User Generated Content Goes To War

from the battle-testing-web2.0 dept

When the Iraq war was launched, there was a lot of hype about so-called embedded reporters who could travel around with a unit and report directly from the front lines. While this could offer a direct link to the action, few people felt that a reporter embedded with the military could actually offer an unfiltered view of events. Now, new technology is changing the way viewers can see the war. YouTube currently hosts a slew of videos relating to the latest violence in the Middle East, including propaganda videos, home movies from those in the midst of it, and clips from global news reports. Typically, governments try to keep a tight grip on what images and stories get out during times of war, but this will continue to get harder as the major news organizations continue to lose their dominance. Of course, the US government is well aware of this fact, as evidenced by its increasing use of video games and social-networking sites to get its message out.

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Comments on “User Generated Content Goes To War”

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David says:

Re: Re: freenet anyone?

They have it at the library. And it’s not prohibitively expensive either. I’ve seen people with HBO and Cinemax that live in apartments and trailers. It’s the very bottom rung that won’t have it at their homes, and that’s still a small percentage of people in the US overall.

Anonymous Coward says:

So is this a good thing or a bad thing? Would American support of WWII have been total had pictures and videos from the frontline been generally distributed?

You think they worried about collateral damage back then? Can you win a war when you are worried about PR?

Course, some would say that with disclosure, wars wouldn’t happen, and that would be a good thing, but it can also be a bad thing when dealing with govts or cultures that only understand one thing.

Wire Cramped (user link) says:

Re: Re: Agreed

In the end all information (this includes video) will be instantly if not “live” available for anyone world wide to see as they see fit.

No news service or government will stop the flow of information ever and as or if they try to it becomes the “prohibition” thing to sneak to anyone who asks.

Moonshine information will never happen cause I own a video camera and a computer and can hand out to anyone including Anonymous if he asks video footage I took anywhere I can take it. No one can say its not mine to do with as I see fit and if he gives it to 2 people and so on and so on then we have information flow. Now I dare the government or whoever to tell me I cant own and operate a video camera… Yeah bring a gun and a lunch cause it’ll be a long day that day.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

I find it an interesting comparison for a number of reasons. WW2 had a very tightly drawn set of reasons to rationalize it, based largely on truth. Even if images depicting American and British cruelty to Germans was shown, surely the public would still have sensed the urgency to defeat a very real and beatable enemy. Iraq, on the other hand, has somehow been rationalized on the lie that they had either:

a: something to do with 911

b: something to do with Al-quaida

c: was going to attack others with WMD

d: supported terrorist activities

None of these have been proved although the mainstrean US media now talks of Al Zaquari as the “leader or Al quaida” in Iraq. I often wonder how they know this. Does he carry a club membership card and is listed on their internal directory?

The Nazi’s were master of propoganda and somehow convinced a huge population that their cause was just and valid. The Allies including Americans and British stood up and questioned it and foiugt against it. Now in the US, we are seeing people who do the same about Iraq having their patriotism questioned. Real patriots from the US will always question the propoganda and make up their own mind. There are many smart people in the US and as much as the rest of the world hoped for the rest of Germany to rise up and question the Nazis and strip them of their power, we now find a similar situation where we hope real Americans will see through the trash like Fox purporting to be journalism and say no to taking more innocent lives. Al Quaida is dispicable, but doing what makes them dispicable in the name of justice can never be warranted nor can it ever succeed. The conflict with Islamic Extremists will never be won by military means. A political solution must be found.

Franssu says:

Re: Re: Re:

– None of these have been proved although the mainstrean US media now talks of Al Zaquari as the “leader or Al quaida” in Iraq. I often wonder how they know this. Does he carry a club membership card and is listed on their internal directory?

Yes, he does. The membership card of Al Qaeda Mile High Club and the one of the Project for the New American Century are the same. One is on the reverse of the other, to leave more space for the American Express Black credit cards in their pockets. They have lunch together every friday, that’s why they know and can tell he’s a member.

Drama2Sell says:

I Love it

Anything that takes power away from Fox, CNN, or your local slanted news is good.

I mean, jeez, once this president said you can’t take any photos of coffins coming back from Iraq, and the press just said “Ok”. I gave up on the news. Who is the President to say what we can and can’t view?!

So, yeah, post those videos on YouTube–maybe somehow we can really see what is happening over there.

Reed says:

A new future

“So is this a good thing or a bad thing? Would American support of WWII have been total had pictures and videos from the frontline been generally distributed?”

No, the war would have never reached the level it did if everyone had been well informed. The fog of war is what causes wars to start and continue for so long.

“You think they worried about collateral damage back then? Can you win a war when you are worried about PR?”

Warfare must change to meet new ideas. No, you can no longer fight a traditional war nowadays and someday in the future wars as we know them may be obselete.

“Course, some would say that with disclosure, wars wouldn’t happen, and that would be a good thing, but it can also be a bad thing when dealing with govts or cultures that only understand one thing.”

Don’t buy into “we need wars” bullshit. Powerful people have been manipulating civilians to kill each other for centuries merely for profit, and this cycle may come to an end with the advent of technology like the internet. Wars are not neccesary and they only create more problems rather than solve them. If you think the only solution in dealing with a enemy is to kill them I feel sorry for you.

Take a lesson from a 5 year old and follow the golden rule. If you believe in the rights of individuals then warfare is no longer a sane choice. You would have to be practicing some heavy “double think” to ever believe a war is justified.

Xcetron says:

I dont believe in equality for all as the fact is that a larger percentage of the population is always dumb and therefore the fews that govern need to be smart and have control of them.

Of course this doesnt work when the gov is corrupted but a totalitaian system always work better when the people in charge cares about the welfafe of the general population.

David says:

Kill or be killed

I agree with you on war in general, Reed.

But there are a number of people out there who would kill me simply because I am a white person who doesn’t believe in God. And if they insist on believing that I am less than human, and my death will bring them 72 virgins (hey, women aren’t people, are they…), I have absolutely no problem with killing them first. This isn’t justification for invading Iraq, but it’s something to think about. To reason with someone, the other side has to be at least somewhat reasonable. As long as they see us as less than human, and there is no problem lying to us and reneging on deals, there is no way that diplomacy can work.

Stu says:

Re: Kill or be killed

You have it right, David.

All people are created equal – but we’re not all the same.

To reach our goals, we must deal with others in frameworks they understand. Failing to understand the cultures of those who we deal with, results in disaster.

Not everyone’s first priorities are “peace, harmony and justice”. Most people just want to win.

Stu says:

Re: Re: Kill or be killed

Following up on my previous post about different cultures, here’s a recent news clip.

from ABC News International


KARACHI, Pakistan Jul 15, 2006 (AP) Hundreds of youths set fire to a Pizza Hut, two gas stations and a dozen vehicles in Pakistan’s biggest city Saturday after a funeral for an Islamic Shiite cleric killed in a suicide attack.

Rioters rampaged through a busy commercial area of Karachi a day after a suicide bomber killed cleric Allama Hassan Turabi, his cousin and a police guard.

Police fired shots in the air, swung batons and used tear gas to control the crowd.


it goes on

Dan says:

Re: Kill or be killed

Well, I for one agree with Dennis Miller.

Don’t you think you’d get kind of bored with 72 virgins? I mean after the first 10 or 20, you’d want someone with a little experience, right?

If I had to deal with 72 virgins in a row, I’d probably want to blow something up too.

(Yes, this is my insightful commentary on this post)

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Kill or be killed

Shouldn’t they start running out of virgins by now? With the number of “martyrs” having been killed in all of their wars plus their suicide bombing, at a ratio of 1 to 72, unless Allah has a way to re-virginize the women, I would think that their can’t be many of them left by now. Just the scientist in me.

Stu says:

A quote about going to war

” . . . . . after all, it is the leaders of a country who determine the policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship.

Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.”

– Herman Goering, at the Nuremburg Trials

Wire Cramped (user link) says:

Wars are faught..

In the publics eye too, dont forget. Its not the fog of war or the lack of information or the extra amounts of it that allow a war to go on and on or end abruptly.

Its the people on each side. If the people all get their asses kicked they will lay down their guns and give up. If we can use propoganda to convince them of this with slightly less ass whoomping then all the better so I say let the footage roll beef it up for your side! Use it to gain backing for you and to smite the opposition.

LEST WE FORGET!!!!!! All is fair in Love and War.

Ferd says:

Naive Idealism = Dead People

I, too, hope that the idea of war someday becomes a bedtime story for disbelieving children.

Meanwhile, some facts overwhelm the idea that if we all just followed the ‘golden rule’ then war would become obsolete:

1) People, who would otherwise choose to live a happy peacefule life, are the ones who end up on the train to Auschwitz or Siberia or in mass graves in some remote countryside or at the bottom of 100 floors of Trade Center concrete. At the point where a world of people turning a blind eye to the evils of their neighbor recoil in horror once that evil has crossed their own doorstep – that is when an actual ‘war’ usually breaks out.

2) Most wars have been wars of aggression started by power- or land-hungry dictators/emperors/kings/queens/cartels/etc. Japan->China, N Korea->S Korea, Germany->Europe, Iraq->Kuwait, France->Europe/Russia/Egypt, and thousands of other examples throughout history.

3) People aren’t “tricked” into attacking their neighbors. Leaders for thousands of years have fed on the bigotry, hatred, and racism, and intolerance of their own citizens to incite them to war, mayhem and murder in marching off for “the motherland”.

4) It is just as evil to stand by and watch your fellow human beings – whether a neighbor on your street or a country of powerless peasants no one cares about – be subjugated, murdered, imprisoned, etc, as it is to do the act itself. That is why good people die every day – as they have for millennia – to stand up for those ideals worth dying for.

Anyway, my 2c worth…

I, for one says:

David, when you talk about people seeing you as “less than human” you are projecting your feelings about them. The song you sing is as old as mankind, the enemy is brutal, inhuman, incapable of reason, we have no choice but to fight them. It is also complete bullshit. Stop living by your fears. Go date an Arab girl, then you will see there never could possibly be 72 virgins in Allahs heaven (the number goes up every time I hear that…it used to be 12 virgins, but I guess that’s inflation).

Ferd(Fred?) you missed the United States of America on your list. To understand first look inwards. Be able to accept that a great number of good, intelligent people throughout this world see the USA as a major threat to world peace and stability. If you can take that on board without feeling “offended” then you’re most of the way there.

My own country invaded half the planet before realising that “empire” is just a great big pain in the ass, you can’t control people on a global scale, there never will be any “new world order”. These are the ideologies of madmen.

Does video footage of war change peoples minds? Yes.

Can governments control it? No.

Will it change anything and stop wars? I doubt it. Even when there are more video cameras than guns in the world we still face the same problem. Wars are started and sustained by governments not ordinary people. Ordinary people have a remarkable way of putting the past to rest and forgiving since there is no profit in death for each and every man. It takes a concerted effort by propagandists, agent provocateurs, politicians and the other minions of the arms companies to keep the whole racket flowing along. We need to find a way to control our leaders and businessman instead of burying our heads and trying to deny the horror and violence in our world.

Dan says:

Re: Re:

Unfortunately, I agree with you.

However, I would say that I disagree with saying we must keep our business people under control. I’d say business has more potential to create and keep peace than even IT. Hopefully, greed will trump fear. Globalization is a must, lest we blow ourselves up over something as stupid as a few miles of land somewhere.

People are not in conflict… the IDEAS (or memes, if you want to be fancy) are in conflict. People form the governments (or religions), that tout the ideas which lead us to inevitably kill each other (because ideas have no fists of their own). Kind of stupid if you ask me, but I’m mearly using logic here… these conflicts far transcend things as trivial as logic.

If we can get enough greedy business people into these various countries and get the populace greedy enough to all want ipods, then no one will want war, because then they won’t be able to get their ipod. The cost of war would be far too high.

If I have to choose a greedy world or a fearful world, I’ll choose the former every time. Once established, we can work from there.

(Look at that, I went a whole post without once mentioning virigins!)

Search Engine WEB (user link) says:

Just imagine the Technology a few Decades from NOW

The information technology revolution has dramatically altered the amount of resources in virtual real-time that the tech savy can receive.

Since these outlets are not YET mainstream, in the sense that they are mostly used by tech savy …..JUST IMAGINE SOCIETY & INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY A FEW DECADES FROM NOW – if the current pace of innovation continues!!!????

Protoplasm says:

Multi-Universal String-a-long theory

I think Jethro Tull had it right. Thick as a Brick comes to mind while reading some of this diatribe… The agents of war are the same agents of peace, Consumerism makes the world go ’round, and the bell tolls for the tree that fell in the forest.

You can deliberate endlessly, but even the most popular of theories are little more than unproven philosophical viewpoints. There are no secrets, except that it all comes out in the wash whether it’s clean or not.

(Mindless)…Really don’t mind if you sit this one out.

My words but a whisper — your deafness a SHOUT.

I may make you feel but I can’t make you think.

Your sperm’s in the gutter — your love’s in the sink.

So you ride yourselves over the fields and

you make all your animal deals and

your wise men don’t know how it feels to be thick as a brick.

And the sand-castle virtues are all swept away in

the tidal destruction

the moral melee.

The elastic retreat rings the close of play as the last wave uncovers

the newfangled way.

But your new shoes are worn at the heels and

your suntan does rapidly peel and

your wise men don’t know how it feels to be thick as a brick.

Tilden Thorne says:

Lets be real...

Anyone in this world by this point should be able to see that the powers that rule this world and most especialy this country, that would be the United States, have grown as dark and as foul as any we would stand aginst. All the evidence is available, which is why they try so hard to keep it down. The world we now live in is one of terror, made by religous extremists but unfortunatly those extremists are the very people that run our country. When the towers came down we should have asked why would someone want to hurt us? We should have gone after an answer of who like a criminal investigation. We did neither. We reacted out of a knee jerk reaction and caused MASSIVE distruction to hundreds of thousands of innocent lives who had nothing to do with what was done to us. Our own President has called this both a religous war and stated his personal vendeta angist Saddam, neither are cause for our country to be forced into a war. We, through religion have become as much puppets of our leaders as the Al-Qaida… no we are much worse… their 3000 killings have turned into our hundreds of thousands. Any God in Heavan would be weaping now at what is being done in its name, Any. I am tired of hearing about the Islamic virgin gifts in heavan, Christians believe life will be better in the afterlife they don’t go around killing themselves and more importantly it’s the Christians that await with excitement the idea of Armegedeon and it is them speeding us to this reality. I and people like me wish that religous fundimentalism would take a step back and look honestly at itself before it becomes the force that ends all human life. As Americans and to a large extent the rest of the 1st world countries need to see that when we rape the entire planet for our selfish, capitalist, screw everyone else needs are not only creating enemies of those who have a right to hate us and our actions… but in the process we stand aginst the moral fiber of nearly every major religion and spiritual doctrine, not to mention sanity itself. As a race we are now deep in the process of failing, of going the way of the dinosaurs… is this our desire? I choose to open my eyes… to see the world for what is going on… we are being made the pawns of evil men. I hope truly one day all men of all faiths can come together at one table and just talk, get to know one another, to understand the lives of those we may once have thought our enemies. Until then we are all ruled by the corrupted and the sinister and that includes all sides. Beware of any man who wants power, to him we should always question motive and honor. Wars are not made by common man… but they are fought by him. Revolutions are made by common man and denounced by the powerfull. This has always been the way… we Americans were terrorist to the English in the 1770’s and now we are the powerfull…. The best any of us can do now is stay informed on all sides and the more ways we can get a hold of data the better… it keeps us from being led down the road to hell… good intentions or not.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Lets be real...

Tilden, you and people like you are just like the ones you rail against. You offer no solutions, just to say things are bad and leadership is evil. How would you change things.

There is evil in the world that has nothing to do with religion, and that is mans evil. Using God to support evil has nothing to do with God and everything to do with evil.

If the US pulled up camp and left the Middle East, do you think that things would get better there? There is a full scale civil war going on in Iraq right now, the Jews are fighting the Muslims right now, and it will happen with or without America.

Shit happens, and civilized people try to help. America and the world for a while turned its back on what the Nazis were doing for a while, then said never again. Then Rwanda happened, and the world said never again. Up next is Sudan.

Politicians are just people, nothing more, nothing less. Sure, they take corporate dollars, but guess what, all they really care about are votes. Change can and does take place.

Stop putting labels on them, and maybe they will stop putting labels on you.

Tilden Thorne says:

Re: Re: Lets be real...

Your handle says it all sir… Solutions… how about getting the worlds religons to have summit on their embattled ways… How about making lobbyism high treason… How about the United Stated becoming a true Democracy and not a republic… How about dealing with terrorist as criminals and not acts of war… How about doing our part to reduce the out of control consuption that threatens all of the globe and makes poorer countries hate us… How about a little humility from a country so full of it’s own glory it can’t pull it’s head out of it’s own A$$!!! I am from that county and our actions across the globe are truly shamefull… Have you ever stopped to think what horridly diplorable conditions it would take for you to send you children to certain death at the hands of an enemy you knew you had no chance of defeating. We are the bad guys now, the rest of the world knows it… We are not the America who had to be forced into battle with the Nazi’s we are the America who is a Juggernaut of distruction willing to destroy all in our path to keep the illusion of our comfortable life… We are the America that destroys our enviornment like no one else… I would gladly live on much less if I knew the rest of the world would have enough to survive… The solutions are there our resolve is not… We don’t want to look in the mirror and see we are the problem not the solution… We broke Iraq… We broke Afghanastan… they wont be the same for generations… we set them back years and years… installed our puppets, i.e. Hamed Karzai (ex-Carlial,Sp? Group board member)… We allowed our Middle East Pitbull to do the same to another country, Lebanon and they wont be the same for generations… The Isrealies did not have claim to Israel for 2000 years until the world felt sorry for them after world war two… By giving it them then we help create this debaukle… Why as Americans can we not accept responsablity for the mistakes we make… I offer solutions… You Anon. Coward don’t even offer your name…

Protoplasm says:

Oh, lest we neglect…

Ive come down from the upper class to mend your rotten ways.

My father was a man-of-power whom everyone obeyed.

So come on all you criminals!

Ive got to put you straight just like I did with my old man —

Twenty years too late.

Your bread and waters going cold.

Your hair is too short and neat.

Ill judge you all and make damn sure that no-one judges me.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: real time

One problem with that, my God never taught that its cool to strap a bomb on your self and blow up innocents…

As for war… its never anything to blow a party horn for… but sometimes they need to be faught for the right reasons… if your next door neighbour kept throwing pebbles at you and saying he was gonna steal your son, and you went to the cops and they said they will give him a restraining order, yet he still keeps doing it, so you move your house furthur away, only to have your son go missing because of a tunnel built into your backyard…. and the cops still do nothing…. tell me you dont take your gun and get your son back….

Franssu says:

Re: Re: real time

“One problem with that, my God never taught that its cool to strap a bomb on your self and blow up innocents…”

Neither did “theirs”. Warmongering extremists did.

Its the same kind of warmongering religious extremists who support both Israel and islamic dictatorships (like Kuwait or Saudi Arabia), all because they hope Armageddon will come fast and “their” God will then all take them in heaven for theig good deeds.

Wake up people, it’s your government I’m talking about.

Anonymous Coward says:

Tilden, so many words, so little understanding.

You offer no solutions, just blame. You say “I would gladly live on much less if I knew the rest of the world would have enough to survive” which of course means you are all talk.

You want to ignore history, but the real world just doesn’t work that way. I know, I know, you hate America and what we do to the world, but you offer nothing to the debate, or to the solution, unless of course you can come up with time travel to undo all the bad things America has done that has ruined the world.

What fucking arrogance, we have been around for less than 300 years, yet we control everything, we determine other countries fates from now into the future.

The Middle East has been at war for far longer than America has been around, yet your academic discussion of what is wrong with the world ignores history. I guess its true, those who ignore history….

Tilden Thorne says:


If your name did not say it all, this does…

“What fucking arrogance, we have been around for less than 300 years, yet we control everything, we determine other countries fates from now into the future.”

… and whos job is that… ours? Why? That’s the most arrogant statement of twisted American logic I have seen in a long time…

Solutions… solutions are complex and require at the beginning realities like this to happen…

“Solutions… how about getting the worlds religons to have summit on their embattled ways… How about making lobbyism high treason… How about the United Stated becoming a true Democracy and not a republic… How about dealing with terrorist as criminals and not acts of war… How about doing our part to reduce the out of control consuption that threatens all of the globe and makes poorer countries hate us… How about a little humility from a country so full of it’s own glory it can’t pull it’s head out of it’s own A$$!!!” (a quote from my previous post)

I offer ideas and stratagies to get people to talk… once you know someone it’s much harder to be an asshole… Since you name would indicate you don’t wish to be known all I can thus assume is you want to be an asshole… You have offered nothing to this debate other than the tired same old Rightwing rhetoric I have been hearing all my life… and look where it has gotten us… dispised, hated and on the brink of another World War… We as a country are trying your ideas out now and have been for the last 6 years, and we are truly about to see the limits of our power… What do you think the world is going to do when it knows the US Warmachine has reached it’s limit? I know your type, you may have intelligence and the learning needed to debate… but you don’t have the wisdom to win… You just toss muck and mud as is the modus operendi of the Rightwing… I sir am done with you… I wish I could say I am glad to know you and thusly reduce ill will in whatever way I can… but all I have to offer you from here is… It will be nice ignoring you… Peace.

Reed says:

Re: WOW! Right on!

Tilden you have some great insight into some of the REAL problems of this new century. People don’t like hearing this stuff because they didn’t think of it first. In fact, most of these people don’t think at all, that’s why they all use the same tired old rhetoric.

We are all pawns and puppets of our respective governments. This does not have to be a bad thing though! A government is a neccessary evil, but it doesn’t have to be evil itself. The US government is evil. I can say this because I have studied history and I am a American citizen who loves his country. The US is a terrorist nation, it was formed out of terrorism and it continues to terrorize the world with its military might. We have been invovled in so many poitnless wars and killed so many innocents in the short period of time our country has been around it saddens me. We are so “wooped” by propaganda our government even managed to turn brother against brother in the civil war. Many years later our govermnet has even obscured what the civil war was about. Of course it was NOT SLAVERY, but rather the seperation of fed and state goverment. If you understand power you know that more power equals more corruption. Considering that there is only one man that has to make a decision to send our whole country to war, I think you can see we are truly a corrupt govermnet. No one man should decide the fate of our country and it just goes to show how ridicolous our goverment has become.

There are solution to the world’s problems, but the powers at be stand to lose everything they have if they were to accept them. This is why things don’t change! As long as people keep buying the same shit spewing rhetoric of war and capatilism the people of the world will continue to suffer. Americans already consume 20 times the resources of a third world citizen. If eveyone used as many resources as we did we would need around four Earths to support everyone. WAKE UP! Our lives are broken wether you choose to accept it or not. As you live your life know now that many people suffer to provide you with your cheap merchandise. Many people go without the basics so we can have more. We are all twisted inside to allow this to continue, perhaps we are the greatest terrorists of all……..

Anonymous Coward says:

Tilden, seems like you are in some pretty good company with who your thoughts align:

Al-Qaida’s No. 2 leader issued a worldwide call Thursday for Muslims to rise up in a holy war against Israel and join the fighting in Lebanon and Gaza until Islam reigns from “Spain to Iraq.”

“It is a jihad (holy war) for the sake of God and will last until (our) religion prevails … from Spain to Iraq,” al-Zawahri said. “We will attack everywhere.”

So you want to sit down across a table from this guy and get to know him? Good luck on that one.

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