Sunday, November 16, 2003

The Important Mail 
Well, that was CENTCOM, or central command, contacting me directly. That's a big headquarters, commanded by a four-star general, so you bet they can get my attention.

I was directed to stop publishing, until such time as this site could be checked out by a public relations officer or my commanding officer. Nooooo, die-hard 1st Amendment reporter types, that's not 'censorship.' Don't go running to file your "Big Brother is Watching" stories just yet. It's a pretty routine procedure, and one I expected would come up pretty quickly.

Natch, CENTCOM wants to know that I'm not going to publish anything prejudicial to our mission or undercut the chain of command and wants to know I won't be publishing anything classified. They'll also want to make sure that there's nothing about the site that would cause anyone to confuse it with an official US Army website. A good Public Affairs Officer can provide good guidance and counsel about how to steer clear of these things, but still help a good story get out, even if it's not necessarily flattering.

Fortunately, my Public Affairs officer likes it (although he may deny it later!), and the problems were quickly worked out.

I am going back and changing some names. The names are not important to the articles. My first concern is the smooth functioning of my unit, especially in the face of the enemy. Changing the names will help me ensure that the unit isn't compromised if someone harbors a grudge against something I write, while still maintaining the integrity of the site.

I recognize that I could be wading into some ethical thickets here. I'm sure all readers will understand that my first obligation is to my little corner of the successful prosecution of the war.


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