Saturday, May 05, 2007


From the Front

Panel 1 getting formed up. Blackfive, Bill Roggio, Sean from Doc in the Box, Hook, Bill Ardolino from IDC Journal.

Ward, mention of AR 530-1. Reading letter from SEN Cobyrn, et al

Americans benefit directly from MILBLOGS. Urging military NOT to interfere with milblogs.

Matt Burden, Blackfive, From the Front.

Big difference from last year.
Quote from Pres. Truman. Bess Truman, someone urging her to get the President to use a word other than "manure." She says, " heavens, it took me 25 years to get him to use the word manure."

Matt got the message out to CENTCOM, PAO. "I gave you hell last year. You guys rock."

Has been a sea change, GEN Petraeus has made a difference.

Message from SFC in Al Anbar...
Tell the MIlbloggers thanks. AQ "manureheads" are being turned in...plug the Soldiers' Angels. "Those gals are the HEAT."

OPSEC a hot topic.

Introductions by Matt.

Sean Doc in the Box. One of the originals. Three tours. First comms 3 or 4 years ago. This is a man who saved people's lives. Had to knock a guy in the head with a 9mm
Quotes Post: Million things flying at me at once. Love this manure. (Talks about going into combat for the first time.
Matt, Introductions

Hook, CSM. Matt Helping Hook get a morale tent and internet set up in Afghanistan.

Hook: Part of an Aviation. Crew chiefs noticed that children run to GIs. Didn't have shoes. Crew chiefs came up with idea to send shoes. Hook telling his soldiers, "hey I think I know some people who might want to send some shoes." BIG response. Operation Shoe

Back to Matt, introductions
Bill Roggio "analysis best on the internet."
Eason Jordan, CNN, set up challenge with Easongate. Ready to fight. 11 days, Jordan resigned. Bill is an embed.

Bill Ardolino. First post, State of the Union... Embedded.

Matt, "what do people bring with them?

MP3 players and IPODs.

Sean, Doc in the Box

First time, new heaters, Next time, air conditioners, same heater. Internet cafe.

Matt, report that troops are being charged for Internet in Afghanistan.

Hook, before, share a (military) connection. Now, service, can be charged per month for access to internet in the hootch.

Bill R, lots of cell, other comms, lots more available now.

Matt, back to OPSEC.

Mentions GEN Casey.

Sean: I'm in the Navy, so Army Regs, I'm not really worried about (applause).

Having somebody read over our blog posts. Mundane.

Matt: "My sandwich was awesome."

Sean: Probably a big mistake. But ID of someone dying before family notified... Other problems more like things that PAO didn't like.

Matt, mentioning Al Anbar. Hearing from SGTs, ADM Fox, we're winning in Anbar. Not what we're hearing from MSM.

Bill Ardolino: Media just behind. Other day, story in the Times, good, didn't mention Abu Ghraib. Nearly had a heart attack.

Really don't just don't have people out there. Expensive.
Bill R: Let them [al qaeda and insurgents] fight each other off. Kind of a mistake. Needed to co-opt. Clear there was an organized effort. "Awakening Movement," not just Sunni, but pan-Iraqi. Experts ignore this today. Just another militia. Just not the case, per Bill. Fascinating story, just scratching the surface. A real success story in Anbar.

Hook: Fascinating to get real stories out. Have to go to MILBLOGS. Reporters are there, interviewing us, but never saw those stories. May not affect the soldiers as much, maybe when they come home and watch. Thank God for MILBLOGS!

Bill Ardolino. Italian reporter wanting to go in, no major European dailies were willing to credential him.

Bill R: Nothing happens quite a bit in Iraq. Closest I've come to a firefight, close to me, that's about it, and I've been out a lot. Case in Baghdad. Reporter, never saw anything. No report. Another place and time, big attack. That got reported. That's why I'm not afraid of reporting, "well, nothing happened."

Bill A: Tons of human interest stories. Greatly underreported.

Hook: Would Ernie Pyle be successful today.

Matt: Because I'm a paratrooper, I know what it's like to be surrounded. At a Military reporters conference. File a story every single day, only time stories picked up, if somebody killed. LA Times, NY Times, losing their collective readership. Sea change. Blogs are once place to go.

Bill A: Went to Bill on how to work with PAO, embed. Not an easy process. Lost paperwork, wrong paperwork, sounds more like bad process and (some) lack of competence. Finally got in. Wasn't a very positive process. Not that they're trying to prevent you from embedding.
Discussion that Marines do a much better job PAO than Army.

Gateway Pundit posted the video message from President Bush.
Hook: Soldiers are reenlisting in country.

Earlier comment, morale is higher in OIF OEF than back in garrison.

Question for panel next.

Carla, Soldier's Mom: What are your personal constraints?

Doc: My people, I don't blog about it. I don't wnat to go there or say anything bad about them. I don't talk about anything that gets close to Operational.

Bill R: From non-active duty. Constraints are far less. 8 page document of "don'ts," but not very difficult. Emotional thing. Want to respect the families. Love to talk about SF, see that stuff happen around you, they don't seem to like it.

Matt: B5 has a soldier doing SF...trying to find ways to get things out...

Question about negative comments. PBS Piece. Focused on negative writing, Operation Homecoming. How do we combat that?

Matt: Have to tell the truth. Did a good job with some stories. But some comments inappropriate. How the spin goes.

Question from Chat: Will Bill Roggio embed again?

Bill R: Haven't made a decision.
Bill R: War will be won or lost in Baghdad, though Anbar, other places, important.

Question from Vietnam Vet: Is public aware of what MILBLOGGERS are saying versus media?

Matt: From chat, Can Milbloggers confront strategic propaganda?

Bill A: Milbloggers this big, MSM this big. But mentions Rather incident, can create national airing. Media isn't listening to what Milblogs are saying. Frustrating.

Hook: It is frustrating, but keep getting the word out. Get the story fo the soldiers out to the public. My dad was spit on, doesn't happen today.

Bill A: In Iraq, how soldiers are behaving. Humane, how Iraqis view Americans. Would welcome Americans into their neighborhoods to arrest somebody. In the beginning, they were mistrustful of their own ISF. Trust us more than their own, because of institutional memory of Saddam...MSM gets it backward.

Bill R: Media's not going away, we're not going to replace them. We need to build bridges. We need to understand them. Can't maintain adversarial relationship, if all we do is scream about the bad media, we will fail.

Matt: Media exposure, there are directors and producers who want to balance. Afraid of being found out, some really good people in the media.

Bill R: Media says, I'd like to use your stuff, but afraid about the blogs. We've built in a lot of mistrust. We fly off the handle.

Michael Fumento in audience: Been in Anbar, just back from Afghanistan. One embed, needed to go to GEN Petraeus to get me in. Lost that contact now, he's busy with other things. McClellan great PAO, lost to an IED. Lots of dialog, not a question just yet...

Glenn Reynolds links to the live feed, thanks Glenn!

Anne Marie Cox, “Wonkette” here. Speaking on mike. “I’m with the media, and I’m here to help.” (Big laugh)

Her uncle, Vet, likes blogs, but can't imagine having this back in his day.

Matt: When war became political, I became political.

Bill R: Milblogs pro mission, branded as "political." Doing their job. not political.

Wonkette: Isn't that political.

Bill R: No, like a Doctor treating his patient, doing their job.

Matt: Got a message from Ted Kennedy, wanted to tell us that he was being the MILBLOGGERS. Never thought I'd see that.

Doc: I'm pretty liberal myself. Don't really post on political issues.

Hook: I stay out of political issues myself. "You're George Bush's lackey..." People would be surprised if I revealed my opinions.

Bill A: When the bullets fly, political stuff goes out the window. Lose a lot of patience with the political stuff.

Matt: November 5th, same day Saddam got sentence, fought a running gun battle with over 100 AQ fighters...Not reported because of Saddam's sentence.

Q: How are MILBLOGS being captured for history?

Matt: Plug for The Blog of War.

AFSister at Mike: Boyfriend is a PAO, she takes offense! (laughter) Hook, can you tell everyone, how troops are responding at Walter Reed, how they are being treated.

Hook: To a soldier, not a negative comment, anger. Feel sad for them, then feel guilty for feeling sad after you leave. Their spirits, their feelings. Very unhappy with stories about Walter Reed. Some have been there years.

At Mike. Saw a soldier in the airport, thanked him for his service. Older lady, same up and hugged him, trying to get you home, last election, message to President. What do you say to those who sincerely think they're helping by speaking against the war? He doesn't want to come home.

Hook: "I don't want to come home until we win." (Applause.)

Lots to go at the 2007 MILBLOG Conference, live feed here.

End of Panel One. Great job, gentlemen!


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