The Pentagon's biggest goof to date
The Army has issued stringent new regulations about how information is supposed to be handled. Everything from blog posts to e-mail to resumes must now get prior approval from a supervisor. And everyone from soldiers to civilians to contractors to family members is covered.
These regulations will effectively kill any and all active-duty milblogs, and could extend to people like Michael Yon and Bill Roggio. Worse yet, this cuts the ties the soldiers have to their families and friends, which is bad enough. BUT when the milbloggers are the ones balancing the Information War with effective and accurate reporting on events, they're taking away a valuable asset.
The MSM ISN'T covering this war honestly. We are reminded nightly -- consistently -- the death toll in Iraq, and are under a constant bombardment of "The war is lost" and "Nothing's working over there" from the talking heads. It's crap, folks, and the milbloggers prove it daily and weekly. They not only counteract the barrage of "bravo sierra" coming out of the MSM, but they also reinforce two very key facts that the media refuses to report on:
#1 The Surge IS working, and #2 our troops believe in their mission. If it weren't for the milbloggers, we wouldn't know this. We'd have to take the media's word for the talking point that our troops would be grateful if they came home. Sure, to a point they would, but our troops don't like lighting out halfway through a fight. There is a matter of honor for the troops in the field that the job's not done, and they don't go home until it is.
The Army is supposedly citing operational security for the changes. I agree with others in the 'sphere: Following rules for the sake of the rules doesn't win the war, nor does it help the troops. "Sanitized" e-mails and blog posts? Give me a break. The excuse they're using isn't even a proven fact. That excuse is that if the troops give "detailed" reports in such posts and e-mails, the enemy could intercept them. They are 'Net savvy just as well as we are. They will read those posts, they could get their mitts on the e-mails, and they can put two and two together just as well as we can. If the reports give our enemy any sort of a leg-up, for the army it's too much of a risk.
OK, I get that. My uncle put twenty-five years of his life in Naval Intel. He knows the value of keeping things on the hush-hush. But as yet, this excuse hasn't been proven. No operation has been blown because of this sort of reporting. No operational intelligence has been displayed for all to see. The enemy isn't going to gain anything from the majority of these posts. I can honestly say that since I started blogging back in 2004, I have read over the milblogs extensively (and even if I were awake 24 hours a day, I still couldn't comment on EVERYTHING I read) and I have learned more about this war, what's going on in terms of Iraqi reconstruction, and what the situation is on the ground from those blogs better than the Media has presented, or even CENTCOM, at times.
The milbloggers serve as an unbiased, indifferent view of the war. They're there. They're fighting. The only bias you'll here out of them is how they'd like to kick the Hell out of the terrorists and come home. It's a totally, completely unvarnished view of Iraq and it's the sort of information WE, the public need. The media lacks the embedded reporters to begin with. Glenn Reynolds just commented on Hugh Hewitt's show that our information comes from the media, who is relying on stringers, rumors and innuendos, and opinion for information. That doesn't cut it. The milbloggers report hard news about what's going on in Iraq. How in the Hell does the Pentagon think there are so many people still on their side? It doesn't come from our view of the media reports; it comes from alternative sources like milbloggers.
The Pentagon is going to kill the morale of the troops by making them sanitize news and information coming out of Iraq. They're going to kill us in the Information War; a war that we are losing, by comparison to our enemy. (Remember that the terrorists love al-Jazeera, and Al-Jazeera loves our enemy), and that's how they are going to lose the morale of the nation. There needs to be some serious questions raised about the Pentagon's decision. It's backwards thinking, and it'll blow up in their face before they even realize it.
UPDATE: Welcome Hugh Hewitt readers. Please feel free to leave a comment if you want, and don't forget to stop by Professor Reynolds' site for more updates. See-Dubya has more. Michelle Malkin says this is "Stupid! Stupid! Stupid!" And she's got the the proof in the pudding to make such a statement. Captain Ed Morrissey, BlackFive, and Greyhawk all weigh in. (Be sure to read the coments at Blackfive; they tell the whole story, much like the reaction that Michelle got).
Also, Marcie's not happy with this. Her brother is in Afghanistan, and e-mail is the only way they communicate. She said if her brother has to "submit" his e-mails to his CO before he sends them, she's not going to be happy. She wants to know everything that goes on with him over there, and she doesn't do sanitized. Her exact words?
"If it's sanitized and will not tell me what I need to know about what he is going through, I migfht as well read the New York Times."
'Nuff said. Listen to the wife. She's spot on, and the Pentagon is still off it's rocker.