I long ago stopped thinking of myself as milblogger, if ever I did. At least in the sense of someone reporting from the brawls overseas, penetrating through the mist of mainstream reportage and lending insight into the fight. When I came home in 2003 – mission accomplished – my knowledge of the actual environment was garnered at a remove.
Others were there, and in the fight. What they saw – and more importantly, what they wrote – may or may not have impacted our strategic center of gravity. But it was certainly compelling reading.
Jules was there when a pair of young soldiers engaged in fierce combat shot a tank round into the Hotel Palestine in Baghdad, killing two journalists. The legacy media reported a war crime. He reported what he saw.
I knew the men who were involved, had seen them in combat and was very familiar with the high level of caution and compassion they maintained in the midst of heavy, aggressive combat. And I was present that morning, within a couple hundred feet of Gibson’s tank when it happened. It may have been the end of my career as a traditional reporter and the real beginning of my new media career, because as they faced condemnation, investigations and ultimately murder indictments in a Spanish court, only recently dropped, I publicly advocated for them all over the new media.
The legacy media spoke in terms of “they” and “them,” and kept a tepid moral equanimity between those trying to destroy a country, and those trying to build one. Deployed milbloggers put the “I” in the tale. And that has made all the difference.