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October 23, 2005 3:29 PM   Subscribe

Double Plus Ungood --so there's this soldier in Iraq with a blog, All The King's Horses. He usually complains a little, tells readers about what he does, talks about the stop-loss thing that's keeping him in Iraq, etc. So, the Operation Truth site posts something by him, and the next thing you know, the blog is dead, and an unwilling public apology and retraction and statement of support for Bush and his leadership is posted. ... it breaks my heart to say that this will be my last post on this blog. I wish I could just stop there, but I can not. The following also needs to be said: For the record, I am officially a supporter of the administration and of her policies. ...
posted by amberglow (77 comments total)

 
one of his best posts from the past, imho: Remember Petey ...a story about a school (in a way); it might be about something else completely, but I would be forbidden to say so if it were. ...
posted by amberglow at 3:32 PM on October 23, 2005


Well that's creepy.
posted by kjh at 3:33 PM on October 23, 2005


He's a government employee. These types of things happen.
posted by wakko at 3:35 PM on October 23, 2005



posted by mr_crash_davis at 3:40 PM on October 23, 2005


May also be a publicity stunt. A lot of people get tired of their blogs and pretend to die or some such thing.
posted by Citizen Premier at 3:41 PM on October 23, 2005


Oh, I so wanna hear the neocons try to defend this one!
posted by JHarris at 3:43 PM on October 23, 2005


Oh, of course it MAY be a publicity stunt.

Also, Citizen Premier MAY be merely saying this to try to blunt strong emotions over a evil case of censorship in service to a corrupt regime.


Heh, okay maybe that was a little extreme, but I trust my point is clear. Anyone can say that something *may*, in fact, be something else, because it is trivial to come up with hypothetical negations. But do we have any reason to suspect that this may, in fact, be the case?
posted by JHarris at 3:55 PM on October 23, 2005


"These are the chornicles of one life in a troubled land in search of answers. They are the glimpse through the many shattered shards of The Great Fall. They are the stories from the battlefront of Betrayal. They are about the brave, the bold, and the innocent. These are the stories of All The King's Horses."

Somebody needed to shut him up.
posted by soiled cowboy at 3:59 PM on October 23, 2005


That is just typical military stuff.

Got nuttin to do with whoever is in office. The military has certain rules of conduct that don't carry over to us civilians.
posted by konolia at 4:12 PM on October 23, 2005


Well, I was aware of rules of conduct prohibiting, I don't know, shooting the wounded and unarmed... torturing prisoners. That sort of thing. I was unaware of military rules involving posting on the internet. Is it against military law to criticize the President... ever?
posted by brundlefly at 4:17 PM on October 23, 2005


For the record, I hate this administration, and I hate this war. But that final statement reads so much like a petulant kid waxing satirical on "big brother," I find it very difficult to believe that that statement was actually forced. It seems more likely that the blog was shut down (still chilling, yes) and that he chose to dramatize this to the fullest.
posted by TonyRobots at 4:21 PM on October 23, 2005


I cannot refuse to believe that something like this could occur in the United States.

Don't you guys have that consitution thing that everyone's so proud of?
posted by PurplePorpoise at 4:41 PM on October 23, 2005


Actually, Brundlefly, since the President is commander in chief of the armed forces, it is something like mutiny for military folks to criticize him. Not the type of thing they generally press charges for, but I'm sure it will get you yelled at.

The Air Force (which I can speak semi-intelligently about since I'm in it) has strict rules about computer usage, and restricts access to many sites (especially any having to do with message boards or gaming), as well as preventing the use of web-based email accounts on government computers. So, all of the deployed USAF people who have hotmail, gmail, etc are out of luck for however long they are overseas. Unless they go to a Army or Marine base where the rules are more lax. I guess the Army and Marines have more important things to worry about than micro-managing the internet habits of their soldiers.
posted by tcobretti at 4:42 PM on October 23, 2005


Is it against military law to criticize the President... ever?

I think it actually is. The Commander-in-Chief is your most-superior officer, and it's generally frowned upon to criticize one's superior officers.

When one joins the military, one voluntarily gives up certain freedoms. I'm not going to say this doesn't leave a bad taste in my mouth, but nothing unlawful or even that unethical went down here.

A lot of people are going to be outraged over this is because the blogger in question agreed with their views. He agreed with mine, too, but he had to know he wouldn't get away with this indefinitely.
posted by S.C. at 4:44 PM on October 23, 2005


On post: hi, tcobretti.
posted by S.C. at 4:45 PM on October 23, 2005


konolia: Any time someone is forced to say something "officially" like that and suddenly sound like a press release, I get really mad. No matter whose administration may be behind it. Period!

TonyRobots: Interesting.

Here's how I would respond to that: is it possible for the petulant kid waxing satirical on big brother to be correct?

Is someone forced to shut up for speaking unpopular opinons, in what you admit is a chilling way, allowed to be dramatic about it, or should he just shut up and take his poison?

He did have some great posts, and he won't be making them any more. Does that not mean anything?
posted by JHarris at 4:46 PM on October 23, 2005


I would venture to say he's being sarcastic. Can't say for sure, but he's being so utterly obsequious it may be subversive.
posted by fungible at 5:16 PM on October 23, 2005


I'd like to see what some ex-military MeFiers think of the possibility that this was written for him and he posted it with a couple of pissed-off officers standing over him and glaring at him as they watched him type it, word for word.
posted by alumshubby at 5:20 PM on October 23, 2005


I highly doubt that, were this a real issue, where the bigwigs at the US Army HQ wanted it shut down, they'd be stupid enough to make the kid post anything (especially that) as a closer.
It'd just be gone.
posted by blacklite at 5:26 PM on October 23, 2005


I'm guessing it might be a direct superior in CYA mode.
posted by konolia at 5:31 PM on October 23, 2005


tcobretti/S.C.: I stand corrected. Color me concerned, then. Are there any circumstances in which a soldier can criticize/question the actions/orders of his/her superiors? Legally, I mean.

/BackslashFilter
posted by brundlefly at 5:34 PM on October 23, 2005


alumshubby, if that were the case, THE DAMN TITLE WOULDN'T BE "DOUBLE PLUS UNGOOD."
posted by Citizen Premier at 5:36 PM on October 23, 2005


There is a civilian who is a gym director here. What is that? Are you serious? A GYM DIRECTOR. Thank you, America, for sending a gym director to make life better for me while I'm stop-lossed and forced to remain in the Army against my will. A gym director who gets paid nearly a hundred thousand dollars a year (while I make less than half that) is exactly what I needed.
posted by chunking express at 5:39 PM on October 23, 2005


Citizen Premier: That's assuming that his superiors know their Orwell.
posted by brundlefly at 5:44 PM on October 23, 2005


Stop loss is being abused now. When George Washington put together an army to fight the Brits back in 1776 he had no stop loss and he indeed did lose large portions of his army when the going got tough as the soldiers' commitments came due. The concept of stop loss used to be reserved for true emergencies. Now it is just for political convenience. Without it we would need to institute huge signing bonuses, or a draft, or some other enticement. Shitting on the grunts is just so much easier. Now that's supporting our troops and patriotic at the same time, no?
posted by caddis at 5:47 PM on October 23, 2005


The post telegraphs so much irony that I have serious doubts that this was approved. People like to this the military brass are morons, but they're not.

The truth may be a bit more muddled -- maybe he was simply given strong hints to take it down. Maybe his immediate superiors are sympathetic and allowed him a parting shot.

Or, the worst possibility, maybe he has already been told he's been court-martialled and has nothing left to lose.
posted by brevity at 5:52 PM on October 23, 2005


People like to *think*. Sorry.
posted by brevity at 5:53 PM on October 23, 2005


For the Nth time: if you are wearing the uniform, your right to freedom of speech is restricted -- period. You can disagree with the Administration's policies and practices privately, but going public with such disagreement and/or criticism is a no-no. It is part of the unique nature of the military, and it serves a valuable purpose.
posted by davidmsc at 6:15 PM on October 23, 2005


People seem to be under the horribly mistaken belief that the military is a democracy in which you have rights and a say in how things are done...
posted by nightchrome at 6:17 PM on October 23, 2005


.
posted by mullingitover at 6:23 PM on October 23, 2005


brundlefly, they wouldn't allow something they don't understand, even if they didn't do their reading in ninth grade. brevity sounds the correctimost.
posted by Citizen Premier at 6:29 PM on October 23, 2005


A lot of people get tired of their blogs and pretend to die or some such thing.

Really? Can you provide some examples?
posted by dingobully at 6:35 PM on October 23, 2005


OK. You can't publicly disagree. But can you be forced to publicly AGREE? Assuming this blogger was forced to post his retraction, would that be legal? I don't really think he was forced to make that statement, it being a bit too tone-deaf for the head-honchos to do (I had the same reaction as brevity, it's just that the title didn't seal the deal for me), but can you be ordered to make a public statement you disagree with?
posted by brundlefly at 6:56 PM on October 23, 2005


Well, I was going to post a nice one detailing slow death by zombies, but now it's just an add for a FREE SONY PSP!!!! HURRY GET ONE NOW!!!

Alright, so I might have pulled that fact a bit out of my ass, but I have seen it happen, and keep in mind that ANYTHING can be posted on a blog. Blogs are not a reliable source of information, for the most part.
posted by Citizen Premier at 6:56 PM on October 23, 2005


Citizen Premier: There was that blog "written by" a fictional cancer patient... She attracted an audience, then supposedly died, and people started sending donations to the family... Turns out the mother just made her up... Big hoohaa over that, I recall. Anyone else remember that, or am I just pulling that out of my ass as well?
posted by brundlefly at 7:13 PM on October 23, 2005


The administration is a she?
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:14 PM on October 23, 2005


The administration is a she?

Yeah, no kidding. I assume this was some veiled reference to the Soviets. I swear allegiance to "Mother Russia." That sort of thing.
posted by brundlefly at 7:17 PM on October 23, 2005


brundlefly - that was the classic MeFi detective adventure featuring Kaycee Nicole
posted by longbaugh at 7:17 PM on October 23, 2005


Gah! I knew I'd read it somewhere... turns out it was... uh... here.
posted by brundlefly at 7:20 PM on October 23, 2005


Yeah, turns out the origin of the zombie blog was originally here, too. Best of the web, indeed!
posted by Citizen Premier at 7:25 PM on October 23, 2005


I think that the public statement of your commander-in-cheif is some sort of incompentent boob is not so much mutiny as it is treason. No matter how true your statement may or may not be. There are times when it is indeed appropriate to not take a direct order, ie when it is illegal, or will cause the lose of the battle, the war or the ship, what have you, but usually that is a direct order coming from a direct superior. This seems to me, and I am only putting forth a hypothesis here, that his Battalion Leader or perhaps the Company Leader is attempting to follow some sort of internal directive to quiet voices of dissent in the ranks. Generally a way to quell any sort of morale probelm, nip the bitching in the bud and shut their pieholes so that the rest of the soldiers don't pick up on it and next thing youknow you got a bunch of moopy mollies laying around and just asking to get shot. Just a hypothesis.
posted by N8k99 at 7:32 PM on October 23, 2005


Orwell said it best: Two gin-scented tears trickled down the sides of his nose. But it was all right, everything was all right, the struggle was finished. He had won the victory over himself. He loved Big Brother.

I'm an agnostic, but I say, "God bless you, Corporal Winston Smith."
posted by jonp72 at 7:43 PM on October 23, 2005


if you are wearing the uniform, your right to freedom of speech is restricted -- period. You can disagree with the Administration's policies and practices privately, but going public with such disagreement and/or criticism is a no-no. It is part of the unique nature of the military, and it serves a valuable purpose.

What exactly is that purpose, davidmsc? And if we can't count on turncoat liberal journalists to bring us news from Iraq, and we can only listen the the viewpoints of soldiers who are enthusiastic about our efforts there, and the Arab news sources are all hopelessly anti-US, where exactly do you suggest we get information from?

I think that the public statement of your commander-in-cheif is some sort of incompentent boob is not so much mutiny as it is treason.

Bullshit. Some of the best things that have happened to this nation -- indeed, the nation itself in the first place -- have happened because people were willing and able to criticize authority. And this is true of progress in the military as well.

"To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that we are to stand by the president, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public." --Theodore Roosevelt
posted by namespan at 7:45 PM on October 23, 2005


what namespan said. You don't lose your Constitutional rights just because you put on a uniform. Those very rights are more important than ever--given that the soldiers are supposed to be fighting for them, and not this illegal immoral elective invasion and occupation of Iraq.
posted by amberglow at 7:50 PM on October 23, 2005


Some people here have made some very good points about how this sort of thing is standard military procedure. I went from being outraged to, well, not outraged.

However, when I visit conservative blogs, I find that they often comment on how the media is supposedly misrepresenting this war; i.e. things are actually going a lot better than we are led to believe. To back up this argument, they often point out how the milbloggers paint a different picture. I think this episode serves as a good counter to those claims.
posted by Edgewise at 7:55 PM on October 23, 2005


David Brooks commented on This Week on ABC this morning that Democrats and Republicans should forget about George Bush. Put him out of their minds and move on to coming up with new ideas to win over the American people. I started to wonder how his thoughts would have been received in 1998. "Forget about Bill Clinton" he might have said to then-indignant Republicans and conservatives. "Move on and find new ideas." That of course, was not the conservative strategy at all, and many Republicans were elected on the basis of 'we're not Bill Clinton.'

So, I wonder the same here. Certainly the military made it clear that it did not like Bill Clinton during his presidency. This was reported widely. How many soldiers were reprimanded then? How many accused of treason? It seems like not liking the Commander-in-Chief is acceptable if your superiors don't like him, either. That's human nature, of course, but I wanted to suggest that.
posted by Slothrop at 7:56 PM on October 23, 2005


That is just typical military stuff.

Got nuttin to do with whoever is in office. The military has certain rules of conduct that don't carry over to us civilians.
posted by konolia at 4:12 PM PST on October 23


It's good to silence people by force, eh? You know, that kind of happened to another guy you might know, konolia. He had all these crazy ideas about loving your brother and turning the other cheek, but the powers that be wanted him silenced.

And you say: bravo!

Is that a cock I hear crowing?
posted by Optimus Chyme at 8:01 PM on October 23, 2005


Optimus, get out from under that bridge. It isn't becoming to you.

Military rules have been that way for ages. Don't like it? Don't enlist.
posted by konolia at 8:18 PM on October 23, 2005


I know about six soldiers on LiveJournal have been ordered to pull their blogs so far. Several others have been warned, or have felt pressured to make their journals friends only.

Recently, a LJ career soldier and officer called john_of_arabia, whose positions were also rather pro-Bush, was called before his superior officers and disciplined for his journal, supposedly for being critical of his officer's decisions. He was ordered not only to not post to LiveJournal anymore, but was afterwards further disciplined for simply reading the site and those of other weblogs.

He received a permanent black mark on his record that basically ended his career. As a result, instead of reenlisting in the military, he appears to have decided to retire and finally spend time with his young boys, who he's been forced to be away from for so much of their lives.
posted by insomnia_lj at 8:24 PM on October 23, 2005


Don't like it? Don't enlist.

Don't forget to support the troops, konolia. Good show.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 8:26 PM on October 23, 2005


"Don't like it? Don't enlist."

So, in the interest of full disclosure, do you think that recruiters tell prospective young soldiers that the military will oftentimes block their access to sites like LiveJournal and Blogger, forcing them to use anonymous surfing apps and encrypted email services in order to send pictures back home and communicate freely with their loved ones?

Do you think they'll tell them that their internet access will probably get cut off for several days everytime something bad happens? (which, incidentally, happens pretty often over there..)

... or that they might be disciplined or demoted for having a journal or leaving a comment in an online board?

Don't like it? Don't be an ignorant teenager who doesn't know all their options in life.
posted by insomnia_lj at 8:43 PM on October 23, 2005


Don't forget to support the troops, konolia. Good show.

What idiocy. Do you think she doesn't support the troops? And besides, the military's strictness isn't arbitrary; its there to keep soldiers alive. We've had too many casualties, its true, but the number of deaths is still 4% of what it was in Vietnam. And no matter how bad things get, I can't imagine it rising above 10%. They're not perfect, but on the whole, I think they do a reasonable job of keeping soldiers alive (despite the insane mission that the administration gave them).
posted by gsteff at 8:45 PM on October 23, 2005


You really think it's reasonable for 2000 soldiers to be dead for lies? (and that's just the official count, and God only knows how many Iraqis)
posted by amberglow at 8:58 PM on October 23, 2005


Do you think she doesn't support the troops?

I do indeed think that. I think that she doesn't give a shit about their souls or their hearts, because she believes in the righteousness of murder. I think that she doesn't give a shit about their physical bodies because there is no reason for the war in Iraq, yet she celebrates it. I think she doesn't support their rights as Americans and as human beings, because she sees them as neither, merely as tools to bring about imperialism or Armageddon; whichever suits her fancy this time around. I think that those who "support the troops" do so in name only, foolishly believing that somehow the silencing of dissent acts as a shield from bullets and mortars.

the military's strictness isn't arbitrary; its there to keep soldiers alive

If soldiers are allowed to speak their minds, why, they would all be killed through some mechanism I haven't yet figured out!
posted by Optimus Chyme at 9:07 PM on October 23, 2005


I guess he got his visit to Room 101 and learned to love Big BrotherGeorge W. Bush.
posted by clevershark at 9:10 PM on October 23, 2005


and it serves a valuable purpose.
namespan: "What exactly is that purpose, davidmsc?"

The purpose is to preserve good order and discipline, adhere to military standards, and ensure the integrity of the chain of command: all critical to military success. That's not too difficult to understand, is it?
posted by davidmsc at 9:20 PM on October 23, 2005


During Boot Camp, New recruits are indoctrinated into the military way of life. Indoctrinated. They are not just given phyical training, they are given a full academic course on the Uniform Code of Military Justice. This is a series of Codes and Laws which are more binding upon the new recruit than the Constitution to which they are swore to defend. The UCMJ is written to provide discipline in order that the military can be as effective and efficient as possible in achieving the success of its mission. If the new recruit passes the academic tests which are regularly placed through out training, then he will have achieve some understanding of this code. Within these regulations the ne recruit comes to understand that his/her place in life at this particular juncture in time is that of owned property, including their public opinion and even public appearance not limited to when and where death can or will occur. When I said,
"I think that the public statement of your commander-in-cheif is some sort of incompentent boob is not so much mutiny as it is treason." the speaker in question, as the FPP, is confined by the UCMJ. The rights of civilians, indeed the responsiblity of civilians, to call Bush an Incompentent Boob or worse as may or may not be true is addressed by the brilliant T. Roosevelt quote offered up. Not that of a soldier, sailor, airman or marine in service to the Commander-in-Chief. This is military culture , a much more restrictive and prohibitive culture than the one we experience walking/driving/bicycling around in the world.

A recruit has the opportunity to leave the service before boot camp is complete. A recruit has multiple opportunies to leave the service before the end of initial training, honorably, particularly if he/she feels that they will not be able to fulfill their oath. There is strong suggestion as to what this will do to the recruit, but there is the opportunity and the suggestions are only valid if the recruit were leaving this culture of restriction and discipline and going into another culture of restriction and life or death dicipline.

Are we in this war for a good reason? That has nothing to do with maitaining an efficient fighting force. If we pulled out today, brought all our troops home, let go the ones who are forced to 'extend' their enlistments; when you enlist, you sign for x time active duty with y time in the reserves. Even if we let all these people out of the service and stopped fighting (which would be a good thing) The military would still be charged with the mission and the necessary course to complete it.
posted by N8k99 at 9:25 PM on October 23, 2005


"The country lied to me, and my life is in deficit by six percent because of it. My rage and hatred are reaching a point where I sometimes feel like expressing both violently. I would not want to be on the battlefield with someone like me; but everywhere I look, I see people going through the same emotions. We are the army of The Betrayed; soldiers lied to and abused. Soldiers who will spend the rest of our lives wondering what we did to deserve our country's betrayal. That so few people in America seem to care about us adds insult to injury. Wake up, America; right this horrible wrong before more of your youth are lied to on their way to The Slaughterhouse."

=From a month ago
posted by wah at 9:28 PM on October 23, 2005


... I have a pretty good grasp on what constitutes a violation of the laws I am bound to; in specific, I am very familiar with the sections of the Uniform Code of Military Justice that strips every servicemember of his or her First Amendment rights. Unfortunately, the laws are purposely vague; designed to muzzle even those of us who tread with caution. ...
posted by amberglow at 9:39 PM on October 23, 2005


Political activity guidelines for DoD and government personnel

Political activities from the USAF Judge Advocate General, some plain-language guidelines

Some of the guidance is obvious, i.e., military members may register to vote, vote and express personal opinions on political issues; military members may not use their official authority to interfere with an election. Other guidance is more thought provoking, i.e. although military members may join political clubs and attend meetings while not in uniform, they not serve in any official capacity nor be listed as a sponsor of a partisan political club....

Finally, military personnel should remember that expressing "contemptuous words" against certain office-holders can result in disciplinary action under Article 88 of the UCMJ. The officials protected by this provision include the President, the Vice President, Congress, the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of a military department, the Secretary of Transportation, or the Governor or legislature of any State, Territory , Commonwealth or possession in which the member is present for duty. (10 U.S.C. 888)


Findlaw: The Limits to Free Speech in the Military

The UCMJ is not the product of military fiat, but rather a 1950 act of Congress. Congress intentionally chose to narrow the prior version of Article 88, which had covered all soldiers, in order to ensure that it applied to officers but not enlisted personnel. From a policy standpoint, why did it chose to do so?

First, Congress probably recognized that the primary purpose of Article 88 should be to prevent active military officers from meddling in politics--a persistent problem in other republics, both ancient and modern.

At the same time, there was probably a recognition that earlier versions of Article 88 had overreached in punishing the views of rank and file soldiers. While serving in previous conflicts, dozens of enlisted men were court-martialed for expressing mildly derogatory views about Presidents Lincoln, Wilson and Roosevelt, even in private conversation and correspondence.


Military.com: Sticks and Stones: Clearly, officers were muzzled, but what about enlisted folks? You remember them, they’re the ones who do the work. What rule did the miscreant in question breach? Well, it wasn’t Articles 89 and 91, because they forbid enlisted insubordination towards a commissioned or petty officer or non-commissioned officer, but neither the president or secretary of defense fall into that category....

I may be grasping here, but perhaps the “pentagon spokesperson” and the General were referring to that great “catch-all” Article, the Darth Vader of the UCMJ, the one that reaches even the most arcane corners of deviant behavior: Article 134, the dreaded “General Article,” that basically deals with anything anyone might do that might impact negatively on “good order and discipline,” or “bring discredit” upon the armed forces. Since this probably covers everything from body odor to nose picking in public, this must be the big enchilada, because I can find no military regulation which specifically prevents enlisted folks from saying bad things about any civilian, and the secretary of defense is definitely a civilian.

posted by dhartung at 9:39 PM on October 23, 2005


The Secretary of Defense, The Vice-President and The President are all civilians, civilians will very special positions at the top of the Chain of Command. Indeed Article 134 is just as good an article to use in this case as Article 88. Article 134 has been the 'grounds' for awarding reduction in rate, half pay for two months, confinement to quarters for two months, and extra duty for fifteen days for the terrible violation of getting a tattoo while on liberty call in uniform. Multiple Article 134 violations can result in Dishonorable Discharge/Confinement in Military Prison. Depending upon the offenses and Articles violated, Military personnel can serve their Military Prison terms and be released only to be tried and convicted in civilian court for the same crimes. Body odor and Nose Picking in public (specifically when in uniform) are covered in the Uniform Regulations of each branch of the service. This can result in Military Justice within the Command from repeated failures at readiness inspections where your hair length exceeds regulation. Each infraction, whether or not it is for the same Article counts towards a progression of 'Justice' being melded towards you. Perhaps, this particular Corporal has recieve multiple warnings and stern talking tos which are called 'counselling sessions.'
posted by N8k99 at 10:16 PM on October 23, 2005


In other words, military justice is to justice as military music is to music...
posted by jonp72 at 11:50 PM on October 23, 2005


If soldiers are allowed to speak their minds, why, they would all be killed through some mechanism I haven't yet figured out!

Optimus, there is obviously a lot about the military you don't know.

Right now as I am sitting in front of my computer I am about four miles from Fort Bragg. These soldiers you speak of are my friends and neighbors. To say I don't support them is not factual.

I am not going to debate my opinion on this war, which is complex and complicated. (My opinion that is.)

You believe about me what you wish.

As to restrictions on computer, I have a son at the Air Force Academy who also deals with computer restrictions-no AIM and soon no outside email like Google or Yahoo. The reason behind that is (at least what they say it is) is to protect against computer viruses.
posted by konolia at 4:30 AM on October 24, 2005


The administration is a she?

It's the Ship Of State, no?
posted by StickyCarpet at 4:56 AM on October 24, 2005


konolia, I salute your son - please convey my best wishes to him.
posted by davidmsc at 4:56 AM on October 24, 2005


Konolia -

A lot of businesses (including the corp I work for) blocked various web-based things like GMail and Hotmail. They cut off our about 5 years back, because some asshole on AOL brougt in virus- and worm-laden attachments not one, not two, but THREE separate times. "Accidentally" of course... Once that shit's inside the firewall, it's wide open territory. Antivirus programs do what they can, but it's racing with the Red Queen.
posted by JB71 at 5:28 AM on October 24, 2005


but, that pic exchange of corpses for porn is allowed?
posted by amberglow at 6:02 AM on October 24, 2005


Pr0n is good for morale, questioning authority is not.
posted by caddis at 6:44 AM on October 24, 2005


Of course, this incident can be seen as more evidence for one little problemski that Bush Co may be trying to cut off at the knees:

A MILITARY COUP!

If you are -- oh, hypothetically speaking, of course -- an idiotic administration which fomented an illegal and unnecessary war of agression, then you might be paranoid about something like a violent backlash from military fed up with your policies, no? And then this is the kind of blog you don't want to see. Is it? You (hypotheticall) don't want any soldier to voice any of these kinds of sentiments ever, do you?

No, you don't. You want everyone to be on the same team. You enforce the codes of military discipline rigorously, even those that aren't usually enforced very much, like those related to political speech.

I'm just saying this hypothetically.
posted by mooncrow at 7:21 AM on October 24, 2005


N8k99 Are we in this war for a good reason? That has nothing to do with maintaining an efficient fighting force.

wah (Quoting from the soldier's blog) "The country lied to me, and my life is in deficit by six percent because of it. My rage and hatred are reaching a point where I sometimes feel like expressing both violently. I would not want to be on the battlefield with someone like me; but everywhere I look, I see people going through the same emotions. We are the army of The Betrayed; soldiers lied to and abused. Soldiers who will spend the rest of our lives wondering what we did to deserve our country's betrayal. That so few people in America seem to care about us adds insult to injury. Wake up, America; right this horrible wrong before more of your youth are lied to on their way to The Slaughterhouse."

Well, there ya go ... I'd say that morale is kind of important for an efficient fighting force.

-----

As for Konolia, ever wonder what would happen if, say, the U.S. was indeed losing this one and the mils kept it from the public? I don't give three fucks about how old military codes are. In fact, I'd say that if old military codes are used, then that in itself is a mistake. Just about everything used this time around as far as strategy is new and shiny formulation coming right out of the chickenhawk's asses, so at the very least the modern idea of using feedback to improve the implementation should be cherished rather than shut down.

People like you make me acutely sick to the stomach. Here are some news: it is possible to NOT support the people around you. It is also possible to go through the motions of supporting them but at the same time doing your best effort to get them a) killed or b) screwed for life. What part of "it's nothing more than an endless string of lies not worth a single American's life" is so complex to articulate?
posted by magullo at 7:23 AM on October 24, 2005


For the Nth time: if you are wearing the uniform, your right to freedom of speech is restricted -- period. You can disagree with the Administration's policies and practices privately, but going public with such disagreement and/or criticism is a no-no. It is part of the unique nature of the military, and it serves a valuable purpose.
posted by davidmsc at 6:15 PM PST on October 23 [!]


Guess that explains why you rush to defend the Commander in Chief.

As a valuable service.
posted by rough ashlar at 7:33 AM on October 24, 2005


Damn these soldiers for going to Iraq and telling us what they see. Traitors!
posted by insomnia_lj at 9:00 AM on October 24, 2005


There's a difference between criticizing a President and disparaging the office. Civilian control of the military demands that the President CAN be criticized. Funny how this "treason" BS never came up under President Clinton.

From Paul Hackett:
"When I asked Hackett about his adversaries’ admonitions, he shook his head in a flash of anger. “I don’t have to take an oath to love any man living in the White House. My oath is to the office. I respect the office. I respect the Constitution and I serve the Constitution. He’s not a king. He’s not an emperor. He’s a servant. He’s on no higher pedestal than me.”"
posted by nofundy at 10:18 AM on October 24, 2005


Okay two things:

1. Why don't these soldiers just post anonymously? They can omit or fudge details of things they write about so their identity can't be pinned down.

2. Sometimes letting people bitch and moan a bit allows them to let off steam and *improves* morale. Think about it. Just look at metatalk, ferchrissake. You are never going to be able to totally restrict people from complaining about stuff, and there is a significant fraction of them who will be nice and compliant as long as they get to bitch. I know I am one of those people who often feels better about a shitty situation once I am allowed to talk about it, and I am not alone.
posted by beth at 10:45 AM on October 24, 2005


1. Why don't these soldiers just post anonymously?

Just a guess, but if they're posting from army computers, then tracking an anonymous blog back to the enlisted man who created it shouldn't be that difficult -- and I'd much rather be confronted by a superior officer who says "you may not realize this, but you shouldn't be posting that stuff" than one who says "you shouldn't be posting that stuff, and you know it because you tried to hide your tracks".

In other words, better to be accused of ignorance than willful treason.
posted by davejay at 11:25 AM on October 24, 2005


Sigh. Where's Bill Mauldin when you need him?

Seriously, though...a couple of people have alluded to why speaking ill of the CINC wasn't a big deal when all the military were heartily reciprocating the sentiments of Bill "I loathe the military" Clinton. I'm a little hazy on this, but all the grousing was mostly before the advent of blogs; there was an officer (I forget which branch, or whether he was active-duty or reserve) who got in hot water over a letter to the editor in which he disparaged Clinton. (I think it may have been in San Diego, if that stimulates any memories.) Keep in mind, too, that the stresses on the Army during the Clinton Administration weren't nearly as bad as recently.

As I understand it, you can joke and grumble to your buddies about the chain of command, but the big no-no is publishing your misgivings, which arguably includes weblogs that are publically accessible to anybody with an Internet connection and browser software. The military is necessarily a lot less democratic in practice than civilian society, because they have to maintain a higher level of discipline and conformity so that, when the shooting starts, they don't suddenly convene a seminar on how they all feel about the situation -- they defeat the enemy, like they're supposed to do. In a movie about the military a few years back, one naval-officer character tells another, "We're here to preserve democracy, not practice it." Your average MeFier understandably has a lot of trouble merely comprehending, to say nothing of living and working in, the self-discipline that's required in such a milieu. (That's not to disparage either MeFiers or the military; they're simply as different as apples and Tuesday.)

Like a lot of people here, I think it sucks that this guy got bitchslapped and silenced, but he's on the Army's time 24/7 and he's not as free as thee and me. If you know any teenagers who are apt to be approached by recruiters, this thread would be a good educational tool to open their eyes with.
posted by alumshubby at 1:31 PM on October 24, 2005


Sucks. Welcome to it.

Thoreau has lotsa good points on the downsides of being the tool of a tool.
From the pencil pushers to the guys on the lines. They serve.
They become not a mass of free individuals with their own opinions and ways of doing things but a coherent unit subject to a will other than their own. Because they have to - to do that job.


That’s why it’s a sacrifice.

That’s why I so strongly oppose conscription.
posted by Smedleyman at 2:10 PM on October 24, 2005


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