Friday, November 30, 2007

IN PRAISE OF MILITARY BLOGGERS

I've been following milblogs since I chanced upon Colby Buzell's blog in 2004. At that time it was called, MY WAR: Fear and Loathing in Iraq. Buzell had never written anything substantial prior to this. A friend let him in on the fact that you could write about what you were experiencing on the internet anonamously. He decided to check it out as a means to keep his sanity during very trying times and to his astonishment found that a stream of conciousness literary style of writing flowed through his fingers and onto the web, the result of which caused a number of significant reactions.

The first of these was that the Pentagon had been made aware of his writings and, rumor had it, Rummie himself was reading the blog. This led to much hand wringing at the pentagon and the Joint Chiefs of the Military with regard to just what the fuck this had to do with the war effort. The immediate effect was that Buzell's blog was shut down. (Unfortunately for him anonimity was a loose term if your writing was too explicit.) But the noteriety led to a book deal and the publishising of: MY WAR: Killing time in Iraq, for which he was awarded was awarded the £5000 Lulu Blooker prize, among other things.

Buzzell's book was reviewied by one of his literary heroes, Kurt Vonnegut:

"My War by Colby Buzzell is nothing less than the soul of an extremely interesting human being at war on our behalf in Iraq."- Kurt Vonnegut"

Black Flag's lead singer wrote of the book and blog:

"I remember reading Colby's journal entries on the internet when he was filing them from Iraq. I was amazed at how heavy the material was but what really knocked me out was how sharp and vividly intense his writing was. My War is the real deal reportage from the ground. There's no way any reporter could have brought this back. If you care about our brave soldiers in the fray and want to get an insight into what it's really like out there, My War is essential reading.” - Henry Rollins"

I've got the book. If you're into military history it's a must read. It is an important book, not just because it covered Buzell's experiences during the Iraq war circa 2004 but because it inspired so many other American Soldiers to start bloggin about their experiences in Iraq AS THEY WERE HAPPENING!!!!!

Try and imagine what an outlet for the stress of Soldiers in WWII or Vietnam if they could have written about their experiences just after they occurred! Military bloggers of today, writing form the front lines, is of historical signficance.

I follow many of these amazing young Soldiers daily. What I find so compelling about he writing is the quality of their dispatches. The talent of these young men and women often includes poetry, videography, photography and much, much more.

The muzzelled thinking of the bureaucrats at the Pentagon and senior army general staff after years of dithering have finally realized that Milblogs for the most part are a good thing. Never before in the history of warfare have the the thoughts and feelings of those caught up in the action been able to be disseminated to so many so soon after the events.

Although the Surge in Iraq is now seen to be by and large a success, the situation is still dangerous. One blogger who I have followed from his days in boot camp at Fort Lewis, Washington has just lost comrades in arms, one of whom was a close personal friend. You can follow his progress from boot camp to war zone by clicking on the link: THE UNLIKLEY SOLDIER listed near the bottom of the links on the right side of this page. Very talented. Very, very funny. Touchingly poignant.

2 comments:

my own hero said...

I think it's great that members of the military can do this. For one, it's a release, secondly it a way for civilian to see past the main stream media crap. I wonder how many people have commented about suspects blog in their own....funny

BrianFH said...

The Unlikely Soldier has moved. Here's the new link:
http://theunlikelysoldier.blogspot.com/

Great stuff.