For "Nightline," ABC News' Jake Tapper interviewed Markos Moulitsas, founder of the powerful blog Daily Kos. The following is a transcript.
JAKE TAPPER: What inspired you to sit down on that day, in 2002, and start blogging?
MARKOS MOULITSAS: This was early 2002, it was in the wake of the Afghanistan war, kind of in the run up in the Iraq war. It was a very stifling environment for liberal voices -- they simply did not exist, they were quieted down. If you criticized the president on any issue, domestic or foreign, you were accused of being un-American and unpatriotic.
Watch the full interview on "Nightline" at 11:35 p.m. ET.
And having been a veteran, having pledged my life to support the freedoms that the Constitution provides, and that our nation were founded on, I found it very, very insulting that I was told what I could and could not say. So, really, I was a reaction of that stifling political environment. And I think blogging, especially in a progressive blogosphere grew the way it did, because of that, because those voices were completely absent of the media environment at that time.
TAPPER: Why did you enlist? Were you in the Army?
MOULITSAS: I was in the Army for three years, between 1989 and 1992. And I enlisted because I was actually -- at the time I was actually a Republican, and I believed I was very much a military hawk at the time, and I thought, 'This is very quaint in today's world, in today's political environment.' But at the time, I thought that if was going to advocate for military involvement in various places, that I really needed to have served, that I'd be a hypocrite if I was not a veteran and I'd be talking about military action. Not thinking that I was going to be in politics or anything like that. You know, this was my personal life.
TAPPER: Just talking about your day-to-day life?
MOULITSAS: Exactly. I mean, to me it would be hypocrit[ical] to say we should bomb Grenada or invade Grenada, we should bomb Libya, if I had not been a vet.
Now, I went into the Army as a Republican, I came out as a Democrat, and it completely changed my outlook on a lot of things. And when you live side by side with, you know, your fellow soldiers and you realize that they're not a number, that they're actually human beings and they have families, it's a lot harder, I think, to talk about sending them to die for things that aren't really that important.
TAPPER: But you didn't see action during Gulf War I?
MOULITSAS: No, I was stationed in Germany at the time.
TAPPER: And what did you do?
MOULITSAS: I was in the artillery. I was actually a fire direction specialist, which is kind of a headquarters position. You manage the logistical flow of the missile battery.
TAPPER: What does that mean in English?
MOULITSAS: It means that there's three missile launchers. I was in a track vehicle. I was in charge of making sure that the vehicles were fueled -- the launches were fueled, that the troops in the platoon were fed, that there was enough fuel, ammunition, that sort of thing. So making sure all the other details that make a platoon work.