Wednesday, December 28, 2005

US soldier-bloggers in Iraq - problem for Pentagon

US soldier bloggers in Iraq have become a major cause of concern to the US military authorities. Initially meant as a diary for families and friends to read personal accounts of or happenings to of their loved ones serving in Iraq, those blogsites written from Internet cafes within military camps are now sources of uncensored news of the frontline. The commanders are so concerned that they have issued a policy requiring prior approval before a soldier may start a blog.

One soldier, Leonard Clark, was demoted to Private in July when he wrote on his blog that his company's commander as a ‘glory seeker’ [Ktemoc has met people like that] and the battalion sergeant major an ‘inhuman monster’. He was alos punished for publishing sensitive information like incidents under investigation or names of servicemen killed or wounded.

But the one that must have pissed the brass off was his last entry, detailing how his mates were becoming opposed to the US operation in Iraq.

Sergeant Elizabeth Le Bel, who has since left the army and is now safely in the USA recalled her experience of being in a lorry hit by a roadside bomb north of Baghdad. Such news would normally be released to the media by the military authorities in a couple of clinically cleansed and terse sentences, but Le Bel wrote [she still maintains her blogsite]:

"I started to scream bloody murder, and one of the other females on the convoy came over, grabbed my hand and started to calm me down. She held on to me, allowing me to place my leg on her shoulder as it was hanging free. I learned the truck driver had not made it through …"

Mark Kraft of Livejournal, a web journalist who was the first to reveal that US troops had used white phosphorous to attack insurgents in Falluja admitted he obtained his information from US soldier bloggers in Iraq. Kraft said that subsequently one of his sources had been threatened, demoted and told not to maintain a blog or read or reply to any others.

KTemoc reckons the Pentagon is very worried that the uncensored recollections of soldiers personal experiences and their emotional expression may sway public opinions in the USA to demand an end to the US presence in Iraq, in the same way as the American media had swayed public opinions to withdraw from Vietnam.

No comments:

Post a Comment