View Full Version : No, really! Everything is fine in Iraq!

12-28-2005, 06:00 PM
US Army worried about Blogs (http://www.theinquirer.net/?article=28580)

Truth too close to ground zero

By Nick Farrell: Wednesday 28 December 2005, 07:59
THE US Army is getting a bit concerned that its soldiers on active service are starting to post what they really think about the war zones they are sent to.

More than 200 US soldiers have set up their bogs from the front line, using the internet cafes that the Army lets them use to contact friends and family.

The only problem is that the bogs show in graphic detail what life is like on the front line and not the safe sanitised version the politicians and army upper ranks would like everyone to see.

There are elements in the US army which believe that Vietnam was only lost because the nation’s will to fight was undermined by graphic TV footage. To solve the problem they use 'embedded reporters' in military units so that they only saw what the military wanted. Now the bog thing seems to be undermining that strategy.

In April, the US military published its first policy memo on websites maintained by soldiers, requiring them to have official approval before starting internet postings. In July a soldier was disciplined for publishing information considered sensitive. This included the mention of incidents under investigation or names of servicemen killed or wounded.

The accusation that US forces used white phosphorus to attack insurgents in Falluja came from a soldier’s blog.more here (http://www.smh.com.au/news/world/us-military-worried-by-soldiers-blogs/2005/12/27/1135445571736.html)

12-28-2005, 06:10 PM
A cynical reinterpretation. This is the official rational:

“The enemy aggressively ‘reads’ our open source and continues to exploit such information for use against our forces,” Army Chief of Staff General Peter J. Schoomaker wrote in an August memo. “Some soldiers continue to post sensitive information to Internet Web sites and blogs, e.g., photos depicting weapon system vulnerabilities and tactics, techniques and procedures. Such OPSEC violations needlessly place lives at risk and degrade the effectiveness of our operations." The Army is legitimately concerned that real-time blogging was exposing operational plans and was posting names of wounded and dead before their families could be officially informed.

The Army has been clear what were their concerns and how they should be addressed. "Censorship", in the sense of dissent implied by the above distortions, was never part of it.

Here is more detail Reining In the Blogs of War (http://www.military-information-technology.com/article.cfm?DocID=1242).

Cuyahoga Chuck
12-28-2005, 06:34 PM
Old draftee here.
In my day the Army had to take in folks that were well educated but childless. A lot of these upscale folks had no trouble in finding the name and address of their congressional representatives and sending unhappy missives to same.
"Well", said the First Shirt, "now that you smarties are in the Army you'll have to conform to Army regulations". "Here is a copy of Army regulations, #XXYYY-EE3, concerning letters to your congressmen". "Any such letters must have copies on file with the company commander." None of us really knew if that was legal but we nontheless threw the congressional addresses away.
If the Army was burned by our penny-ante congressional letters I'll bet their svincters are red hot over real time blogs. The more things change the more.....

"This text was assiduously examined to avoid criticisms from the Spellcheckernazi."

[ 12-28-2005, 06:38 PM: Message edited by: Cuyahoga Chuck ]

12-28-2005, 06:38 PM

You never served in the military, did you?

The Army has a legitimate interest in restricting some information, but not in the interest of erecting a false facade.

I got spooked about writing to my congressmen when I was in the Navy in the 60's/70's too. Too late to talk about the mutiny now (nope, that's not a joke).

12-28-2005, 06:39 PM
Oops, Chuck, you're vulnerable: it's "sphincter", not "svincter" ;)

12-28-2005, 06:50 PM
Tactically, yes - to bolster the political homefront in a partisan way, NO!

12-28-2005, 07:04 PM
If you look hard enough, you can always find a reason to curtail freedoms.

The trick is to look equally hard for a reason not to.

Peter Malcolm Jardine
12-28-2005, 07:07 PM
Your brain.

12-28-2005, 07:09 PM
Colby Buzzell had a short lived blog but it was worthwhile. He was a part of the Stryker brigade near Mosul.

They aren't there to be part time journalists. If folks want the news it requires reading something other than the newswires and official renderings from the Pentagon.

Maybe even reading what the foreigners are getting.

Rumsfeld sure got the message about losing control of the message with new media of digital storage and transmission.

12-28-2005, 07:21 PM
Originally posted by Donn:
You, of course, interpret it as homefront propaganda. Could that be due to your particularly anti-government slant on things?Could be - but isn't. I'm not anti-government, I'm anti-administration. More to the point, I'm anti-incompetent. Party irrelevent.

12-28-2005, 07:21 PM
Originally posted by Donn:
</font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr />Originally posted by Peter Malcolm Jardine:
Your brain.Impressive, isn't it?
:D </font>[/QUOTE]Yeah, and the microscope makes it all so much clearer! tongue.gif :D

12-28-2005, 07:23 PM
speaking of Iraq, Assasins Gate by George Packer is good.

12-28-2005, 07:41 PM
Originally posted by Donn:
What farted?Remember the good old days when Donn thought he was the voice of civility?

Phillip Allen
12-28-2005, 07:52 PM
Sending info via blog might be dangerous to the troops...anyone recall how shots were called for the Paris-gun...? (I do)

OTOH...I might post on a blog myself were I there...self censored of course...(freedom of speech is damned important...DAMNED important!)

12-28-2005, 09:58 PM
Freedom of Speech is of course important. I'd like to read some blogs from soldiers, rather than from news sources.

But, the Army has a real point. There could be sensitive info released. I never attended any type of SERE training, but was often told that just giving your name, rank, and serial number was a good way to get hurt. The alternative was to have a simple story...

"I'm a jeep driver and didn't even know where I was..."

...and stick to it. Don't mention names if possible, etc. So say a soldier is captured, has his 'story' going, and all of a sudden his 'story' is compromised by some other soldiers blog?

There must be hundreds of ways that seemingly innocent info could be used against our forces.

Another thought to consider, is that these 'internet cafes' belong to the Army. As in any corporate world, personal use of a company computer is usually controlled and some sort of policy which is required to be signed by the employee.

If the boss (the Army) says 'no blogs on our computers' then that's legal. That's not a violation of anyones First Admendment.

Just my thoughts...

Cuyahoga Chuck
12-29-2005, 01:26 AM
If the US Army has nothing better to do than present a "false facad" to the folks back home who are supplying the dough and the bodies for this war then we had better have them issue a "statement of intentions" about who the hell they have abeef with.

[ 12-29-2005, 01:43 AM: Message edited by: Cuyahoga Chuck ]

12-29-2005, 07:33 AM
the Army doesn't require a facade,,it's the faithbasters driving GWs vision who need the noble lies.

12-29-2005, 07:38 AM
Originally posted by Donn:
You, of course, interpret it as homefront propaganda. Could that be due to your particularly anti-government slant on things?wmd,aluminum tubes,Curveball,mobile bio-weapons labs, UAVs, Chalabi, AEI, Laurie Mylroie, Khidir Hamza, Rumsfeld really expected to be out of Iraq in three months leaving 30,000 troops, etc. etc.

What I don't get is your celebration of GWs pooch screwing.

12-29-2005, 08:29 AM
Speaking of reporting for the homefront here's a journalists $.02


We follow these unwritten rules elsewhere in the region. American journalists frequently used the words of U.S. officials in the early days of the Iraqi insurgency — referring to those who attacked American troops as "rebels" or "terrorists" or "remnants" of the former regime. The language of the second U.S. pro-consul in Iraq, L. Paul Bremer III, was taken up obediently — and grotesquely — by American journalists.

American television, meanwhile, continues to present war as a bloodless sandpit in which the horrors of conflict — the mutilated bodies of the victims of aerial bombing, torn apart in the desert by wild dogs — are kept off the screen. Editors in New York and London make sure that viewers' "sensitivities" don't suffer, that we don't indulge in the "pornography" of death (which is exactly what war is) or "dishonor" the dead whom we have just killed.

Our prudish video coverage makes war easier to support, and journalists long ago became complicit with governments in making conflict and death more acceptable to viewers. Television journalism has thus become a lethal adjunct to war.

Back in the old days, we used to believe — did we not? — that journalists should "tell it how it is." Read the great journalism of World War II and you'll see what I mean. The Ed Murrows and Richard Dimblebys, the Howard K. Smiths and Alan Moorheads didn't mince their words or change their descriptions or run mealy-mouthed from the truth because listeners or readers didn't want to know or preferred a different version.

So let's call a colony a colony, let's call occupation what it is, let's call a wall a wall. And maybe express the reality of war by showing that it represents not, primarily, victory or defeat, but the total failure of the human spirit.