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Blogging the War: A Guide

By Cynthia L. Webb
washingtonpost.com Staff Writer
Friday, March 28, 2003; 2:16 PM

The public's hunger for information and opinion about the Iraq war has fueled an explosion of "war blogs" on the Internet -- online platforms for all sorts of personal musing about the war, from diaries from soldiers at the front to sounding boards for pro- and antiwar opinion.

"The Internet is brimming with so much Iraq war commentary that a crop of new directories has sprouted to help people sift through it all," The Washington Post's Leslie Walker put it in a recent column on the phenomenon, while the Post's media critic, Howard Kurtz, wrote, "For all the saturation coverage of the invasion of Iraq, this has become the first true Internet war, with journalists, analysts, soldiers, a British lawmaker, an Iraqi exile and a Baghdad resident using the medium's lightning speed to cut through the fog of war."
The Washington Post's Leslie Walker: Operation Commentary Storm
The Washington Post's Howard Kurtz: 'Webloggers,' Signing On as War Correspondents

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Perhaps the most publicized blog is one created by "Salam Pax," a self-described Iraqi who is posting updates on the war from Baghdad on "Where Is Raed?" The blog, however, has not been updated since earlier this week, leaving some to ponder the blogger's fate. "Had an errant bomb fallen on his house? Had the Iraqi government shut down his Internet service? Or was the blog a fraud, an intelligence front that had hastily shut down? Who could say?," The Philadelphia Inquirer wrote yesterday, noting that the blogger could be a CIA plant, hacker or a loyalist of Saddam Hussein's regime.
The Philadelphia Inquirer: A 'Blog" Goes Silent, And World Holds Its Breath
BBC News: Life In Baghdad Via The Web

Many blogs are being assembled by anonymous authors. Lt. Smash, a blog that claims to be written by a reserve officer "Live From the Sandbox," had to move recently to a new server after getting bombarded with Web traffic. The blog's author also noted recently that they "can't keep up with the number of comments that are being posted," further hinting at the site's popularity. Is the site from a real soldier or is it a hoax? "L.T. Smash takes its name from a character who is both a Navy lieutenant and record producer on the TV show 'The Simpsons.' ... there's little way of knowing if the author really is in the Gulf or is really in the Navy. He didn't respond to e-mails," The Wall Street Journal wrote earlier this week.
The Wall Street Journal via Yahoo!: Web Logs: Troops' War Stories In Real Time

Other blogs offer up commentary and "reporting" that cannot be fact checked, serving less as pure news sites than as online meeting grounds for people looking for unique information on the war. Some war blogs hail not from the front lines, but from the heartland of America, featuring links to all types of war coverage, expanding the scope of information provided to readers online. Blogs represent right- and left-leaning political viewpoints, as well as dispatches from both the antiwar movement and bloggers supportive of the U.S.-led war to disarm Iraq. A number of blogs have a feature on their sites for readers to donate money to various causes -- a sign that many of the blogs are grassroots efforts, compiled in basements and as moonlighting projects. War blogs have proved to be a wildly popular part of the war-reporting machine.

While not comprehensive, the following lists some of the more interesting war blogs on the Internet. Thanks to all readers who sent in suggestions of their favorite war blogs.

General War Blogs

Abu Aardvark: The author describes the site as about "Iraq, Iraq and more Iraq. Plus foreign policy, international relations, the Middle East, and Buffy."

The Agonist: Sean-Paul Kelley's blog, which has daily and often hourly updates on the war.

The Agitator: Run by Radley Balko, a 27-year-old, Washington-based freelancer who is a columnist for FoxNews.com and works at the Cato Institute. Balko is a self-described libertarian. His blog includes many postings on the war.

Blaster's Blog: Rants and raves about war reporting.

The Command Post: Breaking news and opinion and additional links to information about the war.

Daily KOS: Blog of political analysis, rants and news about Iraq war during the current war.

Flit: Various news, postings and commentary. The site has a link to war maps.

Geek Philosopher: Highlights of War Blogs: Barbie Hocking compiles the GeekPhilosopher Web site, which covers various topics, including this special section on war blogs. Hocking wrote in an e-mail to Filter that a blog called Osama's Offerings features guest posts by a someone calling himself "Osama 'binny' Laden" and "Saddam 'No Nukes Here' Hussein." Hocking wrote that the clever Web site's "popularity is skyrocketing." She links to the site from her War Blogs site.

InstaPundit: Professor Glenn Reynolds's blog on all-things, though the topic of the war has been a mainstay lately.

Intel Dump: A blog run by a former Army officer named Phil Carter. Offers up "real-time analysis and commentary."

Killing Goliath: A blog created by peace activists, featuring updates on the war in Iraq from an antiwar perspective.

Kuro5Hin: This blog's tagline is "technology and culture from the trenches." It covers many topics, but the war dominates lately.

The Light Of Reason: Blog that includes a number of war-related postings.

Naval Open Source Intelligence: This blog that calls itself a "digital library of world naval operational news ... from open source intelligence," compiled by Dr. Michael P. D'Alessandro. The site, founded in 2000, has listed a number of war-related postings recently. "In regards to the war, we are attempting to cover its grand strategy, as well as its naval and marine aspects," D'Alessandro wrote in an e-mail to Filter.

One Hand Clapping: A blog written by Donald Sensing, a former U.S. Army artillery officer and military public affairs staff person. He is currently a pastor in Tennessee, according to his site.

Ribbity Blog: The blog features postings and musings about war on Iraq, with a pro-Israel perspective.

Scott Rosenberg's Links and Comment: The blog created by the managing editor of Salon.com. It has been war-centric recently; the blog is designed to be about news of "Salon, Salon blogs, and the world."

ScrappleFace: Blog offering a number of postings on the war.

Tacitus: A blog that has been mostly providing postings and musings about the war. The blog says its name is from "Cornelius Tacitus, known as the greatest of the Roman historians." In an October 2002 posting, the blog's author noted: "Tacitus favors the Iraqi war, given a rational and thorough followup. But that followup (not to mention adequate preparation) would be far better assured with an active and intelligent opposition. One never hears new ideas in an echo chamber."

USS Clueless: Features postings on political commentary related to the war and other news.

VodkaPundit.com: This blog covers a variety topics, with a lot of war-related postings. It is penned by Stephen Green of Colorado Springs, Colo.

Warblogs:CC: A clearinghouse of different war blogs and daily headlines related to the war.

Warblogging.com: Affiliated with Warblogs:CC, this blog was founded in July 2002 "to provide another voice in the chorus of Americans calling for a balanced and reasonable foreign policy and a domestic policy that respects the United States Constitution and the rule of law."

Blogs For Troops And With Military Themes:

All American Army Wife: This blog offers musings and thoughts of everyday life of family members left behind when the military sends loved ones overseas, by Jo-Ann Stitham.

Blogs of War: The blog links to various war coverage and links to a slew of "support the troops" Web sites.

A Minute Longer - A Soldier's Tale: A blog created by a U.S. Army Reservist.

The Primary Main Objective: Blog created by Lt. Cmdr. Kevin Mickey, a U.S. military officer in Kuwait.

Ramblings of a Yooper: Blog by Navy wife Jenny Lynne.

Sgt. Stryker's Daily Briefing: Postings from a mother whose daughter, "Cpl. Blondie," is fighting in the war. Includes a link to an Amazon.com wish list for Cpl. Blondie. Includes postings from other troop supporters of the Stryker team and links to various blogs.

War Blogs from Reporters and Media Organizations

Back To Iraq 2.0: Run by Christopher Allbritton, a former reporter for The Associated Press and the New York Daily News. Allbritton has raised $10,000 to help fund his trip to Iraq to do so-called independent journalism of the conflict. He posted a plea for donations on his site and reached his goal on March 25. His blog notes he has departed for the Middle East and arrived in Ankara, Turkey.

BBC News Online's Reporters Log: War In Iraq: A collective blog from BBC correspondents based in the Gulf. "On this page BBC News Online logs their impressions and personal experiences as they watch events unfold," the site says.

CyberJournalist.net War Blog: A blog of war-related news from CyberJournalist.net, part of the nonprofit American Press Institute's Media Center.

The Guardian's Weblog: The London-based newspaper features links on its site to various headlines and news, with an emphasis on Iraq war-related news.

Kanan Makiya's War Diary: A blog from the front lines on The New Republic Web site. The blog does not appear to be updated frequently.

Kevin Sites: CNN correspondent reporting from the Iraq conflict. His blog, featuring updates, audio links and pictures, was shut down after CNN cited a conflict of interest between his blogging and war reporting. Despite the site's stoppage, there is still some interesting archived material to read through.

MTV'S Gideon Yado: Gideon has been supplying blog-like updates on a sporadic basis from Kuwait and has an online photo book of snapshots from his travels.

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer's Aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln: An online journal created by reporter M.L. Lyke and photographer Grant M. Haller from their perspective as embedded journalists on a U.S. Navy aircraft carrier. Haller also has a personal blog.

The Seattle Times Battle Lines: The Seattle Times's war blog is "dedicated to providing a broad perspective on the latest news and developments from the war in Iraq." Edited by Tom Brown, an editor, reporter and software analyst for the newspaper.

Stuart Hughes: A BBC journalist who runs his personal blog of updates of the war and his travels to cover the conflict.

USA Today's Iraq War Weblog: The newspaper's daily blog of war-related news.

War Watch: A blog of war coverage compiled by two editors at SiliconValley.com, the San Jose Mercury News Web site. This blog is available through most Knight-Ridder newspaper Web sites.

Filter is designed for hard-core techies, news junkies and technology professionals alike. Have suggestions, cool links or interesting tales to share? Send your tips and feedback to cindy.webb@washingtonpost.com.

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