Military Blogs Wage ‘War of Words’ Against Rumsfeld
What had, up until now, been dismissed by Rumsfeld et al as insubstantial attacks by disgruntled retirees, is turning out to be a full blown military crisis emanating straight from the core of enlisted personnel.
Military blogs have changed the face of the battlefield forever.
The war of words between Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld and former generals has spread to the lower ranks as soldiers, recent war vets, and Pentagon civilians alike use a growing number of Web logs on the Internet to sound off on their current and former bosses.But, what they optmistically call a top-down movement is in reality dissatisfaction rising from the ranks - the military's worst nightmare.
In other words, they're about to crack down - if they haven't already - hard and fast, on military dissent.
Web logs have provided a unique window into the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, allowing troops to bypass the mainstream media to detail their exploits. But these so-called milblogs are increasingly serving as forums for policy debates, such as the effectiveness of the war strategy or how to deal with Iran's nuclear program.
There are hundreds of milblogs, and the Pentagon, which has cautiously supported some of them but also has deep concerns about the ability to control them, recently ordered a top level advisory panel to study the issue.
The media then tries to pass off partisan drivel as an example of genuine support for Rumsfeld.
'' 'Googling' and 'blogging' are making their way into military operations at all levels," Kenneth Krieg, the undersecretary of defense, wrote in a recent memo requesting that the Defense Science Board look into the matter. ''But the full implications of this revolution are as yet unknown, and we have no clear direction and defined doctrine."
[T]he new venue brings an institution that has long sought to remain apolitical perilously close to the public square.
''There has long been a separation between the military and political world," said John, an active-duty Air Force officer who runs the blog op-for.com . . .
The vast majority of milblogs focus on day-to-day military operations around the world . . .
[But, a] "portion of the milblog world has morphed into debating how things should get done"[.]
Iraqnow.blogspot.com attacks one of Rumsfeld's recent detractors, retired Major General John Batiste [for "re-writing history" by contending that Gen. Shinseki retired early because more troops were needed for the war.]
"The problem is, it didn't happen," the blog asserts. ''Shinseki was not retired early. That's an old wives' tale right out of the John Kerry playbook."But the truth, reflected in the vast majority of blogs, is painfully clear.
Jason Sigger, a civilian Pentagon employee who blogs as the ''armchairgeneralist" said: ''This concern that the generals speaking out are somehow a threat to civilian control [of the military] is crazy. This is not Pakistan or some third-world nation. These are 30- or 40-year professionals. They ought to have the freedom to comment on what they believe is a fatally flawed strategy."
But of course, the MSM wraps up with a Rumsfeld-friendly quote, laying the groundwork for a policy that would allow for pro-war debate while silencing any kind of dissent.
In other words, blogs are useful for military propaganda.
John, the Air Force officer at op-for.com, contends that the Pentagon leadership appreciates the need for the kind of connection between the military and the public that the military blogs provide.
"The lieutenants and the captains of the Vietnam War are the generals of today," he said in an interview. "They saw us lose not on the battlefield, but in the halls of Congress, the universities, and with the public. They understand the importance of fighting a political war when the military is engaged in a long police action and occupation like Iraq."
But, he added, ''I am afraid that unless we are constantly checking each other, there will be an incident when someone blogs on information they shouldn't have blogged on."But, dissent will not be tolerated.
Watch the media downplay Mil-Blogs as this 'war of words' starts to get very ugly.
Related Story: Army Will Crack Down On Military Bloggers