- Published: Sunday, 11 December 2011 15:18
11 December 2011
This weekend I spoke for several hours with a retired Special Forces Soldier. Much of the numerous conversations revolved around the terrible Army policy of sending unarmed Dustoff helicopters into combat. These helicopters are emblazoned with Red Crosses. The Red Crosses are intended to alert the enemy that the helicopters are unarmed. The Taliban and other enemies in Afghanistan do not abide by the Geneva Conventions and they shoot at the unarmed helicopters.
Some members of the Army, Air Force and Marines are very happy that I have taken on the cause of arming the Dustoff helicopters. However, some top brass in the Army is extremely angry to be called out for supporting the dangerous policy of sending unarmed Soldiers into combat.
The retired Green Beret friend, whom I sometimes call for advice, has warned me about this one. He wants the crosses off, and recognizes that this is a fight with people in big places. My friend warns, “If they can argue with facts, they will fight you with the facts. The facts are not on their side. You won that argument. When the facts are not on their side, they will argue the law. There is no law to argue here. The facts are against them and the law won’t help, and so they will shoot the messenger. Watch your back on this one.”
The current Army strategy is to paint me as paranoid or mentally unstable. They did this last year with regard to Brigadier General Daniel Menard and General McChrystal. Both were then fired and so it turned out that I was not so crazy after all. But I was months ahead of the curve in saying they should be fired, and I admit it looked crazy at the time to say that two general should be sent home. And I was saying this during a time when I was being disembedded. But my disembedding could have also stemmed from the fact that I was publishing, while still embedded, that Menard should be fired. Bottom line: my efforts created powerful enemies.
That would have been my final Army embed had General Petraeus not invited me back.
McChrystal’s fellas and Menard’s wildcards tried to paint me as mentally unstable, but it backfired when they both were both fired.
Importantly, I had possession of military communications that I never released that would have proven there was a conspiracy between McChrystal’s staff and some milbloggers to defame me. Some of the milbloggers are little more than mouthpieces for the military. In fact, one of General McChrystal’s staffers secretly ran a milblog (The Quatto Zone) before I outed him. It’s back online these days.
Let’s invest a few sentences to review a 2010 history:
They disembbeded me while I was writing positive things about the troops. (But was saying Menard needed to be fired.) And so they disembbedded a writer, me, who consistently praises our combat forces, and they embedded the Rolling Stone guy who got McChrystal fired. And so who is crazy here?
In addition to kicking me out and welcoming Rolling Stone in, they embedded a 21 year-old guy named Michael Enright. Mr. Enright did a quick and uneventful embed in Afghanistan. When Mr. Enright returned to America, he got drunk and slashed a taxi driver’s throat.
The Army kicked me out (not the “military” but the Army), then embedded Rolling Stone, who got their boss fired, and in the same era they embedded Michael Enright. Yes, I am the writer who has written three books and hundreds of dispatches praising the troops. Rolling Stone is the one who got their boss fired in 2010, and separately in 2011 tried to make US troops looks like psychopaths, and tried to get another general fired. I defended the military with inside knowledge.
So, when they say that I am crazy, they are saying that the man who writes good stuff about them has no credibility. That’s crazy. (And don’t forget Rolling Stone and Michael Enright.)
The Army knows that I am making moves to return to Afghanistan. And so messages have gone out over classified channels that I will not be able to embed. It’s crazy for the Army to think I won’t hear about this. Huge numbers of troops read my work and you can bet the house that someone in every HQ in Afghanistan knows how to reach me. This stuff floods back.
Sadly, the IJC (basically the HQ in Afghanistan) has not told me that they will not credential an embed. It’s clear to insiders that they are trying to bait me over to Afghanistan before turning me down.
When I wrote that the IJC put out a CCIR (Commander's Critical Information Requirements) for me, mouthpieces again kicked in saying I am being paranoid. But again, I have proof.
The red ink is mine, but the “Michael Yon Alert” is theirs:
Email from MSG Nicholas J Conner, CJTF-1CD PAO NCOIC
Subject: Michael Yon Alert
I have received word from IJC that Michael Yon announced that he is coming back to Afghanistan. I do not know if he intends to travel to RC-East. This is to notify you that he WILL NOT be credentialed by IJC/ISAF. As such, he is to have NO ACCESS to ISAF bases, personnel, transportation or life support.
His presence in any AO is considered CCIR and reported up the chain onf command immediately. Please ensure that this message is disseminated to ALL units; including PRTs and ADTs. Do not be the one that ends up in the fishbowl.
Call me if you have questions or concerns.
MSG Nicholas Conner
The IJC is under the command of Lieutenant General Curtis Scaparrotti. I am told that LTG Scaparrotti is a good commander. Yet battle lines are being drawn, as they were with Menard and McChrystal. It’s possible that someone has misrepresented the IJC position and thus misrepresented the intent of LTG Scaparrotti. If LTG Scaparrotti’s staffers are misrepresenting him, they are endangering his reputation.
At present, the benefit of the doubt is going to LTG Scaparrotti.
After this dispatch is published, LTG Scaparrotti is considered to be alerted that IJC, under his command, is banning me without cause and have put out a CCIR. The CCIR is the police equivalent of an APB. This is serious business and is the stuff they wake up commanders for. If LTG Scaparrotti’s people put out a CCIR for a New York Times writer, this would be headline news.
The Army is upset that they are being called out on a faulty MEDEVAC policy, and they are responding in ways that will cause damage to military officers.