort of familiar recall of what the place looks, sounds, smells, and feels like.
Kinda like how we used to refer to the Marine Corps as "the Crotch." It was a pseudo-affectionate term for us insiders laced with a little harmless griping, but a non-Marine saying the same thing to one of us would've probably gotten his a** kicked!
Same with non-Marines TODAY saying to me, "Semper Fi," as if to suggest they have a right to share in something that doesn't belong to them simply because I do... and they are communicating to me that they know something about what it means to be a Marine.
Oh well, maybe I'm just sounding off 'cause I had a little out-patient cutting done on one of my fingers today (I'm a terrible patient), and it hurts like L'Inferno... well, actually, I'm not Dante - and I have no desire to visit the place he was referring to - so I'll just state it unfamiliarly: It hurts like hell!
Excuse number two: I'm sorta medicated this afternoon :-)

Thursday, June 02, 2005


Inside hell

The Two Rivers Times, a New Jersey-based community newspaper (and the hometown paper of friend and fellow MilitaryWeek.com columnist Janine Di Giovanni), has published an abridged version of my recent interview with Janine.

Photo of Janine Di Giovanni
© Gavin Bond

The unabridged version of my interview with Janine follows:

Inside Hell
An exclusive interview with Janine Di Giovanni, one of five women war correspondents featured in Bearing Witness (airing this month on A&E)

By W. Thomas Smith Jr.

In her book, Madness Visible, author-journalist Janine Di Giovanni describes what most people would consider to be a scene from Hell in its purest form. It was March 1993, the first winter of the siege of Sarajevo during the Bosnian War. There was “ice hanging from the shattered buildings, breath coming out like frozen clouds,” she recalls. “I saw a dog with a human hand in its mouth.”
At first, she didn’t know it was a hand. “All I saw was a dog driven to madness by hunger,” she writes, “[It was] running with a prize in its jaw, a piece of meat dripping blood.”
It was not a first or an isolated horror in the life thus far of Di Giovanni, one of five women war correspondents featured in Bearing Witness (a film by two-time Academy Award-winner Barbara Kopple, which airs on A&E, May 26 at 9:00 p.m. EDT / 8C ). A writer for The Times of London, National Geographic, Vanity Fair, and MilitaryWeek.com; Di Giovanni has covered some of the world’s most brutal conflicts, always with a focus on the ordinary person. It’s not about ships, planes, tanks, and generals who command troops in combat, she says. War is about real people with families, like any of us, but who face tragedy and incomprehensible circumstances that seemingly never end. Yet they press-on with life, a fact that has led Di Giovanna to write about – and never take for granted – the indomitable human spirit.
In an exclusive interview, Di Giovanni discusses the nature of war and war reporting, Bosnia, Chechnya, the war in Iraq, her personal fears and near-death experiences, and how becoming a mother has saved her. She also offers sage advice for young journalists with dreams of becoming war correspondents.

SMITH: In your book you quote the late Robert Capa [the famous Hungarian-born photojournalist]. Capa talked about “the incompatibility of being a reporter and hanging on to a tender soul at the same time.” Is that not kind of an inherent contradiction within the souls of all writers? I personally feel we have to be sensitive to write well, but we also have to be tough enough to survive the immersion into human misery. Don’t you agree?

DI GIOVANNI: In a very straightforward way, I am a terrible reporter. I’m not someone who can go into a story and not get involved. I always in some way take kind of a personal toll from it, especially in war. To be a good reporter, writing about war, you have to write about the people. It’s not about the tanks or the RPG’s or military strategy. It’s always about the affect war has on civilians, on society, and how it disrupts and destroys lives. But it is also how – in a very strange way – war can make people do incredibly heroic things. And through reporting war, I feel a sense of privilege because I’m able to come into contact with so many of the world’s most extraordinary human beings. You know, it is something just to witness the power of the human spirit.
I suppose if I were a good reporter, I would just stand back, take notes, go home and write my story. But I’ve never been able to do that.

SMITH: Yes, but you could not be a really good writer and do that. Is it not true that writers are sensitive by nature, and we should not try to deny that sensitivity?

DI GIOVANNI: Yes, but I remember in 1992 in Sarajevo, there was an old people’s home. And the people in this home were literally dying from the cold, of hypothermia. About four or five of us drove out there. It was a terrible front line – if you remember the Sarajevo airport – it was horrible. We got to the house, and there was an old man who was lying dead in front of the house. He had been trying to chop wood to heat the place and a sniper shot him. All the staff had run away. I went inside and there were about thirteen old people lying dead in their beds. When I walked past one of the beds, an arm reached out a grabbed me. It was an old woman. She was still alive. So I sat there and hugged her as she was dying and tried to physically warm her with my own body. Then I noticed another reporter behind me taking notes. He walked away. He later wrote about this scene, and he said he was shocked to see me doing this because everything his journalism training had taught him said ‘not to get involved.’ And here I was physically involved.
In Barbara Kopple’s film, Bearing Witness, there is a scene on the Ivory Coast where there is a wounded rebel soldier and I’m screaming at the government troops to take him to the hospital, and they won’t do it because to them he is just scum.
But I think there has to come a time when you cease being a reporter and you become a human being with emotions. And as human beings, it is very difficult to watch people suffer physically, mentally, and emotionally.

SMITH: Have you ever feared for your own life?

DI GIOVANNI: Yes. Several times, but the two worst times were – first – when I was captured by Serb paramilitaries crossing the Montenegro-Kosovo border in 1999. What made that situation so dangerous was that they were very drunk, and they were very angry because it was the first day that French NATO planes had bombed Belgrade. They caught me, and basically marched me and two other colleagues – male reporters – with rifles at our backs into the woods.
There was no one else around. It was getting dark. We were on an isolated mountaintop.
They had loaded us in cars and said they were going to take us to their commander. Then after several hours of playing mind games with us, shooting over our heads, they let us go.
It was one of those situations where they could have just shot us and thrown us over the mountain.

SMITH: How many soldiers were there?

DI GIOVANNI: About eight.

SMITH: Didn’t you also fear being raped?

DI GIOVANNI: Rape never really occurred to me. But my two colleagues said they were certain I was going to be raped, and they didn’t know what they were going to be able to do. Of course, they wouldn’t have been able to do anything. I only thought they were going to shoot me in the head. Maybe I was naïve
As a woman, though, that is something that is very important to consider, particularly when you’re working alone like I do. I don’t have a TV crew or anything with me. I’m always by myself. And in Africa – in particular – that is a real consideration. Africa is a very dangerous place.

SMITH: What was that second most dangerous moment?

DI GIOVANNI: Yes, when Grozny [in Chechnya] fell in February of 2000. I was sure I wasn’t going to get out of that alive. I didn’t go there to be trapped in the fall of Grozny. It was in the right place at the right time if you’re thinking like a journalist. It was the wrong place at the wrong time if you’re thinking like a human being.
I was a trapped in a suburb outside of the city with the retreating Chechen army.
Now, you’re a military guy, Thomas, so you know what that meant: We were being pummeled by Russian tanks and helicopter gunships. And we knew that when morning came, the Russians were going to come in and ‘cleanse’ the village as they had done others. If they found me, they were going to kill me, because I wasn’t supposed to be there. I was in Chechnya illegally. They didn’t want journalists there, especially journalists like me who had witnessed what I had witnessed: The total abuse of human rights.
I was sure I was going to die, and I was not yet a mother.
I remember saying my prayers that night. I knew I had lived a good life, so I was fine with that. My only concern was that I was not going to be able to get my story out. No one would actually know the evil things that had happened in that village.
But I did survive, and I did write the story.

SMITH: So the concern for getting your story out is greater than the concern for your own safety. Is that a reflection of an immunity to fear, perhaps a temporary displacement of fear? Or do you – much like a soldier does – continue to march and shoot despite being afraid?

DI GIOVANNI: I think you are a correct. I remember being on autopilot. I remember after the experience of being captured by the Serb paramilitaries, trying to set up my satellite phone. It was one of the older models where you had to set up the leaves. I needed to call my office, but I was shaking so hard. So, I kept telling myself, ‘Stop shaking! Pull yourself together!’
I would be places from which I couldn’t escape. I would be stuck somewhere. And I wasn’t Dorothy. I couldn’t click my shoes and go home.
Many times I’ve been afraid, but I fought back the fear, because I thought if I started letting myself be afraid I might open a door I didn’t want to open. My self-preservation factor just said, ‘Close that door of fear. You can’t go there.’

SMITH: You mentioned not being a mother, but you are now.

DI GIOVANNI: I have a 14-month old son, Luca. My husband [Bruno Girodon of France 2 Television] and I had a romantic war-zone relationship. We met in Sarajevo [1992]. We fell madly in love, but were separated by circumstances, war and other things. We met again in Algeria covering the war in 1998. We then carried out this ridiculous courtship that went from Afghanistan and Iraq to the Ivory Coast, Somalia, Zimbabwe. We finally got married and had this beautiful boy who has redeemed us both.

SMITH: Why do you say he redeemed you?

DI GIOVANNI: Because having seen so much darkness, misery, and suffering; Luca’s laughter to me just lightened my life. He saved me.

SMITH: What do you hope Luca will one day glean from your own experiences as a war correspondent? What do you want for him to take with him as a man?

DI GIOVANNI: Compassion. That is the most important thing. I hope he doesn’t grow up to be a war correspondent. But no matter what he does, I want him to go into the world with compassion for his fellow man and a sense of joy for all the things we have. He was fortunate to be born in Paris and not Liberia or Sierra Leone. Appreciation for things: That’s something my work has given me. When I am at home in Paris or with my family in New Jersey, I’m just so appreciative of what I have.
I see so many people get so wrapped up in wanting to get a bigger SUV or a bigger house. But then I think, my God, I could have been born a woman in the Congo.
I want to pass these things to my son.

SMITH: Let’s look at Iraq for a moment: Much of the negative reporting coming out of that country results from the fact that during the offensive phase of the war in 2003, all of the reporters were embeds, going down the same roads, eating the same chow, sleeping in the same holes, dodging the same bullets. So everything the troops were involved in – good and bad – was reported. Today, however, the reporters are hunkered down in the Palestine Hotel and other places, rarely able to come out for security reasons except to cover car bombings and gun fights. They never cover the rebuilding of schools and medical clinics.

DI GIOVANNI: You are right. Let me tell you though, someone once described me as being embedded before the term was coined. But I’ve always been opposed to the embed thing, and I’ve never been embedded with the winning forces. I’ve always traveled with the losers. The militias. The victims. I was with the Bosnian Muslim army. Always the guys on the wrong side. Yes, I did live with them, sleep with them, and eat their chow. But always I was with the ones being hunted down. That’s far different than being with say the American Army.
So there is a twisted notion of reporting when you are an embed. But it’s also true about those reporters in the Palestine Hotel or the al Hamra Hotel where the print journalists stay. You know I was in Baghdad last October, and I DID go out every day. I put on an abaya. I covered my head. But it was scary. You just can’t work there anymore. You don’t know whom to trust. Your beloved driver could sell you to a kidnapper. I’m an American, so they’re not going to take me and hold me. They’re going to behead me on Al Jazeera.
Those journalists are stuck in the hotels. It’s just too dangerous. The TV guys will send out their Iraqi cameramen.
Reporting in Iraq right now is almost an impossible situation. And that is why we are getting distorted press.

SMITH: How does covering war really contribute to our understanding of people and societies in order for us to become better human beings?

DI GIOVANNI: When I’m writing about a family struggling to put together enough eggs and milk to make a cake for Christmas during the siege of Sarajevo, I want readers to see that those people are no different than those members of our own families. I want to bridge a gap between the people I’m writing about and the people I’m writing for. I want the reader to realize, ‘This could be me.’ We could be living our lives one day, and suddenly the barricades go up, the phones get cut, the TV lines go down, and it’s war. And how do people respond to that and survive? I want someone living in Wisconsin to read about a woman in Gaza and say to herself, ‘Gosh, she’s just a mother like me trying to raise her family in the midst of extraordinary circumstances.’
I want to demystify war: Make it something people can feel, taste, hear, and see.

SMITH: Where does war reporting need to go other than just stating the obvious?

DI GIOVANNI: It needs to go to the darker corners of the world. If a Martian landed on Earth, today, he would think the only story in the world is Iraq. But there is so much suffering in the Sudan, the Congo, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. No one writes about those places and those people. We don’t need more reporters – I have plenty of colleagues who want to cover those stories – but we need more newspapers that will run those stories, more documentaries to be made, so that people are aware of what’s happening in those dark, dark corners. Journalism, when it’s very pure, can shine a light in those corners.

SMITH: I think the problem is two things: One is racism. The other is the fact that a war like Iraq is so politically charged.

DI GIOVANNI: Absolutely, but I’m going to still keep fighting to get those stories out. We need to keep trying, especially with Africa.

SMITH: So many of my students [the University of South Carolina’s School of Journalism and Mass Communications] seem to believe that being a war correspondent is glamorous.

DI GIOVANNI: You know I had a number of young women come up to me after Barbara Kopple’s film premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival, and they said, ‘Oh my God, I want to be you. I want to have your job.’ And I said to them, ‘You have no idea what it is like when you don’t wash for three weeks. You don’t know what it’s like to exist on Snicker’s candy bars, or to try and find a glass of water to brush your teeth. You might be with a rebel army in Africa and you’re dying for a shower or just a bit of privacy. Maybe you haven’t slept in 48 hours, but you still have to file a story. Or when you are alone and afraid, and your only friend is your satellite phone, and you’re running low on batteries.’

SMITH: So the draw for you is?

DI GIOVANNI: I’m not going to say it’s not exciting, because it is. And you are in the middle of history. A colleague once said its like a rough draft of history and you’re there. That’s the real pull of it. But it takes a tremendous toll on your private and emotional life, a terrible toll on your friendships with other people.
Many of my friends have post-traumatic stress disorder. I’ve had several friends who were tortured and killed.
Hollywood makes it look glamorous, but that’s not the reality of it.

A former U.S. Marine infantry leader and paratrooper, W. Thomas Smith Jr. writes about military issues and has covered conflict in the Balkans and on the West Bank. He is the author of four books, and his articles have appeared in USA Today, George, U.S. News & World Report, BusinessWeek, National Review Online, MilitaryWeek, and many others.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005


"golden child of S.C. bloggers"

Just picked up a copy of Columbia, S.C.'s FREE TIMES, and read Dan Cook's piece, CITIZEN WEB: Blogs, Political Websites Broaden S.C. Media.
It's a great article, and it refers to Jeff Quinton as "Man of the Moment" and the "golden child of S.C. bloggers."
The story highlights other Palmetto State bloggers, including Benj Buck at S.C. Headlines, Tim Kelly at Crack the Bell, Dick Anderson at Swamp Fox News, Mike Green at S.C. Hotline, and Laurin Manning - who, for what it's worth, is waaaaay cuter than the others - at The Laurin Line.
Oh, and FREE TIMES even gave yours truly a listing in a sidebar highlighting other South Carolina-based weblogs.
OK, gotta scoot... real work is calling.

Oh, you've seen my blog (you're there now).
To visit the official website, click uswriter.com

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?