Saturday, June 02, 2007

Our Job is to Defend Democracy Not To Participate In It

A neighbor who served for many years in the armed forces said that his commanding officer often repeated the phrase I have quoted above to the troops. I found myself thinking about that slogan as I read coverage in CNN that presented the specifics in the long laundry list of social networking sites now prohibited to soldiers. According to "Military puts MySpace, other sites off limits," sites covered by the ban include "the video-sharing sites YouTube, Metacafe, IFilm, StupidVideos and FileCabi; social networking sites MySpace, BlackPlanet and Hi5; music sites Pandora, MTV, and live365, and the photo-sharing site Photobucket." Even replication of the soldier's own bodily images is being policed, now that the brass is pressuring journalists to get formal legal releases from wounded soldiers before they photograph them. Where would the great photos of Mathew Brady of the Civil War be in such a litigious environment? See this item in BAGNewsNotes about how the army's in-house video coverage differs significantly from the footage documented by The New York Times when images of soldiers are protected and not their original bodies.

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