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Two big military scalps for Michael Yon

Published in the Daily Telegraph at
Published on June 24th, 2010
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!



# Zeno Davatz 2010-06-24 15:48
Well done Michael Yon. It took some time for the people to understand.
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# Richard Tutching 2010-06-24 15:50
Where there's smoke...there's fire and Michael Yon sniffs out what others miss...he's got the best instincts and consistently ahead of the curve reporting that most others can't even fathom!
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-1 # Cass 2010-06-24 16:10
You accused me of writing under 2 accounts on Facebook, "fishy", when there just happened to be another person who thought in like manner is the way you're doing your 'investigative journalism', I'm going to have to go reassess past posts. But I still think you're a great photographer Mike. Credit due where it's due, and retracted where it isn't.
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# Jonny 2010-06-26 06:25
If the President has a clue, he would either hire Yon to be a agent in Afghanistan (ala WEB griffin books), or simply read whatever Yon writes to get the real story, then act on it.
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# cmholm 2010-06-27 09:28
Michael provided the context that sealed Gen. Menard's (deserved) fate, but of the slings and arrows targeting McChrystal, there was obviously a lot more going on than pulling the embed of momentarily inconvenient reporter. As for what this - or any - President can gain anything from Michael's reporting, it's to provide some direct feedback from what's otherwise a very indirect path from "setting policy" to "go on patrol". Michael can see if it's working. A President then has to decide whether his policy goals are better met by spending ~$800mn/day on a) current COIN strategy, b) another strategy,... n) shoveling bundles of Benjamins out the back of a C-130... not that I'm advocating *that* method.
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# Tommy Barrios 2010-06-28 05:42
I now wonder what all the arm chair generals have to say out there who attacked Michael on his criticisms of the AF-PAK SITREP. A situation that was being ignored by the fawning MGMSM and the ego manic PMIC administration.

As he chickens have come home to roost on this debacle, there is lot of crow eating going on I suppose!
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# halı yıkama 2010-06-30 15:19
I like your pictures too, I think you are a professional in this business

Halı Yıkama /a>
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# Deidre 2010-07-01 13:51
Thanks for being our man in the field. You're a warrior at heart and that is most appealing. I have both your books and look forward to the book of photos which you just gotta do, Michael. Stay safe!
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# christine brown 2010-07-03 15:15
your the ernie pyle of our time...keep of the good work........our troops need it............. .....
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# Steve Novotny 2010-07-04 04:25
Michael... Doing a great job and with that comes success and with that comes exposure. Be careful; the Taliban lives a war of innuendo and deception of which you are exposing. You have been our ears and our eyes of truth and that doesn't help the Taliban's mission. All that to say... Stay safe and don't get too friendly with the natives. I want the Afghan people to have a chance to experience freedom but I also want you to be out there for years to come. As we all know the Taliban don't value life the way we do and could send some innocent child to give you a hug loaded with bombs... Be careful.
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# Charlie Griffith 2010-07-04 08:07
I think Yon's wartime photography should get a Pulitzer, and before that prize is pulled down as in that Nobel for Obama's non-deeds. But I don't think that anyone with, or outside, the Military should be kissing Yon's ass for his reporting. He's in line for a swelled head.

Yon is the other side of the Rolling Stone media coin; caveat emptor.
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# dmsingh 2010-07-04 12:30
Michael- I was skeptical when they gave you the bums rush out of Afghanistan. Is he a phony, a glory hound, I thought? But you are the real deal. Great job. Here's another 10 bucks. dm
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