Friday, August 12, 2005

The New Ernie Pyles

WaPo reported There were no reporters riding shotgun on the highway north of Baghdad when a roadside bomb sent Sgt. Elizabeth Le Bel's Humvee lurching into a concrete barrier. The Army released a three-sentence statement about the incident in which her driver, a fellow soldier, was killed. Most news stories that day noted it briefly.

But a vivid account of the attack appeared on the Internet within hours of the Dec. 4 crash. Unable to sleep after arriving at the hospital, Le Bel hobbled to a computer and typed 1,000 words of what she called "my little war story" into her Web log, or blog, titled "Life in this Girl's Army". "I started to scream bloody murder, and one of the other females on the convoy came over, grabbed my hand and started to calm me down. She held onto me, allowing me to place my leg on her shoulder as it was hanging free," Le Bel wrote. "I thought that my face had been blown off, so I made the remark that I wouldn't be pretty again LOL. Of course the medics all rushed with reassurance which was quite amusing as I know what I look like now and I don't even want to think about what I looked like then."

Sgt Lizzi, I want to thank you for your service, and I hope you have a good life to come.
Since the 1850s, when a London Times reporter was sent to chronicle the Crimean War, journalists have generally provided the most immediate first-hand depictions of major conflicts. But in Iraq, service members themselves are delivering real-time dispatches -- in their own words -- often to an audience of thousands through postings to their blogs. "I was able to jot a few lines in every day, and it just grew from there," Le Bel, 24, of Haverhill, Mass., said in an e-mail. Her Web site has received about 45,000 hits since she started it a year ago.

At least 200 active-duty soldiers currently keep blogs. Only about a dozen blogs were in existence two years ago when the U.S. invaded Iraq, according to "The Mudville Gazette", a clearinghouse of information on military blogging administered by an Army veteran who goes by the screen name Greyhawk.

I have not been monitoring the blogs mentioned here (other than Mudfille Gazette), and I dont know what some of them say (some may be antiwar), but out of courtesty to the military folks writing them, I will list each of the others referred to in this story:

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