Wednesday, February 15, 2006

The Blogs of War

"A warblog devoted mostly or wholly to covering news events concerning an ongoing war." - provided by Wikipedia
Commonly referred to as a milblog (short for "military blog"), gone are the days of receiving letters from soldiers months after being sent. Frequent blogging eliminates the shroud of mystery surrounding whether a loved one has died. And the public no longer needs to rely on the mass media as their sole source for visuals and textual accounts straight from the battlefield.

What's so wrong about this? In the August 2005 issue of WIRED magazine, an article titled "The Blogs of War" speaks about the dangers of soldiers-turned-pundits via online journalism.
"A new policy instituted this spring requires all military bloggers inside Iraq to register with their units. It directs commanders to conduct quarterly reviews to make sure bloggers aren't giving out casualty information or violating operational security or privacy rules."
From a selfish standpoint, it may seem that revealing casualty information at a local hospital is insignificant. But think of the subtle hints that a piece of information, revealed to the public, could hint the enemy in regards to the military's status. Take for example, this fictional scenario:

Hospital A: 47 casualties taken in, 25 shipped to a larger medical facility.

If the enemy were reading this, the "insignificant" piece of information has hinted at the quantity of troops/squadrons in the area, the quality of life among the forces, how well or poor those troops faced against resistance, etc. Although it may be an unrealistic portrayal of war, television and movies have shown that every little bit of information is proven to be quite useful for smart commanding officers.

It is definitely interesting to read actual accounts of a soldier's life, straight from the battlefield. But at the same time, it is not worth it to compromise the security of the armed forces. Perhaps a balance between the two will be achieved when the Pentagon finishes its analysis on milblogging.


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