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laura
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PostPosted: Mon May 14, 2007 3:22 pm    Post subject: ! Reply with quote

. This article made me squirm a little Make sure to read the end.
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David Cornelius
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PostPosted: Mon May 14, 2007 3:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

CNN has a slightly longer article on the subject (here), naming the banned sites:

Quote:
The sites covered by the ban are the video-sharing sites YouTube, Metacafe, IFilm, StupidVideos and FileCabi; social networking sites MySpace, BlackPlanet and Hi5; music sites Pandora, MTV, 1.fm and live365, and the photo-sharing site Photobucket.
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TheAngryJew
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PostPosted: Mon May 14, 2007 4:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

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The Pentagon only recently started posting its own videos on YouTube, showing soldiers in action in Iraq in a move designed to reach out to a younger audience and to show the successes of the US military.


Wow.

Just ... wow.
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laura
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PostPosted: Mon May 14, 2007 6:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, I just blogged about it haha. That's the most revealing part of the BBC article.
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Alex Paquin
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PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2007 3:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't exactly see what is the news in this. The military has always tried to censor information from the troops to the general population, and vice versa.

This being said, there are cases where national security might be at stake, but the argument has always been distorted/enlarged to suppress dissent. The former goal is laudable; the latter, not so much.

I am reminded of a CIA directive that states that every current or former agency person must have every bit of espionage-related writing they do vetted by the agency before being submitted for publication. The CIA specifically states that it edits strictly for security-sensitive information and not to excise criticism of the agency. I think there is enough evidence of works by disgruntled staffers to know that not all is well within the CIA (check, for example, Baer's "See No Evil" -- he's even left blacked-out spaces in his manuscript to show how much the CIA removed from it; not much, it turns out), and the fact that such books exist provides ample proof that the CIA isn't suppressing criticism of the agency. (Sure, at one point they have to draw the line in what they consider to be in the interest of "national security", but everyone has to make a decision eventually.)

We have a few elements that need discussing here:

First, the bandwidth limitations the army invokes for blocking access to YouTube and the like. The BBC article mentions that the decision does not extend to personal computers, but whose network are those using to connect to the Internet? CNN mentions "internet cafés" but I suspect the only reliable/secure network available is the army's, but the important question is, have soldiers with personal computers or going to Internet cafés received explicit orders not to access such sites?

As far as I can see, no such orders have been given, and the ban does not prevent access to e-mail and the like, so bandwidth might be a legitimate reason. I have no doubt, however, that security reasons played an additional role in the decision. But we can't really be hollering censorship here, and if the Strategic Command spokesman had been smart he would have kept his mouth shut about security reasons.

In fact, the army ban just reinforces an impression I have, which is that soldiers are excessively pampered. Okay, okay, I understand it'a all for morale, and I am sure the army must have a baker's dozen of psychology experts on payroll to design such plans, but the soldier ought also to be prepared for privation -- you know, when you're surrounded, when the enemy cuts off your power supply, when the video game console is not among the essentials you have to take along in that emergency move in the middle of the night. An army marches on its stomach, true, but it can't be expected to have the same privileges as the people at home. In the end, it makes for very poor troops with a sense of entitlement.

What would such people do in an extended or very extended siege?

Gimmegimmegimmegimmegimme my PS3, Sir!
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f*r*o*s*t*y
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PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2007 3:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

TheAngryJew wrote:
Code:
The Pentagon only recently started posting its own videos on YouTube, showing soldiers in action in Iraq in a move designed to reach out to a younger audience and to show the successes of the US military.


Wow.

Just ... wow.


Hmm. Why did that get a comment and a "Wow." but not this?

"The BBC's Laura Smith-Spark in Washington says the channel is also a belated attempt to counter the influence of Islamist extremist groups, that have used the internet to post footage of hostages or attacks on US forces."

I don't care either way, because it's clear that our dear, sweet President thinks fuck all of anyone's opinion about getting out of Iraq. My energy on that ship has sailed. I was just wondering why you thought one was more worthy than comment than the other.

Anyway. Um, back to the You Tube, Photobucket, etc. thing. They block a lot of those sites at Billy's work here at home, too. For all of the reasons they say. They're not just picking on the guys overseas. If there's a "military portal" where they have computer access, they usually have phones, and they'll definitely have access to their email with large enough bandwidth that they can send photos and video clips. If they were able to set up videos on You Tube, then they obviously had some sort of web cam setting, right? They can still access Hotmail and Gmail from the public computers as well, those offer a lot of space to email things if the receiving end doesn't have an email account that can handle those sorts of files.

It's just funny to read. "ZOMG. They took away their You Tube!!" Yeah, and fifteen years ago they didn't even have email to rely on. It's not like the dudes are in there every single hour, sipping a Mt. Dew, munching on some Cheez Doodles, and refreshing My Space waiting for their wife to post the latest video of Jr.'s Dance Recital, anyway. They've got hot and sweaty hard ass work to do that they shouldn't even be over there doing.
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laura
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PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2007 6:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Alex Paquin wrote:
I don't exactly see what is the news in this. The military has always tried to censor information from the troops to the general population, and vice versa.


Considering that YouTube is now one of the leading sources of people's news and information, I don't see how they wouldn't want to suppress dissent there. Some of the top viewed videos have been about 911 conspiracy theories and the like and up until now, the government has not played any type of censorship role regarding YouTube. But just like Hilary Clinton has to have a Myspace and the Pentagon has to have a YouTube channel, it's news, because it's the government using new media in new ways.
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PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2007 1:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh, and Paquin... to respond to your other points.

It very well may be a bandwidth concern. But when I lived in the dorms at the University of Texas, I got free internet and free roam of the Internet (I still get it whenever I'm on campus). Why shouldn't a solider? Myspace is not any more necessary for a college student than it is for a soldier.

And I'm only gonna get shot and killed if some person goes crazy on campus. I'm not putting my life at risk on a daily basis.

My army friend said he'd have to wait in line to use a computer and then usually there was a short time limit on how long he could use it. Myspace is one of the best ways he keeps in touch with people; just as it is for me (along with Facebook) and all those other sites that are super popular. Obviously the Military's not going to prevent them from E-MAILING, there'd be an outcry I'm guessing.

And why are you comparing CIA operatives to people in the army?
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f*r*o*s*t*y
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PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2007 4:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Alex Paquin wrote:

In fact, the army ban just reinforces an impression I have, which is that soldiers are excessively pampered. Okay, okay, I understand it'a all for morale, and I am sure the army must have a baker's dozen of psychology experts on payroll to design such plans, but the soldier ought also to be prepared for privation -- you know, when you're surrounded, when the enemy cuts off your power supply, when the video game console is not among the essentials you have to take along in that emergency move in the middle of the night. An army marches on its stomach, true, but it can't be expected to have the same privileges as the people at home. In the end, it makes for very poor troops with a sense of entitlement.


I'm not sure why you think they would have a "sense of entitlement" just because they're allowed to have something. I don't know what vision you have in your head, but most of the time they're not just sitting there hanging out on their off duty with a PS3 controller in one hand and a cool drink in the other, while the A/C is blasting at full on the entire room. That's what they do back home.

I take it you've never seen a request for supplies for the troops in Iraq. When people ask for baby wipes because they can't get to a shower daily, my first guess isn't that they're being exclusively catered to. If any of the soldiers are "pampered" when they're in a war situation, now, it's probably because the government got tired of hearing about those silly situations like post traumatic stress syndrome. You know the one. Guy participates in war, sees something terrible, comes home, drinks, can't keep job and/or beats his wife, etc., etc. (It's a cliche for a reason, folks.) That kind of dumb stuff!

The last time my husband was in the desert, he stayed in a tent, during the summer. Temperatures reached over a hundred in the shade. There was no air conditioning in his room, just fans. They weren't given televisions because there was no cable or, wait for it... game consoles. (His roomate bought a tv at the BX, which he had to walk to, and then had someone give him a ride back. Someone did bring a game console, though, naturally.) Besides, they don't get much time to hang out. Since the military knows they're away from their friends and family, they kind of keep them pre-occupied with, guess what? Work. B worked 6 days a week, sometimes 7 if they had extra stuff to do.

In reality, most of the kids in the military wouldn't even be able to afford a PS3 unless they're throwing it on a credit card, anyway.

Quote:

What would such people do in an extended or very extended siege?


Those are oranges and... kumquats.
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David Cornelius
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PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2007 5:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ya know, Frosty, your hubby could always quit the Army and sign up with some contractor like Halliburton. Then it's air conditioned city, baby!

Good lordy, things are fucked up.
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f*r*o*s*t*y
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PostPosted: Wed May 16, 2007 2:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

David Cornelius wrote:
Ya know, Frosty, your hubby could always quit the Army and sign up with some contractor like Halliburton. Then it's air conditioned city, baby!

Good lordy, things are fucked up.


He's not in the Army, he's in the Air Force. He would CUT you for making that mistake. Okay, he wouldn't cut you, just beat you with a hockey stick or something. Very Happy

I wish he worked in a more predictable environment, less hours, better pay, but he tells me there's not any other place he can work on those really neat jets. Cursesss. *shakes fist at the sky*
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David Cornelius
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PostPosted: Wed May 16, 2007 4:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, Frosty, I was obviously referring to the Air Force's days as the Army Air Corps. Surprised you couldn't see through my historical rhetoric. I mean, duh.

(In other words, whoops for me. Sorry.)
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Alex Paquin
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PostPosted: Thu May 17, 2007 3:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

f*r*o*s*t*y wrote:
He's not in the Army, he's in the Air Force.


Ah, you mean he's an aviator?

(Suddenly, six muscle-bound Navy guys make irruption in the room and pummel me unconscious for my breach of military etiquette.)
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