Revaluing the Yon
Michael Yon that is. Have you been reading his dispatches from Iraq? You should be. Michael Yon is a former Special Forces soldier who is now over in Iraq, on his own dime, as a journalist. He is living in Mosul and doing some of the most amazing reporting of anyone covering the war.
As milblogger Blackfive told us recently on Pundit Review Radio, Michael's reporting brings the good, the bad and the ugly, as it is happening.
Do yourself a favor and read his blog. Support his work through Paypal, if you can. Get an agenda-free, balanced perspective of what is happening in Iraq. I guarentee that you will have a different perspective of what we are doing and how well we are doing it.
What are you missing? Here is a snippet from his most recent dispatch,
The enemy in Iraq does not appear to be weakening; if anything, they are becoming smarter, more complicated and deadlier. But this does not mean they are winning; to imply that getting smarter and deadlier equates to winning, is fallacious. Most accounts of the situation in Iraq focus on enemy "successes" (if success is re-defined as annihiliation of civility), while redacting the increasing viability and strength of the Iraqi government, which clearly is outpacing the insurgency.
There is a pattern of cascades in counterguerrilla combat operations. In this kind of warfare, information drives maneuvers, and a single capture of a key person frequently cascades into a shower of raids and captures, each pregnant with the next storm.
The Libyan, like so many "jihadists" who come to Iraq itching for action in the holy war, found himself treated as exspendable bomb casing. He started confessing everything. In fact, he had no sooner sat down at the table in the detention facility here on base than he had filled three pages with detailed handwritten confessions. The Libyan had crossed the border from Syria into Iraq on foot, intent on fighting a holy war, as an infantryman engaged in direct combat with American soldiers. He did not want to be a martyr, merely a jihadist. He did not want to die in Iraq. His Iraqis "hosts" had threatened to kill him if he refused to wear and detonate the explosive vest while mingling into a crowd of Iraqi police. But the Libyan did not like that plan and was angry at the Iraqis who were trying to force a holy jihadist to become an unwilling bomb, and he was telling everything. Another cascade.
And don't miss Glen Reynolds, aka Instapundit, interview Michael Yon over at Tech Central Staton.
GR: What are you trying to accomplish with your reporting? What will the final result be? A book?
MY: I am chronicling my observations of this war over an extended period. My independence is important on many levels. I am beholden to no agency and I don't need to produce copy on a deadline. So I can write about what I am seeing and take time to do so properly. Journalists of many sorts fly through here for short times, and there are a handful of semi-permanent reporters from a few majors such as CNN and Time. Some of these are good and serious folks, but I think they are hobbled by working for agencies and are not free to roam and follow their instincts. Being completely independent allows freedom to roam the battle field from North to South, from