Here in America, we take a lot of freedoms for granted. Sure, it's fun to get on the internet and talk freely, expressing our opinion about everything under the sun—whether the political issue of the day, or just popular music and culture. But we have to remember that those freedoms come with a price. Our brave troops overseas are putting their lives on the line in the War on Terror so that we can sit around chatting and making jokes. That said, the US Military understands the value of the internet—and blogs—as a communications medium. So when the US Special Operations Command comes out with a study [WIRED] that expresses interest in starting military blogs, co-opting existing bloggers, and hacking the sites of enemy bloggers whose message could be detrimental to US interests, should we really be so quick to dismiss it?
WlRED has the 2006 report, in which consultants suggest "clandestinely recruiting or hiring prominent bloggers or other persons of prominence... to pass the U.S. message," as well as putting in the effort to build blogs from the ground up. What about when an unfriendly bloggers appears on the scene?
Hacking the site and subtly changing the messages and data—merely a few words or phrases—may be sufficient to begin destroying the blogger's credibility with the audience.
While blogger types who typically rail against imagined "injustices" might oppose such actions, it should be understood that the military has one single underlying goal: the safety of American citizens. That includes you, me, and even "liberal" bloggers who insult our government even as it's trying to guarantee them the right to do so by stopping threats where they start—in Iraq.
It's easy to spew out a knee-jerk reaction with phrases like "COINTELPRO," "Government lies," or "The Bill of Rights." But do you know how all these ideas came about? Through intellectual warfare, much like the one the government is seeking to wage in the blogosphere, for the collective benefit of us all.
So before you go off and criticize this new covert military blogger strategy, ask yourself: Isn't it better than getting shot, or blown up with a bomb? Then, consider whether you are between the ages of 17-45, and call us now: 1-800-USA-ARMY, or visit GoArmy.com. It may be the best decision you ever made.