Strategy Page, April 25, 2006: The recent flap over six retired American generals publicly calling for the Secretary of Defense to resign, also brought out opinions, via the Internet, from lower ranking troops (active duty, reservists and retired.) The mass media ran with the six generals, but got shot down by the troops and their blogs, message board postings and emails. It wasn’t just a matter of the “troop media” being more powerful. No, what the troops had going for them was a more convincing reality. Unlike the six generals, many of the Internet troops were in Iraq, or had recently been there. Their opinions were not as eloquent as those of the generals, but they were also more convincing. Added to that was the complaint from many of the troops that, according to the American constitution, it’s the civilians (in the person of the Secretary of Defense) that can dismiss soldiers from service, not the other way around. While the six generals were only expressing their opinions (which only active duty troops are restricted from doing, because of the different military legal system they operate under), it rubbed a lot of people (military and civilian) the wrong way because of the constitutional angle.
Naturally, the details of this media battle didn’t get a lot of coverage in the mass media. Makes sense. Who wants to discuss a defeat, by a bunch of amateurs no less. But the mass media has been missing an even larger story about the military and the Internet.
Read the whole thing.
Update: The Generals and CDI