"The Blog of War" book cover

Front-Line Dispatches from Soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan

Matthew Currier Burden

Simon & Schuster, 2006

ISBN 0-7432-9418-1

304 pages

$15.00 (paperback)

Reviewed by: Patrick Thomas

intro | ch1 | ch2 | ch3 | ch4 | ch5 | ch6 | ch7 | ch8 | epilogue


To close his book, Burden provides synopses of updates about the bloggers in the epilogue. These updates provide the names and blog addresses of those whose posts comprise his collection. Perhaps more importantly, Burden notes the changing nature of military blogging that has resulted from the Army’s Operations Security policy, which restricts content of blog posts authored by military personnel. Burden quotes General Peter J. Schoomaker, Army chief-of-staff, who claims not only that information security is a policy that affects all military personnel, but also that the postings of insecure information via websites and blogs “needlessly place lives at risk and degrade the effectiveness of our operations” (p. 257). General Schoomaker also claims that “the enemy aggressively ‘reads’ our open source and continues to exploit such information for use against our forces” (p. 257). Burden refers to these regulations as censorship, and notes that bloggers maintain differing positions on these regulations. While some continue to blog under the official guidelines, others have discontinued their blogs. Still others, Burden claims, blog without concern for these regulations. In the end, Burden seems ambivalent about the introduction of the policy, perhaps because the regulation of blog content emphasizes the ways in which Burden’s initial claims about blogs as “unmediated and uncensored glimpses of reality” are brought into question.