THE GREAT BLOG SCARE |
November 24, 2006
THE GREAT BLOG SCARE
Posting date: 11/24/06
Stationed in: Afghanistan
Milblog url: armysailor.com
I have been reading reports about a 10-man Virginia National Guard team that has been stood up to keep track of blogs, and that the DoD is going to start looking more carefully at blogs. I've noticed a lot of military bloggers seem to be a bit worried. Some have even gone so far as to voluntarily shut down their blogs. This sort of self-censorship scares me. It should scare you too. Don't get me wrong, I certainly understand the need to maintain OPSEC. I carefully review my posts to ensure they don't violate any OPSEC guidelines. The last thing I want to do is aid the enemy. However, it strikes me that the DoD may be making a huge mistake by putting enough of a scare in military bloggers to cause some to silence themselves.
The "War on Terror" is not very popular these days. When it does make the news (which doesn't seem to be often), it's usually bad news. Those of us serving on the front lines are much more likely to draw a more realistic picture of what is going on, and are more likely to highlight the positive things we are doing. Every reporter has an agenda. Soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines do not. We only want to share our stories. If anything, I think the DoD should be encouraging Military Bloggers.
The civilian news media loves to over-emphasize deaths, and negative news. Gore sells. But it does not tell the whole story. Now don't get me wrong, I do not mean to belittle the deaths of American GIs. No one is more appalled than I am by the fact that on average we lose one soldier every nine hours. However, if we are to draw an accurate picture of the war, we must also talk about the good things those soldiers are doing. The civilian news media tends not to mention the schools we build, the medical missions we conduct, the clinics we build, the training we give the local populace, the roads we build, the promise of a better future we bring. Our positive efforts in Afghanistan can not succeed unless we have the complete support of the civilian community at home, and we can not reasonably expect to get that support if the only news they hear is negative.
The fact remains that every Major News Outlet in the United States has a political agenda. Their stories are tainted by that agenda. I have an agenda also. Mine is to let the people know the truth, as best I can. I will promise this much: If I am asked to change or remove an article due to an OPSEC violation, I will. However, I will not be silenced, and I most certainly will not voluntarily shut down my blog. Our story must be told, and it must be told in a manner commensurate with the sacrifices we make daily.