Milbloggers & the 'Experts'

[The following letter was sent to a Northeast newspaper to set the record straight on their reporting.]

Dear newspaper editor,

Thanks to the Internet, we're reading your newspaper in Baghdad as well as in Arizona. Your November 21, 2004 article ("Dispatches from the front") warrants some serious clarification for readers.

You see, as it is, the reporter might have left you with the impression that a Milblog by the handle "Life in this Girl's Army" was an easy kick-back "college kid's diary." On the contrary. Those of us who have kept up with Sgt. Lizzie's writings know that this Blog was a creative and expressive outlet for her and a way to stay in touch with family and friends.

Along the way (and not part of her own plan, I might add) she's educated perfect strangers like me and connected us with other Bloggers, creating a pretty powerful network of that old American spirit. You remember -- people extending their hands and helping each other as they best can.

Multiply the power that comes from someone like Sgt. Lizzie! Just imagine, because of her, in a small way I've helped a horribly injured soldier get his family to Walter Reed; 'adopted'
the family of a deployed Marine for holiday support; sent telephone calling cards to soldiers; and helped a returning reservist's family who unfairly lost his stateside job get back on their feet. Again, I say, multiply the power that comes from Sgt. Lizzie's impact on others.

Well, yesterday, Dec. 4, in that foreign soil, wearing her uniform in service of her country, Sgt. Lizzie's truck hit an IED. (We learned from her mother who updated her Blogsite.) You see, no one in Iraq is a "college kid" as you suggested. No one is exempt from great peril, pain, suffering, and death.

Sgt. Lizzie was injured, was hospitalized, but she was lucky; her comrade, the driver, behind her, God rest her soul, was not so blessed.

It would do a gross disservice to the military personnel who serve in Iraq or elsewhere in the world in harm's way (as well as Sgt. Lizzie, in particular, since she was identified in this article) if your information was not updated for readers.

"Dispatches from the front?" Not such a simplistic article to write, now is it?

You see, just like looking in our rear-view mirrors, "Objects may be larger than they seem." When you read a Milblog in the future, do not trivialize what you do not understand.