On Wednesday 16 December 2009, many milblogs — including Bouhammer, This Ain’t Hell,Â From My Position, Blackfive, Miss Ladybug, Boston Maggie, Grim’s Hall, and Â those participating in the Wednesday Hero program — are going silent for Â the day. Â Some are choosing to go silent for a longer period of time.
The reason for this is two-fold. Â First, milblogs are facing an increasingly Â hostile environment from within the military. Â While senior leadership has Â embraced blogging and social media, many field grade officers and senior Â NCOs do not embrace the concept. Â From general apathy in not wanting to deal Â with the issue to outright hositility to it, many commands are not only Â failing to support such activities, but are aggressively acting against Â active duty milbloggers, milspouses, and others. Â The number of such Â incidents appears to be growing, with milbloggers receiving reprimands, Â verbal and written, not only for their activities but those of spouses andÂ supporters.
The catalyst has been the treatment of milblogger C.J. Grisham of A Â Soldier’s Perspective (http://www.soldiersperspective.us/). Â C.J. has earned Â accolades and respect, from the White House on down for his honest, and Â sometimes blunt, discussion of issues — particularly PTSD. Â In the last few Â months, C.J. has seen an issue with a local school taken to his command who Â failed to back him, and has even seen his effort to deal with PTSD, and lead Â his men in same by example, used against him as a part of this. Â Ultimately, Â C.J. has had to sell his blog to help raise funds for his defense in thisÂ matter.
An excellent story on the situation with C.J. can be found here at Bouhammer: Â Decorated soldierâ€™s blog attracts loyal following, but he says his bosses are muzzling him
While there have been new developments, the core problem remains, and C.J. Â is having to raise funds to cover legal expenses to protect both his good Â name and his career.
One need only look at the number of blogs by active duty military in combat Â zones and compare it to just a few years ago to see the chilling effect that Â is taking place.
Milblogs have been a vital link in getting accurate news and information Â about the military, and military operations, to the public. Â They have Â provided vital context and analysis on issues critical to operations and to Â the informed electorate critical to the Republic.
On Wednesday 16 December, readers will have the chance to imagine a world Â without milblogs, and to do something about it. Â Those participating are Â urging their readers to contact their elected representatives in Congress, Â and to let their opinions be known to them and to other leaders in Â Washington.
Some milblogs will remain silent for several days; some just for the day. Â All have agreed to keep the post about the silence and C.J. at the top of Â their blogs until Friday 18 December.
The issues go beyond C.J., and deserve careful consideration and Â discussion. Â We hope that you will cover this event, and explore the issues Â that lie at the heart of the matter. Â Contact the milbloggers in your area Â or that you know, and hear the story that lies within.
A Partial List of Participating Blogs:
Bouhammer’s Afghan & Military Blog http://bouhammer.com
This Ain’t HellÂ http://thisainthell.us/blog/
Boston Maggie Â http://bostonmaggie.blogspot.com/
Blackfive Â http://www.blackfive.net/main/
Miss Ladybug Â http://miss-ladybug.blogspot.com
Drunken Wisdom Â http://beerbrains.com/
Grim’s Hall Â http://grimbeorn.blogspot.com/
Frommyposition Â http://frommyposition.com/
CDR Salamander -Â http://cdrsalamander.blogspot.com
Grisham Legal Fund
c/o Redstone Federal Credit Union
220 Wynn Drive
Huntsville, AL 35893
Please write “Grisham Legal Fund” in the memo line if you use this option.
Milblogs have been a vital link in getting accurate news and information Â about the military, and military operations, to you. Â Today, many milblogs Â are gone and others are under attack from within and without. Â Today, you Â have the chance to imagine a world without milblogs, and to do something Â about it. Â Make your voice heard by writing your congressional Â representatives and others, and by making donations as you see fit.
The battle for freedom of speech and the marketplace of ideas is fought on Â many fronts and in many ways. Â Without your help, the battle may well be Â lost.