People believe that the internet gives you anonymity. There is a group of "activists" know as "anonymous" who seem to revile in causing as much chaos as possible whenever someone gets up their hackles. That they target the DoD, CIA, NSA, and even fortune 500 companies, and seriously penetrate the same, should give some people pause. But nothing, not even on the internet happens in a vacuum. The things you do, and say will get back to you. Blogging is the most obvious example, but we've seen social media get back to a person in a really big way as well. Even Anonymous has been itself penetrated, and some of the ring leaders names released. That the group is diffuse and that they are not so much coordinated as pointed at a target has been an asset to them, but again, that is not fool proof.
I want to give you a few examples of how things you can say get back to you. Way back in 2004, I was working at the Ivory Combat Clinic in Kirkuk Iraq. It was named for a 173rd Airborne trooper that had died of non-combat related injury, in 2003. Now I was curious to learn more about this individual so I went looking for him and found a message board where I left a brief message:
"I never knew you but I see your name, and face every day at the Ivory Combat Clinic, Named after you. I pray you find peace.
SPC Bailey of ICC, Kirkuk , Iraq
It was nothing much to me and I completely forgot about it. Flash forward a few months and 225 Forward Support Bn is getting ready to go home, and Lt Ammeda pulls me aside and asks me to take the board that had been hanging on the T barrier in front of the Aid Station.
The lower one. The white sign to my knowlege still hangs in the Company area in Hawaii
Sure says I, even though I've already been tasked with an Aid Bag (lest anything happen) and my own personal bag. I asked her why, and she stopped. and looked at me rather seriously (which is impressive considering she is about 5'1")
"hasn't anyone told you?"
"Told me what ma'am?"
"Did you leave a message on a message board about SPC Ivory?"
At this I really racked my brain, and in one of those "ah-ha" moments remembered something that had taken all of five seconds.
"yes ma'am." I said this with trepidation. The Army was cracking down on bloggers
"Well SPC Ivory's parents found out about that, and contacted our PAO, we're presenting it to them when we get back, and its all thanks to you."
Well needless to say I was rather stunned by this. It was an honor and a privilege to carry this sign back, even though it quickly grew to headache proportions when we finally got to Doha. We finally get back, I am told to give up the sign and I kind of forget about it again. Until SPC Ivory's mom and Step Dad come to Hawaii, and we give them the sign. A lot of the members of the company were treated to a dinner at Ruth's Cris (if you've been to Hawaii, you'll know that this is a top flight, steak house). I was given a coin, and despite the fact that I protested vehemently that I really hadn't done anything, I was treated like one of his son's best friends by his step dad. One small throw away line gave a man a measure of peace regarding the loss of a child he called his own. Sometimes the Internet can be a tool for good.
There is of course a number of negative examples. I don't think I need to talk about the "Army Wife, Army Life" blog. It's been well documented and responded to. This is an example of a negative action getting back to you. Of course there's PFC Manning, who I really won't get into, Matthis Chiroux, whose favorite hobby is going around to schools and telling kids that the military rapes half the women serving, and lies about his service. The truth comes out eventually, and though most people know Matthis is a liar, the little things he says will come back to haunt him.
Another person, who has caused my personal Ire, is Ethan McCord. I could go into a long winded explanation about how much of a jackass he has become, but seriously, that's not necessary, I'm not the only one that is pissed about it. The Incident itself is surprisingly well documented. He talks about "War Crimes" and how we're daily gunning down women and children. He talks about the Children he saved, and the pain he has from that day. Which I might have sympathy for. If he hadn't gone and sought out the media when PFC Manning had released the video that would become Collateral Murder, and then fallen in with IVAW, and Not Your Soldiers. He has become the darling of the Liberal Masses (I'm thinking the Unwashed strongly in the forefront), and forgotten what it means to be a Soldier.
I firmly believe he is doing this for purely narcissistic reasons. He is a darling now. He is getting all the love that he can stand, and though I don not think that there is massive monetary compensation, I would not be surprised if there is. In the process he has thrown every Soldier he ever served with under the bus. I've decided, now that some of my fellow comrades have actually shown interest in hitting back at this Blue Falcon. . . I make this public Decoration for all to see. For everyone to know and in the hopes that it will get back to McCord.
My name is Michael Bailey. I swear that I will fight the negative image tooth and nail, that I will support and defend my battle buddies in this fight, and that I will make sure that everyone knows what a Blue Falcon former Spc McCord is.
So help me God.