May 16, 2007

No YouTube for Troops

The BBC Reports:
US soldiers will still be able to e-mail home, and army bloggers should still be able to post, but the web may become a quieter place after this week's Pentagon clampdown. Thirteen sites have been declared off-limits on Department of Defense computer systems, ranging from MySpace to MTV.

The official reason given is that too much military bandwidth is being hogged to share photos, video clips and messages. Ironically, the US military itself has just launched its own channel on YouTube, uploading clips of fire fights and troops helping civilians in Iraq.

Colby Buzzell, author of blog-based war memoirs My War: Killing Time In Iraq, believes internet networking sites provide a vital breathing-space for troops in Iraq, and that the clampdown is a disaster.

"I think it's going to totally destroy their morale - you have soldiers out there for their second, third, even fourth time," he told the BBC News website.

"A lot of them have lost fellow soldiers. One of the few luxuries you have over there is the internet cafes - it gives you a sense of normalcy to go on websites and follow the news, be in touch with family and friends."
I... I'm speechless. I understand security issues, not posting classified stuff to Blogs, HelmetCams etc. But to take away the simplest and most widely-used methods of communication to the home front AND the simplest de-stressor in the modern age?

Previous commenter had it right. If some network geek at my corporate office can track what I'm doing on my work PC (posting to a blog) on a DSL through a VPN Connection, I should think the freakin' PENTAGON could handle it, when they OWN THE WHOLE COMM Infrastructure over there. And if they can't get Haliburton/Blackwater to increase their bandwidth, what the hell good are they?

If a bunch of soldiers want to veg out after a rough patrol and watch some fratboys play pranks on YouTube, LET THEM. If I think I've had a hard day at work, THEY have had it worse, and they need to laugh or take their minds off their jobs far more than I do.

What next, take away their PlayStations because some incompetent lawyer says that playing video games could make them violent?

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