Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Michael Yon continues his journey in Afghanistan

Do the 2 Michaels (Totten and Yon) coordinate the posting of their entries? Seems like every time one of them posts a new entry I find that the other one also has a new post up.

I find both of them to be must reads all the time. This is real journalism, folks, done the old fashioned way: on a shoestring budget, on the ground, working and dealing with everyday folks, getting up close and personal in an honest way.
Michael Yon continues his reporting from Afghanistan, although the subject of his post is on Iraq. It’s a long one, but worth every word. Do not miss it. Excerpt:

To a large degree, we earned the cynicism that led to the dire predictions about
the impending failure of the first Iraqi elections. That cynicism explains the
increasingly skewed coverage of the war. Poor performance by the media—abetted
by consumers who refuse to change the channel—was directly responsible for
making the soldiers I had come to know and respect feel like they’d just got
kicked in the head. The fact that I had seen first hand their amazing work in
the field, and the knowledge that people back home were not hearing this kind of
news, led me to stay in Iraq and find a way to get the news out through
alternative channels.

In the “Mission Impossible” dispatch, I wrote about how I thought the world press, and our own, unfairly judged the performance of the military, and by extension the character of the American people:
America has its share of critics, and we make enough mistakes to
support a cottage industry of specialists chronicling our failures and
footnoting our shortcomings. Even the most ardent patriot might concede that we
provide fodder for this with frustrating frequency. We come complete with our
national faults, embarrassments, scandals and scars, and horrors. Reminders of
these can serve a necessary if painful purpose. But fairness alone dictates that
it be balanced by a consideration of our national character.

For every
failed international initiative, we have a dozen disaster relief efforts. For
every indictment of corporate greed, American ingenuity compensates with
countless technological advancements. For every instance when we turn a blind
eye to an atrocity perpetrated by other nations against innocent neighbors or
even their own citizens, we have forests of tombstones marking the graves of our
soldiers who fought and died to protect the liberty of strangers.
Italy, Germany, Japan and others. . . . Modesty and discretion may not be the chief American character traits, but we shouldn’t have to remind our allies about
these as if they were minor accomplishments. After the 5th Symphony premiered, no one asked Ludwig to send a resume and audition tape.

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