“This is the final nail in the coffin for combat blogging. No more military bloggers writing about their experiences in the combat zone. This is the best PR the military has — its most honest voice out of the war zone. And it’s being silenced.”

Retired paratrooper Matthew Burden, editor of The Blog of War anthology, on a new Army directive requiring soldiers to submit the contents of blog posts, message board comments and e-mail to their superior officer for a security review.


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  • Rick Thalhammer

    I wholeheartedly agree. I am not a soldier in this war; just an admirer of the efforts of our troops even as I deplore the administration’s choice to take us into war and to mismanage it afterwards. I have to believe that, over the four years we’ve been engaged, the blogs of soldiers have not compromised their mission, in the sense of revealing operational tactics and the like. But, more probably, the information contained in those blogs has enabled those of us sitting comfortably away from the battlefield to appreciate the truth of what our soldiers are experiencing and in that sense, as compared to the Tillman/Lynch PR spinners in the White House, the blogs have prevented the liars from continuing to try to mislead us as to what life in Iraq is like. But apart from that, I believe there is also a fear at the top that the truth somehow is bad unless the truth is managed by those in charge. Thus, even though what the blogs say has only been a positive for the military, regardless of the details of any one story posted, the generals and the admirals and all their overlords can’t deal with the freedom of the blogs. Censorship rises.

  • And how, exactly, is this any different then having the service members have their letters censored during war time? Look, I am all for freedom of the press. Hell, I am a blogger. But the military is the military. When a citizen joins the military, they are informed from the onset they are military property. So, you’ll forgive me when I do not get too excited about the military stepping in and monitoring.

    However, the only thing the military should be monitoring, and censoring, is any specific information that directly impacts ongoing military operations in a theater of battle. Any monitoring of blogs beyond the above would be about covering up crimes, and that would strike me as wholly, and completely, illegal.

  • Remember, the whole concept of the “embedded” journalist with the troops was not(in effect) to bring you closer to the action; rather, it served as a way to keep a short(er) leash on any sort of wayward reporting done outside the purview of the powers that be. Truth be damned! Muzzeling the fourth estate has been the hallmark of the Bush years in a nutshell.