On Wednesday 16 December 2009, many milblogs - including Bouhammer, This Ain't Hell, From My Position, Blackfive, Miss Ladybug, Boston Maggie, Grim's Hall, and those participating in the Wednesday Hero program - are going silent for the day. Some are choosing to go silent for a longer period of time. [Winds will be dark for the day - note that our server is set to Zulu time, so we'll be dark from 0800 on the 16th to 0800 on the 17th.]
The reason for this is two-fold. First, milblogs are facing an increasingly hostile environment from within the military. While senior leadership has embraced blogging and social media, many field grade officers and senior NCOs do not embrace the concept. From general apathy in not wanting to deal with the issue to outright hositility to it, many commands are not only failing to support such activities, but are aggressively acting against active duty milbloggers, milspouses, and others. The number of such incidents appears to be growing, with milbloggers receiving reprimands, verbal and written, not only for their activities but those of spouses and supporters.
The catalyst has been the treatment of milblogger C.J. Grisham of A Soldier's Perspective. C.J. has earned accolades and respect, from the White House on down for his honest, and sometimes blunt, discussion of issues - particularly PTSD. In the last few months, C.J. has seen an issue with a local school taken to his command who failed to back him, and has even seen his effort to deal with PTSD, and lead his men in same by example, used against him as a part of this. Ultimately, C.J. has had to sell his blog to help raise funds for his defense in this matter.
An excellent story on the situation with C.J. can be found here at Bouhammer: Decorated soldier's blog attracts loyal following, but he says his bosses are muzzling him.CJ and his family could use your support, and milblogs - all of them, including, I guess us (it feels odd to be a milblog - I feel like more of a milparentblog) will take the 16th off to show them our public support. See you all on Thursday/
While there have been new developments, the core problem remains, and C.J. is having to raise funds to cover legal expenses to protect both his good name and his career.
One need only look at the number of blogs by active duty military in combat zones and compare it to just a few years ago to see the chilling effect that is taking place.
Milblogs have been a vital link in getting accurate news and information about the military, and military operations, to the public. They have provided vital context and analysis on issues critical to operations and to the informed electorate critical to the Republic.
On Wednesday 16 December, readers will have the chance to imagine a world without milblogs, and to do something about it. Those participating are urging their readers to contact their elected representatives in Congress, and to let their opinions be known to them and to other leaders in Washington.
Some milblogs will remain silent for several days; some just for the day. All have agreed to keep the post about the silence and C.J. at the top of their blogs until Friday 18 December. The issues go beyond C.J., and deserve careful consideration and discussion. We hope that you will cover this event, and explore the issues that lie at the heart of the matter. Contact the milbloggers in your area or that you know, and hear the story that lies within.
A Partial List of Participating Blogs:
Bouhammer's Afghan & Military Blog
This Ain't Hell
From my position
Grisham Legal Fund c/o Redstone Federal Credit Union 220 Wynn Drive Huntsville, AL 35893 Please write "Grisham Legal Fund" in the memo line if you use this option.
Milblogs have been a vital link in getting accurate news and information about the military, and military operations, to you. Today, many milblogs are gone and others are under attack from within and without. Today, you have the chance to imagine a world without milblogs, and to do something about it. Make your voice heard by writing your congressional representatives and others, and by making donations as you see fit.
The battle for freedom of speech and the marketplace of ideas is fought on many fronts and in many ways. Without your help, the battle may well be lost.