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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Comments   

 
# Armywife299 2009-12-07 04:16
So glad to hear from you again in Afghanistan! I am glad that morale has improved and can't wait to see pictures of actual events there. That is what has set you apart from the pack. You were greatly missed while away.
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# David M 2009-12-07 04:46
The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the blog post From the Front: 12/07/2009 News and Personal dispatches from the front and the home front.

http://www.thunderrun.us/2009/12/from-front-12072009.html
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# Steve Graves 2009-12-07 05:14
I just got back from visiting my son at Camp LeJune. All the troops down there are planning and training with great rigor and enthusiasm. I have never seen such all out commitment before - even for the Marines.
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# dennis 2009-12-07 07:37
good to see your back in country. we see there is a push taking place right now. only time well tell if any good can come of this. but one can hope. stay safe.
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# Ken F 2009-12-07 09:58
It was a major relief to hear of Obama's decision to send the forces necessary to garner success in this mission. It was also good to see another dispatch from you. One gets addicted to the timely information, but also has continued concern for your safety. Keep up the good work Michael. You're one of the best!

Thank you,
Ken
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# Bob Montoya 2009-12-07 11:13
Was concerned when I stopped getting e-mails.
Found you again on twitter.

Be safe.
Bob
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# Bob Montoya 2009-12-07 11:14
Have you been transported in one?
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# Gilbert Sanseau 2009-12-07 12:51
"They have to think they are picking the side of the winner." Finally a war that tells its name. It's not "the side of democracy" or "the side of freedom", it's only about winning. In the 40s in France, plenty of people chose "the side of the winner" for four years, then "the side of the alternate winner" after D-Day. It's not about good and bad, it's just about winning. Remember that 10 year olds who saw their father/brother/ uncle killed in 2002 are turning 18. It's gonna be cold, it's gonna be gray, and it's gonna last you for the rest of your life.
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# PODS 2009-12-07 19:42
On behalf of 300 families of soldiers deployed in the "rocks" and the "sandbox" bring us the truth...And thank you for all that you do to tell the truth and support of wonderful men and women in the military!! Micheal you "Rock"!! Love ya!!!
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# Craig Good 2009-12-07 19:44
Gilbert Sanseau completely misses the point with his straw-man argument. We ARE the side of freedom, and the Jihadists are the bad guys. There are only two ways out of a war: Win it or lose it. In the tribal culture of Afghanistan you win by being seen as "the strong horse". The best way to be seen that way is to actually be it.

And if you'd read Michael's posts for a while you'd know that, even if we win, we're going to be there for a long, long time. Afghanistan is literally centuries behind the rest of the world.
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# Peg, an Army Mom 2009-12-08 12:00
Michael, I am glad you are there if your intentions are to tell the truth. It is a horrid mess over there. Even the Stryker Brigade site talks about the Afghan army being useless. They don't even show up when they are supposed to. This is worse than Iraq. 18 months and more US lives lost is not worth it to me. The Afghans aren't even trying to get it together. A sad state of affairs.
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# Rich C 2009-12-08 12:33
The Marxist in Chief played a political hand and tried to appease both the leftists who elected him and the moderates who also helped push him into office
This at the expense of our combat troops.

Mc Chrystal asked for 80,000 troops and this fluke in chief gave him much less so I'm not certain concerning the optimism I read from these posts, however, the enemy certainly must be heady with optimism since the fluke in chief afforded them not only a strategy but a pull out timeframe as well.
They will sit back, retrain and re-arm and just bide their time until we pull out.

God Bless our troops and offer them solace and safety from the enemy without and the enemy within.
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# bill fuller 2009-12-08 13:13
my son was next to helmund, in oruzgan , he is a medic in the army, works with sf's, has for nine months, THEY are not impressed with their ROE, POTUS, or
their CG of the theater. morale sucks. he is now at salerno hoping to get out of there back to the sticks, but it is the same bullshit army, pick up my trash specialist, throw my coffee away troop. even some low rank rangers are not happy with the bullshit. this army has a severe nco problem and it stems from the officers. when you get out and talk to the troops you will find out the butts on the line are not happy, but the assholes at kandahar and salerno are not interested in fighting a war, they are staff. same as VN. most of his buds are looking forward to getting out, even some of your SF's too. well you you talk to the troops, you tell it like it is Mike, someone need to.
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# Robert 2009-12-09 04:37
the above comment is really disheartening. hope this is just an isolated incident kinda thing..but if the CO's are shit they should be relieved-ASAP. When did McChrystal ask for 80K? I don't recall hearing that. I heard 40,000 troops..he's getting 30K. Wat about NATO? Are they really gonna put up? WTF is going on in Kandahar? I cannot believe, knowing wats at stake these guys are not interested in fighting. Kicking thier ass. Iam very far from there, so i cannot tell wats really going on..if this is true, that tells me THEY believe we are pissing in the wind. Maybe if the previous administration had not opened another front of this war, maybe we would be talking about how we kicked thier asses all the way to QUETTA..thats where most of them are, isn't it? The PAK gov., the ISI have been playing us for years..you call Obama a "marxist"...wat the hell did we have in there before him? The Keystone Kops regime..you could fill a book fulla mistakes they made, and it got dropped on this CIC's lap. Hope you do talk to the troops MIKE, and show them the above comment.
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# Drew 2009-12-09 06:37
You know what they say about opinions and a$$holes? Well you have one and it smells just as bad. Anyhow, your insane notion that McChrystal asked for 80k troops is absurd. He did no such thing and knows that number would be logistically unattainable today. The fact is, your "Marxist" in Chief has upped the US committment in Afghanistan to almost 4X more US troops when all is said and done than the previous administration. Is it years too late? Probably and maybe it would never have mattered. But one thing is clear, you'll blame Obama for whatever happens unless he gets it right. Enemies within, what crock. You're just a moron.
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# Robert 2009-12-09 07:30
I think you would find the use of a polarizer helpful, even on days that aren't sunny. They take off 1 1/2 stops of light but you can always turn up the ISO setting to compensate. You see very well. One polarizer can cover several lenses with step-up rings. I never take them off my camera except indoors under artificial lighting.

I depend on your reporting. Thanks for your good work.
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# Solomon2 2009-12-09 07:31
"...It is in Kandahar that Canada has made its greatest efforts and sacrifices in the UN-mandated, 42-nation effort to bring some semblance of peace, order and good government to the Afghan republic. It really is the "pointy end of the stick." But even in Kandahar, we're finally starting to see what the end of the tunnel looks like.

"A couple of days back I had breakfast with Brigadier-Gener al Daniel Menard, who recently assumed command of Canada's 2,800 soldiers in Afghanistan, along with another few hundred American soldiers from the 1st battalion of the U.S. Army's 12th Infantry -" link
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# Solomon2 2009-12-09 07:33
http://transmontanus.blogspot.com/2009/12/clear-hold-build-end-of-beginning-in.html
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# Dennis ODonnell-Infantry Dad 2009-12-10 02:25
Im damn proud of my President, my sons Commander in Chief. This CIC did is doing what Bush failed to do..unleash our warriors on the true enemy who have grown stronger in Afghanistan. Support our President! Support our Troops!
Welcome back Michael Yon. We missed you. Be safe.
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# Alan Armitstead 2009-12-10 10:19
Difficult to say "glad you are back" to any war zone, but glad that you are back in the sense that you are able to resume your honest, no nonsense reporting. Be safe and keep telling it like it is!
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