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August 27, 2004

Somebody drove a stake through it's heart.

Someone drove a spike through Colby Buzzel's My War blog.

Instructive to see if it was voluntary, directed, or 'suggested.'

I guess we'll know if blogs start going dark all over the deployed force, or by service, or unit. If it starts happening a lot - it's policy. Right now, it could just be Colby laying low.

Tough call in some respects - the benefits of the (mostly) good PR (as well as another morale indicator for commanders) against the OPSEC considerations.

That NPR piece is probably going to force them to put out a comprehensive policy - which means we're going to lose something out of it. In fairness to NPR - they were reporting on the fact that the Army was already looking at My War over OPSEC issues - they didn't 'out' Buzzel.

But, if we gain enough OPSEC, since lives and limbs are at stake, that might be acceptable in this instance. Unfortunately, the nature of the beast historically says we'll over-react, and thus far, I don't think anyone blogging has been accused of providing information that has been directly used. The boogyman for commanders is how much indirect information has been used, and to what purpose and effect. Obviously, that's like assessing how many polar bears are attacking you in a white-out blizzard.

I'm not condemning - I don't know enough to know whether or not he's just laying low (though his sign off is final, if he's using proper radio procedures), shut himself off, or got shut off... and I don't have to live with the consequences of letting him blog, either, so I'm not going to insta-denounce the command if they did it.

My offer remains open - if you have stories to share (that don't violate OPSEC), this space can be a vehicle for distribution. But if you have reservations - make 'em clear up front! I won't use anything out here that I think is an OPSEC violation, nor will I use anything I don't have permission from you to use.

Keep 'em safe!

UPDATE: Based on a couple of emails, it occurs to me I should state this explicitly: Based on the info I have, I don't condemn the action to shut down CB's blog. The rules are different for active duty personnel. They are even more subject to restriction when in a war zone. That's why I said it will be interesting if bloglights start winking out all over the deployed blogger world. That would indicate new policy implementation (or enforcement). If it's isolated, that would support the thesis that it's selective, and context-based. Either way - it was bound to happen. And I can sympathize and empathize with commanders trying to do the right thing on all sides - and choosing, in combat, to go for the safer response. Absent more info than I have, I am not contending that CB's first amendment rights are being unlawfully, or even heavy-handedly abridged. I'm pointing out that we may have passed a tipping point - and one that might have needed tipping. Only time will answer the last.

Other thoughts on this subject are at:

Milblogs

An Army Wife Life

SGT Hook.

Chapomatic.

Neptunus Lex.

Digitus, Finger & Co.

Blogs of War

John | Permalink | Comments (7) | Global War on Terror (GWOT)
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