- Published: Friday, 25 June 2010 01:14
- Written by Toby Harnden
Well, I wouldn’t cross Michael Yon, the intrepid independent war reporter and photographer who has covered the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan with distinction and dogged intensity. For weeks, he was fulimating about two men – Brigadier-General Daniel Menard of the Canadian Army and General Stanley McChrystal.
Then, two things happened. First, Menard was fired. Then, McChrystal was fired.
True, neither was dismissed for reasons directly related to Yon’s reporting – though Menard’s negligent discharge of his rifle at Kandahar can hardly have helped any case he had for staying and McChrystal’s chances of remaining in post might have been greater had his Afghan war strategy not been facing excoriating criticism from the likes of Yon.
But it might be wise for generals to keep on the right side of Yon, who was disembedded by McChrystal’s staff, in the future. Perhaps fortunately for him (though it’s no accident – he assiduously cultivates media opinion shapers), General David Petraeus has an excellent relationship with Yon.
Yon often writes about his private email communicaions with the former Iraq commander, the most recent of which was to congratulate him on being nominated to command Nato forces in Afghanistan. Afterwards, he posted this on his Facebook page to his 35,182 fans, many of whom serve in the US military:
Just got a nice response from General Petraeus. This is going to be a long, long journey for the troops, for the General, and for me. Let’s turn this around!