Last week, Ana Marie Cox, formerly of Gawker Media, wrote an article in Time Magazine’s Online Edition outlining what she called The Youtube War, a look at how American soliders were telling their own story of the Iraq War in homemade videos.
The military was struck earlier during the first phases of Operation Iraqi Freedom when the milbloggers arrived on the scene. Easy access to the internet gave rise to blogs such as Lt. Smash, who blogged about the war from his naval duties in Kuwait. As the infrastructure became more viable in Iraq, we began to see frontline reports from the privates, specialists, and others that were patrolling the streets in the so-called “Red Zone”.
But now they’re not just blogging, they’re using Youtube to share their videos:
Videos uploaded to the Internet by soldiers themselves depict, if anything, an even grimmer reality. Earlier this summer, the Council on American-Islamic Relations stoked a minor controversy over the video “Hadji Girl,” which featured a uniformed Marine singing about falling in love with an Iraqi girl only to be ambushed by her family, after which he “hid behind the TV/ And I locked and loaded my M-16/ And I blew those little f___ers to eternity.”
A quick glance at YouTube shows several hundreds videos with tags such as Iraq, Army, Hadji, and other tags.
Right or wrong, this is the reality of what these young men and women are facing in Iraq – and video is playing an ever more increasing part in how they choose to share those experiences.