Michael Yon’s Embed With Army Stryker BCT Comes to an End

Background:
Michael Yon is a former Soldier-turned-journalist who was attached to Army units and blogged dispatches from Iraq and Afghanistan. He reported the order of battle and successful campaigns ignored by the media: http://www.michaelyon-online.com/

Here is his final dispatch from Afghanistan:

On Saturday, 10 April, a message came from military that this embed has ended. No reason was offered. The troops here have no idea why. On Sunday a reason was given: overcrowding by journalists. Haven’t seen a journalist in weeks.

I had gone to great expense to be here with 5/2 Stryker Brigade Combat Team and promised to stay with them until they leave Afghanistan. Then suddenly a nameless feature decided to pull the plug. The decision likely came from General officer level. It is a bad sign indicating that they think they are losing the war and don’t want anyone there to see it. Saw this in Iraq.

It has been said that between Iraq and Afghanistan I’ve spent more time embedded with combat units than anyone in U.S. history. I do not know if this is true but it sounds good. It’s been a long journey and fortune favored my every step. Many people have been killed or maimed and I am walking out without a scratch. I will continue to cover the war but will not give the military another chance to pull the plug. I will cover the war from outside the wire where it’s far safer. Many people erroneously think that embedding is the safest way to cover the wars. This is untrue. Journalists who are afraid or reluctant to endure long periods of stress and combat will brag that going alone somehow seizes the high ground of truth. There is no truth in this. In many cases the journalists are missing crucial information because they fear the combat and the difficult living. The infantry company on this mission has lost twelve comrades KIA during this tour, with others wounded for life.

It’s just as easy to accurately sense the direction of the war winds alone as with troops. The military media machine is playing games during a time of war.

My thoughts will always be with the combat Soldiers. My body will be elsewhere.

He continues:

Michael Yon in Kandahar
Things are wrapping up faster than I thought. Probably finish embed by Friday, maximum. (Depends how fast can extract to KAF.)

Agree that sleeping bag sticks out. My main military bag was stolen. During those photos, I was actually laying on a camoflaged bag that I would have used if enemy threat was high. (The Strykers with motors running stuck out more than the sleeping bag.) Got that lime bag in Nepal for a trip that I wanted to do to Everest this month. Skipped the Everest trip to be with 5/2. Could be trekking in Sagarmatha area now instead of dealing with censorship from McChrystal’s people. Everest is more fun but this war is more important.

Clear that this was a General officer level decision to dis-embed me. Why? Because no General officer intervened. The McChrystal era of censorship is on. It will be/is counterproductive. And it will not work. Too many holes to slip through. McChrystal is good at killing people, but this war is far more complicated than simply killing people. His folks had more than half a decade to win this war — with very agreeable ROE — now look where we are. Clear that he cannot handle even the writers who are natural allies. McChrystal has little chance against hostile press. Bad omens all around.

It starts with censorship and ends with a President under pressure.

Michael Yon

Iraq was won a while back, and the fight goes on in Afghanistan.

Since Obama took office, the ROE situation has become an absolute clusterfuck.  Obama insists that “winning isn’t necessarily a goal”, and his dicked-up foreign policy reflects that.  His idiotic campaign to fight “negative stereotypes of Islam” totally ignores the realities of the violent, ideological religion. I feel so sorry for the military troops still serving under this assclown.

Allowing Michael to get kicked to the curb is a big mistake on McCrystal’s part. The troops need more dedicated, loyal journalists like him to continue reporting the news that the leftwing MSM either slants or refuses to publish.  

Congratulations, General McCrystal.  How does it feel to be an Obama tool?

The higher-ups added gasoline to this fire by dismissing him without a valid reason. If they didn’t like what he reported, they should have the guts to say so.

Related posts:
http://sfcmac.wordpress.com/2009/11/17/karzais-rules-endanger-soldiers-in-afghanistan/
http://sfcmac.wordpress.com/2009/09/21/the-ones-new-war-strategy/
http://sfcmac.wordpress.com/2009/09/22/army-general-mcchrystals-frustration-with-obamas-afghanistan-strategy/

2 thoughts on “Michael Yon’s Embed With Army Stryker BCT Comes to an End”

  1. I’m sick of hearing how great this guy is. Look, Michael Yon is out for glory for one guy: Michael Yon. A lot of journos are PITAs but this guy is The Royal PITA, no joke. I’ve never witnessed a more thoroughgoing narcissist. He is found to be amusing and occasionally he captures an atmospheric moment in time, but on the whole, his breathlessly histrionic style doesn’t reflect the banal realities of our war. He’d be writing for Soldier of Fortune if they’d hire him, and that’s about it.

    Put another way, Yon writes war porn. Dudes on the sidelines eat that sh!t up. Anybody who’s actually fought here, breathed the dust here, sees right through him. Yon’s just a camp follower, a parasite making a buck and a name off the deeds of others.

    1. JCline,

      I’ve posted numerous dispatches from Yon’s site and you’re the only person to come on here and complain. Bill Roggio (The Long War Journal) is also a Soldier-turned journalist and has written extensively about the experiences of the units in which he embeds.
      I’m an Iraq War vet twice over. I was in Desert Storm and OIF. The only reporters that got my distain were the non-prior service civilian pukes, who worked for MSM newspapers. And slimes like Geraldo Rivera. Yon’s style may not appeal to everyone, but I’ll give him this: He’s biased in favor of the mission and the troops, and he tells the truth about the conditions on the ground. He believes (his words) that “the United States’ mission to build a stable, democratic Iraq is succeeding and must continue.” He’s pretty aggressive about the Afghan mission as well. When it comes to “making a buck off the deeds of others”, the same charge could be leveled at the MSM. The difference is that they are not loyal to the Army or the mission. They are loyal to the “story”, only. And it’s usually skewed leftward. You’ll note that MSM reporting on this war is in direct proportion to our success. That’s why you haven’t seen any news (whatsoever) in rags like the New York Times. If it ain’t bad news, they won’t print it. It’s good to have people like Yon and Roggio still sending dispatches and writing about the troops’ efforts and success.

      SFC MAC

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