Michael's Dispatches

Doves of Mosul


The next day, I was talking with Captain Brad Warr, an Army physician’s assistant whom I got to know during 2005 in Mosul when he was with the “Deuce Four.” For an hour or so, we caught up, rambling on about this and that. CPT Warr told me about a relative who was studying photography. I said that bird photography is much more difficult than combat photography (if less dangerous). CPT Warr then mentioned that over the past summer, he had seen hundreds of doves and pigeons die on base. Walking out of his clinic, we found another dead dove on the ground, its heart apparently having been picked out by a crow or raven. The weather is cool during the day and dips to freezing sometimes at night, so it couldn’t have been heat that killed the two doves I saw.

Even though many birds apparently have died from unknown causes, the trees are usually filled with doves every morning. I got up early today just to make sure. The sky is cold and overcast-gray. At least two jets have been prowling overhead. Patrols test fire machine guns while rolling out the gates. And the trees are filled with doves.

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  • This commment is unpublished.
    Marjorie Sokolow · 14 years ago
    Just had to say thank you, Michael Yon, we love you for what you are doing.. and God bless you and keep you in the palm of His hand while continuing to do it. Your website is awesome. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Bruce R Gallup · 14 years ago

    It takes a hero to tell the truth and you are every bit that. The networks don't have the courage you have to tell us the truth about the great work our men and women do on a daily basis in Iraq, Afganistan and everywhere else around the world. Thank you for the truth. Keep up the great work.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Charlotte Wykoff · 14 years ago
    "And the trees are filled with doves."
    The thought occurs to me that since the dove is a symbol of peace, perhaps the doves who are dying cannot abide the lack of peace in Iraq, even though since the surge there is less violence than before. Some of the birds are more sensitive than others, just like people.

    Michael, thank you for the work you are doing. Please be careful.

    Charlotte Wykoff
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Anthony Walls · 14 years ago
    Good eye Micheal. I've told my wife many times since being home from Iraq 04-07 that If it was a safe place a man could make a fortune guiding dove hunts near Mosul. I have literally thousands of Dove photos I took in the area. I've never seen concentration of doves like I've seen there nor have I seen such large doves.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    ursula marshall · 14 years ago
    You have given us so much insight to the experiences of the troops.. Please continue to stay true to the troops and keep us posted, reminding us of their needs and their humanity. God bless and protect them...and you as well.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    James M. · 13 years ago

    I've been following your blog for quite some time and I would like to tell you of my appreciation for what you do for this country as well as our Military. Also, what I think is the greatest blessing, is your skill.

    You, sir, are a man with exceptional gifts as a writer and a photographer. Your photography is heartbreaking, enchanting, and amazing. You're writing is at times poetic. "And the trees were filled with doves," brought tears to my eyes, not just for its aesthetics but for the implications of where this sight of serene beauty took place.

    As a fellow avid writer and photographer, I commend your ability as an artist. One who can do what you can with words and a with a camera needs more praise than any one person can muster.

    So I applaud you and wish you godspeed in all your endeavors at telling the truth.

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