Liveblogging the 2007 Milblog Conference
Rear Admiral Mark I. Fox was the first speaker… live from Iraq via satellite phone.
He answered several questions on the conditions and progress in Iraq. He says the Iraqi people have been restrained in their reaction to the Al Qaeda and insurgent violence.
Rear Admiral Fox has a remarkable military resume. In October 2006, Rear Adm. Fox completed a tour as Deputy Assistant to the President and Director of the White House Military Office (WHMO), responsible for overseeing all military support to the President. He served as WHMO Deputy Director for 18 months before assuming responsibilities as WHMO Director in January 2005.
The first panel today “From the Front” included bloggers who blogged from the front lines including:
Moderator Matt of Blackfive (L), Bill Ardolino of INDC Journal, Bill Roggio of The Fourth Rail, Jim of SGT. Hook, and Sean of Doc in the Box.
Lorie Byrd is blogging up a sand storm over at Wizbang.
This may not surprise you…
Bill Roggio an expert on the situation from his firsthand experience believes the template for the media is not to talk about the success stories in Iraq.
Bill Roggio says “nothing happens” quite a bit in Iraq. That is the real story. It is the sensational stories that the the media reports on.
Reporters in Iraq find that the human interest stories do not sell as well as the violent stories.
Bill Ardolino says that the marine corps understands public affairs better than the other branches and is more willing to accommodate the embedded bloggers.
Impressions on troop morale…
Bill Ardolino says you can go into any unit and find soldiers who are complaining. The media tends to use the same (negative) soldiers in their stories. Most soldiers are very dedicated to the mission. Guys may be cynical but give 110% to their mission.
Bill Roggio agrees that the morale is good. Not all soldiers may agree on everything including the mission but the overall morale is very high.
Jim from SGT Hook says a great indicator of morale is retention.
As evidence- The retention rate is very high with the troops.
The soldiers are re-enlisting. This is a good sign.
Sean at Doc in the Box says he restrains himself from blogging about soldiers who are killed. The other bloggers mentioned that the rules include not blogging about special ops or showing wounded or dead US soldiers.
Bill Ardolino says the media has it completely backwards on how they portray the US soldiers.
The real story is… The Iraqis trust the US soldier more than they trust their own Iraqi soldiers.
Question: “What do you tell the peace activists?”
SGT Hook answers – “Tell them- We don’t want to come home until the job is done!”