Iraq War Debated On YouTube

doane, army soldier, computer
There's a virtual war of opinions raging on the Internet, and a lot of people weighing in, reports CBS News correspondent Seth Doane.

On YouTube, a Web site where anyone can post video on any topic, there are 65,000 new entries each day, many debating the war in Iraq.

At 16, Vincent Scarpa is too young to vote, but he can make his opinions known on YouTube.

"I hope my video is influential to somebody who is up in the air about the war and George Bush," he says.

Scarpa's views are in the minority in his southern New Jersey town, but his YouTube videos give him a platform.

Asked if he has ever thought of taking part in an anti-war protest by hitting the streets, Scarpa says, "I definitely would, but I live in a very small town and none of that is going on here. ... YouTube is, virtually, what I want my town to be."

A search through this "virtual town" reveals a wide range of video you'd never see on the network news, some graphically violent.

But, keep searching, and find glimpses of humanity, too.

"What I wanted them to understand is some of the good stuff that's happening," says Sgt. Mark Copp.

Copp fought for and supports the U.S. mission in Iraq. He created a posting for his wife, to help her understand what moved him most: Iraqi children.

"I was sending this back to family who had asked, 'What are you doing day to day?'" he said.

CBS News' "48 Hours" took video of Copp's battalion in Iraq. What made it to the screen was the quick advance toward Baghdad. But Copp felt his family back home was only seeing part of the truth.

When Copp's picture collage of quiet, tender moments with children in Iraq made it to YouTube, more than 11,000 people checked it out.

"People find each other and they feed off each other in support or not in support of the war," says Copp.

"At the end of the day, I think it's healthy for Americans to have a little bit of freedom to believe what they want."

Online, unfiltered material is paramount. So Scarpa even posts the negative comments he receives.

A sample comment: All of you are so desperate to be heard, why are you talking about politics?

"That's ridiculous," says Scarpa, who goes on to explain that he talks about politics because he can. "YouTube is one of the sites that you can do it on."

During the Vietnam War people aired their opinions in public rallies and protests.

But YouTube users say today's generation wants more. Uncensored pictures and video bring raw realities home, and opinions evolving at home can instantly spread to the rest of the world.