I am the child of a Vietnam veteran who served honorably in the United States Navy – and the son of two parents that now are completely opposed to the war in Iraq, no matter the arguments we might have.
It’s fascinating to look back at the time of Vietnam and examine the web of information – both true and false – woven by the media, the military, the politicians, the enemy, and the protestors who wanted that war to end – at nearly any cost.
Today, we see somewhat of a different battle – a battle of propaganda between multiple sides – the US Government, the people of the Middle East, al-Qaeda, the media, the “loyal” opposition democrats, and the protestors that want this war to end. But this time, blogs are playing a far more critical role than before…
What most people see coming out of Iraq and Afghanistan are the stories in the mainstream media – stories of failure, of corruption, and of death and destruction.. but there’s far more to that story – both good and bad.
StrategyPage, a leading news and commentary site on military strategy, reports on the role of the internet in the fight against al-Qaeda in Iraq:
In 2004, a few bloggers were able to start the chain of events that led to Dan Rather’s retirement from CBS. In 2006, bloggers are now an acknowledged player on the media battlefield. These efforts were dismissed by al Qaeda, and as a result, while al Qaeda hit its target, the effect was grossly minimized due to the fact that the “silent majority” now had tools by which they could be heard. The media created a false picture after the 1968 Tet Offensive, but was unable to do the same in Iraq.
As an avowed conversative politically, I believe that most mainstream media stories are slanted and biased in a way that betrays a leftist agenda. But that’s me. Blogs help provide a balanced view and I enjoy reading between the lines of both in order to reach a different truth than most.
Not to mention that blogs are more real – they are stories told in the first person in many cases, rather than being filtered through a reporter who has no stake in the story.
Beyond the news blogs, a whole generation of military bloggers, or “milbloggers” has been quietly documenting their lives and experiences in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere. Their campaign began with this post at the Mudville Gazette. Their work in blogs is in the best traditions of their service – and their efforts help to tell the real story of the new Middle East.