Mar 16

Four New York Times journalists have gone missing in Libya, and our thoughts and prayers go out to them.

To read more about them, click here or here.

In particular, Stephen Farrell runs the "At War' blog for the Ny Times, which has long been one of On V's favorite blogs. (You can find it on our blog roll.) The other missing journalists are two-time pulitzer prize winner Anthony Shadid and photographers Tyler Hicks and Lynsey Addario.

We hope they turn up safely, or are released soon. We'll keep you posted.

UPDATED: The journalists have been found and are set to be freed. More here.

And now they are free. Great news.

Jan 31

We’ve come to our 300th post. To think we’ve posted 300 times--more than that if you count On V in Other Places and other types of shout outs--boggles the mind.

So, as we’ve done four times before, (on our 50th, 100th, 1 year and 200th posts, check the sidebar for links) we’re doing a “Best of On V” link-drop. Without further ado, a few of our favorite posts from the last 100 (chosen unscientifically and arranged topically):

The “War is war” series has easily been our most debated and popular new topic since our 200th post. In that series, “War is War is Clausewitz” and “We Are Holier Than Thou” made the biggest splashes and garnered the most comments.

Our funniest post was “Haters Want to Hate or...If You Haven’t Been to Afghanistan Then F*** You Hippy and Get Off My Internets!”, though the comments section went off the rails. We followed this up with “The ‘Have You Been There?’ Argument”.

When Michael C returned from his deployment to Iraq, he wrote, “An Intelligence Perspective on Iraq, Part 1” and “Part 2”. It is probably our best, and scariest, piece of writing on that unfortunate war zone. In “Back From Iraq: What I Learned", Michael C sums up a few other lessons learned.

Matty P held it down with “Guest Post: Rambo 4 and the Karen” and “Not Every Firefighter a Hero".

Not unpredictably, the military continues to be extraordinarily wasteful, so Michael C described his personal experience with waste in “Virginia is for Lovers (But It’s Not, It’s For Bloated, Unneeded Bureaucratic Pentagon Homes for Generals)”, “Military Waste: An Anecdote” and “The Tale of the Camelbak and the Soldier

We also corrected the record in “What You Should(n't) Be Afraid Of", “The Return of...Quotes Behaving Badly” and “Afghanistan is NOT the Graveyard of Empires”.

Michael C’s posts on his personal experiences in Afghanistan and Iraq continue to be fan favorites. Highlights include, “How to Win an American Heart and Mind”, Checking Out of Afghanistan and Into Hotel California”, “On Not Shooting Back”, and “Dreams of a Banyan Tree”.

One of the biggest treats of writing for On Violence (especially for Eric C) is discovering great works of art. We’ve discovered five in the last 100 posts, including Vaughn and Henrichon's Pride of Baghdad (Guest post review by Matty P), Matthew Eck's The Farther Shore, David Benioff’s City of Thieves, Operation In Their Boots and Brian Turner’s Here, Bullet. Check out the reviews.

Eric C started the “War at its Worst” series, and people loved debating “My War and Falaise”.

And our most interesting event of 2010 was Wikileaks, and we covered it for a full week.

Finally, perhaps the coolest development of the last year was getting our work published in outside sources, including “Where Did God Go in Afghanistan?” at the New York Times “At War” blog, “Iraq, the Unraveling: Here's a nasty killer most Americans know nothing about” at’s and Thomas Rick's "The Best Defense" blog, “War Destroys” at the Los Angeles Times "Blowback" feature, and an article, “Influencing the Population: Using Interpreters, Conducting KLEs, and Executing IO in Afghanistan” in the May-August 2010 Infantry Magazine.

We don’t like to do self promotion in the articles, but since this is an anniversary, if you would like to follow us on twitter, RSS feed, or facebook, please click on the links in the sidebar. Please share any On V articles with your friends.

Jan 20

We have a quick post today with some links and a shout out to an On Violence favorite.

First up, we discussed a lot of Martin Luther King Jr. misquotes in our intro to Monday’s “Quotes Behaving Badly”. We couldn’t fit this in tonally, but Martin Luther King Jr. did say all this; it is always worth another listen.

On to Lone Survivor. Thomas Rick’s dove into the Lone Survivor debacle with a post on the Ed Darack's Victory Point. Check it out. Or...

Check out this article, “Operation Red Wings” by Ed Darack in the Marine Corps Gazette, where Darack lays out the facts about Operation Red Wings and Operation Whalers. Or buy a copy of Victory Point. Either way, you won’t be disappointed. (Review pending.)

Another interesting wrinkle to the Lone Survivor saga. It isn’t Luttrell’s fault, but a citizen who featured prominently in Lone Survivor mis-represented his Special Forces credentials. Also should be noted, this is why we shouldn’t fetish-ize the Special Forces.

Finally, in really exciting news, Army of Dude and VAntage Points blogger Alex Horton sent us this pic from the set of the Lone Survivor movie.

Wow. That looks over-the-top.

Jan 04

Last May, we wrote a post on "Quotes Behaving Badly", taking down nine quotes we felt were wrong, dishonest, mis-attributed or idiotic.

We need your help finding more.

We're working on a second "Quotes Behaving Badly" post, and we figured we'd give a shout out to everyone on the internets calling for more of these quotes. We prefer quotes that are mis-attributed or mis-quoted, but any overly cited cliche will do. If you have any ideas, please put them in the comments section below, email us, or tweet us.

Thanks for your time, and we will be back soon.

Dec 29

Since one half of On Violence is on his Iraq-deployment-delayed honeymoon and the other half is moving, we'll be off until next Friday, Jan. 7th. But don't worry, we have big things planned for the coming for the year, including a week on Wikileaks, the debate we aren't having about Yemen, quotes behaving badly, "war is war", our 300th post and a whole bunch more.

If you need something to hold you over, we recommend this awesome Year in Review post by Starbuck at Wings Over Iraq.

Dec 16

As we have written about twice before, our blog roll is a living document (Suck it, Originalists!). If we find something great, we add it. I discovered the Musings on Iraq blog through the Small Wars Journal, and I kept coming back to it. After I used it for intelligence research in Iraq, I knew it belonged on our blog roll.

Written by Joel Wing, a high school history teacher with a "BA and MA in International Relations", Musings on Iraq uses open source information but usually combines several news reports or papers into one solid conclusion. He frequently highlights missed news stories or makes connections not seen in the larger media. Wing also shows the power of “untrained” bloggers to provide original opinion and make connections the mainstream media doesn’t.

The sheer amount of intelligence on Musings on Iraq is staggering. None of it is clandestinely or covertly collected; it is all out there on the interwebs. But Wing shows the skills good military intelligence analyst needs: patience, focus and tenacity along with a clear and precise writing style. His conclusions are insightful, exactly what a division or corps commander needs in Iraq.

If the intelligence community were smart, someone would have read his blog, seen that it has been posting for years, and hire Wing on the spot with a six figure salary. Instead, if he joined the Army, for example, Wing would have to enlist in a job with no responsibility or freedom for years. Even then he would have to contend with the PowerPoint and email and inanities of everyday military life. In all likelihood, he couldn’t do intelligence work like he does every week on his blog.

Alas. In the meantime, read Musings on Iraq to stay current on Iraq.

Nov 11

Since I began the 9/11 war memoir project last year, I’ve read a lot of books. Some were good, some were bad, and two were very, very good. Those two are Clint Van Winkle’s Soft Spots and Brandon Friedman's The War I Always Wanted. Both Van Winkle and Friedman released new projects this week, and we wanted to share them with you.

Operation In Their Boots

Soft Spots was the second book I read when I started the post-9/11 war memoirs project. (I reviewed it here.) Having perspective of having read a bunch of war memoirs and war memoir criticism, I can say unequivocally, it’s one of the best I’ve read.

I met Clint last night at the premiere of his new documentary, The Guilt, as part of the series Operation In Their Boots. Take a look at his documentary, and definitely check out the other five. We’ll have more detailed reviews next Friday, and maybe an interview or two.

VAntage Point

Brandon Friedman has done a lot of work in the VA system, and he is now editing a VA sponsored blog, VAntage Point, with another friend of On Violence, Alex Horton of Army of Dude fame. Good luck to them, and check it out.

Jul 19

By the time you read this, I, Michael C, will have arrived in Iraq, a Middle Eastern nation America has apparently been mired in conflict with/for the last seven or so years. (One of my friends from the MICCC assures me I will be greeted as a liberator.)

So how will this change On Violence?

In the long run, it will benefit our little blog by inspiring me with tons of new ideas, and giving me a perspective on a country that I have read about, but have never been to.

More immediately, I’ll be slowing down our posting schedule until I figure out exactly how busy I will be downrange. Eric C and I have posted pretty regularly for our first year, and we want to continue that as much as possible. To ease the burden, I am going to start debuting some photos with captions from my last deployment.

Last deployment, my brother and a good friend set up a website to host updates from my last deployment; this time I will use On Violence. Friends and family can write personal notes in the comment sections of my regular updates.

As for original content, this is probably the least intuitive change we are making. Most milbloggers post about life downrange and their daily goings-on. Unfortunately, the people I will be working with (read: Special) and the field I will be working in (read: Military Intelligence) are the least open to the publicity of milblogging. The Special people call themselves “quiet professionals” for a reason, and Military Intelligence people classify almost every document they read.

But I will be able to provide insight into how Iraq looks like at the end. Also, my deployment won’t be for a full year, so expect me back stateside in not too long.

Again thanks for reading, and thanks in advance for all the support I know I will receive.