US soldiers prepare to Tweet

In a move we can't help thinking they'll end up regretting, the US military has decided to allow servicemen to Tweet and update Facebook pages or even blog away, while blowing up civilians in far-flung lands.

Social networking sites have "become integral tools for operating and collaborating" between the US armed forces and the public, according to a Pentagon statement yesterday.

In the statement, US Deputy Defense Secretary William Lynn reckoned: "This directive recognizes the importance of balancing appropriate security measures while maximizing the capabilities afforded by 21st Century Internet tools."

Military big-wigs spent seven months considering the move before deciding that benefits of social media outweigh the possible security risks. The media help servicemen stay in touch with families and friends and are likely therefore to help maintain morale, it is thought.

According to AFP, the USA's top military officer, Admiral Mike Mullen, has a large following on Twitter. His handle must be Gruntmeisterinchief or something, as a Twitter search reports: "We couldn't find anyone named Mike Mullen."