Wednesday, February 15, 2006

War Blogs

What Weapons Should We Give Our Soldiers, a Gun or an Internet Connection with a High Powered Laptop?

This war in Iraq, has changed the world's view on military activities. Information flows so quickly that people are more aware about what is going on half way across the world than they are about their own accounts and businesses. Much of this information does not come from traditional news media, but rather from the internet and more specifically war blogs, written by milbloggers, soldiers in the military (U.S soldiers in Iraq pictured top left; on right new apple power book).

Should soldiers be given laptops? The Blogs of War , an article written by John Hockenberry for Wired, an online magazine, explores the freedoms and limitations that soldiers now have regarding war blogs. Milblogging has exploded overseas, as soldiers find that web communication allows them to connect with family and friends instantly.

But how far can milblogging go? The government does limit blogging and make soldiers register their blogs with the network so they can be watched, but many soldiers are able to write whatever they want about the war, their feelings about the military life, their complaints and their critiques. These blogs push traditional boundaries. How long will the government allow them? So far the world of blogging is not completely shut down for the military. But it is uncertain how long that they will be permitted.

I think that soldiers should have the right to blog. While it obviously makes sense that they should not be allowed to publish sensitive materials, if soldiers are not given the right to blog, they will lose not only their connection to their families but also their ability to express themselves digitally. In this day and age, we depend on the internet. We are trained from an early age to be digitally adept. While we have lost the art of writing letters, we have certainly learned the arts of email and livejournal. People, soldiers especially, may feel cut off from their web community as well as their families and friends if their blogging rights are taken away.


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