23 March 2007

Is "The Yon" getting booted from Iraq?

I just read a post over at BlackFive about Michael Yon being hated on by a CENTCOM general. I double checked this over at Yon's site.

Here is an exerpt from his latest post, titled "R.U.B.s":

"A general emailed in the past 24 hours threatening to kick me out.(!!!!)

The first time the Army threatened to kick me out was in late 2005, just after I published a dispatch called “Gates of Fire.” Some of the senior level public affairs people who’d been upset by “Proximity Delays” were looking ever since for a reason to kick me out and they wanted to use “Gates of Fire” as a catapult. In the events described in that dispatch, I broke some rules by, for instance, firing a weapon during combat when some of our soldiers were fighting fairly close quarters and one was wounded and still under enemy fire. That’s right. I’m not sure what message the senior level public affairs people thought that would convey had they succeeded, (which they didn’t) but it was clear to me what they valued most. They want the press on a short leash, even at the expense of the life of a soldier."

While Michael does not reveal WHY the general has threatened him, it's not doubt that Michael simply told the truth (as he is known to do) and the old man just didn't like the light he was painted in.

While it is NEVER easy being in a position of leadership, you should have the knowledge and confidence that you will make the right decision. And if you do that, then you will not (or should not) have to be upset about someone writing about the event.

Op-For adds:

"Remember that scene in "We Were Soldiers?" When Joe Galloway tells SGM Plumley "I'm a non-combatant" and gets a gruff "ain't no such thing today" in return?

I think there is place in battle, a certain nexus of intensity where the line between combatant and non-combatant blurs, that washes away rank, profession, class, and belief. Societal norms evaporate, leaving a small group of Americans, brothers, fighting for their fellow countrymen.

In Vietnam, the Army told Joe Galloway to pick up a rifle and stand with his fellow citizens. In Iraq, they are trying to kick Mike Yon out of theater for volunteering to do the same."

And Colonel Austin Bay sums it all up quite nicely:

"This is stupid. Michael Yon and Bill Roggio are the best out there. Telling Michael Yon to exit the theater is the WWII equivalent of telling Ernie Pyle to quit filing dispatches."

If Michael gets kicked out of theater, where will we turn for the truth and something more than just a nightly body count? How bout The Fourth Rail, courtesy of Bill Roggio. At least, until he is told to stop too.

On a side note.... I hope I haven't overstepped my bounds by quoting so much. Please, check out the referenced blogs as they are MUCH better than mine and they can fill you in on more details that I have here. I have NOT corresponded with the sources stated, so I do not have first hand knowledge of this event. Although, I'd love nothing more to write to Michael Yon, BlackFive and their like.

Thanks for reading my longest post yet, and I hope you found this informative. More to come!

JB2D out.


Mary*Ann said...

Wish Michael Yon could reach a wider audience. As far as I can tell, he's the one who should use "fair and balanced".

Matti said...

Well, one good thing has come from all this. I doubt I would have come across "Gates of Fire" without the flack Yon's getting, and I'm probably not alone. Gates of Fire is a fabulous post. Talk about riveting. All I could think while reading it was, "what on earth are they thinking, wanting to send Yon home?" Maybe they aren't thinking!

And now I'm reading some comments coming down on Yon for taking part in the shoot-out. Give me a break. I think Bowman said it best: "Mike, it’s simple. Were you in fear for your life or the lives of others?" The answer was a very big hell yes. End of story.

Great blog, by the way. I've added it to my favorites. Thanks for the great posts.