Type "dildo" into Wikipedia's search bar and what do you get? If you happen to be on a U.S. Air Force computer, a warning that the link you were about to view has been blocked. No big deal, right? At stateside bases, the Air Force justifies blocking Web pages as a productivity move. Similarly, crossword puzzles, Flash videogame sites, YouTube, and even eBay are now off-limits. Understandably. But blogs — some of the Web's most diverse sources for news and commentary, which we might translate into actionable intelligence? With each passing week, fewer and fewer remain available.
This becomes more ludicrous overseas. While Army and Navy personnel enjoy comparatively unfiltered Internet access, the Air Force implements a laughable system that censors most websites not listed in its permitted database. If productivity is the issue, then how does the USAF explain this policy on computers used outside working hours, and located in recreation centers?
But my real complaint? It's not that this is yet another morale-crushing policy by the world's greatest Chair Force. It's that the ban may actually hurt our ability to fight. Foreign-language skills are vitally needed. Some of the best instructional clips are on YouTube. But Air Force personnel can't view them.
This post was guest-written by a senior airman in the United States Air Force. It likely won't be read by his colleagues.
(Photo by AP/David Zalubowski)