All Quiet on the Middle Eastern Front: Silencing the Speech of Military Troops

May 18, 2007
Nicole A. Ozer

Page Media

ACLU of Northern CA

Earlier this week, the U.S. military ordered troops to stop posting to blogs and sending personal emails without getting clearance. More information here. And the regulations here.

Now, the Defense Department is claiming that barring military troops from using social networking, video sharing, and other "recreational" sites such as YouTube and MySpace on military computers is purely an attempt to "preserve bandwidth for operational missions."

This according to Rear Admiral Elizabeth Hight, Deputy Commander of Joint Task Force Gobal Network Operations in discussion with the blog, DANGER ROOM.

Representative Ed Markey, who chairs the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet, is not convinced that needing to preserve bandwidth is the full story.

In a posted statement, Markey says, "I still have not heard a sound defense of this decision by the Pentagon... I'm also not convinced that a lack of available bandwidth is what is really driving this decision, since countless other sites, such as gaming sites that take up considerable bandwidth, have not been blocked."

And Representative Markey is not the only one. The YouTube Founders are also challenging the Pentagon's assertion that soldiers overseas were sapping too much bandwidth by watching online videos.