April 25, 2006
STRATEGYPAGE says that while the media are focusing on retired generals, they’re missing the real story on the troops:
But the troops also exchanged information on tactics and techniques, as well as anything else they knew that could help keep them alive in combat. This alarmed the Department of Defense, which put some restrictions on active duty bloggers. The troops did not fight back, as, once reminded, they understood that, in public forums, anyone could read what they were saying, including the enemy. So a lot of this information continued to be exchanged email and private message boards. The military got into the act by establishing official message boards, for military personnel only, where useful information could be discussed and exchanged. All this rapid information sharing has had an enormous impact on the effectiveness of the troops, something that has largely gone unnoticed by the mass media.
This hierarchy-flattening effect is something that Tom Ricks got in his novel, though his portrayal was mostly negative, but it’s not getting that much media attention in general. It’s easier to interview retired generals, I guess.
Meanwhile, here’s a report on this weekend’s Milbloggers’ conference, which explores the same theme.