Soldiers have been recording their thoughts and fears in personal journals for hundreds of years. Weblogs add a new twist, however, because not everyone who reads them is necessarily a “good guy.” Finding the line, that balance between the impetus of the volunteer soldier from an open society and the need to prevent the enemy from learning about our tactics, techniques and procedures, has been a painful process for the armed forces these last three years. Misunderstandings, miscommunications, and in a few cases, non-judicial punishment, have characterized the reactions of an institution which is in turmoil in more ways than one.
Robert Bateman is a professional soldier, an historian and author. He is both Airborne and Ranger qualified, and has served as an Infantry officer around the world over the course of his career. He has also served as a “Military Fellow” at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and taught history at the United States Military Academy and George Mason University. Currently he is assigned to the Pentagon, where he works as a strategist.
As a freelance writer he has published more than 200 articles and reviews in both military professional as well as academic journals and commercial magazines and newspapers. His first book, */Digital War, A View from the Front Lines /*(1999) was an edited anthology about the future of war which has subsequently been published in paperback as well as Korean and Chinese. His second book, */No Gun Ri, a Military History of the Korean War Incident /*(2002), was an academic work of military history which investigated the history, and the reporting of, the events at No Gun Ri in 1950.
In January 2005 he left his home on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, and went to Baghdad. Over the course of the year he served in Iraq he wrote a column for the /*DC Examiner */newspaper and also updated the readers of the MSNBC.COM blog “Altercation,” (hosted by the liberal pundit Eric Alterman) every week with his observations about life in Baghdad and Iraq.