Two interesting items regarding the military and blogs caught my eye this morning.
First, Cassandra at Villainous Company is seeking donations for the Marine team in “Project Valour IT,” which she describes as “grateful Americans, providing laptops with voice-activated software for severely wounded troops.” Here is the beginning of the story behind the project:
Project Valour-IT began when Captain Charles “Chuck” Ziegenfuss was wounded by an IED while serving as commander of a tank company in Iraq in June 2005.
During his deployment he kept a blog. Captivating writing, insightful stories of his experiences, and his self-deprecating humor won him many loyal readers. After he was wounded, his wife continued his blog, keeping his readers informed of his condition.
As he began to recover, CPT Ziegenfuss wanted to return to writing his blog, but serious hand injuries hampered his typing.
How he solved that problem, and how that led to this project, is all at Cassandra’s post here. Go there and donate.
Also, the Washington Post yesterday had an article about military oversight over blogs by soldiers:
From the front lines of Iraq and Afghanistan to here at home, soldiers blogging about military life are under the watchful eye of some of their own.
A Virginia-based operation, the Army Web Risk Assessment Cell, monitors official and unofficial blogs and other Web sites for anything that may compromise security. The team scans for official documents, personal contact information and pictures of weapons or entrances to camps.
This appears to be a necessary operation, and certainly soldiers’ speech rights are severely circumscribed for valid and necessary reasons. However, in any such operation, there is a natural tendency to shut down legitimate commentary on the grounds that it could make the organization look bad. I hope that the Army does not go overboard with this oversight, and I hope it will allow truthful commentary by soldiers who respect operational security and give an accurate picture of life on the front lines.
Projects like the one Cassandra is supporting should help with that.