The U.S. military aren't the only ones clamping down on troops who blog."The Australian Defence Force has banned soldiers from writing online journals and has deleted blogs from troops serving in Iraq," the Sunday Mail reports. "Critics say the soldiers are being denied the very freedoms they are fighting for."
The blogs were destroyed in September, hours after pictures of Australian soldiers playing with guns surfaced on the internet in the days before the inquiry into Private Jake Kovco's death in Baghdad. [He was the first Australian servicemember killed in Iraq -- ed.]...A 26-year-old Sunshine Coast soldier serving in Iraq was placed under review and his milblog "Iraqi Letters" was deleted during the ADF's move to silence servicemen online.The soldier's writing was positive of the army [The blog was an excellent advert for the ADF" one commenter said -- ed.] and at times poetic, detailing the taste of cold water on a dust-parched throat and the friendly ribbing soldiers received after the Socceroos lost to Kuwait.Minutes after "Iraqi Letters" was destroyed, Brisbane IT consultant and blogging expert Mike Fitzsimons salvaged it for safe-keeping. [Alas, it looks like it was subsequently yanked -- ed.]"I think it is a valuable piece of Australian history," he said. "Look at how today's historians revere letters from Gallipoli."...Neil James, the executive director of independent lobby group Australia Defence Association, said milblogs should be allowed provided they were risk-assessed and any potential security violations censored."(Blogging) is not going to go away and the Defence Force is going to have to face up to this," he said. "It is not something that can be ignored."Maybe if everything was going jim-dandy in Iraq, and world opinion was solidly behind the operation, then the western militaries could afford to silence the mission's most vociferous supporters. As we all know, it ain't. The entire operation is teetering on one foot. And short-sighted bureaucrats seem to be doing everything they can to shoot that foot off.(Big ups: Milblogging.com)