It's like a preview of what our media will look like once we finally rid ourselves of the extremist element within our borders.
August 25, 2005 9:53 PM   Subscribe

CENTCOM trolls for a blogger to help with the propaganda--but he picks Jesus' General --I am a Public Affairs Officer writing from US Central Command. I would like to inquire about the possibility of you posting a link to our web site. I see that you are covering a lot of different types of stories in a lot of countries. I would like to get some of the stories out that are happening in Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Horn of Africa. ... Gen. JC Christian, patriot, of course responds with an even better idea, and cc:s Pat Robertson.
posted by amberglow (20 comments total)
DoIt? What the... Oh.

I like the link and all, but couldn't you guys be at least marginally more subtle?
posted by dersins at 11:20 PM on August 25, 2005

sgt dersins, fun police
posted by mr.marx at 11:32 PM on August 25, 2005

In not particular order, the things that went through my mind as I read this:

Anyone who disagrees with Amberglow is at troll. Not just here, but anywhere on the interweb. Damn. And I thought we were special.

Is this guy spamming this email across a lot of blogs? Why did he send it here? I mean, there's no possible way there could be a good faith reason, right?

The comments on that thread. Jesus (whose existence I don't doubt, but don't really buy the whole Son of God thing...) The last time I saw people trying so hard to out-clever each other so hard it was on an episode of "I Love The 80's" and Michael Ian Black was involved. This is the best my side can do?

I need to go check out "The Last True Story I'll Ever Tell."

Oh! Wait! Counterpoints! And not from someone we can easily smear by his past Mefi posting history! Whatever are we to do!?!

"Lt. Anderson does not deserve to be drug into the deranged rantings of a 75 year old preacher. Lt. Anderson is out doing a job in a combat zone, trying to let the world know in greater detail what the soldiers he serves with are doing. Whether we agree with the decison that led to Lt. Anderson to be there in the first place, really has no bearing on what he asked you to do. "

"That's the horrible irony. Our fine kids are over there trying to help the Iraqi people, most of whom are also probably fine people, and risking their lives every time they do. Who can blame them for being frustrated that the few good stories never come out?"

I hate this blog. I wish I could erase it from my memory like that time I was supposed to meet Melissa S. at a dance in the fourth grade at the middle school gym, but our parents screwed up the meet time so I couldn't find her and ended up walking home only to end up with my parents forcing me to call her and apologize that night for standing her up even though it wasn't my fault!!!
posted by Cyrano at 11:38 PM on August 25, 2005

Of course a newly minted 1Lt sometimes goes off the reservation. He seems fairly mild and oblivious to where he posts, even if he should know that the site will make fun of him. Allow him without censure to email and post to websites and claim he is the representative of CENTCOM (which he has done numerous times).

Only if he creates a serious insult or or posts big lies should somebody email his superiors and ask whether he is the official voice of CENTCOM.

For now, he is an amusing puppy and I think nobody (his army superiors or some of the sites to which he posts) takes him seriously.

Let him post away, and it may be a sad or happy day when he gets growed up.
posted by MonkeySaltedNuts at 12:05 AM on August 26, 2005

Newly minted? Where do you get that idea from? You do know there is a rank below 1st LT right? It's called 2nd LT. Their bars are gold.

I can independently confirm that there is a 1st LT Brain M. Anderson who is a Army Reservist but I cannot confirm that he is with the CENTCOM's PAO.
posted by Dagobert at 12:21 AM on August 26, 2005

As a social engineering experiment, I've emailed the good Lieutenant, letting him know that his attachments were stripped somehow, either by his network or by mine, and have asked him to resend the email "to my other email address".

And no, I didn't lie to him or misrepresent myself...

I sure hope he responds back. This could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
posted by insomnia_lj at 1:06 AM on August 26, 2005

In spin we trust! It's a bit disappointing though. No offence to CENTCOM, or bloggers, but the CIA has always had a much more classy way of going about it.
posted by funambulist at 2:49 AM on August 26, 2005

Yes, very classy.
posted by gsb at 3:29 AM on August 26, 2005

There may be some PAOs in the military who are hard-charging, go-getter highly effective leaders, but in some commands it's a job to hang on people who aren't exactly recruiting-poster material. Sometimes it's collateral duty along wth "Laundry Officer," "Morale Officer," "Referee at Softball Games," etc. I'm sure the good lieutenant is merely trying to bloom where he's planted.

1LTs are like lieutenants junior grade in the Navy; they're O-2s, one rank up from newly commissioned 2LTs (O-1s), which are ensigns (enswine, or "nuggets") in the Navy, where the enlisted folks probably still say: "The only thing worse than an ensign with an idea is a j.g. with a plan."
posted by alumshubby at 3:40 AM on August 26, 2005

gsb, yes, that is more or less what I had in mind, there was an invisible sarcasm tag in my comment... You have to admit that infamous sort of cover operation makes for a better movie than spamming bloggers.
posted by funambulist at 3:50 AM on August 26, 2005

Anyone who disagrees with Amberglow is at troll.
Not troll as in Internet troll--trolling as in casting a wide net, searching, etc--like this, or trolling for a date.
posted by amberglow at 4:56 AM on August 26, 2005

Actually, the meaning is very similar. Trolling is a form of fishing. An Internet troll is casting out bait (inflammatory posts), hoping the fish (other posters) will bite. This gets used a lot by people trying to distract from a main issue... many MeFi threads about Bush are derailed in this way, for example. Even with very intelligent participants, a good troll often works.

Originally, the posts themselves were called trolls. Over time, the meaning subtly changed.... trolls are now PEOPLE, rather than POSTS. This makes them sound like scaly green things that live under bridges, and somewhat hides the original meaning.

So, yes, the CENTCOM staffer is indeed trolling, but he's using entirely different bait and is trying to catch entirely different fish. :)
posted by Malor at 5:47 AM on August 26, 2005

Yeah, funambulist, I guessed there was a bit of sarco going on but I couldn't resist bursting the 'bubble'. I'm a wet blanket.

And you're right, that was more impressive. I.e. effective. The classic Kermit Roosevelt one is better, though. Kinzer's book on the subject is brilliant. [sorry to go off-topic]
posted by gsb at 7:37 AM on August 26, 2005

Not troll as in Internet troll--trolling as in casting a wide net, searching, etc--like this, or trolling for a date.

Ah. Well. Comment withdrawn then. Easy enough mistake to make around here. So then, is he doing this to a lot of blog like I asked in my second question?
posted by Cyrano at 8:42 AM on August 26, 2005

other bloggers (rightwing only from what i can see) have just recently started to run stuff from CENTCOM after being approached the way Jesus' General was. I think it's a new initiative from the govt. (related to Karen Hughes' new job maybe?)
posted by amberglow at 9:53 AM on August 26, 2005

Here is a listing from the Army Knowledge Online's white pages, gotten through my account. Use this information wisely, and please be gentle on my server for hosting the image.

It will be removed in a week or so, so do any investigating now.
posted by mystyk at 10:01 AM on August 26, 2005

mystyk: The 1LT who has been emailing and posting has sometimes gives out his personal email address It does not match the info you link to so I think you have the wrong guy. Also your guy is in the pao of medical services branch and is not located at centcom headquaters in Tampa Fla.
posted by MonkeySaltedNuts at 1:20 PM on August 26, 2005

Ok, MonkeySaltedNuts. Time to learn a little lesson.

It's not uncommon for people to have organizational different e-mails. I have 3 separate army ones, but they serve different purposes. If he's assigned to centcom, they probably gave him a centcom address. The one listed in my info is his AKO address, the most fundamental email an army person will have.

He was the only listing for a 1LT with that last name and first name, and the middle name matches the initial used in his messages.

Yes, he's Med Service corps, but he's assigned as a Public Affairs Officer in a PAD. PADs assign their members throughout the Army, and the location of the PAD command is not usually the same as the duty location of its members. My guess is that he's likely taking an officer's transition course soon, probably to Adjutant General Corps, but I can't verify that.

While we're on the Med Service stuff, you need to read more carefully.
Brian M. Anderson

1LT Brian M. Anderson MS, USAR
CENTCOM Public Affairs Officer
Exactly what did you think that MS in his title meant?

Moral of the story, do proper detective work of your own before you denounce someone else's. My information pans out, and I use it to allow others more adventurous to go further. You took a wild guess based on incorrect assumptions and a lack of analysis as to what is presented before you.

</soapbox type=rant>
posted by mystyk at 2:25 PM on August 26, 2005

Damn, that was a smackdown, mystyk. Ouch.
posted by teece at 7:58 PM on August 26, 2005

Ok, the consensus is in.

MSN, I didn't really think about it until the events leading up to my MeTa post, but apparently I was somewhat of an asshat in my response to you.

It appears that this was one of those cases where I was right in motive but wrong in execution, so if I pissed you off any, sorry.

This is proof that in a community like this, it can be just as important to check your facts as to check your tone.
posted by mystyk at 8:23 PM on August 28, 2005

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