Michael's Dispatches

Important Update


The British Ministry of Defence canceled my embed after today's dispatch.  Please Read "Bad Medicine".

Next Stop U.S. Forces.

Your Writer,




# Travis B 2009-08-24 07:31
I bet they did not like your attention to detail did they?.....Oh well everything happens for a reason. God Bless you all over there. Looking forward to hearing from you soon!!!!
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# Dave Holden 2009-08-24 07:33
Bloody ridiculous. You have been the best thing for British Forces PR and Pride for many a long year. As an ex 26 years man thank you. Sadly a lot of the wheelers and dealers haven't a clue when they are on to a winner. Keep up the good work Michael. Respect to you.
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# Simonsez 2009-08-24 07:36
Put 50 in the tip jar this am. Bloody wankers!
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# Scott Dudley 2009-08-24 07:42
British MOD continues to be clueless and hapless. Find yourself some Marines. You have been an outstanding documentarian for 2 Rifles.
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# Janice Stroud 2009-08-24 07:55
Read the Bad Medicine Dispatch last night and thought it was another excellent piece of war reporting from you.... my son has been deployed since last Christmas in Afghanistan, I started following you when he deployed to Iraq. Please keep up the excellent work and be safe
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# James Purves 2009-08-24 08:24
Really sorry to hear that Michael, did they give a particular reason? Do you feel it's fair?

I'm sorry you won't be embedded with the UK troops anymore, as a Brit, a UK tax-payer and staunch supporter of our troops abroad I'm gutted the MOD has decided you should move on.
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# Desert Sailor 2009-08-24 08:44
Michael you continue to cover the British effort so well, it's amazing. It rings so true as well, I can hear the "Desert Rats" from Basra days in '06 in each of your dispatches...aw esome stuff sir!

Was it Google Earth that got you invited out?

Go find some Canadians or get in with the Marines, they too are somewhat busy.
Stay safe and keep up the great work.
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# Vanessa 2009-08-24 08:50
about the British troops.
If you had not been their to write their stories we would never have a clue to these warriors work.
Good job.
Shame on the Ministry for canceling on you.
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# J UK 2009-08-24 09:07
That is just how the MoD operate - they don't tolerate criticism.

Their first reaction to it is to try and silence it, if they can't do that they will try and discredit it. failing that they will deflect blame or try and spin it. If they can't do that they will bury it and obscure it from the general public.

OPSEC isn't just used to keep the enemy in the dark... :P
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# Jarvis 2009-08-24 09:07
Another ham-handed cock-up by the Gordon Brown maladministrati on. How tone-deaf can MoD be?
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# CB 2009-08-24 10:01
Thank you for your reporting, I dont know where I will look to find out the news anymore, as the BBC is full of idiots preaching to the the sixties generation hippies, and I'm afraid Mr Gordon Brown is the biggest ex hippy of the lot. I dont know why your embed was cancelled, and I dont care what reason is given, it is wrong. The sooner we have an election in Britain the better as these unelected buch of tossers are killing the country, and the best bit about our country is our Military. I suspect they ( G Brown and Co) just dont like the fact that Michael keeps pointing out we need more helicopters, something our Labour party leaders insist we have enough of, this despite all the ex generals, officers, soldiers, opposition politicians and news paper reports to the contrary. Our curent government thinks the silent majority are stupid, we are not. They think they can blind us with bluff and bluster. We are not stupid, we cant be blinded, we have seen this all before, and we are watching very carefully. Despite what they may think in looney left land, most people in this country are proud of our troops, proud of our military history, and proud of what they are doing now, and we the silent majority do not like what the government is doing to them. I live very close to Wooton Bassett, on the edge of Salisbury Plain and I see the cost of war when the planes deliver the fallen back to RAF Lynham ( they fly over my house at about 50 feet) so I am not looking at this from a gung ho approach, I know our troops are the best, I know they are proffesional, and I know that some will pay the ultimate price of war. But I cannot except and do not see any argument for how the penny grabbing accountants in white hall can justify saving money at the expence of a life, when that person is risking there life for us and the greater good of western civilisation. To them I say Buy some more bloody Helicoptors, commit some more troops, do what ever the generals want or ask of you to get the job done.
Because if you dont after the next election the people might want to consider what you have not done. Years ago treason meant having your head cut off and put on a spike, and as we in the UK are big on tradition, perhaps we should re consider putting this back into law. ( we could also do the same to terrorists, then there will be no more repatriations of killers). As you can tell I'm pissed off.
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# Terri LPN 2009-08-24 10:05
Sorry Michael, Thanks! May God Bless the British Soldiers ,you did them and us a wonderful service! Stiill Praying will always be!
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# nell 2009-08-24 10:30
I have just come across your site on order-order.com . We need you to post more widely so that you get more publicity and order-order would be a good place to start.

As for the MoD - well we need people like you to tell us what is really going on in this war - because this govt are just plainly self serving liars. I can't tell you how badly I view the MoD and such people as bob 'aintbustinagut ' and his sidekick kevan.

I do hope you find a way to continue. May I suggest you also appeal to the retiring General Sir Richard Dannatt to see if he could not help your case.
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# Greg Marquez 2009-08-24 10:40
I'm wondering if it wasn't the title of your post, "Bad Medicine" which I take is a reference to Pharmacy Road. The English have been particularly defensive about the NHS service lately and perhaps they felt this was an attack on the medical treatment their soldiers were receiving. Thanks for the article.
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# Andrew Smith 2009-08-24 10:49
I have emailed complaint to MOD in the hope they will let you embed again with British Troops. Thank you Mr Yon for your reports on whats our soldiers are doing in Afganistan. I hope other people we email Mod as well at http://www.mod.uk/DefenceInternet/ContactUs/AskAMinister.htm
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# Don More 2009-08-24 11:39
Thanks for the most insightful reposting from Afghanistan that I have read. I have also emailed MOD to register a complaint.
Keep up the good work, wherever you end up.
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# srp 2009-08-24 12:11
It's perhaps not an accident that the post that just motivated me to cough up another $20 bucks in support is the same one that MOD couldn't tolerate. It didn't seem particularly scathing to me, but it was informative. I also don't see much of an operational security issue when you describe tactical realities that the enemy is already exploiting. Surely they don't think details about strike aircraft weaponry, which is available on open source sites, is verboten?
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# Mailman 2009-08-24 12:30
You could be the head of the Army with the fetid carcass that is the current Labour Government sniffing around trying to discredit you.

So you see, you actually got it easy!


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# AF 2009-08-24 12:30
Guessing it was posting the exact location of troops what done it via googlemaps. A few of us here were like this :o when we saw that. Thought that was a crazy move! But thanks for letting the Americans know what our troops are up to and Good luck and stay safe on your next despatch. Pity the MOD won't reconsider but they have to put some curbs on location details I expect, did they give you a reason?
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# Dave Arnold 2009-08-24 13:03
God bless you Bam Bam! The Americans will be lucky to have you.
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# Petunia 2009-08-24 13:52
Thank you, Mr Yon, for the risks you have taken, the hardship you have endured, and all you have done to tell it like it is.

Your dispatches have been a stark contrast to the normal diet of platitudes, half-truths and outright deceit fed to us by the professional sophists at MoD and by our largely disinterested and bone-idle media.

I very much hope you will find it possible to proceed with the post on election day and any others you may have in the pipeline covering your experience since.

Again, my sincere thanks, and best wishes for the future.
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# Kurt 2009-08-24 14:34
Dear Michael, I cannot imagine a day without reading your blogs. You're far and away one of the best bloggers out there, and I will grant you my support.
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# DonC 2009-08-24 14:56
Very strange - as you say in your post, its not as though the locals don't know exactly where the Brits are already!! Like all wars, this one is getting way too political - instead of reading your reports and trying to respond to them positively, they silence you instead. Why is it that only politicians have to think like this?

Hope you have better luck with the US political machine.

@Greg Marquez - You put too much faith in the loyalty of the British Government towards the NHS. Its the British people that love the NHS, successive Labour and Tory governments couldn't care less...
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# Scott Dudley 2009-08-24 15:00
Can't possibly be any location data or other OPSEC issues. If your neighbor, across the street, wanted to, he could see when you leave, what you leave in, what you are wearing, how many go with you. what direction you are heading, and so on. Every move 2 Rifles makes is watched.
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# JW 2009-08-24 16:11
I second the motion to find some Canadians. Things are always hot in Kandahar.
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# Doc Watson 2009-08-24 16:35
and wear it like a badge of honor from those bastards. There isn't a single journalist in the field who has honored British patriots like you have. Their action makes perfect sense in light of the fact that they can't handle the truth.
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# JD 2009-08-24 17:02
Michael, I wait for your bloggs to come out, your insight into what our troops and our allies are having to deal with in Afghanistan and Iraq is next to none. I can only think it's a loss for the people of the UK, that they will not be aware of what is going on with thier sons and daughters in the war zone. The fact that the Brits have needs for more equipment and troops remind me of the way our government tried to short change our troops in Iraq mid-way in that action, only to see that the American people will not stand by idlely, knowing that more upgrades of equipment to protect our troops were needed and received. The current British governing body will have to listen to thier people and hopefully your messages to attain the same for thier sons and daughters. God bless you Michael and watch your six.
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# Harry 2009-08-24 19:02
I have no original praise to add to that which has been written already. You are a fascinating journalist and your blog is unique and essential to the awareness and understanding of what the brave men & women of the UK Armed Forces are facing in Afghanistan right now.

We are all speculating as to what led to you being withdrawn from your embed with 2 Rifles. I am sure we will find out in time if was because of your 24 August despatch, or the cancellation coincided with it...

Whatever the cause, I hope you will be able to resume reporting from the front line with the Brits. Thanks for everything Michael, and stay safe sir.


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# The Kitchen Dispatch 2009-08-24 20:40
Bad Medicine was a great post, Michael.
Stay safe.
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# Crazy 2009-08-24 22:59

Excellent reporting, as always. Please could you confirm one thing? You wrote that the MOD cancelled your embed after "Bad Medicine". Was it as a direct result of that article? Or had your embed just come to an end and the timing was coincidental? Or was your embed over, and this article reminded them of the fact?

Thanks - hope you get another embed soon.
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# Corin Vestey 2009-08-24 23:38

I suggest any and all Brit readers who want Michael's embed with UK troops to continue write to their MPs. I've asked my MP to write to Bob Ainsworth, the Secretary of State for Defense, to complain about the MODs action. At the very least you may make some MPs aware of Michael's work. You find out who your MP is and contact them by email through his website: http://www.theyworkforyou.com/

It only takes a minute to remind the politicians we are watching them. Make the time people.
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# Joanne 2009-08-24 23:44
It won’t be petty. Yon’s posts are covered on Helmand blog after all. There are no doubt good reasons for this so people shouldn’t be too hasty. I was surprised Michael didn’t wish the Rifles well, I’m sure they had his back the entire time he was with them.

The British are doing the serious heavy lifting in Afghanistan. As an American living in the UK married to one such Brit out there I was shocked to see the marked difference in coverage between America and the UK when I went home this Summer to the US. The UK benefits from far more daily news coverage, press stories and TV series covering their men’s actions. The change is enormous. By contrast the media coverage in America is a shoulder shrug. Mostly the Brits are lumped together under “international forces” and American support is waning for this war.

UK TV series “Ross Kemp in Afghanistan” was on his second journo tour this year and it, like your posts, was utterly compelling. There is another series on at the moment. ITV covered the medical facilities in February with “Doctors and Nurses at War” Again all compelling viewing. I urge Americans (and the Brits who feel bizarrely shortchanged!) to check these series out on youtube and continue to support the British out there. Yon’s posts were crucial for getting American home support. I hope he gets another embed quickly.

Here are some worthy UK charities and noteworthy places to stop by. Please give them your support!


Hopefully you will get another embed with the Brits. I agree some coverage of the Canadians and Australians would be awesome too. All brothers in arms. Nothing but respect and admiration for all our awesome men and women out there

And thank you for your continued dedication Michael.

Good luck.
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# Corin Vestey 2009-08-24 23:49
Plenty of MOD trolls about it seems
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# Crazy 2009-08-25 00:50
Corin, is that "MOD trolls" comment aimed at me? :o)

far from it, i'm a fan. check out the following thread on the (British) Army Rumour Service: http://www.arrse.co.uk/Forums/viewtopic/t=131641/postdays=0/postorder=asc/start=0.html
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# Boat Guy 2009-08-25 06:16
It's too bad that the stories of units such as 2 Rifles will no longer be told. As has been obvious from your previous writing these under-reported and thus under-appriecia ted allies had one real chronicler - you. What was also obvious from your reporting was that those stories deserved to be told.
It's a better deal for our guys, though. We'll keep the support coming, regardless of who you're with.
God bless, stay healthy
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# Shop Dude 2009-08-25 07:29
Truth is the first victim of war, but in your case, it's alive and kicking. Yet another great article in 'Bad Medecine'. Even if the humour isn't as good, stay safe with your US oppos on your next embed.

You deserve a shiny bit of tin.
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# Brian 2009-08-25 08:06
"It won’t be petty."

I wouldn't bet on that, you obviously have no experience dealing with military Public Affairs officers. Yon has been in pissing contests with US Army Public Affairs Officers on a number of occasions. There was one instance where he picked up a rifle and fired back at an insurgent who was shooting in his direction, but apart from that, the rest were petty.

"I was surprised Michael didn’t wish the Rifles well, I’m sure they had his back the entire time he was with them."

Now you're the one jumping to hasty conclusions. Do you suppose he might have said his goodbyes in person, since he could, rather than post them to a blog which is largely inaccessible to forward deployed troops?

"The British are doing the serious heavy lifting in Afghanistan."

I wouldn't say that either. In the last couple of months things have picked up considerably for conventional units like 2 Rifles and some US Marine battalions, but the 'heavy lifting' in Afghanistan is still being done by the special operations forces (US, UK, Polish, German, Canadian, etc - they work under the same command) Benjamin Kopp, of Kopp-Etchells Effect was one such soldier. In any event, it is best we don't hear too much about what they do.
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# watcher in the dark 2009-08-25 08:38
We British are used to being ill-served by our politicians, who will cheerfully send our troops to war without supporting them. But we now have the civil service not helping too. A cynic would observe the troops have two enemies; the Taliban and increasingly our own "leaders."

It makes no sense that you cannot be embedded with the British army, but thanks for all your great work in giving us a real insight into the conflict and the determination of our service people to do their job no matter what.

Now we will have to rely on the usual biased media such as Al-beeb, whose heroic efforts to lift the morale of the enemy is so well appreciated. But I look forward to reading more of your dispatches. Michael, from being with the US forces. Good luck to you always.
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# Ed M 2009-08-25 11:06
I've read your works since 2005 and have learnt a great deal from them. You have given an excellent view of British troops at work and I am at a loss to understand why the MoD would be so silly as to cancel your embed. I have written to my Member of Parliament tonight to request him to use his influence to have your embed reinstated. Stay safe and thanks again for sharing your insights.
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# Al Canada 2009-08-25 11:24

Your reporting and photographs have been fantastic. Thank you. I too think you did a wonderful job of publicizing the experiences and mission of the Brits.

Best of luck,
Al in Canada
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# Ex-Matelot 2009-08-25 11:56

The next time you are in England maybe Wooton Bassett is worth a visit. The idiots at MOD cannot keep you away from there. As a good proportion of your readership appears to be the military themselves maybe a despatch from there would help dispell their feeling that those of us at home don't care.

With regard to the UK MOD I think that the perception of their "allegiance" has changed in recent years. In my time in the service (1981 - 2003) they were generally viewed by serving members as "our representatives " in government. Basicallly they were the good guys trying to get the best for us from a government with far too much on it's plate and too little money in its pocket. Now it seems to those serving members I talk to (including my son) that they are percieved as part of the problem. The MOD civil service are too highly politicised and are at best a conduit for the promotion of a party political agenda as opposed to the best interests of the services. The UK MOD no longer seems to have the effectiveness and well being of HM Forces as it's core aim. They are far more interested in hushing up the scandals as they come along and serving their career politician masters. I'm not saying that the whole MOD is rotten but they have, without doubt, lost the confidence of the average sailor, soldier and airman.

You do a good job, Michael and I shall continue to read your despatches wherever and with whoever you are embedded.
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# Anne Knecht 2009-08-25 15:59
I really appreciate your efforts to report and give opinions as opinion. I can tell the difference. Perhaps the MOD is too sensitive. I think someone got his feelings hurt.
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# jic 2009-08-25 16:19
"Guessing it was posting the exact location of troops what done it via googlemaps. A few of us here were like this :o when we saw that. Thought that was a crazy move! "

Which part do you think was "crazy": showing where troops were several days ago, or showing the location of a major base that must already be known by everybody within a 50 mile radius?
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# Alan Johnson 2009-08-25 17:03
Michael ( et al )
I have been following you for years, have told all of my vet friends and active duty people about your site and have tried to get the message out to any one who will listen ( and those who may not want to! ) A signed copy of Moment of Truth has made the rounds. I have always tried to throw a few $ in the jar when possible but now have made the commitment to send a regular contribution your way, you are doing way too an important job to let it founder. I am using the " old fashioned way" of having an automatic payment to sent to your snail mail address, if others are as wary of online payment that is an option they can use.
You always tell it like it is, and you have the insight to understand the reality, not the image that is trying to be conveyed by "whomever", the difference between theory and reality, right?

Keep the faith, drive on and God Speed
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# Pete Guichard 2009-08-25 19:03
Hi Michael,

I very much enjoy your posts... I wish I was over there too... I gave some thought to why you may have been kicked out of your embed with 2 Rifles... Here's what I've come up with:

1) The Google map... It did help us readers, but could also encourage the opposition by providing them fresh tactical prospective on hitting the bases
2) Describing the payload the planes carry... Could be construed compromising information on planes firepower
3) The soldier and dog missing the pressure-IED... Someone up the ranks looks bad
4) Five soldiers tragic death.... Sequential IEDs killing the rescued and rescuers...
5) Pharmacy Road... Seems like 2 Rifles is on a suicide mission...

My hunch is that part of your story underscored the futility of the 2 Rifles assignment... Thanks again for keeping us informed.

Keep safe,
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# James 2009-08-26 02:39
"I wouldn't say that either."

Big deal that she said that. Why zero in on that one remark, the likes of which we see by the gazillion on US blogs about the US military mostly ever in complete iginorance of British or international Forces there. Any one-off mention like this of British troops or any unique expression of pride in them in that respect is instantly dismissed by a Yank as essentially obnoxious (or by others as MOD trolling). Fairly typical.
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# Brian 2009-08-26 05:05
I did not dismiss anything she said as obnoxious. I politely disagreed with her.
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# jic 2009-08-26 05:26
" Why zero in on that one remark"

You mean like you did?

"Any one-off mention like this of British troops or any unique expression of pride in them in that respect is instantly dismissed by a Yank as essentially obnoxious"

So, you missed the very large number of comments here praising British troops, both from the British and the "Yanks"?
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# defenceheadquarters 2009-08-26 06:32
Michael Yon’s embed with British forces has not been cancelled and we are disappointed that he has chosen to characterise it as such. We have hosted Michael with British forces for five weeks, some two weeks longer than originally planned.

We welcome Michael’s thorough reporting of the work of British forces and we have no objection to his recent piece entitled "Bad Medicine". All journalists embedding with the UK military are given access to troops without censorship. However all materials coming out of theatre is checked to ensure that key tactical details that would aid the enemy are not being made public. Michael’s dispatch was subject to these checks and was given the go-ahead.

This was posted by the MOD. You can find a copy at www.blogs.mod.uk
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# CJBr 2009-08-26 07:27
I thought all of your posts were looked over by someone your embedded with? Not so they can cut out your opinions but so they can say "This unit location should be more vague" or "This soldiers name should not be listed".... Checked so nothing is inadvertantley given away?
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# Sanmon 2009-08-26 07:51
Are you calling Michael a Liar?
This does not seem to be the character of the man that many have come to know through his reporting. Just because you gave him the go-ahead at one command level does not mean a higher command did not make this request for him leave. If you did not request him to leave then please make a strong public request for him to return soon. He seems to have the character to accept your request of returning in the near future.
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# Scott Dudley 2009-08-26 10:10
Michael, I respectfully request you stomp out this brushfire.
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# Scott Dudley 2009-08-26 10:51
it seems our government, past and present, is no better than the MoD.

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# WCOG 2009-08-26 13:01
Here's Michael's opinion of what happened, from an email:

"The specific problem for me was that MoD cut off the embed with zero warning and no chance for me to prepare. … MoD is giving the reason that my long stay is prompting uproar among journalists who cannot get embed slots. I’ve embedded longer in Iraq with combat troops, for instance, than any journalist of any sort. I don’t buy their backpedalling now that this is public, but even if they are being truthful the truth itself is lame reason to stop me embed. There is no journalist in the U.K. or the U.S. who spends more time in combat. It’s silly to lump me in with the war-tourist sorts who come here for a month or two (usually a week or two). Among those who do come, most rarely if ever go on true combat missions to see what our lads are dealing with."

It seems like the MODs explanation is correct, at least technically. That doesn't make their decision any less stupid, though, and I'm sure that there are just hundreds of reporters from the Times and the Telegraph who are itching to zoom out to FOB Jackson so that they can tab around with 2RIFLES just like Mr. Yon. The immersive, high-quality reporting that we've seen come out of the British press should make that evident to everyone.

Some REMF PAO needs to be posted to Brunei for this one. Seriously. Either this is stupidity on a monumental scale or the MOD is trying to keep the British public from learning the reality of conditions in Helmand, in which case the public is going to have to make do with stories written at a distant remove from the fighting.
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# Cog 2009-08-26 13:15
Michael Yon's work covering the U.K. soldiers in Afghanistan has been immeasurable. Most of the British news I get is from the BBC, Telegraph or Times, which comes from a starting point far from objective. Yon has been able to show individual stories that drive home how much of a sacrifice these soldiers are making.

I hope this can be worked out.
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# carol 2009-08-26 15:12
"Cut off", "cancelled" - Michael's terms

"chosen to characterise it as such" - MOD says.

"it" would be.......?

Michael, they probably want you out of the way so Arabella can come visit for a few days.

Excuse my cynicism.
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# Kasmiir 2009-08-26 15:37
"I second the motion to find some Canadians. Things are always hot in Kandahar."

My son is an infantryman with 5/2 SBCT in Kandahar. His battalion has suffered 7 KIA in less than a month since they deployed there, including 4 dead yesterday in what I would guess to be a planned ambush of their rapid response to the Kandahar City car bombings. I'm frankly a little tired of hearing exclusively about the bravery of the British and Canadians, or even the Marines and Special Forces. There are many brave men risking their lives in what is now major combat in Southern Afghanistan.
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# Dennis ODonnell. 2009-08-27 00:13
You connect me with the soldiers and marines in the fight in a way no other journalist has.
God Bless you. Keep Safe. Trust the path you are on. Thank you.
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# Pid 2009-08-27 11:53
Have fun asking the MoD why Michael's embed was cancelled. http://www.mod.uk/DefenceInternet/ContactUs/AskAMinister.htm
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# Geoff Milke 2009-08-27 17:39
Geraldo was "disembeded" from OIF1 for standing in front of a camera and giving general comments about what was happening where. Mr. Yon went WAY beyond that. If Mr. Yon prints anything like that while with US troops he will be dimembedded forever. And well he should be.

Yon's reports on the war have been fantastic, but this one is beyond the pale. This was a bonehead stunt that makes me wonder what was Yon thinking. Perhaps he just no longer cares about following the rules of reporting as an embed and wants to make a name for himself as a "maverick"

Those of you who think its perfectly fine for Yon to print info like this should think twice. If an Afghani was found with those photos on his person he'd be promptly shipped to Gitmo.
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# Paul 2009-08-27 20:53
I greatly appreciate your despatches. Any chance of embedding with the other fighting coalition members, like the Danes or the Ests, after a round with the Yanks?
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# ObeliskToucher 2009-08-30 05:05
From CNN's coverage, Geraldo did quite a bit more than that to deserve his expulsion from Iraq (http://www.cnn.com/2003/WORLD/meast/04/01/sprj.irq.geraldo/):

"In the live broadcast, Rivera told his photographer to aim the camera at the sand in front of him. Rivera then outlined a map of Iraq, and showed the relative location of Baghdad and his location with the 101st Airborne. He then showed where the 101st would be going next. "
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# Alan Johnson 2009-08-31 16:00
I ran across this link do you think it may have anything to do with what occurred? Who knows who is using it...

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# Capt Jo 2009-08-31 21:55
While I enjoy reading Michael's articles about the great work that the British Army are doing in Helmand and his photographs truely reflect the strain of this campaign... He is ecoming a real headache!

He claims that it costs him $1,000 per day to be here in Helmand... On what? We provide him with bed in our plush tented accom, feed him 3 square meals a day and he travels with the units he is embedded with! Between embeds he does travel around Afghanistan on a friend's private jet, maybe this is where all his readers' donations go?!

I have personally witnessed the Media Ops team here at Camp Bastion (all TWO of them) bend over backwards to look after him; driving him about, carrying his kit and chasing around after his missing FedEx packages. Not once have I seen him thank them! When he does not get what he wants he is rude and aggressive.
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# Scott Dudley 2009-09-02 04:51
Ahhh...Capt. Jo, the MOD representative!
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# Auntof 3 ANG 2009-09-03 03:37
In regards to the roads, there is a group on the way in a few weeks who will be building roads for a year. I also just want to say that Oliver North and Chuck Holten are to be reporting from Afghanistan the month of Sept. I believe from Kandahar. Ollie has his own web site, C Holten has Boots on the Ground. Whether they will be reporting live I do not know. A couple other sources to try to keep up with what is happening.
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# Capt Jo 2009-09-03 19:58

I am a serving officer in Afghanistan, but by no means a 'cheerleader' for the MOD!

As I said, we (those of us who can be bothered) enjoyed reading Michael's pieces.

But I witnessed him being rude and aggressive towards those whose job it is to make his embed run as smoothly as possible. They are the 'fixers' not the policy-makers.. . Doing their job as best they can and dedicated a disproportionat e amount of time looking after Michael, who never once said 'thank you'.

"Manners Maketh Man!"
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# Rosser Bobbitt 2009-09-04 02:59
I went to the MOD web site and submitted an question about this. MOD did not respond to my request for information. They did respond to a friend, a retired British brigadier, who was sent to http://www.blogs.mod.uk/defence_news/page/3/, where it says: "Michael Yon embed with British Forces (added 1715GMT)
"There has been some recent discussion online about reporter Michael Yon's embed with British Forces in Afghanistan and speculation over why it ended.
"Michael Yon’s embed with British forces has not been cancelled and we are disappointed that he has chosen to characterise it as such. We have hosted Michael with British forces for five weeks, some two weeks longer than originally planned.
"We welcome Michael’s thorough reporting of the work of British forces and we have no objection to his recent piece entitled "Bad Medicine". All journalists embedding with the UK military are given access to troops without censorship. However all materials coming out of theatre is checked to ensure that key tactical details that would aid the enemy are not being made public. Michael’s dispatch was subject to these checks and was given the go-ahead.
"Posted at 01:31 PM"

Someone told him to go. Based on my experinece at parsing the language used by my government, I see that the closest MOD comes to explaining why Michael had to leave was to say: "some two weeks longer than originally planned." I read that as: "We got tired of him and told him to go."

And it's always good to go on the attack: "disappointed that he has chosen to characterise it as such." Meaning "We really are good guys and look what he's done."
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# Scott Dudley 2009-09-04 04:39
Capt. Jo,
Seems you spent an inordinate amount of time following around Michael's fixers/handlers to know he NEVER said thank you. Their job was to make the embed run smoothly for who? I have been a serving officer in combat as well and was way too busy to do what you seem to have done. I respect your service as I do all those who are in that hellhole and hope you get out soon, along with everyone else. It is a waste of blood and money.
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# R. James 11th ACR back in the day! 2009-09-05 16:53
Capt. Jo

Your question: He claims that it costs him $1,000 per day to be here in Helmand... On what?

I am sad that you are not smart enough to figure that out or maybe you just want to vent a little:
Just a guess or two here from reading years of Mr. Yon’s work.

Combat Insurance…what do you think that cost? You don’t pay it Capt. Jo so you don’t think about it.

Medical Insurance….what do you think that cost for an injury that happens in a war zone? You don’t pay that either Capt. Jo so you don’t think about it. If Yon is injured for life…who pays for it…not the VA.

Body Amour….vest, helmet, glasses, gloves, boots….Oh Capt Jo you get yours free, so you don’t think about that.

The phone bill/ sat bill to transmit data….that can not be ensure to be available by the military…in a timely matter. Something else you don’t pay for Capt. Jo, so you don’t think about it.

For the camera and lens that are used to shot the great pictures…I think the camera body is 3 to 5k and camera lens can be the same if not more. But again Capt. Jo you don’t think about that either.

There is a web site so there has to be some kind of office support, backend support. There is some extra cost there as well, but Capt. Jo all of your support services are taken care of….so you don’t think about that cost either.

Capt. Jo you get all of the above and a pay check. Capt. Jo you just keep thinking about those free meals and a place to sleep. Let the enlisted do the deep thinking!
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# Mark M 2009-09-06 10:32

This is how you are received by some members of the UK defence community http://www.pprune.org/military-aircrew/387486-new-michael-yon-dispatch-afghanistan.html

You are held in the highest regard by many in the UK. Keep up the great work!!
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# Peter Walnut 2009-09-27 05:34
Michael, your reporting and photographs are outstanding and deserve some sort of award. More than that you deserve the thanks of the British forces and public for giving us a glimpse into what is happening. With a few notable exceptions, UK reporting from Afghanistan is a simplistic disgrace, pumping out the MoD line and failing to carry out any serious analysis or to draw accurate comprisons with other counter insurgency campaigns. I have a son currently helping to man the MERT in Bastion and the story of him and all his American, Danish and British comrades needs to be told. This campaign is being badly mismanged at both the political and higher military levels and the truth needs to come out as it did for the 'shell shortage' in 1915; it might help to get rid of our incompetent and anti-military government. The Karzai government is not only not wanted by the fiercely independent and tribal Afghan people but it is illegitimate as it commands no popular mandate. Karzai is NATO's man just as Diem was America's in Viet Nam. General McChrystal appears to have the right ideas but so far support from his political masters has been conspicuously lacking and Hilary Clinton's remarks about other military opinions are a disgrace. This campaign will only be won by a unified political and military leadership and a consistent doctrine that puts civil development, protected by military resources, as the primary goal.
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