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i hate the word 'blogosphere', but...
August 30, 2005 11:46 PM   Subscribe

Over the past few years, as the blogosphere has grown, more and more soldiers' blogs have been gaining fame and notoriety on the web. Many are wonderfully written, others are full of pictures of all different kinds. Most are just blogs that happen to be written by soldiers. But the Army today vowed to more strictly enforce the dissemination of sensitive information online by its soldiers. One soldier has already been disciplined under the new rules. Included in the list of examples given for "sensitive information" was "vulnerabilities." What sort of effect might this have on soldiers' entries in the future, especially those who aren't satisfied with the direction the war in Iraq has taken?
posted by wakko (23 comments total)

 
Hm. Used a b tag instead of an a tag there.
posted by wakko at 11:48 PM on August 30, 2005


Large government prevents drones from revealing how fucked up things are. News at 11 (sans relevant pictures).

Great post, wakko.

We know what's really going to make this war different from Vietnam, don't we? Blogs and cellphones. How weird and awesome is that, when you think about it.
posted by BoringPostcards at 12:27 AM on August 31, 2005


>How weird and awesome is that, when you think about it.

You have not thought hard enough.
posted by gsb at 1:12 AM on August 31, 2005


Well, they kicked out Geraldo for similar reasons so it's not like it's anything new.

And honestly, not only does this not surprise me, but from a tactical standpoint, it makes perfect sense.

"Last night we took some hits and not only did a couple of guys dies and we are really demoralized but we are low on ammo and a strong assault will overrun our position."

Oh yeah, that's a great thing to let the enemy know.
posted by Dagobert at 1:18 AM on August 31, 2005


"Last night we took some hits and not only did a couple of guys dies and we are really demoralized but we are low on ammo and a strong assault will overrun our position."

Oh yeah, that's a great thing to let the enemy know.


Any enemy that takes advantage of such information deserves the painful deaths they will receive once they start believing false blogs containing misinformation designed to lead them into traps.

Don't believe everything you read on the Internet. Even if you're an enemy of the United States.
posted by JHarris at 1:25 AM on August 31, 2005


I set up a blog for my brother, who is currently in Iraq on the Syrian border. He barely has time to read his email let alone keep the world up to date on his goings on in the army. He has yet to create one entry.

Later he did tell me that they were under strict orders not to reveal information about incidents until after they appeared in the media. He freaked out his wife and I, by telling us about two suicide bombing attempts on their compound, a week after the fact.

My biggest fear is that I'll hear of his demise on the news rather than from the source.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 1:31 AM on August 31, 2005


I actually broke this story on my weblog in this post, where I leaked the full text of the memo in question, passed on to me by one of my friends in the military.

I used the significant amount of media attention I've been getting over my Katrina posts to give the issue greater exposire to members of the press. Apparently it paid off.
posted by insomnia_lj at 6:16 AM on August 31, 2005


My biggest fear is that I'll hear of his demise on the news rather than from the source.

I don't want to tell you what to fear, but I'd be scared shitless if I heard about my brother's demise from the source.
posted by notyou at 6:26 AM on August 31, 2005


I kept a blog when I was in Baghdad in 2004, and heard nary a peep from anyone, even when a couple of KBR relatives started trolling and flaming me because I called their husbands and fathers fat, useless rednecks without a fucking clue how to do anything except sit in an air-conditioned office and watch Filipinos work. (I've mellowed a bit now.)

Anyway, not surprising at all. I've seen a lot of things on milblogs that made me cringe with the compromise of opsec, especially from some of the younger enlisted troopers. I think these new restrictions will actually have a positive effect -- we'll have fewer military bloggers, true, but those that do exist will be a) more driven, and b) more careful about anything that might reveal their identity.
posted by xthlc at 6:50 AM on August 31, 2005


Oh yeah, that's a great thing to let the enemy know.
----------------------------------------

The *critical* thing here is 'where are the good guys located so the insurgents can take them out'.
The fact that the troops are demoralized is common knowledge within Iraq regardless of the presence of blogs or lack of them.
Let the soldiers speak and let their voices be heard. This is part of a democratic, free society where every voice deserves to be heard, all the facts are known. Unlike now where a bunch of murderous chicken littles run wild. And impede the voices of those who are truly dying for a lie.
posted by mk1gti at 6:51 AM on August 31, 2005


Methinks my lil' bro has seen the memo. He mostly posts pictures of camels and sunsets. And little children selling cigarettes.
posted by bugmuncher at 6:57 AM on August 31, 2005


There's a great article on this subject this month right here. Definitely recommended reading.

For those who don't know the truth about Vietnam, it was the veterans themselves who were most active in stopping the war. Many like to paint it as veterans versus protestors but that was not how it really was, that is just another "spitting on the troops" fable like the ones we hear pushed today about Iraq.

Please go read. It was worth a FPP but I'd rather tag it into this thread.
posted by nofundy at 8:18 AM on August 31, 2005


wakko posted "What sort of effect might this have on soldiers' entries in the future, especially those who aren't satisfied with the direction the war in Iraq has taken?"

Well, one would think that in the future those who do not wish to go to war for capricious and/or profit-driven motives will be more leery of signing up for the college money.
posted by clevershark at 8:29 AM on August 31, 2005


Wasn't it Winston Churchill who tricked the German High command by having British soldiers blog that they were "super psyched about the coming assault on Chalais" and that "it would be dumb for the germans to station any troops in random places like Normandy because otherwise the Germans would get pwned at Chalais."
posted by drezdn at 8:29 AM on August 31, 2005


Well the Germans had it coming since they were a bunch of wall-hackers.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 8:36 AM on August 31, 2005


For those who don't know the truth about Vietnam, it was the veterans themselves who were most active in stopping the war. Many like to paint it as veterans versus protestors but that was not how it really was

Don't overstate the point. The beginning of the war had almost no protests, then the usual suspects began picketing the WH, then the disarmament movement and the peace movement and the draft opposition movement all joined hands, then the Summer of Love happened and it was suddenly cool to be a protestor, then Tet happened and there was a tipping point. That is when the veterans joined forces with the protestors, whom they had regarded very suspiciously up until that point. It was only after this that VVAW really got going.

The article is worthwhile, but skates over the early history of the peace movement, which was considerable.
posted by dhartung at 10:47 AM on August 31, 2005


I did a google news search on the UPI article and found that they pulled the story very soon after it was released, with only two sites picking up the story.

Now, I talked to the person who leaked the memo to me, and they haven't talked to any reporters about this at all. Unless UPI decided to run the story based only on my post without contacting me, they must've gotten the memo from a different source. That would make my leaking of the memo independent confirmation.

I'm going to see what I can do to contact them and find out why they killed the story, because I know it's real. It's one that deserves to be heard.
posted by insomnia_lj at 11:17 AM on August 31, 2005


Spec. Paul G. McCutchen
HHT 2/17 Cav 101st ABN Div 96122

posted by gman at 5:33 PM on August 31, 2005


"This is part of a democratic, free society where every voice deserves to be heard..."

No. As was once famously said by Gene Hackman's character in "Crimson Tide" -- we are here to PRESERVE democracy, not to practice it. As a military person, there are some things that I can't say -- or to be more precise, there are some things that I can not say without being disciplined. There aren't many things off-limits, but some of the most obvious things include bad-mouthing the President (and certain other elected officials), openly criticizing DoD policy, and such. Heck, even the the BRAC process began, all military members were cautioned to officially remain neutral about the relative merits of their particular military installation.

I've been blogging since 2000, and I know what lines not to cross. I've made a very conscious decision to keep military matters and policy off of my site.

Bottom line: once we take The Oath, we are honor-bound to follow the orders of the President -- not to criticize him or his policies.
posted by davidmsc at 6:31 PM on August 31, 2005


>Bottom line: once we take The Oath, we are honor-bound to follow the orders of the President -- not to criticize him or his policies.

Alfred Jodl - Chief of the Operations Staff of the High Command of the German Armed Forces. At Nuremberg he claimed it was "not the task of a soldier to act as judge over his supreme commander." Found guilty on all 4 counts. Sentenced to death by hanging.

EXTRACT of the Judgment against Jodl as it was pronounced.

"...Jodl discussed the Norway invasion with Hitler, Keitel, and Raeder on December 12, 1939; his diary is replete with late entries on his activities in preparing this attack... He was active in the planning against Greece and Yugoslavia... Jodl testified that Hitler feared an attack by Russia and so attacked first. This preparation began almost a year before the invasion. Jodl told Warlimont as early as July 29, 1940 to prepare the plans since Hitler had decided to attack... A plan to eliminate Soviet commissars was in the directive for 'Case Barbarossa.' The decision whether they should be killed without trial was to be made by an officer... His defense, in brief, is the doctrine of 'superior orders,' prohibited by Article 8 of the Charter as a defense... Participation in such crimes as these has never been required of any soldier and be cannot now shield himself behind a mythical requirement of soldierly obedience at all costs as his excuse for commission of these crimes."


The judgment is not directly relevant, here. But the idea a soldier is "honor-bound to follow the orders of the President" is very flexible. There are limits.
posted by gsb at 2:50 AM on September 1, 2005


gsb, don't you even try to compare Nazi war crimes with soldiers posting on blogs. Jeez...that's pretty fu**ing pathetic, even for MeFi.
posted by davidmsc at 11:09 PM on September 2, 2005


I said:

The judgment is not directly relevant, here.

That means the judgment is not directly relevant, but the sentiment is. I was not making a comparison, that is something you have extrapolated upon my statement.

That's quite interesting, because I do not want to make a comparison between Nazi war crimes and Soldiers posting on blogs, but you a feeling it is? Some kind of idea that this kind of comparison is wanting, when clearly it's not there.

So let me equivocate, because it may be necessary. I think that saying :

once we take The Oath, we are honor-bound to follow the orders of the President -- not to criticize him or his policies.

Is something that can have unintended consequences. That's one interpretation of a linear measurement of existence, like time. As with any event there's many bifurcations and a lot of outcomes are possible. I am guilty of pointing out one possibility, a situation where someone was "honor-bound to follow the orders of the President -- not to criticize him or his policies." Read what you want from that, but don't think I'm comparing Blogging Soldiers with Nazis, that's so Alice in Wonderland when one looks at the situation...
posted by gsb at 7:15 AM on September 5, 2005


sorry, "but you have a feeling it is?"
posted by gsb at 7:16 AM on September 5, 2005


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