US bans YouTube for US soldiers in Iraq

US soldiers in Iraq reacted with dismay yesterday after the Pentagon blocked their access to websites including YouTube and MySpace, used widely to send and receive messages and pictures to loved ones at home.

US bans YouTube for US soldiers in Iraq
US soldiers in Iraq reacted with dismay yesterday after the Pentagon blocked their access to websites including YouTube and MySpace, used widely to send and receive messages and pictures to loved ones at home.

The Pentagon said that the decision had been made for security issues – to protect sensitive information being seen by the enemy – and to reduce drag on the military’s bandwidth. But soldiers said that the move would hit morale and cut off a crucial link to family and friends.

One sergeant from Arizona, speaking to The Times in Baghdad, said: “It will bring morale down. This is how a lot of people keep in touch with family and friends.

“Not every soldier has their own personal laptop, and not every FOB [forward operating base] has commercial access to the internet. It will affect them mostly.”

Since last year YouTube has been used by Iraqi insurgents and the US military as part of the wider propaganda battle. Insurgents have posted videos of attacks on US troops, while the Pentagon has posted videos showing US forces defeating insurgents and befriending Iraqi civilians.

Noah Shachtman, who runs a national security blog for Wired magazine, says that the restrictions on blogging and access to websites seem intended to stop soldiers circulating bad news.
Last Mod: 15 Mayıs 2007, 13:49
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