I read military blogs because I want to know first hand what is going on in the Middle East. I want to feel that I am a part of the war effort and not so detached, as other Americans seem to be. I feel like our country is at war and that men and women are sacrificing their lives for an important cause and keeping us safe. I think that if more people showed their support for our military, things would be much better for our soldiers. By reading personal accounts of the war, I feel like I know some of the soldiers and their real problems. By being a Soldier’s Angel, I feel like I am doing something to help and support our military. I feel like I do very little, but at least I do something. This is an important time in American history. People need to realize how important our military is and how important the job they are doing is to our everyday life. People need to understand this is a war. I want my Marine cousin, Jim, to understand how important blogs can be to the American people. They are a voice of truth and reality.
Although I have talked to Jim about blogging twice now (once before his first deployment and now before his second deployment) he is not interested for two reasons. First, he does not like the idea of hate-mongers being able to comment on his thoughts – not so much for himself, but he does not want his family and friends to have to see those kind of comments. Second, he said that he had been told that lots of military guys had gotten in trouble over blogs, "shooting their mouths off and such". I could have argued with Jim on both of these points as could all of you bloggers out there, but I chose to not be pushy (really difficult for me). If Jim does not want to blog, he does not have to. Jim knows that his emails home will be passed around by all of his friends and family and find their way into lots of stranger’s homes. He has given me permission to blog his mass emails and take any heat that comes my way. Still, I want to show him some great blogs.
Yesterday while reading some of my favorite military blogs, I ran across this on TF Boggs site. Tim said, "I believe that milbloggers in theater have a unique opportunity to share real time updates and give readers an on the ground insight into the fight. I liken milblogs to the letters soldiers have written in past wars and believe they will have an historical significance in the future for anyone wanting to learn about the war in Iraq and Afghanistan. I would and do encourage soldiers with half a brain to write about their time here in country and value what they have to say more than most of what the media does."
I thought that Tim said that pretty well, and I copied it thinking to send it to Jim. Then I went over to American Citizen Soldier. I read through Buck Sargents’s latest post. It was really great – very informative, very interesting. But as I read, I thought hmm, maybe it is not such a good idea to send Jim to this blogsite. Jim might consider Buck S as one of those "guys shooting his mouth off." I was worried that I could possibly get Buck S in trouble. Personally, I think that Buck S is a warrior and a patriot. He wants to win the war. Right now, he is feeling the frustration of politics and bureaucracy. He is like a dog on a leash that wants to be let loose. His latest post was a bit critical, yet I know he just wants to do his job and do it well. As I read his post, I could not help but think that some "higher ups" might not see Buck S as so patriotic, but who am I to question military rules and regs. Then I read through the comments and found that someone else had the same thoughts that I had had. Someone called Jarhead had questioned Buck S’ wisdom in being so critical in a public way. At that point, things got ugly. Everyone turned on Jarhead for his comments including Buck S and TF Boggs. I thought it was quite uncalled for and inappropriate, but who am I to say? I am a middle-aged grandma with no military background at all, yet I had been worried about Buck S getting in trouble, as did Jarhead.
The whole thing gave me kind of a sick feeling. It reminded me of being attacked on a Christian chat site years ago because my beliefs were different. I wanted to stand up for Jarhead, but I did not want to be attacked as he was (been there – done that). I have made friends with some of the same bloggers that read American Citizen Soldier, and they might turn on me too. But I want to support Jarhead. Am I wrong here? Was Buck’s response appropriate? Was Jarhead wrong to question Buck S? Is this just some sort of Army/Marine macho argument?
None of this made me want to show my cousin any blogs. None of this would encourage him to blog his thoughts. Maybe my cousin is right.