16 December 2009

Lifted Whole Cloth from Blackfive - cut and paste

FOR TODAY, Wednesday 16 December 2009, many if not most, fellow milblogs -- including This Ain't Hell, From My Position, Miss Ladybug, Boston Maggie, Grim's Hall, and those participating in the Wednesday Hero program -- are going silent for the day. Some are choosing to go silent for a longer period of time.

The reason for this is two-fold. First, milblogs are facing an increasingly hostile environment from within the military. While senior leadership has embraced blogging and social media, many field grade officers and senior NCOs do not embrace the concept. From general apathy in not wanting to deal with the issue to outright hostility to it, many commands are not only failing to support such activities, but are aggressively acting against active duty milbloggers, milspouses, and others. The number of such incidents appears to be growing, with milbloggers receiving reprimands, verbal and written, not only for their activities but those of spouses and supporters.


The catalyst has been the treatment of milblogger C.J. Grisham of A Soldier's Perspective (http://www.soldiersperspective.us/). C.J. has earned accolades and respect, from the White House on down for his honest, and sometimes blunt, discussion of issues -- particularly PTSD. In the last few months, C.J. has seen an issue with a local school taken to his command who failed to back him, and has even seen his effort to deal with PTSD, and lead his men in same by example, used against him as a part of this. Ultimately, C.J. has had to sell his blog to help raise funds for his defense in this matter.

An excellent story on the situation with C.J. can be found at Military Times:
While there have been new developments, the core problem remains, and C.J. is having to raise funds to cover legal expenses to protect both his good name and his career.

One need only look at the number of blogs by active duty military in combat zones and compare it to just a few years ago to see the chilling effect that is taking place.

Milblogs have been a vital link in getting accurate news and information about the military, and military operations, to the public. They have provided vital context and analysis on issues critical to operations and to the informed electorate critical to the Republic.

On Wednesday 16 December, readers will have the chance to imagine a world without milblogs, and to do something about it. Those participating are urging their readers to contact their elected representatives in Congress, and to let their opinions be known to them and to other leaders in Washington.

Some milblogs will remain silent for several days; some just for the day. All have agreed to keep the post about the silence and C.J. at the top of their blogs until Friday 18 December.
The issues go beyond C.J., and deserve careful consideration and discussion. We hope that you will cover this event, and explore the issues that lie at the heart of the matter. Contact the milbloggers in your area or that you know, and hear the story that lies within.

A Partial List of Participating Blogs:

Drunken Wisdom http://beerbrains.com/
CDR Salamander - http://cdrsalamander.blogspot.com
LL - http://chromedcurses.com

If you wish to donate to CJ's defense fund, please use the following address, or click the link below. He's in a serious battle against a serious foe. Read the article to find out all about it.

Grisham Legal Fund
c/o Redstone Federal Credit Union
220 Wynn Drive
Huntsville, AL 35893

Please write "Grisham Legal Fund" in the memo line if you use this option.

Milblogs have been a vital link in getting accurate news and information about the military, and military operations, to you. Today, many milblogs are gone and others are under attack from within and without. Today, you have the chance to imagine a world without milblogs, and to do something about it. Make your voice heard by writing your congressional representatives and others, and by making donations as you see fit.

The battle for freedom of speech and the marketplace of ideas is fought on many fronts and in many ways. Without your help, the battle may well be lost.


Now back to my opinion -- I doubt that milblogging will ever have the permissive environment that senior leadership believes it should. Most O5s and O6s tend to view their commands as their personal fiefs in which everything must be controlled by them, personally. It's the biggest problem with the United States Army today. Part of it is the 'no-fail' mentality of the OER process, part of it is that up to LTC, pretty much all promotions are automatic. Making major is absolutely guaranteed if you are not convicted at court-martial. COL and BG are the hardest promotions to get. So faced with actually having to compete for the next rank, these officers don't know how to deal with it and sort out what is or isn't important.

I've been accused of "OPSEC violations" for publishing less information than you can find in the picture captions of your average media story, including Army Times and Stars and Stripes picture captions. Slavish devotion to the unit or chain of command would be approved, but admitting anything less than perfect approval thereof is going to be punished as best those LTCs can manage. It might make them "look bad".

No, I got burnt pretty badly and will not make that mistake again.


Blogger Aunt Amelia's Attic said...

We must not lose you, and those like you.

7:16 PM  
Blogger cmad said...

Your blog reminds me that

"Military men are just dumb stupid animals to be used as pawns in foreign policy.

* Henry Kissinger, as quoted in Kiss the Boys Goodbye: How the United States Betrayed Its Own POW’s in Vietnam (1990) by Monika Jensen-Stevenson and William Stevenson, unidentified chapter/page

is wrong.

But I'm not sure if your brass (or the civilians in charge of armed forces) don't want to pretend you are.

I am fairly sure that your big mouth will get in the way of your career - again.


8:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ROTC is the same. Officially Cadet Cmd pushes facebook and others even creating their own network. But the local commanders warn kids off of it etc.

They seem to operate out of fear and see only phantoms rather than cohesion. Facebook is the new neighborhood except you stay connected where ever you are. You no longer need geographic proximity.


6:09 AM  

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