Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Iraq veteran wins blog prize

The Guardian reports in 'Iraq veteran wins blog prize as US military cuts web access' how Colby Buzzell was awarded the £5,000 Lulu Blooker prize for My War: Killing Time in Iraq, which was voted the best book of the year based on a blog:

The memoir was drawn from a blog he kept while in Mosul, in northern Iraq, in 2004, in which he portrayed the texture of daily life there, from listening to Metallica on his iPod to watching his fellow "grunts" surf the web for pornography.

The paradox of Buzzell's victory is that it quickly follows the revelation that the Pentagon has introduced new rules restricting blogs among soldiers, fuelling speculation that live and unadorned combat writing from the field such as Buzzell's may be the last of its kind.

The new rules require all would-be "milbloggers", as soldier-publishers are called, to submit blog entries to supervising officers before posting them. That turns on its head the existing rules which allowed soldiers to post freely, with the onus on them to register their blogs and to alert officers to any material that might compromise security.

What is significant here is that the US Pentagon is now restricting soldier bloggers in what they write, as well as restricting Army computers from accessing such sites as MySpace and YouTube - but they seem fine to let them carry on surfing 'the web for pornography' - good influences for war??

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