Michael's Dispatches

Calling BULLSHIT on Rolling Stone

244 Comments

29 March 2011

Seldom do I waste time with rebutting articles, and especially not from publications like Rolling Stone.  Today, numerous people sent links to the latest Rolling Stone tripe.  The story is titled “THE KILL TEAM, THE FULL STORY.”  It should be titled: “BULLSHIT, from Rolling Stone.”

The story—not really an “article”—covers Soldiers from 5/2 Stryker Brigade Combat Team (SBCT) in Afghanistan.  A handful of Soldiers were accused of murder.  It does in fact appear that a tiny group of rogues committed premeditated murder.  I was embedded with the 5/2 SBCT and was afforded incredible access to the brigade by the Commander, Colonel Harry Tunnell, and the brigade Command Sergeant Major, Robb Prosser.  I know Robb from Iraq.  Colonel Tunnell had been shot in Iraq.

The brigade gave me open access.  I could go anywhere, anytime, so long as I could find a ride, which never was a problem beyond normal combat problems.  If they had something to hide, it was limited and I didn’t find it.  I was not with the Soldiers accused of murder and had no knowledge of this.  It is important to note that the murder allegations were not discovered by media vigilance, but by, for instance, at least one Soldier in that tiny unit who was appalled by the behavior.  A brigade is a big place with thousands of Soldiers, and in Afghanistan they were spread thinly across several provinces because we decided to wage war with too few troops.  Those Soldiers accused of being involved in (or who should have been knowledgeable of) the murders could fit into a minivan.  You would need ten 747s for the rest of the Brigade who did their duty.  I was with many other Soldiers from 5/2 SBCT.  My overall impression was very positive.  After scratching my memory for negative impressions from 5/2 Soldiers, I can’t think of any, actually, other than the tiny Kill Team who, to my knowledge, I never set eyes upon.

The online edition of the Rolling Stone story contains a section with a video called “Motorcycle Kill,” which includes our Soldiers gunning down Taliban who were speeding on a motorcycle toward our guys.  These Soldiers were also with 5/2 SBCT, far away from the “Kill Team” later accused of the murders.  Rolling Stone commits a literary “crime” by deceptively entwining this normal combat video with the Kill Team story.  The Taliban on the motorcycle were killed during an intense operation in the Arghandab near Kandahar City.  People who have been to the Arghandab realize the extreme danger there.  The Soviets got beaten horribly in the Arghandab, despite throwing everything including the Soviet kitchen sink into the battle that lasted over a month.  Others fared little better.  To my knowledge, 5/2 and supporting units were the first ever to take Arghandab, and these two dead Taliban were part of that process.

The killing of the armed Taliban on the motorcycle was legal and within the rules of engagement.  Law and ROE are related but separate matters.  In any case, the killing was well within both the law and ROE.  The Taliban on the back of the motorcycle raised his rifle to fire at our Soldiers but the rifle did not fire.  I talked at length with several of the Soldiers who were there and they gave me the video.  There was nothing to hide.  I didn’t even know about the story until they told me.  It can be good for Soldiers to shoot and share videos because it provides instant replay and lessons learned.  When they gave me the video and further explained what happened, I found the combat so normal that I didn’t even bother publishing it, though I should have because that little shooting of the two Taliban was the least of the accomplishments of these Soldiers, and it rid the Arghandab of two Taliban.

Some people commented that our Soldiers used excessive force by firing too many bullets.  Hogwash.  And besides, they were trying to kill each other.  Anyone who has seen much combat with our weak M-4 rifles realizes that one shot is generally not enough, and the Taliban were speeding at them on a motorbike, which very often are prepared as suicide bombs.  If that motorcycle had been a bomb, as they often are, and got inside the group of Soldiers and exploded, they could all have been killed.  Just yesterday, in Paktika, three suicide attackers came in, guns blazing, and detonated a huge truck bomb.  Depending on which reports you read, about twenty workers were killed and about another fifty wounded.

In the video, our guys would have been justified in firing twice that many bullets, but at some point you are wasting ammo and that is a combat sin.  The Soldiers involved in that shooting told me that the Taliban on the back may have pulled the AK trigger, but the loaded AK did not fire because the Taliban didn’t have a round in the chamber.  Attention to detail.  At least one also had an ammunition rack strapped across his chest.

This could go on for pages, but Rolling Stone is not worth it, and thrashing them might only build their readership.  I’ve found in the past that boycotts work.  I led a boycott against one magazine and it went bankrupt.  It’s doubtful that Rolling Stone will go bankrupt for its sins, but you can cost them money not by boycotting their magazine, but by boycotting their advertisers.  That hurts.  Just pick an advertiser whose products you already buy, boycott it, and tell the advertiser why you are not buying their product.

Now I’ve got to get back to work.

Say something here...
You are a guest ( Sign Up ? )
or post as a guest
Loading comment... The comment will be refreshed after 00:00.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    devildawg · 10 years ago
    My guess would be because Abu Ghraib was seen as being institutionalized and the Mahmudiyah Rape and "Kill Team" incidents were carried out by individuals.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Tim Krebs · 10 years ago
    This is also known as 'Raising the BS Flag'. Maybe a BS Flag emoticon for such reports. Good job, Michael. Keep rolling.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    angryvet · 10 years ago
    they're people too. pretty ignorant dude.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Michael Yon · 10 years ago
    Fox News picked up on it and published the dispatch calling BS on Rolling Stone:

    http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2011/0 / 0/bogus-report-rolling-stone-troops-afghanistan-crying-bullst/

    Rolling Stone will be some unhappy cats if this boycott continues to gain traction. The concept is not to boycott the magazine itself, but the advertisers.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Violette · 10 years ago
    SPIEGEL is a BS'S publication, every body knows it,like RS=BS just to sell BULLSHITS to butt heads
    Michael a NAZY ????? Je reve !!! Liberalism is REALY a MENTAL DISORDER,unfortunately very spread around.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Craig · 10 years ago
    I had read the RS "report" and it made my blood boil. I also saw the Motorcycle Kill video and saw the AK ammo holder on the dead talban. This was a legit kill and I wanted someone with an audiece to decry it, Mr. Yon has done just that and I offer my thanks. I will be letting RS advertisers know that I will not buy thier products.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Ex11B · 10 years ago
    Have not bought RS in years and that will certainly continue. I hope people continue to list RS advertisers here because I will be boycotting these companies. RS's blatant attempt to distort facts and decieve its readership is laughable - the level of ignorance and arrogance that they out on display with this is simply amazing. God bless our troops who endure the risks, threats, stress, and violence on display in RS's video clip EVERY day.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    ElCapitanAmerica · 10 years ago
    He's talking about the very real incident of member of the so called "Kill Team" killing an innocent 15 year old boy, and staging the scene to make it look like the boy was a threat.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    politicaljules · 10 years ago
    PLEASE LEAD THE WAY to boycotting RS MR. YON!!

    I am ready to help, but do not know where to start.

    LETS ROLL!
  • This commment is unpublished.
    ElCapitanAmerica · 10 years ago
    Mr. Yon;

    The 2 videos were included because the article claims they were part of the collection of videos that the so called "Kill Team" had.

    Disclaimer they have;

    -------

    The clip presented here is excerpted from 'Motorcycle Kill,' a video collected and shared by members of the “kill team” of U.S. soldiers who murdered civilians in Afghanistan and mutilated the corpses. The jumpy, 0-minute video – shot by soldiers believed to be with another battalion in the 5th Stryker Brigade – shows American troops gunning down two Afghans on a motorcycle who may have been armed. Even if the killings were part of a legitimate combat engagement, however, it is a clear violation of Army standards to share such footage. The video was taken on patrol with a helmet-mounted camera; at one point, the soldier shooting the images can be heard boasting, “I got it all on camera.”
  • This commment is unpublished.
    MSG ret Chuck · 10 years ago
    Jason, The reason you aren't hearing anything at all about Afghanistan or Iraq in the news is because Obama is in charge and the media LOVES LOVES LOVES Obama. The Left accused Bush of war crimes and called for his impeachment after Congress voted to invade Iraq. Obama gave the order to bomb Libya, Special Forces are on the ground there and Marines from Camp Legeune are enroute for a one year deployment and not a peep from the news outlets. They have waaaaaaaaaaaaay to much invested in Obama, they have to put a pretty face on everything. Reminds me of a saying,
    you can put lipstick on a community organizer...............
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Andres Diaz · 10 years ago
    Michael,

    Thanks for standing up for our military. RS has always been, is and always will be BS. The only reason they survive is by taking money from Soros groups and the like to spew their anti-military, anti-America crap. God bless and keep safe.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Mommie · 10 years ago
    It's not boasting, you idiots who think that. If you have never been in combat, under fire, and filled with the adrenaline, fear, and intense emotion, you can't possibly understand how that soldier was feeling or what the tone in his voice inflected. Listen again and really hear ...puh-leeze get it right.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Brian · 10 years ago
    I will boycott some products they advertise, and let the advertiser know why. Does anyone have a list? I saw some online--but I'm not going to drop the dime to buy the magazine and support them further.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Don Liveley · 10 years ago
    How this "Kill Team" Is Different

    TIME's Jim Frederick, who wrote a book about the desperate brutality of one ground-down platoon of U.S. soldiers in Iraq...

    The extent and length of the conspiracy: Although the platoon I chronicle in Black Hearts became "combat ineffective" within months of its arrival in Iraq, and a small handful of the members were sending warning sign after warning sign that they were a threat to civilians, the heinous rape-murder plan was concocted over one long day during which three or four unsupervised soldiers with access to alcohol dreamed up the plan, carried it out, and then conspired to keep the truth among themselves and one or two additional soldiers. In the Kill Team case, it appears that a much wider group of soldiers (as many as 12 have been charged with some type of crime) were aware of, if not abettors or participants in, at least four separate murders that spanned four months.

    continues downbelow
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Don Liveley · 10 years ago
    he complicity of the chain of command: In Black Hearts, the unit's leadership may have been dysfunctional, but once it became aware that U.S. soldiers might be involved in a crime, it moved swiftly to investigate the matter. If the Rolling Stone account is accurate, the Kill Team's superiors never seriously investigated any of the unit's suspicious kills, even when confronted with direct accusations by Afghans and the father of one U.S. soldier whose son had confided in him.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Diana Dunham-Scott · 10 years ago
    Michael,

    Just heard a teaser on KFI-640 am radio here in Los Angeles that was the title of your dispatch, so I'm sure they were going to talk abut your piece. Did not get to hear it, but knowing KFI, I'm pretty sure they wold have been in your court. this is a HUGE station here...you are being heard brother!
  • This commment is unpublished.
    archy · 10 years ago
    I forget the technical term, but there's a legal phrase for those who wage war on the United States- OR Give aid and comfort to those enemies, adhering to them. If the US Gov won't take action against the traitors at Rolling Stone, I guess it's left for veterans to take care of it for each other.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Katie P · 10 years ago
    I think I will have to join this boycott...Garnier jumps out at me as an advertiser that I use regularly, and as my Marine husband likes my hair long, I use ALOT of their Length & Strength conditioner........no more!
  • This commment is unpublished.
    simonferrer · 10 years ago
    [quote name="timb"]The story is the thing, not your moronic swallowing of his "rationale."

    Dear RS,
    I read your article on how poorly led US soldiers murdered 4 Afghan civilians and their officers did not know, did not care, and were promoted, but on page 2 I noticed an ad for Justin Beiber and I hate him, so I think this means your credibility on reporting a news story is wrong.[/quote]

    Timb, that statement is, in my opinion, both unfair and a poor allegory. What Mr. Yon objected to was RS including video footage of an unrelated incident from parties not involved in the subject of the main article. Undoubtedly RS chose this footage because it looked appropriate to them, but the overall effect is for the reader to associate the video (depicting legal combat action) with the crime described in the article. This is unfair to the majority of soldiers who didn't commit any crimes, and demonstrates both bias on the part of RS as well as lazy editing.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Jamar Harden · 10 years ago
    Thank you Mr. Yon...

    Thank You.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    SGT C. · 10 years ago
    Mr. Yon,
    From a soldier who was stationed in the Korangal as an ETT, thank you for telling the truth on this matter. Whether it be for better or for worse, you did what was right! RS, kiss my @ss and everyone else who is hell bent on a 15 year old kid getting killed. He's of fighting age and I was engaged by kids younger than that throwing grenades into my OP. You have gangbangers in Los Angeles younger than that who are doing drive byes. If you've never served, been embedded as Press, or just plain out seen Afghanistan/Iraq first hand for longer than a day and you know how daily life is while fighting for your life.... Then you have no idea, can't fathom what it is really like, and rely on Hollywood for your first hand experiences while you lie about your war stories at the local bar. Libtards, just shut it already!
  • This commment is unpublished.
    NavyMom · 10 years ago
    Thank you for your honest and supportive reporting from Afghanistan. As a military parent, I am grateful we have reporters of your caliber. :-)
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Ann Biz · 10 years ago
    God Bless and keep you safe..and honest. Please don't let anyone dishonor you or your fellow soldiers....You're about all we civilians, have to put our trust in.
    Thank you for speaking out this time...it was disturbing (dangled out there like bait for America's Haters)
  • This commment is unpublished.
    timb · 10 years ago
    since he's bait and switched you and hidden behind the flag. He calls "bullshit" on the article (his first line: Seldom do I waste time rebutting articles..."

    He ten proceeds to rebut a video un-related to the article. If he wants to critique the article, then why doesn't he?

    "I was embedded with them, but have no knowledge on the other part of the story. And no opinion of whether NCO's who cut off trophies of the dead were promoted, despite what their soldiers were apparently murdering people.

    You think Yon's handing you oranges when he promises apples makes him innocent of bias? Go to any study of Afghan civilian casualties and see them rise over the last four years and ask yourself if Yon favors the military so much, why is against them coming home?
  • This commment is unpublished.
    timb · 10 years ago
    The military told him one thing and he re-sells it here for cash and the rubes come running.

    THAT'S all Michael Yon need to see
  • This commment is unpublished.
    C. Gannon · 10 years ago
    [quote name="Jake Havechek"]Your blog sucks, and you're a Nazi. :-)[/quote]
    You looking in the mirror when you said that, boy?
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Rickey · 10 years ago
    M.Y....
    Thanks for the awesome job that you have done here. Will spread the word
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Denise · 10 years ago
    Danny, That is a very ignorant remark.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Dillon · 10 years ago
    Denise, what an incredibly stunning display of creative writing there in your rebuttal.

    How is the President of the United States in any way, shape or form responsible for what the media writes and reports? Contrary to apparently popular belief, the President is not omnipotent and is not directly responsible for every facet of life in America. People need to grow up and start taking responsibility for their own world, rather than continually blaming the man on top for everything, even when he obviously has no control over the situation. Do you think there was some secret memo sent out to news agencies telling them to hush up on this? Hardly. If the President had that much power, don't you think Bush would have used it to kill some of the outright hostility he faced from the press when he was in office?
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Jenn Jenn · 10 years ago
    Michael Yon! You never cease to amaze me! Thank you for your unbiased reporting - it is nice to hear both sides from one source. Hard to believe 22 years ago we were going to college together!! Keep up the great work and we will continue to keep you in our prayers! Stay safe!!
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Paul Hausser · 10 years ago
    You really need to come with subtitles
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Paul Hausser · 10 years ago
    The only person using and dominating "central asians" was Stalin(a Georgian). You know like your "CinC" an outsider(non native Russian) placed as a figurehead for the Bolshevik Dictatorship that you live under right here in the old USA.

    The scum from the USSR simply packed up and left and went to Columbia, Princeton the SCOTUS etc

    Man you are very twisted and foolish

    You still arrogant enough to think you have it figured correctly and the 'evil germans" needed to be stopped?

    Get real

    They have you coming and going burning up your energy 10K clicks away while the homeland faces destruction
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Denise · 10 years ago
    HA HA I thought so too! "Incredibly stunning display of creative writing". If you like that you'll love this- you, Dillon are incredibly naive- Bless your heart!!
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Paul Hausser · 10 years ago
    Yes and American soldiers in the ME do not feel racially culturally and morally superior to Arabs.

    Fact is Marines in the Pacific did this stuff all the time. Tarawa Leyte Iwo Okinawa

    Please spare me the fake moral higher ground argument

    The Germans simply felt that Bolshevism/Communism had to be destroyed before it destroyed them.

    Trust me boy I know alot of these guys. They are on my side.

    I just have the stones to not deny or hide from this fact

    Don't worry fellas Americans are to immersed in Tiger Woods "reality TV" ESPN and Lady Gaga to even care anymore.

    Just throw up another Hollywood bullshit scandal and get some sleep.

    Nobody cares anymore.

    But Nixon and Watergate is still "evil" so rest easy.

    What a joke
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Paul Hausser · 10 years ago
    The Germans are simply pointing out or maybe reaching out to Americans by telling them to drop the BS condemnation about what they did was right and proper from 1941-1945 when they fought against this same type of opponent times 10 million

    Understand?

    The EU is zilch without them.

    Time to leave Germany and let them Prussian re-militarize.

    Patton and Rommel side by side in 1942 against the USSR would have been the shit.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Paul Hausser · 10 years ago
    Mike it really doesn't matter.

    PD knows who I am.

    Just go about giving us the cold hard facts.

    What those boys need to be doing is icing the invaders along OUR borders right here.

    The so called "Obama Census" claims 20 million illegals have invaded OUR homeland.

    The "CinC publicly claimed on Tuesday to Univision this week that he was not enforcing our laws against illegals who he says are "trying to be good citizens"

    You all are stuck in 2005. Chasing ghosts
    THAT is a National Security threat. We can use nukes in Afghanistan if need be.

    We need these men back in the homeland.

    Yall are chasing 2005 ghosts
  • This commment is unpublished.
    MyonWebMaster · 10 years ago
    From the Webmaster: Paul Hausser, others, you've said your piece here. Please take the ongoing and unrelated conversation elsewhere.
    Thank you.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Gary Flossmann · 10 years ago
    I like how Rolling Stone also managed to get Sarah Palin into the story...geez.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Danny · 10 years ago
    Dillon, I agree with you whole-heartedly. However, people like Denise and Helen are not interested in reality. They prefer to live in a world where everything can be explained by some sort of conspiracy. They probably spend their days chugging down Glenn Beck's Kool-Aid and believe that President Obama is secretly a Muslim, Communist, anti-Christ who wasn't actually born in America. Unfortunately, millions of these people exist and the best thing to do is just ignore them. Let them enjoy their blissful ignorance and let you and I bask in the joy of knowing that the joke really is on them :P
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Call Me Mom · 10 years ago
    I shared this on facebook. It is one thing to cover a story and another to embellish it in a manipulative manner.
    Combat involves people getting killed. The truth of that is bad enough. It should never be used as an embellishment to another story - especially one meant to demonize people who are doing their best to keep us safe. :-x
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Freedom Now · 10 years ago
    Its not popular in our society to support our troops. Thank you Michael
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Rick Hardy · 10 years ago
    Well done Michael. I will pick 5 advertisers and tell them why.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Dave · 10 years ago
    Mr. Yon,

    Thank you for standing up to Rolling Stone. I read the article and was very disappointed in their coverage. I served with 2nd SCR in Iraq from 2007-2008, and fully support your comments on 5th Bde. For the thousands of platoons and squads that serve on the front lines in incredibly difficult conditions, very very few have any issues like what happened with the killings (less than 0.1%). For Rolling Stone to try to group so many Soldiers in an article describing the horrible actions of so few is disgraceful.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Afghan Patriot · 10 years ago
    [Comment removed by Webmaster]
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Ken2 · 10 years ago
    Right on!
    Until one has walked a mile in a combat soldier's shoes, don't pretend to know better. One bullet too few could cost your fellow soldier his life.

    Bubblebuts...I love it!
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Arghandab VET · 10 years ago
    This is to the so called: Afghan Patriot, Please come to my area and break one rule of ROE, And you will find out what we are about. And you must think about the Taliban in your dumb ass statement, We have arrested your so called Afghan partriots, as they call them self, Helping out Taliban. These young teens that villages say were innocent are the same guys emplacing IED's that wound, and kill US soldiers, and along with them innocent farmers. We dont emplace IED's. And we dont kill innocent people. They know the laws and as long as they do what they are told no body is harmed, EVEN IF THEY ARE BAD. We have arrested or detained a number of taliban, and have yet to kill not a single One, But the so calle taliban have now killed two contractors, whats that shit about. We are here to assist the People, police, and Army of afghanistan, And thats what we do every single day.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Arghandab VET · 10 years ago
    [quote name="Afghan Patriot"]Rolling Stone has done a great job in exposing the true imperialistic face of America.
    America has no business in being in Afghanistan. America is there for its own Geo-political interests only. Thus American soldiers are nothing more than paid immoral mercenaries or stupid crack head volunteers. We have done nothing to harm America except that we made the BIG mistake of taking out Russians out of the way of America. By the way Russians were not as cowards as to kill an innocent Afghan teenager and take photos with his dead body or shoot without provocation or cry out of fear when under attack. Afghans are the only Asian people who understand European and American deceptive and merciless mentalities and how to deal with them. You may fool the world but not Afghans. Afghans will succeed in this war as well, all the signs are there![/quote]
    For one, who gave you the weopons to fight the russian helicopters, know your history you un-edjucated fool.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Kurt Matthies · 10 years ago
    I recall Ben Fong Torres' Rolling Stone of the 60s with pleasure. It was a fun magazine about culture and music. Today, this magazine has evolved into a tool of the payola recording industry and a vehicle for mind control via yellow journalistic tactics. I don't support yellow journalism whether it be from the left or the right. This particular article was a paid political advert. I believe the advertisers were also victimized by the editorial staff of RS. Let's contact those advertisers and explore their desire to support this message. If they continue to place ads in RS, then perhaps a boycott is the next step, but first, let's contact the sponsors and let them know what their advertising dollars are promoting.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Afghan Patriot · 10 years ago
    [Comment removed by Webmaster]

Reader support is crucial to this mission. Weekly or monthly recurring ‘subscription’ based support is the best, though all are greatly appreciated.  Many methods are available to keep the work rolling. Click the image for a more info.

supp

supp

Quick Link to Paypal

Recurring Donation

QR Code

QR Code

Venmo1

To support using Venmo, send to:
@Yon-Michael

subscribe

My BitCoin QR Code

Use the QR code for BitCoin apps:

bc2020

Or click the link below to help support the next dispatch with bitcoins: