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I've noted many times in the past that it is most fascinating to me that a fascist organization such as the U.S. military protects the greatest land of freedom on earth. Now, bear in mind the definition of fascist when I say this. Webster defines it as: a tendency toward or actual exercise of strong autocratic or dictatorial control. Note that this is the second, non-capitalized version of the word. I am not attempting to put the military down, of course, just being factual about how it operates. On some levels, that degree of control is necessary in order for the military to do its mission. For example, we can't stop in the battlefield to have vote and find out how everyone feels about the objective; personnel do as they are told most often.

However, this article describes something almost mind-boggling. Army personnel may be banned by their commands from blogging. I was pretty stunned. No ability to express yourself? No means to exercise your free speech via the internet? You have simply GOT to be kidding me.

The founding fathers thought enough of your ability to speak freely that it was the first amendment...your first right guaranteed by the Constitution. It was intended, in part, to be sure that all Americans can speak out against their government and express their rage at what they perceive to be injustice and wrong. The Constitution does not say "unless you are in the Army".

Socially, we accept some forms to limitations on this (No screaming "Fire!" in a crowded theater, for example). This is because you can only push your own rights so far before you infringe upon the rights of others. As a general rule, however, one's ability to speak freely should be as expansive as possible.

See, there are already laws and regulations about not spreading military secrets that should provide proper incentive to not reveal military secrets, whether intentional or not. Outlawing the medium itself if ludicrous. Why not outlaw telephones? You're just a likely to spit out secrets on a phone or at the local mall as you are on the web. Why not monitor all their communication via e-mail, too? Why not snail mail? This is an illogical step that will ultimately serve little or no purpose. Many military members will likely continue to blog regardless of the rules, I suspect. All this is likely to do it make already tired military members angry. There were already procedures in place to allow the military member to blog, but be "audited" occasionally. What was wrong with this process? Why the heavy-handed approach?

At a time when the military is having a tough time recruiting, another freedom enjoyed by the protected citizen is stripped from the protector. It's just a shame. Ok, I'm done.....

Posted on Wednesday, May 2, 2007 2:15 PM | Back to top

Comments on this post: The U.S. Army vs. Free Speech

# re: The U.S. Army vs. Free Speech
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Theo, the military man (or woman) is under the Unified Code of Military Justice. Entering the military effectively puts the soldier under the UCMJ. They agree to give up certain rights, including an unlimited First Amendment. Not in the military, just my understanding.

Although, a soldier could give away info in a phone call, that particular call would have to be monitored. Much easier to mine information from a website that is subject to search engines. Just my $0.02.
Left by Dale on May 02, 2007 2:55 PM

# re: The U.S. Army vs. Free Speech
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In a way, it makes sense to me.

Soldiers enlist in the Army to Protect and Fight for our Country. Not to write Blog Posts about "their feelings and thoughts on world matter".
That can be left to the real bloggers :0)
Left by Shiva on May 03, 2007 12:46 AM

# re: The U.S. Army vs. Free Speech
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It's based on the same idea that a military member cannot support a presidential candidate. If they do it as just a civilian then it's fine. They're not saying they can't blog, they're saying they can't blog as a military person. If they do it as a private civilian & leave the military out of it then it's fine.
Left by Bob on May 03, 2007 9:22 AM

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