Thursday, August 18, 2005

Michael Yon The Real Iraq Reporter - A True Journalist

If you are not a reader of Michael Yon's blog, you should be. It's the best and most authentic coverage of the Iraq war available. It's actually one of the few coverage options that is authentic in today's busy news static. He is imbedded with Deuce Four and writes about his real world experiences riding along with our troops in Iraq while they fight the good fight:

Michael Yon

This is the real thing, not some thirty second sound bite written in a hotel room after drinks for MSM consumption. It's not the same stuff that you get from the AP or Reuters and the easy to find news out of Iraq that comes from briefings, interviewing people in the Green Zone, and reporting the last bombing from TV coverage. This guy is with the troops traveling on missions getting shot at and dodging IED's. He is on the inside seeing it from the soldiers perspective and living it with them, then reporting it to us. It's a great gift that he gives.

If you have an opinion on Iraq, then I say it's a requirement that you read Yon's reporting and see how your thoughts and positions stand-up to the facts and realities that Yon reports. Yon give you the good, the bad and the still to be determined. In his latest post I say he hits the nail resoundingly on the head with the following:

The outcome of our efforts rests on the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) and their ability to establish and maintain civil order while new democratic systems take root.

That I think is a simple and obvious statement in a way but given the factors in play is actually is a hugely complicated one in reality. We have taken Saddam out of power and liberated the Iraqis from his destruction and murder. They are on the verge of completing their constitution. The window of "opportunity" is at hand, the choice to be free is close, and it soon will be in their hands to make it happen. Soon only they can close that deal.

Yon gives a positive report on the actions being taken by the Iraqis as they position themselves to close that deal and determine their destiny:

The only martyrs I know about in Iraq are the fathers and brothers who see a better future coming, and so they act on their beliefs and assemble outside police stations whenever recruitment notices are posted. They line up in ever increasing numbers, knowing that insurgents can also read these notices. The men stand in longer and longer lines, making ever bigger targets of themselves. Some volunteer to earn a living. This, too, is honorable. But others take these risks because they believe that a better future is possible only if Iraqi men of principle stand up for their own values, for their country, for their families. Theses are the true martyrs, the true heroes of Iraq and of Islam. I meet these martyrs frequently. They are brave men, worthy of respect.

Over the next few months I think we will see if the true martyrs of the ISF will take their rightful place as the protectors of Iraq. It appears that they are growing into such a force per Yon:

Some definitions: The ISF includes the Iraqi Police (IP), Iraqi Army (IA), Iraqi National Guard (ING), Border Patrol (BP), and sundry other groups, each with their own initials. Every month, the ISF becomes a greater and more proximate threat to FRE and extremists groups throughout Iraq. This is borne out in a most ironic fashion; evidence of the growing competence and capability of ISF shouts from the headlines as the Iraqi government itself becomes the primary focus of insurgent attacks. (editional here by me: the more focused the attack is on the Iraqis and the ISF, the more successfully they are becoming - kind of important to understand on this matter)

Gone are the days when the FREs and extremists in Mosul chased police from their stations and ravaged entire neighborhoods at will. Today, the ISF kills and captures enemy every day in Mosul, something that seldom makes news.

(my comment: that report provides huge progress that we simply do not see in the MSM coverage - I wonder why?)

For his next factual Iraq report out Yon presents this preview:

The next dispatch will explain how Deuce-Four has captured nearly one-hundred insurgents in the past three weeks, and how three drugged-up foreign homicide bombers were caught last night.

The MSM does less than an adequate job of reporting the real struggle in Iraq, good and bad. They live in hotel rooms and briefing conference rooms. In a way I understand, but in a more important way I don't. You can not pretend to be reporting the news out of Iraq if you are not doing what Yon is doing. Everything else is AP headlines and the "known news" and the "easy news". You could do that state side, but you could not do what Yon does state side. If you care about what is happening in Iraq and have an opinion Michael Yon will provide reporting that will give you the required information to decide if your opinions are well grounded.

If you read Yon's blog, I think you will be a fan and really appreciate what he is doing. If that's the case hit his "tip jar" hard because he is an independent reporter and needs our support to continue his fantastic and honorable work as a true journalist in Iraq.