Aside

Battle of Marjah

Chris Gillespie

Operation Moshtarak, otherwise known as the Battle of Marjah, was a critical point in time for Allied forces in the War in Afghanistan. The Wikipedia article about this conflict stays true to much of the content except for the cultural aspects regarding the names of towns, places, etc. My knowledge of this conflict as a participant and language translator, coupled with Henry Jenkins article titled “What Wikipedia Can Teach Us About the New Media Literacies” should make the argument that much of the historical knowledge of the event is based in fact.

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                In the statistics I gathered from the Operation Mostharak Wikipedia article, I noticed that the revision history shows the vast majority of revisions occurring in February 2010. This month was also the beginning of that conflict, and the number of revisions drastically drops after that month, even though the conflict continued well after that.

 

 

                The minimal number of contributions after March of 2010 remains constant through to the current date. Upon looking at the list of people that revised this article the most, the largest contributor was blocked, and the second largest contributor has a dead user page. However, upon looking at the third largest contributor, I found the user Jimmy De Grasse, who contributed to 40 revisions. Listed as Jimderkaisser, this gentleman certainly does have an extensive user page. Based on the subject matter of his edits, it seems that he mostly specializes in Canadian military offensives and weaponry. His page seems to allude to him having been involved in the conflict most likely as a Canadian military member. This subject is not readily accessible to simply anyone doing research on it (i.e. not much unclassified information is available on this recent conflict.) This, coupled with the drastic change in the number of revisions speaks to a theory that most of the revisions were done by military members or journalists that had access to knowledge about this conflict. Not to mention, I can tell by the language of the article that the writers have served at some point because they correctly identify units properly.

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                With my participatory knowledge of Operation Moshtarak, I did notice biased and illogical information in one paragraph listed above regarding the state of the insurgency in June 2010. This part of the article has sources from BBC, and the LA times. It claims that the battle became somewhat of a cautionary tale for Western militaries in regards to counterinsurgency operations. This is not easily able to be proven, and the only information being used to support this is the fact that “the eruption of gun battles ‘almost daily ‘have been reported.”  Where is this information coming from? Additionally, why is there no information after June, 2010, when US forces continued occupying the city of Marjah continuing until my second deployment to the same city in 2011? It seems that there is a gap in the reporters’ hasty explanation of an event that they stopped writing on in the middle of the conflict.

 

Works cited

Jenkins, Henry. “WHAT WIKIPEDIA CAN TEACH US ABOUT THE NEW MEDIA LITERACIES (PART TWO).” Web log post. Confessions of an AcaFan. N.p., 27 June 2007. Web. 12 Feb. 2014.

“Operation Moshtarak.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 16 Feb. 2014. Web. 16 Feb. 2014.

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