May 2, 2007

Censoring Military Blogs

The Bush White House never ending quest to silence anyone who does not repeat their Republican taking points reaches a new level.
The U.S. Army has ordered soldiers to stop posting to blogs or sending personal e-mail messages, without first clearing the content with a superior officer, Wired News has learned. The directive, issued April 19, is the sharpest restriction on troops' online activities since the start of the Iraq war. And it could mean the end of military blogs, observers say.

Military officials have been wrestling for years with how to handle troops who publish blogs. Officers have weighed the need for wartime discretion against the opportunities for the public to personally connect with some of the most effective advocates for the operations in Afghanistan and Iraq -- the troops themselves. The secret-keepers have generally won the argument, and the once-permissive atmosphere has slowly grown more tightly regulated. Soldier-bloggers have dropped offline as a result.

The new rules (.pdf) obtained by Wired News require a commander be consulted before every blog update.
Even emails to family members and friends have to be cleared by a superior officer; this is extreme level of censorship. The U.S. Army are turning military commanders on the ground to editors. The men and women of the military should have the right to express their war experience on a blog without having them cleared by superior officers. This effort by the Pentagon is going to lead to the end of military bloggers. I expect most of the bloggers will rather stop posting than having their blogs reviewed by their commanders.

The very people who are fighting for our freedoms, just lost part of theirs.


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