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Who to believe? An interview with Michael Yon (update)
Posted by: McQ on Tuesday, May 29, 2007

For those who wonder, yes, I've read the NY Times story about the sergeant who wonders why we're still in Iraq and that of the young private who watched a friend die and wonders the same. I've also read the Warrant Officer's email which says mostly the opposite.

But then, I also had the opportunity to participate in an interview over the weekend with Michael Yon, a citizen journalist who has been embedded with various units in various parts of Iraq for over a year. Anyone who is familiar with Michael Yon, a former member of the Army's Special Forces, knows that he calls it like he sees it. As he says, he answers to no one and that has ruffled some feathers in Iraq on previous occasions. I'd also note that for the most part, Michael Yon's hasn't been the most optimistic person for the last few months while reporting out of Iraq.

So while I appreciate the sergeant's point of view and certainly understand the private's as well as the WO's, I'm more inclined to give more credence to Yon's simply because of the length of his stay, the breadth of his travels and the fact that he has the perspective of almost two years of observation to compare the Iraq today with the Iraq yesterday. And the results, in the interview linked here, are actually quite a change for Yon.
“A new day is dawning and it looks like a real chance for some kind of success here in Iraq and I can tell you my spirits are substantially lifted just over the period of the last couple of months…I see 2007 is going to be a serious year for progress.”
Yon says we obviously need to do two things, be patient and be smart. He's very impressed with the changes Gen. Petraeus has brought to the battle. With Petraeus there and the new relationship he's forged with Ambassador Crocker, I'm of the opinion that for once, we will be "smart" about how we proceed. The patience requirement, however, is where we may fail. And we all know why.

Anyway listen to the Yon interview. It deals a lot with the Anbar Awakening, engaging the tribes and how much it has changed in Anbar proper. Remember that Yon, a year before anyone else, was talking about the possibility of civil war, and to the point of this interview, had been mostly pessimistic about Iraq. He's been clearly in front of the media in reporting what is really going on in Iraq and that's why this interview is important.

UPDATE: If you're not familiar with Michael's work, go here. And, if you're so inclined, hit the tip jar. He's totally self supported.
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