Michael's Dispatches Michael's Dispatches

Verbal assaults directed at uniformed [military] personnel

Washington D.C.

Dept of Transportation Federal Transit Administration sends:

Recently, there have been local incidents in which military personnel have been verbally assaulted while commuting on the Metro. Uniformed members have been approached by individuals expressing themselves as anti-government, shouting anti-war sentiments, and using racial slurs against minorities.

In one instance, a member was followed onto the platform by an individual who continued to berate her as she exited the
metro station. Thus far, these incidents have occurred in the vicinity of the Reagan National Airport and Eisenhower Ave metro stations on the yellow line, however, military members should be vigilant and aware of their surroundings at all times while in mass transit.

Read more: Verbal assaults directed at uniformed [military] personnel

Michael Moore’s Crime

 

Now here’s Michael Moore, the latest infringer, using my work for his own crude political purposes. I recall some years ago watching one of his movies in Paris, and thinking how sad it was that an American would make propaganda so flagrant that it seemed pornographic. It was sad but at the same time uplifting, because Mr. Moore was able to exercise his right to free speech, rights that should never be infringed upon.

Read more: Michael Moore’s Crime

Moment of Truth in Iraq - Chapter One

C H A P T E R O N E

 

Be Not Afraid
You shall cross the barren desert, but you shall not die of thirst.
You shall wander far in safety though you do not know the way.
You shall speak your words in foreign lands and all will understand.
You shall see the face of God and live.
Be not afraid. I go before you always;
Come follow me, and I will give you rest.

FROM A PRAYER CARD I FOUND ON A BASE IN ANBAR PROVINCE, IRAQ
Please click here to read and/or download the entire first chapter of Moment of Truth in Iraq. At the end of the first chapter we have placed the handout for bookstore managers, librarians, or military exchanges. Please feel free to copy the first chapter as is and the handout.

Update

Some folks have asked if I plan to do book signings in stores. None are planned because I need to take care of business here before heading back to the war, but I have been making dozens of media appearances and many more are scheduled this month. The big issue at hand is the launch of my book Moment of Truth in Iraq. Doesn't do any good to spend all that time on the battlefields if I do not take time to convey the facts to folks at home.

I'll try to sign one more gigantic stack of Moment of Truth before heading back to the war, but for those folks who were buying signed copies for Christmas presents, now is the best time as we still have about a thousand signed copies.

Amazon.com is fully stocked and has the lowest current price--$17.97 today.

Moment of Truth is available at all Barnes & Noble stores and at BN.com at a reduced price. Please click the link and enter your zip code to check availability of Moment of Truth in Iraq at nearby stores. This function maps nearby stores with copies in stock.

Great to be back in America but sure comes with a lot of work before heading back to Iraq and Afghanistan.

Next time you see a service member in an airport, please say "thank you" to him or her. Those simple words go a long, long way. Back in the war, I often have heard combat soldiers saying how good it made them feel when someone in an airport simply said "thank you" and kept on walking. Very powerful words. They hugely appreciate those words.

Your correspondent,

Michael

To bring peace to the Afghans, talk to the Taleban

Planes, Trains, Armored Trucks, and Afghanistan

Instead of “planes, trains, and automobiles,” my trip from western Nineveh to Mosul, to Erbil, to Vienna, to Stuttgart, to Atlanta, to El Paso, and then to Florida was much more interesting. It included helicopters, armored pickup trucks, trains, buses, cars and numerous jets. And the “fun” has just begun. After Florida there will be Washington, D.C., and then back to the war. As always, I beg forgiveness for the great difficulty I have responding to emails.

In addition to all the travel there is also the endless homework. A big challenge has been finding reliable sources whether they be military, political, or journalistic. I’ve located another source whom I pay attention to regarding Afghanistan. Former British military officer and ITN reporter, Adam Holloway MP is now on the Defence Select Committee. I’ve mentioned Mr. Holloway in my 2006 dispatches on Afghanistan, after having met him on a remote airfield in Afghanistan. He’s a very smart man with an eye for truth about the war: good, bad and the ugly. In Afghanistan it’s mostly the bad and ugly. Mr. Holloway has written an important piece at www.spectator.co.uk. : To bring peace to the Afghans, talk to the Taleban.

What Mr. Holloway is proposing might cause nervous twitches – perhaps spasms – in America and in the United Kingdom. But I know for a fact that he’s paying close attention to Afghanistan. After I first met him there in 2006, I learned through a source that Mr. Holloway financed his own second secret trip to the hinterlands so that he could avoid the dog and pony show of an official visit. In December 2007, when I visited the U.K., an important part of the trip that I have not previously mentioned was that I met with Mr. Holloway numerous times to discuss Afghanistan.

The United Kingdom is a critical partner in the Afghan war. Mr. Holloway’s controversial article deserves serious consideration and discussion. Furthermore, this Member of Parliament is willing to open a direct line to citizen-voices from the United States, and so with his permission, Mr. Holloway’s email address: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Wow

Greetings,

I'm in Florida, but on the way to Washington DC. It's great to touch American soil again. I miss this place a lot--especially when bullets are flying by my head in the war. Where we are winning.

"Moment of Truth in Iraq" is selling very well. I am very surprised; lot's of folks apparently really do want to know the truth about Iraq. My publisher just called my attorney with a quote from the movie "Jaws." The publisher said, "I think we're gonna need a bigger boat."

Read more: Wow

Call to Action

Dear friends,

Our soldiers are turning defeat and disaster into victory and hope. But we could still fumble—if the American people don’t hear the truth now. There remain serious perils in Iraq and this is a time for action.

To get the message out, please help me get Moment of Truth in Iraq stocked in bookstores, and especially in free libraries and military exchanges.

Here’s how: Please click on “Handout for Bookstores and Libraries” below. This will open a printable one-page handout that can be given to any local bookstore manager, librarian, or military exchange. (Or all three if you can.)

The handout will tell bookstores and libraries everything they need to order Moment of Truth in Iraq. But what will really motivate retailers and librarians is you, the reader, a member of their community, requesting the book.

So please click here and ask your bookstore, library, or military exchange to please stock Moment of Truth in Iraq today.

Moment of Truth in Iraq is available on Amazon.com. We have hit the Amazon top 50 before the book even hit stores or libraries.

 

Thank you for your help,

Michael

 

P.S. To make this appeal at even more effective, please give a copy of the flyer to a friend or family member and ask him or her to do the same. My publisher says that two people asking the same library or store to stock a book is far more effective than one person asking.

 

P.P.S. This may be the biggest favor I’ll ever ask for, but if we pull this off we can get the message about what our soldiers have achieved to millions of people!

Color of War

Desolate Battles

Western Nineveh Province, Iraq

Desert Battles are unfolding in hidden and faraway places. Bullets snapp through air, then splap through flesh and men fall. Bodies crumple onto the desert, a fly lands on the lip of an open mouth, fingers twitch as the flesh dies and the winds kick up and dust settles on unblinking eyes. The dry earth drinks their sticky blood and they are forgotten. Their families do not know they are dead. They came to kill Americans and innocent Iraqis. Instead, they were killed themselves. In a desert landscape, sometimes the color of a war can bleed out into black and white.

Read more: Color of War

Holy Brothel

On March 2, an American Special Forces team along with Iraqi SWAT (ISWAT) moved on a terrorist cell near Tal Afar. There was specific intelligence that this cell had conducted assassinations and other attacks against Iraqis and Americans. As ISWAT and Special Forces closed in on the target, the enemy answered with bullets. Bullets ripped through an ISWAT truck, killing three police. Bullets struck a Special Forces vehicle and a tight firefight followed. The enemy was well prepared. Muzzles flashed from different locations. The fighting continued until nine enemy were killed and eight suspects captured. Three civilians were wounded along with three police wounded and three killed, for a total of a dozen people killed.

Ammunition, grenades and other weapons were captured, but after that Special Forces/ISWAT mission, attacks in the vicinity decreased. Tal Afar, formerly “Al Qaeda City,” is mostly quiet these days. Normally we have far less than a hundred soldiers in the city, but we do need money for civil affairs projects. This money truly is critical. Otherwise, the situation improves, though without investment this could be reversed.

The few remaining serious troublemakers are being hacked off and mulched in these incessant operations, which gives the enemy no rest (in the old days, when they were murdering Iraqis and Americans by the thousands, AQI used Tal Afar for training and R&R). These types of terrorists used to lay up with prostitutes in downtown Tal Afar, which isn’t so uncommon – for years brothels have been an excellent source of information against al Qaeda from Mosul to Baghdad. The al Qaeda terrorists don’t save themselves for the seventy two virgins promised to suicide bombers. They love drugs, prostitutes, and the power of the gun. The gay al Qaeda informant in Moment of Truth in Iraq is classic. Whenever his al Qaeda lovers abused him, he supplied American forces information to kill them.

Holy Brothel

The writing on his chest says “Mujahadeen Tal Afar.” American soldiers told me this image was captured in a raid. The ring and watch on his right hand and wrist indicate he is a “holy warrior,” although his beard might have been shaved as cover. Officers told me this guy was killed, but they had no ready confirmation. In any case, it would be interesting to see the faces of al Qaeda financiers in places like Saudi Arabia, if they saw how their money is being spent. And that’s the truth about al Qaeda.

Today I am in Iraq. Tomorrow Europe, and within the week, back to Texas. About a month later, I should be back in what is left of the war. There is relatively little fighting going on these days.

Please buy a copy of Moment of Truth in Iraq. The book will ship immediately if you buy here, and proceeds will help me get back to Iraq and Afghanistan. The book will arrive in stores on 23 April.

 

[Note from Webmaster]: I spoke to Michael by phone shortly after publishing this article. He was standing in an airport in Irbil, Iraq waiting to board a flight. I mentioned to him about one of the comments pointing out the photo being altered. He wanted me to convey that he was aware that the text appearing across the man's chest was not a tattoo. He also advised that the photo was as he received it, and that several Iraq men he had shown it to had also commented about the writing.

Stake Through Their Hearts:

Killing al Qaeda


March 2008
Western Nineveh Province, Iraq


The sun was setting over Nineveh as four terrorists driving tons of explosives closed on their targets. On August 14, 2007, the Yezidi villages of Qahtaniya and Jazeera were under attack, but only the terrorists knew it as they drove their trucks straight into the hearts of the communities.

The shockwave from detonation far outpaced the speed of sound. Buildings and humans were ripped apart and hurled asunder. Superheated poisonous gases from the explosions gathered the smoke and dust and lofted heavenward, while the second detonation quickly followed. The terrorists had landed their first blows straight through the heart of the Yezidi community, turning a wedding party into hundreds of funerals.

Four mushroom clouds over Yezidi Villages: Is Europe Next?

But the attacks were not over. Yezidi men grabbed their rifles, and while two more truck bombs rumbled toward Qahtaniya and Jazeera, a hail of Yezidi bullets met them. The defenders who fired the bullets were killed with honor while standing between evil and their people. Two other truck bombs detonated on the outskirts of the villages.

Read more: Stake Through Their Hearts:

Guitar Heroes

Michael Yon

Mosul, Iraq
10 March 2008

Men crept in darkness to plant a bomb. They moved in an area where last year I was helping to collect fallen American soldiers from the battlefield.

Terrorists. The ones who murder children in front of their parents. The ones who take drugs and rape women and boys. The ones who blow up schools. The ones who have been forcibly evicted from places like Anbar Province, Baghdad and Baqubah by American and Iraqi forces. Terrorists are here now in Mosul. They call themselves al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI). AQI cannot win without Baghdad, and cannot survive without Mosul. The Battle for Mosul is evolving into AQI’s last great stand.

And there were the men planting the bomb. It is unknown if the men with the explosives were al Qaeda, but they were planting a bomb and that was enough. Many terrorists murder only for money. Like hit men. They might have nothing against the victim. It’s just business. Although understanding enemy motivations is key to winning a war, out on the battlefield, such considerations can become secondary, as divining the motives of a would-be killer is less important than stopping him.

The bombers were being watched. Invisible to them, prowling far overhead, was a Predator.

The Predator is an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) whose eye sees through the darkness. The night sky is the jungle where it hides. The Predator strikes with more suddenness and force than any tiger. I often watch the live feed streaming down into the Tactical Operations Centers (TOC) around Iraq, while crosshairs track the enemy, and the screen lists data such as altitude, azimuth, ground speed, and the precise grid coordinates of the target. The Predator carries a deadly Hellfire missile, but also has other weapons, like the crosshairs on its eye, which links down to soldiers watching the video and data feed. The soldiers have radios to other soldiers with massive arrays of weapons. With that combination, every weapon in the US arsenal can be brought into action. Unarmed spy planes, like the Shadow, often allow enemies to escape—the difference between success and failure is often measured in seconds. The Predator can launch an attack with its Hellfire, but the most devastating attacks are usually the result of closely-coordinated teamwork between soldiers on the ground and in the air, using information provided by the Predator above. Combat at this level is an elegant dance under a burning roof.

Read more: Guitar Heroes

A Prince and a Soldier

“And gentlemen in England now-a-bed
Shall think themselves accurs’d they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin’s day.”

William Shakespeare, Henry V

During my recent embeds with British forces, I suggested numerous times that Prince Harry could quietly serve in Afghanistan without the attracting media coverage that would make targets out of him and his fellow soldiers. Apparently the Brits had the same idea. Along with his unit the Household Cavalry, Harry was sent to a forward operation base in the Helmand province. Credit to the Royal Family for allowing Prince Harry to serve in a dangerous environment.

Read more: A Prince and a Soldier

Doves of Mosul

25 February 2008

On 23 February at FOB Marez in Mosul, I saw a dove on the ground. The bird was still alive but obviously sick. It looked up at me blinking, yet made no move to escape. The feathers were not groomed and it appeared to have a small growth near or at the leading edge of its right wing.

Read more: Doves of Mosul

Gates of Fire

Published: August 31, 2005

The top leaders of the Deuce Four: CSM Robert Prosser and LTC Erik Kurilla making the call to Daniel’s Mom outside the hospital

Mosul, Iraq

Combat comes unexpectedly, even in war.

On Monday, while conducting operations in west Mosul, a voice came over the radio saying troops from our brother unit, the 3-21, were fighting with the enemy in east Mosul on the opposite side of the Tigris River. Moments later, SSG Will Shockley relayed word to us that an American soldier was dead. We began searching for the shooters near one of the bridges on our side of the Tigris, but they got away. Jose L. Ruiz was killed in action.

Although the situation in Mosul is better, our troops still fight here every day. This may not be the war some folks had in mind a few years ago. But once the shooting starts, a plan is just a guess in a party dress.

Read more: Gates of Fire

Jungle Law

Mosul, Iraq
The first person to use a shield might have been a hairy man who, days earlier, barely survived a barrage from the stone-throwing man in the cave next door. As the use of weaponized sticks and stones spread, improved shields probably were not far behind. Throughout recorded history, bigger and better shields always play catch-up to their bigger and better ballistic brethren. Common wisdom posits that defense systems are preventative measures, but in fact, they are reactive. Every castle wall can be defeated. Somewhere along the line people realized, “the best defense is a good offense.” Adherence to this maxim provided at least one of the philosophical rubicons to our landing in Iraq.

Read more: Jungle Law

Little Girl

First Published May 14, 2005

(Media please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)

Mosul

Major Mark Bieger found this little girl after the car bomb that attacked our guys while kids were crowding around. The soldiers here have been angry and sad for two days. They are angry because the terrorists could just as easily have waited a block or two and attacked the patrol away from the kids. Instead, the suicide bomber drove his car and hit the Stryker when about twenty children were jumping up and down and waving at the soldiers. Major Bieger, I had seen him help rescue some of our guys a week earlier during another big attack, took some of our soldiers and rushed this little girl to our hospital. He wanted her to have American surgeons and not to go to the Iraqi hospital. She didn’t make it. I snapped this picture when Major Bieger ran to take her away. He kept stopping to talk with her and hug her.

Read more: Little Girl

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