NPR logo Gen. John Abizaid on Bloggers

Gen. John Abizaid on Bloggers

Pentagon Correspondent Vicky O'Hara just sent this to me. Couple days ago, Gen. John Abizaid, the Central Command chief, testified before a House subcommittee that oversees quality of life issues in the military. Congressman Sanford Bishop (D-GA) asked the general a question about blogging. Here are some highlights from their exchange:

"General, there have recently been several media reports regarding the blogging habits of our soldiers in Iraq. I'm curious about what the official Internet policy is for our troops in the field… You know, because we've got a generation of instant messengers and bloggers and I'm concerned about what provisions are being made to keep them happy, but at the same time, to keep them safe."

Gen. Abizaid began his reply by saying that blogging is one of the things that makes war in the 21st century "pretty interesting." He went on to say:

"It brings me great sadness when I look on an enemy Web site... and I find out that its server is based in the United States; and that the pictures that they are showing about the vulnerability of our tanks are taken from some young sergeant's personal Web site that he posted back home to his folks to show what happens."

Gen. Abizaid went on to say:

"We... need to contest this space that the enemy uses… I can't understand why it's okay for extremists to post killings and advocate killings of our citizens on Web sites... [that are hosted on] U.S. servers or the servers of any of our allies."

Gen. Abizaid said there are indeed standing orders concerning Internet usage, but didn't really say what they were. But he did acknowledge a "huge issue" with the First Amendment. Really?

Here's the whole exchange...