November 05, 2007

Name: Toby Nunn
Posting date: 11/5/07
Stationed in: Kuwait / Iraq
Hometown: Oakland, CA via Terrace B.C. CANADA
Milblog url: tobynunn.typepad.com

I was recently invited to speak at Brown University for a Watson Institute forum involving frontline media, writers and filmmakers. I was honored by the invitation, but it was hard to attend since I am over here. I did participate via webcast and found that in itself very entertaining.

I was able to watch the panel before the one I spoke on. It had Colby Buzzell, a kid that was a specialist in the same unit I was in the first time over, and also Matt from Blackfive. They spoke of military blogs and how they have changed. I believe there has been a change in material, and the change reflects the new battlefield. I also believe that the bloggers that are on the frontlines are being more responsible with information and being respectful of the families back home, since the media has portrayed such a misleading image.

I take the time when it permits to read other milbloggers and have found some great material and insight and a sense of fellowship. But I have also found that many are not even in the military. I do appreciate their past military experience and in many cases I respect the things that they have accomplished. But I do get confused when people use the military genre to promote their personal political opinions. Does that not make one a "poliblogger" rather than a "milblogger"?

When I take my uniform off I will be able to speak of things political, but when I am in it I have an obligation to be supportive of my entire chain of command, whether I agree or disagree. I am also held responsible for things that I might say "out of line" (<--military term). The responsible handling of information and opinions about the actual, factual ground truth was the intent of milblogging.

A Marine Colonel that had worked as a Pentagon spokesman sat on the same panel as I did, and spoke of how he wished there was more milblogging, since it portrays the service members' perception and reality. I agree with what he said, as this has been my intent all along. I want to tell the legacy and story of these great heroes. I stand beside them everyday, and watch these young men blossom into mature, socially conscious, humanely responsible adults. Not a day goes by that I am not awestruck by one of our guys and something he has done or said.

Do not be afraid to write about these things, my friends. I am sure that those warriors' families will appreciate knowing how their sons and husbands and fathers are doing. There are OPSEC concerns, but think before you write and get someone to check it out first if need be. I want to hear the real frontline voice. I do it -- so can you!


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