Internet Lips Sink Ships
Sally, the little “hottie” cheerleader from your daughter’s high school, is at it again. She is spreading un-truths on the internet about your little princess. Your daughter has a MySpace account where she pours out her heart to her closes friends (as well as the rest of the internet world) and then cannot understand why her classmates are laughing at her the next day in school. You have warned her not to put any personal information on her web site. You have given her the standard lecture about internet predators that are preying on young, sometimes rather silly, children.
Now, if you could only get your son to stop posting pictures on his MySpace account that could some day have the police knocking at your door. Only a couple more years and they will be out of high school and out of internet danger. However, your kids have an even bigger internet problem. Al-Qaida is now watching your children’s lives as they move on to serve their country in the US military. Our love affair with instant online communications is going to get American soldiers, and perhaps even their families, killed if we do not get a handle on this growing problem.
Talk to your grandfather about the heart-wrenching journal he kept and filled out after every battle during WW II. What you are going to find out is that he did not have one. US troops were not allowed to have journals and diaries during WW II. Admittedly, some individuals failed to follow the rules. However, if you were caught, it was a punishable offense and if you had sensitive information in your journal you could be considered a spy or collaborator.
All of the mail sent back to families in the States by our WW II soldiers was censored to make sure no vital combat information was passed on. I don’t think the War Department was worried about family members running to German spies and giving away our plans, but cargo planes with US mail on them might be shot down and captured by the enemy. The captured mail could and would be read to acquire intelligence, intelligence that was used to establish targets and kill American troops.
To the disappointment of the modern military, they cannot control the internet and therefore they cannot control the instant flow of data that every soldier sends back home as soon as he gets off combat patrol. In many of these cases, the information that is going on-line is vital intelligence that even the military does not know about. The big problem is not the e-mail message that an Army daughter sends to her folks telling about the latest shoot-out with Muslims, it is the 2000 word, blow-by-blow description that she puts on her MySpace web site so all her friends back home in Oklahoma will know what she is going through.
According to MI-5, Britain’s Security Service, al-Qaida is monitoring MySpace and other similar websites of British soldiers to gather details about their military lives in the desert. This is done by al-Qaida in hopes of using captured internet information to attack new targets.
To quote the US Army, “al-Qaida loves the internet.” They used it extremely well to plan and carry out their attacks in New York and Washington DC on 9/11. There is a real fear some troop is going to make a mistake and tell the internet world that because of his military training he was able to stop a Muslim attack. Unfortunately, the US troop is going to put his hometown address and family name on that MySpace page. Al-Qaida is going to use this information to kill the young American soldier’s family back home in the States.
This is really going to happen in the near future. How well do you think the Marine or Airman fighting in the Gulf is going to function when he learns his family is dying at the hands of Islam back home in supposedly safe Iowa?
Dr. Laura Schlessinger, the talk radio psychologist, has warned her audience many times about the dangers of putting personal information on web sites. Failure to pay attention to this advice has gotten people hurt. Now, uniformed troops are going to put themselves and their families in Islamic harm’s way by putting too much information on a web site. Web messaging could get you killed.
Copyright 2008 by Major Van Harl USAF Ret. All rights reserved.