On blogs and Web sites, by email and video, the Iraq war is fought on the Internet

The black-shrouded Web site opens with a soldier’s silhouette and the pounding rhythm of Nine Inch Nails: “Into the fire you can send us,” the words go. “From the fire we return.”This is the Unlikely Soldier’s blog, where a young infantryman known as The Usual Suspect rants and shares his experiences in what soldiers call The Sandbox.”One year ago,” when his unit first arrived in Iraq, “we were nervous and excited and apprehensive. Ready to do this. Green as snot. I was all sorts of optimistic, thinking we were going to do great things and kick lots of ass, GI Joe hero type (expletive). That we could be cool with the people, and bring the hammer down on the baddies.”Then, every soldier’s nightmare: “A low rumble shakes my Stryker (armored vehicle), and two of our guys are killed by an IED while they were dismounted.”People emerged from their houses and cheered.”This is the war in 2008 _ coming to a computer near you.Wars have often been defined by the new technologies that shaped them. The Civil War was the first photographed conflict in U.S. history, news of World War II was delivered by movie news reels, television made Vietnam the living room war and Desert Storm was the first war broadcast live by satellite.Historians will likely remember Operation Iraqi Freedom as iWar v1.0. The Web has done more than quicken reporting from the battlefield; it has made war interactive.Al-Qaida militants, conservative bloggers, peace activists, Iraqi civilians and the U.S. military all use the Internet to distribute their versions of the truth. They often engage in e-mail debates, but more often sink to slurs and threats when challenging an opposing point of view.To read the full story, see the Sydney Morning Herald, The Age or The India Times.

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