In Iraq for 365

About my experiences in Iraq... the frustrations, the missions and this country... and the journey home

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Army blog memo

Not quite sure how I feel about this or if I can even give an opinion. Long story short, it’s a memo that states official and unofficial unit web sites must be registered with Multinational Forces Corps Iraq (MNCI). This means that if a company or platoon level leader wanted to keep families informed by maintaining a web site, he or she must go through an official registration process and inform their higher. However, it says that personal web logs do not need to register with MNCI, but pretty much gives this impression… “if you write it, we will read it.” Note: This memo only applies to deployed soldiers, not CONUS. In my opinion, it's just a matter of time before blogs are taken away from soldiers (in my opinion).


At 7:02 AM, Blogger Household6 said...

Smink -
I read this and as always there is a loophole (I linked it on my blog as well). You just have to read the memo well enough on how to get around it.

I agree that OPSEC and allowing the CAO notification process to work, I sure as shooting would not want to hear about my spouse being injured or otherwise from a blog, BUT the ones I read are respectful of both issues and post only after the incident has been cleared.

This to me (in my opinion) is a form of yellow journalism where they control the news to only portray what the had in mind. That and I am sure they would prefer that the blogs didn't swear, or complain about chain of command. So what? Upon occasion you don't agree with your boss, doesn't mean that you wouldn't an order just that you didn't like it.


At 9:37 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know it seems harsh, Casanova, but according to Dad, it's still a helluva lot better than it was in his day. Every letter he sent home was read by someone and ended up with blackouts or cutouts all over the place. Censorship was alive and well during WWII. Ever since you told me about your blog last year, I have gotten hooked on reading military blogs, because I get the real story of what's going on over there and what soldiers think and feel. Seth has talked about starting one when he's deployed this year so he can keep in touch with all of us. I hate that problems have cropped up with some military bloggers, because it causes a problem for all of them, not just the guilty parties. But, that's the way the military works isn't it? It's all about the team.

At 9:58 AM, Blogger Mom said...

I for one do enjoy reading MilBlogs. I hope them having a Blog in some ways help them get all the emotions out. Free themselves of the agonys of war a bit. I think all the MilBlogs I read not one of them would post the pains of another Soldier till after the fact.
I also believe the ones I read would not give up any priviged info in fear of getting the men in their unit hurt as well as themselves.
I can see monitoring but not shutting down MilBlogs.

At 4:35 PM, Blogger Blair Heusdens said...

I think that all military blogs should be known about by the Soldier's command. Because not all Soldiers are taught like we are about what is and isn't appropriate to say. Having said that, I know that most Soldiers wouldn't be as lucky as I was to have an NCO who let me pretty much rant about whatever I wanted to. You know that not everyone in the military cares about the military like you do.

At 10:53 PM, Blogger strykeraunt said...

First, my belief is that the blogs I read would not violate OPSEC or post casualties prior to family notification. With that said, I also understand that Red2Alpha at "This is Your War" knows of situation where bloggers have posted a death or injury prior to the family being notified; and of family members reading about the death or injury of their loved one on the blog. If someone would do something as stupid and insensitive as that then whose to say wouldn't post OPSEC material.

It seems that military command is concerned about the safety of the soldier and sensitivity to the family members of a fallen soldier...and I agree that is what should be top priority.

My suspicions are that military command will continue to allow military blogs until the point that the risk becomes too high. Hopefully, those soldier who do blog will work to make sure it does not happen. If you are posting for the world to see (including the bad guys), what is wrong with the good guys knowing about it too.

At 4:47 PM, Blogger Toni said...

Smink - awhile back Michael at A Day in Iraq posted something pretty deragatory about his command. I know he was stressed and frustrated when he wrote and posted it. I caught it just after it was posted. I just mentioned to him that this posting might not be a good idea and he should think about removing it. I don't know if it was me or he on his own rethought it but it was gone shortly thereafter. When a person is angry you aren't always thinking with your head. This was around the time that Jason of Just Another Soldier was hitting the blogosphere so the level of scrutiny was high.

At 6:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


I wonder if the blog "this is your war" has anything to do with the army's directive?


At 10:46 AM, Blogger devildog6771 said...

It would be a crime to stop the mil blogs. However, as a former Marine, I am aware of what is or is not appropriate. At times there have been some who posted information, though after the fact in some cases, that could be an opsec problem.

The information alone wasn't obvious, but to an enemy that reads our blogs too, it would not be hard for them to trace our troop movements by putting all the info together and analyzing it. So I encourage both the mil bloggers and those responding who are in the know to be very careful about this.

There have in fact been a rare few times that info about a family member was posted before the family was notified. But as I said that is rarely so. Most of those info slip ups were made in phone calls home out of shock, despair, were those on the blogs.

As this opsec issue has come into the open I notice on all the blogs that a very concerted effort on the blogs to be more careful in this respect. So the troops have begun to do their own censoring but in a way that shows respect and common sense and good judgement.

The precautions that need to be maintained ought to not affect creative style, etc. in any way.

There is another aspect to all of this. The enemy is also not above trying to identify family members at home and putting the troops' family members at risk here in the states. There have already been cases of people in the U.S. posting things these sleepers and other supporters consider offensive and being subjected to threats of bodily harm.

So please ensure that you protect both your identity and the identity of the troop deployed.

The government's fear is therefore three fold, protection of security issues, protection of troops, and protection of their stateside families. But there are none of us who I see that come here who wouldn't try hared to be careful here.

I am sure that once the military sees that we are all cooperating in that respect, there will be no problem with the blogs. So, we will all do our part, now let's see if my faith in the powers to be is nieve or justified.

At 4:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi - We liked this post so much that we included it in "Blogsday," a series of blog posts read by actors over the radio. You can hear the entire hour here, on the blog for Open Source. (We're a public radio show, based in Boston and nationally broadcast, that is trying to capture the sound of the web.)

Thanks --

At 7:53 PM, Blogger pebblepie said...

I saw that too, and posted it.

Army's Rules for Blogging from the Battlezone....

Sure hope none get shut down, I'd miss all of much.

At 12:23 PM, Blogger Robin Amer said...


my name is Robin Amer and I'm a producer with Open Source, the public radio show that excerpted your blog for a recent show of ours.

I'm writing you know because we're doing a show this Monday June 27 featuring some military bloggers, and what we can learn about Iraq/Afghanistan from their experiences there. I've been reading your blog and I was hoping we could talk on the phone, with the mindset of potentially having you as a guest on the show. If you're interested, please give me a call at 617-497-8097, or email me with your phone number and a good time to call.

thanks so much. I look forward to speaking with you.


Robin Amer
Open Source

At 1:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It would be a real shame if the milbloggers were taken away. I feel as if I get much better and more accurate information from the milbloggers than I ever do from the MSM.

At 11:27 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Its a shame if they take away the ability for blogs.

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At 11:36 AM, Blogger ColorBars said...

I was reading what you guys think about the military's policy on blogs. The guidance to Public Affairs is that blogs are generally good-- as long as no one posts classified material.

The military sees the need for the American public to have access to accurate stories from the troops. Too frequently we aren't able to get their stories on network TV, blogs are another way to spread the word about what great things the troops are doing (as well as let you know what the frustrations can be living so far from home for so long).

At 5:52 PM, Blogger Vikas Gaddu said...
I agree with colorbars, as long as you are not posting anything classified, you are good to go. I also host a army blog which you can access by clicking the above link.


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