Milblogging.


Kevin Maurer, Brandon Friedman,
I decided to come to the Milblogging panel rather than go to the Texas blogging panel because...well, I figured the Texas bloggers would be well-covered.

Kevin Maurer is with the AP and moderating the forum. Brandon Friedman is the vice-chairman of VoteVets.org. He's blogged since late 2006 when he was recovering from emergency appendix surgery. After he got going on DailyKos, he started up VoteVets.org and subsequently VetVoice.com, the blogging platform. Richard Smith, another panelist, writes on VetVoice and was an NCO with the 6CAV, 2ID, and 82nd Airborne. Alex Horton started the blog Army of Dude, as a way of keeping his family informed and developed a readership.

It gets a little awkward when someone asks "Are any of you part of Iraq Veterans Against the War?" None of them are, but there is a member of the audience who is the president of the Las Vegas chapter of IVAW.

Kevin asks the audience a good question- why do you (being us civilians sitting in the room) read these military blogs? Because you don't believe the media is reporting it? A woman raises her hand and explains that the mainstream media is a good place to start, but that she reads both military blogs and Iraqi blogs. She finally sums it up in once sentence: "I want to understand what it's like over there."

Someone in the audience also brings up the low turnout to this panel and says he thinks it's embarrassing -- that this is a more important issue and he is embarrassed that more people aren't here. To their credit, the Iraq panel I was going to go to earlier got moved to right now and then they're also up against the Texas blogging regime going on in Ballroom F. There are about twenty five people in here, including Democratic Congressional candidate Brian Ruiz whose district spans into the Fort Hood, Texas area. Lt. Col. Charlie Brown is here as well, the VoteVets-endorsed Democrat running for Congress in California.

How does milblogging function as oversight? A good example is of a soldier who was given a 30% rating on his PTSD but it got worse, so he reapplied for a 50% rating. He was denied because of his activity with a VoteVets.org, which meant he must be fully functional, saying that he had "ocassional suicidal ideation." So he only occasionally thinks about committing suicide?

VoteVets highlighted it on their blog and three days later, the VA issued a reversal after an "administrative review."
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