Some of the best reporting from inside Baghdad comes from the troops who are using the Internet to send their views back home. The Army has been forced to tread a fine line on this: broadband wireless Internet access is vital for troop morale, but it opens the floodgates for the promulgation of news and opinions that make the Army very uncomfortable. The Army has strongly discouraged blogging but has been reluctant to resort to judicial punishment for it. Thus, Iraq has been the leakiest conflict in history.

The best of these backchannel news reports have been the “sitreps” of an MP sergeant who goes by the nom de plume/guerre Sgt Roy Batty. Batty’s sitreps began literally as letters home, much like those of previous wars, but they gradually grew into intensely vivid descriptions of life as seen from inside a Humvee warily patolling in Sadr City. Also, through the flexibility built into email they became widely circulated. Today, they can be found on several national websites. Try all of the following, as not all the sitreps occur on all of the websites:

Doonesbury’s Sandbox Media Center
This site is run by Gary Trudeau of “Doonesbury” fame. Search on “Sgt Roy Batty.” There is a great deal of other fine writing on this site, as well

US Cav “On Point”
Another collection of reports from the troops. These tend to be somewhat more gung ho about the war

In addition, the Army Times has picked Batty up as a regular feature, though none of his reports have thus far appeared. Also, some excerpts have appeared in the Yellow Springs News.

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