Michael's Dispatches

First December Report From Afghanistan

Now BayNews9 story.

Local man reports on troop morale in Afghanistan
Sunday, December 6, 2009

(Bay News 9) -- For the past five years Winter Haven native and former Green Beret Michael Yon has been covering the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as an independent journalist.

A couple of days ago Bay News 9 spoke with him on a Skype connection to Afghanistan.

Yon has been reporting for years that the U.S. risked losing the war there.

And until last week's announcement from President Barack Obama, he was concerned the president was ready to give up on the Afghan war.

"And frankly I thought he was ready to tap out. I thought he might be ready to quit, and it's clear some of the soldiers thought the same thing. He really just spent some political capital," Yon said. "It took moral courage to do that."

Yon says morale among British and U.S. troops had stayed pretty high, and now the troops there are really ready to take the fight to the enemy.

"Just in the past couple of days since I have gotten back, I have talked with quite a few," he said. "It's clear they see this troop commitment is very important. And it's clear it's bolstered their morale."

Yon says the commitment of additional troops is a signal to Afghan tribes in troubled areas they should fight on the U.S. side.

"Because the people do have to make sensible choices on whose side they are going to pick. They have to know," Yon said. "They have to think they are picking the side of the winner."

Yon says the next 18 months will be a make or break time for the war.

He believes the American people and the U.S. allies will run out of patience with the war if they don't believe victory is possible.

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