Thursday, March 16, 2006

"blogger" at last

earlier this month, i read about how the u.s. military started a program to engage bloggers (or, as the headline behind the link puts it, "bloggers"):
Anyone who wants a virtual voice can create a blog and share information with the online world. The ease with which bloggers spread information is what public affairs officials at CENTCOM saw when they created the blog team.

McNorton said the team contacts bloggers to inform the writers about any given topic that may have been posted on their site. This outreach effort enables the team to offer complete information to bloggers by inviting them to visit CENTCOM's Web site for news releases, data or imagery.

The team engages bloggers who are posting inaccurate or untrue information, as well as bloggers who are posting incomplete information. They extend a friendly invitation to all bloggers to visit the command's Web site.


From his desk at CENTCOM headquarters here, Army Reserve Spc. Claude Flowers of the 304th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment from Kent, Wash., fights in the global war on terrorism daily in his own way. It is an effort, officials here said, that is making a big difference in the communications arena in the online world.

The team's motto is "Engage," and Flowers and others work with more than 250 bloggers to try to disseminate news about the good work being done by U.S. forces in the global war on terror. The effort, officials here said, has reached more than 17 million online readers.

"We were given the mission to do electronic media engagement," Flowers said. "The idea was put forth that so many people are getting their news from online sources that we would be remiss if we neglected that audience."

Flowers is one of three people who read blogs and try to drive Internet readers to the CENTCOM Web site, where readers can learn more about operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.
when i read the article a few weeks ago, i kept thinking: hey, i'm a "blogger," why didn't anyone contact me to disseminate military propaganda? i feel so left out.

besides, as it happens the motto of rubber hose is "engage" too. just like captain picard! (or maybe that was "earl grey... hot." remembering all the official mottos and secret decoder ring codes for this site can be hard work sometimes. but i digress...)

anyway, my prayers (or, at least, whinings) have been answered! in today's mailbag was a message from none other than spc. claude flowers:

I was reading your post about Gen. Abizaid and wanted to let you know that the US Central Command website,, features news, photos, audio and video from Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. You're welcome to use any materials you find on our site. If you'd like to be signed up for the weekly electronic newsletter and monthly Coalition Bulletin, just ask.

If you could add a link to CENTCOM, that would be great (I'm trying to spread the word about our site). Thanks!

SPC C. Flowers
CENTCOM Public Affairs
WOW! thunked i.

did you notice the bit where he said "your post about Gen. Abizaid"? that's a specific reference to something i wrote. that means that THE spc. flowers must have actually read my post. i'll never wash this blog again!

i knew big things were coming for this place. just thinking about how my tax dollars were spent reading this site all for the purpose of a questionably legal domestic propaganda program run by the u.s. military, well, it just makes my heart go all aflutter.

i'm still thinking about whether i want the newsletter, but i put up a link like spc. flowers asked. it's right in the middle of this post. as of this writing the link doesn't work.

but i'm still proud to stick that code in this blog. it's literally the least i can do to serve my country.