Effective today, according to Stars and Stripes, troops in Iraq will no longer be able to access sites like YouTube and MySpace on official Defense Department computers.
The stated reason is that these sites suck up too much bandwidth.
Defense officials said the move is solely a reaction to the heavy drain the streaming video and audio can put on the defense computer network.
"We’re not passing any judgment on these sites, we’re just saying you shouldn’t be accessing them at work," said Julie Ziegenhorn, spokeswoman for U.S. Strategic Command. "This is a bandwidth and network management issue. We’ve got to have the networks open to do our mission. They have to be reliable, timely and secure."
But, these sites are used frequently by troops in Iraq to post pictures and share information with family and friends back home. Apparently, that isn't much of a concern to the Defense Department because -- remember -- gotta save that bandwidth.
Oh wait, look --
Ironically, the Defense Department this year had just begun expanding its own use of YouTube to reach a younger, broader audience and show clips of U.S. troops in action.
So, the DoD bans troops from YouTube while using it to recruit.
Maybe their new recruiting message can be: "Like this cool website? Well, enjoy it while it lasts. Because as soon as you sign up it's the last you'll see of it."
Besides, you don't imagine that there might be another, sinister reason why the Pentagon is doing this, do you? Like maybe they want to block troops from sharing photos and video and that show that Iraq is not the happy playground the administration claims it to be?
Nah. Couldn't be that. That would be dishonest and paranoid and controlling. It's gotta be that bandwidth thing.
Oh, and as the Wired blog Danger Room points out:
Massive bandwidth-sucking PowerPoint briefings are naturally still allowed.