Thursday, April 20, 2006
We spent a few fun days in Baltimore, now we're in DC, enjoying the immensity of our Nation's Capital. Had a few tearful moments in the Medal of Honor display in the Museum of American History, we were so very blessed that all of our men and women made it back home in one piece. Also enjoyed very much the World War II memorial. How immense too, and grand and somehow befitting the Greatest Generation and their sacrifices. Interesting to note the contrast with the District of Columbia monument to those who served and sacrificed during the Great War, The World War, so enscribed in 1931 without an ability to contemplate another terrible World War.
May I also note that Walter Cronkite and Mike Wallace had the key positions in the Vietnam War Television War display. Wallace, with the "The North Vietnamese proved wrong the notion that the US with superior military forces could not be defeated," or something to that effect during the Tet Offensive. A statement that the Tet Offensive had "overrun" US and South Vietnamese defenses.
Cronkite with the "how can we call it anything but a quagmire bnroadcast.
Otherwise, a very respectful treatment overall, and I was going to say, a balanced one, until that. But, that defined what most Americans heard about Vietnam, didn't it? The media has been a constant, in some respects, sicne 1968 at least.
Looking ahead to the MilBlog Conference!
My family and I hit the road shortly, in advance of the MilBlog Conference. I doubtful I’ll be blogging much during the “vacation” we are squeezing in, in advance of the Conference, and I wanted to let folks know the topics I will be pushing as a Panelist on the “Blogging from Theater” panel on Saturday, April 22nd.
My pet issues are OPSEC and sensitivity for families back home, striking an acceptable balance between getting real "ground truth" news out (particularly good news), and not giving our enemies any Information Operations (IO) advantages.
I also have a crazy idea that the military should offer to "sponsor" interested bloggers, offer training, credentials, maybe an additional skill identifier (like Master Fitness or a language or Trainer qualification), in exchange for better or "press pass" type access. This kind of falls within the whole whether/how military should regulate, register or otherwise attempt to control MILBLOGS.
My sense is that:
-- some will want to stay independent -- and seek to run covert ops if necessary
-- some will be willing partners or participants in any program the military offers
-- some will decide based on how ham-fisted the approach
-- others will want to come "in and out of the shadows" based on circumstances, events and items to be reported.
And I think discussing across these viewpoints will be lively and informative for any decision-makers.
I also have serious beef with mainstream media, and believe alternate and new media (such as MILBLOGGERS) have a vital role to play to counteract what is often adversarial media, to get information out and come against negative spin. As President Bush said of the Global War on Terrorl, so too for the MILBLOGGER versus MSM struggle: “We didn’t ask for this fight, this fight was brought to us.” I didn’t expect top be a soldier in a broader I/O war, but there it is.
When asked for some posts that reflect some of these concerns, I compiled the following:
OPSEC and (Heart)-SEC: OPSEC, and “at home” security from too much information
Blogging and OPSEC: The Blogging Memo and OPSEC
OPSEC and Pandora's Box: The Blogging Memo and OPSEC (more)
At War with the Media
Grief and Anger: Personal experience of my family to some really dumb local media behavior.
Patterns of Analysis: The kind of work reporters do (intelligence or media) inevitably leads them to paint the picture with the negative data points, since that's what they see most, and most urgently.
Chilling Intolerance: An anti-war blogger is clearly very frightened of the influence of MILBLOGS and other right leaning bloggers are exerting over public, political discussion.
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