The U.S. military is cracking down on soldiers who write or post to blogs, Wired reported yesterday. In the piece, a milblogger named Matthew Burden says this action represents “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 -- it's most honest voice out of the war zone. And it's being silenced."
Last August we wrote about J.P. Borda, a local National Guard reservist who is at the center of the milblog movement. Borda runs the site milblogging.com, an aggregator of military-related blogs from around the world (1,709 military blogs in 30 countries). Burden’s goal is to give readers a boots-on-the-ground alternative to mainstream news, which, he has insisted, often overplays negative stories and downplays positive ones. But now, all that looks to change.
Previously, soldiers were required to consult with their immediate supervisor before posting anything that might contain sensitive material. But according to the new rules, supervisors must now review everything -- from blog posts to comments on Internet message boards to e-mails and letters home.
And, according to the Wired piece, the new rules don’t just apply to soldiers in the battlefield. They also apply to civilians working for the military, army contractors and even soldiers’ families.
“Many commanders will feel like they have no choice but to forbid their soldiers from blogging -- or even using e-mail," says Jeff Nuding, who won the Bronze Star for his service in Iraq. "If I'm a commander, and think that any slip-up gets me screwed, I'm making it easy: No blogs," added Nuding, writer of the "pro-victory" Dadmanly site. "I think this means the end of my blogging." --Jesse Hyde