The Internet and Warriors

A Casualty Of War: MySpacepdf

In a memorandum to troops dated Friday, Gen. B.B. Bell, commander of U.S. forces in South Korea, said the task force had noted “a significant increase in the use of DoD network resources tied up by individuals visiting certain recreational Internet sites,” he said. Bell added that the traffic poses “a significant operational security challenge.”

In computer rooms on bases in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere, soldiers crowd around rows of monitors, lining up for a chance to glimpse the latest news from home or leave their distinctive boot print in cyberspace. Some postings on YouTube are grainy battle videos shot with small cameras recording the brilliant flare of roadside explosions and crackle of gunfire set to rock music. Others are more melancholy depictions of loss, showing struggling medics and fallen comrades. Entries on MySpace pages are often more personal, running from reflective to vulgar.

[…] Though soldiers are already barred from posting classified material on public Web sites, these sites also offer an uncensored venue for airing homesickness, frustration with the war in Iraq and anger at the military. But a mid-level Army infantry officer who is headed back to Iraq stressed, “It’s a practical matter, not a civil rights matter.”

He explained he might have trouble if the network is dragged down by soldiers watching YouTube videos. But the officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media, added that access to the Web sites could be important for morale.