So, I know this is a little off-topic for this class, but I'm hopping mad about it and figured it warranted a media journal. It's sort of a class issue, if you consider that lower socioeconomic classes are often forced into the military as one of only a few realistic ways to advance to a higher social class in our society... so anyway, here's a repost from my personal blog:
So, now the US military is requiring all members of the armed services, government contractors, and even military family members to submit blog posts, e-mail, and any other posting of information in what would be considered a "public forum" to a military review before going live with it. Ignoring that stipulation carries serious consequences. That means that not only can my mom (who is an officer in the U.S. Air Force) not technically blog without submitting it for a content check first, but I can't either.
You know what? Screw you, Uncle Sam. Soldiers make up a very small portion of the population who are willing to go and fight on foreign soil because they believe in our country. You can argue that some people do it for money, and some people do it for necessity, but the truth is that anyone in the armed forces for any length of time is a die-hard patriot on some level, no matter how much they bitch about the government. I can understand being worried about leaks and whatnot, but this is ridiculous. Who's going to accidentally post classified information? Answer: no one. It's the same reason you don't go to a bar and "accidentally" start talking about classified information.
What this is really about is intimidating soldiers into silence and preventing them from expressing their viewpoints. Why? Because the picture isn't pretty. The government wants the population complacent. They don't want people to get uppity about the war. They want to keep it fairly low-profile, positive, optimistic, and happy. They want to show Joe Shmoe, happily eating burger after burger at the local McDonalds, that everything is fine and dandy overseas. "We're winning, Joe! Aren't you proud to be an American? Don't worry about the logistics... we'll take care of everything." Oh, except that our body armor sucks, our vehicles suck, we have no funding, we're digging an ever deepening hole, we're fighting a war of attrition with no objectives at this point, whose original intent has been so twisted and perverted by successful PR and spin that nobody even remembers or cares that Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11 or that we went in looking for WMDs and somehow morphed it into a benevolent peace-keeping mission.
It makes people sad and confused when they see mangled bodies coming back from an unclear mission. It makes people angry when brave young soldiers don't get adequate supplies, armor, or resources to carry out their mission in the first place. When the soldiers themselves complain that they don't see the vision, don't understand the mission, and don't think that they're accomplishing anything in an increasingly dangerous and hostile environment, thousands of miles from their homes and the families that are being destroyed by multiple forced tours, it really upsets people. So the government doesn't like to let their soldiers talk. At least not where anyone can hear them.
So yeah. Screw you, Uncle Sam. I didn't sign anything, and I'm not going to stand idly by and let you revoke my constitutional rights to free speech on a whim simply because I have a family member in the military. I can't do much if you force her to be quiet, but I can damn well voice my own opinion about it. You can't keep me quiet. I'm not having my writing approved. I'm going to bitch about this as much as I want, and if you want to coerce me, lets go have a chat with the Supreme Court about the constitutionality of that.
I'm sick of seeing our soldiers silenced, abused, demonized, confused, weary, and wounded. I understand that soldiers might not always understand or like the mission and have to do it anyway, but don't force them to be silent about it under pretenses of security. If this is how we treat our bravest, strongest, most capable warriors, who is going to want that job? "Shut up and do your job" doesn't fly these days. We have a responsibility to the men and women who agree to give their lives protecting our country. We need to hear their voices, so we can help them accomplish their mission. We shouldn't be blinded and deafened to their opinions, whether positive or negative.
So anyway, sorry to sort of hijack the class blog, but I think it's important to get the word out about this.