Political Dynamics of Mil Blogging and Social Media


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Political Aspects of Mil Blogging. Which brings me to my point about mil bloggers. One dynamic that is becoming increasing clear is an undercurrent within the military blogger community (includes all social media) where the political views are advanced by participants on the left and right (yes, surprise, surprise there are liberal mil bloggers out there as well). There is a certain variety of liberal mil bloggers, it seems to me, that are using their status as ‘military veterans’ to advance their liberal agenda – some in a very academic and civil manner. Others in a more insidious way. Of course, on the other side of the coin there are some conservative mil bloggers doing the same. Then there are the mil bloggers who ignore the ‘political grist’ and concentrate on military news, commentary, and analysis (I think this is where SOF News resides).

Virtue Signalling. One tactic of some of the leftist mil bloggers is the accusation of ‘virtue signaling’. For instance, if a writer says that he spent a career in SF and he feels women don’t belong on an ODA he is accused of ‘virtue signaling‘ with the intent of discrediting the author and his argument. Many of these social media accounts take every opening to discredit someone opposed to their views. Some of them are targeting members of the SOF community – casting doubt on their credentials and asking questions like “What really makes a Green Beret or SEAL so special?”

Trash Talking. I was quite aware of the conservative mil blogging community – most of whom are quite reputable; although there are many that do a lot of ‘trash talking’ (reminds me of cornerbacks in the NFL). [1] What has become more evident to me is the (apparently) growing presence of mil bloggers on the left. Once again, most of whom are quite reputable. However, there seems to be a growing number who engage in the trash talking tactics as well.

Hot Button Issues. Some favorite topics of leftist mil bloggers include gun control, women in SOF and combat arms, equal representation of women in national security forums (panel discussions, symposiums, etc.), and non-veterans being able to comment on national security issues. Of course, some of these same issues and points of view are advanced by centrist and conservative mil bloggers as well (for instance women in SOF). [2] It isn’t a well-defined area. Probably one way of describing the situation is saying the leftist mil bloggers are advancing issues of concern important to (using a favorite conservative term) ‘social justice warriors’ (SJW).

Gun Control. The latest school shooting in Florida really brought this out – on the left and the right. For example some commentators with a SOF background, relying on their training and experience, voiced their opinions and observations on the topic of LE officers responding to school shootings. If their stance differed from that of a ‘leftist’ mil blogger (who was a veteran) then the ‘just because you are SOF doesn’t make your opinion or observation more valid than mine; I carried an M16 in Iraq’ argument is used. I guess we ignore the fact that the SOF guy probably has specialty courses like SOTIC, SFAUC, CQB, hostage rescue, CT opns, etc. in his toolbox.

Non-Veterans and National Security Issues. Another favorite issue of some liberal mil bloggers is reinforcing the idea that non-veterans can comment on issues relating to conflict and national security. There seems to be a big push to invalidate the military service of mil bloggers (who are veterans) even among the liberal mil bloggers. It is a ‘just because you served doesn’t mean your opinion means more than a non-veteran’ type of argument. Of course, sometimes it is the personality at hand. They are quick to point out the virtues of Max Boot (a military historian and great author but no military service) probably because of his constant pounding of President Trump in social media. [3] On the other hand I find that the leftist military bloggers are quite ready to criticize the ‘national security credentials’ of President Trump (by raising the draft deferment issue) or John Bolton (by pointing out he joined the National Guard to avoid service in Vietnam). I guess it is very ‘situational’ in their mind.

Discrediting SOF Commentators. Another troubling aspect is the apparent ‘offensive’ against the SOF social media community. There appears to be a small group of non-SOF mil bloggers and social media users who take every opportunity in very open and sometimes ‘hidden’ ways to discount a mil blogger or social media user who has a SOF background. As if the special training and wartime experiences a SOF service member has gone through doesn’t make him any more special than the regular infantryman, personnel clerk, cook, or mechanic. SOF folks and organizations are accused of having a ‘warrior mindset’ (as though that was a bad thing) and living in a ‘hypermasculine culture’. [4] This same crowd ridicules the ‘alpha male’ while ‘ endorsing the ‘beta male mindset’.

Mutual Admiration Society and Ganging Up. There appears to be – at least in the ‘leftist’ mil blogger community (and it is also in the ‘rightist’ mil blogger community as well) – a ‘mutual admiration society’ that employ reinforcing tactics; especially in the “Twitter Sphere”. It is almost as though there is a ‘ganging up’ policy. Some of the tactics include the use of ‘memes’ and others use humor. For example Duffel Blog (I am a big fan) recently took the opportunity to poke fun at the ‘veteran blogger’. [5]

It is all very interesting in an academic sort of way. So does SOF News have a ‘leftist’ or ‘rightist’ approach?

Probably not. As Joe Friday once said . . .



[1] If I took the occasion to point out that I was a corner back on a college football team (which I was) and therefore I know about corner backs ‘trash talking’ then I could be accused of ‘virtue signaling’.

[2] A broad generalization of the ‘women in SOF’ issue could be this: one segment of the mil blogging community think women don’t belong in SOF (usually SOF commentators) while another segment would like to see more women in SOF as long as the standards are not changed. Then, there is the segment that believes the standards are outdated or inappropriate; which of course, would ‘change’ (not lower) standards allowing more women to become SOF.

[3] Max Boot is one of my favorite book authors. I like his commentary on national security. His constant disparaging of Trump, to the delight of leftist mil bloggers, during the election and over the past year detracted considerably from the value of his Twitter feed. Once Trump is out of office in 3 to 7 years Boot will most likely be looked upon less favorably by the leftist mil blogger crowd.

[4] Twitter feed on March 8, 2018.

[5] See “Opinion: As a veteran, my opinion counts more than yours”Duffel Blog, March 7, 2018. I love the Duffel Blog by the way.

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