Joseph R. Chenelly's piece, which should appear online later today, is full of interesting stuff:
Matt of Blackfive said that as of early January, some 40 soldiers had contacted him claiming they had been told by their command to stop blogging.
Several military blogs from Mosul, Iraq, vanished from the Internet soon after the Dec. 21 suicide bombing at the dining facility in Forward Operating Base Marez in Mosul. One that went offline had been run by Maj. Michael Cohen, a doctor working in the FOB’s emergency room. . . .
A few days later, Cohen posted a final entry on his blog, 67th Combat Support Hospital Docs.
“Levels above me have ordered, yes ORDERED, me to shut down this Web site. They cite that the information contained in these pages violates several Army regulations,” he wrote, adding that he disagreed with the move.
While Cohen stopped writing when told, another soldier lost rank and pay when he blogged against his commander’s wishes.
Blogger Spc. Jason Hartley "was removed from his billet as a rifle squad leader and sent to the company’s headquarters platoon for the duration of the deployment. Once back in the states, he faced an Article 15 at Fort Drum, N.Y., for violating operation security and disobeying a direct order. He was demoted to specialist and fined $1,000."
And then there's this, about Spc. Colby Buzzell:
Buzzell, of the blog My War, had a run in with the brass, as well. Initially, he blogged anonymously, using CBFTW as a pseudonym. He wrote about harrowing moments on raids, getting mortared on a regular basis and life in the first Stryker brigade. Media outlets started quoting his posts, and it didn’t take long for his command to figure out who CBFTW was. He was taken off missions for five days and told to stop blogging while an investigation was conducted.
“I was stuck in my room while the rest of the platoon was out there stopping insurgents from dropping mortars on civilians,” he said. “I realized then that blogging should never interfere with the soldier’s primary job.”
Buzzell was told he could begin posting again on the condition that he let someone in his chain of command read it first. Instead of submitting his work to review, he stopped posting his words altogether. He began only posting things that he came across on the Internet or were e-mailed to him. On Sept. 28, he posted his last entry until he was discharged from active duty in December.
This is a fascinating, important evolution in information sharing. Military blogging is one of the few areas of the blogosphere that really has the potential to live up to the hype. Chenelly's piece is an excellent survey of its potential benefits and perils. I'll post a link when it becomes available later today.