Do you wonder where all the blogs went that were being written by the soldiers on the frontlines? I do, I’ve been tracking these blogs for close to a decade now and for information on what is happening on the front lines you are pretty much now resigned to the major media outlets or the Department of Defense official reports, and the few blogs that are out there are primarily being written by civilians or contractors.
We've been pretty vocal about this issue for a long time.
Most active duty bloggers have been silenced by policy or direct order (possibly after punishment). Back in 2006, I wrote this in the epilogue of "The Blog of War" (Simon & Schuster 2006):
...hundreds of thousands of soldiers posting stories on blogs and web sites and emailing photos to family and friends. In response, the Army has created an amendment to it’s Operational Security Regulation (Policy) that includes blogging and restricts certain content for security reasons.
The effect of the guidance has been to restrict the majority of military blogs and put an end to some blogs altogether. Many have gone “dark” – letting their blog registrations expire and their content disappear - bits and bytes no more – rather than face censorship. Others have followed the new OPSEC rules and continue to blog but no longer post photos or stories about their experiences. And still others ignore the new rules, hoping to fly under the radar and not be noticed by those searching for violators...
And then the Army stood up a intel unit who's job was to monitor the blogs. Of course, the number one violators of opsec was usually photos and pressers from http://www.defense.gov and http://www.army.mil .
In 2007, I said to FoxNews:
"The regulation was either poorly written or intended to crack down on bloggers..."