Tuesday, August 30, 2005

A witness to the war: Michael Yon

I recommend my reader(s) this blog by independent journalist Michael Yon: Online Magazine. He's apparently a non-affiliated reporter in Iraq who is closely associated with certain US Army units. His reporting of actual, on the ground fighting is nuanced, humane, non-ideological, and vividly points out the complexity of the situation in that troubled land.

(He claims to be supporting himself with contributions via PayPal. If so, isn't that an amazing new paradigm of journalism?)

I find it interesting that right wingers are publicizing this blog and that most of the readers who comment on it seem to support the war politically and read his reports as confirming that position. It is true that he is not neutral: he is clearly more sympathetic to the American soldiers than the "terrorists" and "bad guys" who are trying to kill them, but he is equally careful not to paint all Iraqis as being terrorists.

I, however, am reading him as an honest eyewitness who is willing to let the facts speak for themselves and who is observing the slaughter from a unique vantage point. He is compassionate without being mauldin, respectful of the humanity of the soldiers and civilians, and recognizes their virtues without minimizing their vices.

When I read him, I find confirmation for my conviction that this war should never have been started and that it must come to an end as soon as possible. And that the military solution has and will continue to fail in achieving that goal.


Liz Opp said...

Hey, Paul, thanks for this link. How did you come across it?

I went to the blog and clicked on one of the previous posts. Wow. Chilling and compelling.

I agree with what you write:

I [found] confirmation for my conviction that this war should never have been started and that it must come to an end as soon as possible.

Liz, The Good Raised Up

Paul L said...

I'm half embarrassed to say that I found Yon's blog referred to on a number of right-wing blogs & web sites that I follow. Some of them I read because they make me think; others because I just want to know what the enemy, er, adversary is thinking.

And yes, the God's Will caught my eye, too.

Paul said...

I entirely share your convictions about the war. And I get so sick of the George version of "Christianity" and its purpose as being identical with "whatever George wants."

I can't imagine what it feels like to think you've got God in your pocket like that. (Also, who knows to what extent it's sincere and to what extent it's deliberate political manipulation of Christians.)

Liz Opp said...

I don't often comment about W, but I really would like to get this off my chest.

Today on a live, interrupt-your-program special news report, George W. Bush was supposed to have been talking about the fundraising that former presidents Bill Clinton and George Bush were to begin doing in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. He was supposed to have been talking about the victims of the hurricane, and the rescue efforts and the humanitarian aid being hurried along to them.

He talked for about 5 minutes (I clocked it). Two minutes were about energy, restoring oil production, and the operation of the "Colonial Pipeline."

Nothing about the shootings going on in the devastated city. Nothing about the difficulty of evacuating refugees from the Superdome. Not much about the people themselves. No wonder he didn't allow the former presidents to address the group: There probably would have been questions asked at the end of that...

Questions without pretty answers.


For people who really do care about the victims of the hurricane, I've posted a few blog-links for resources.

And we're paying HOW MUCH for a senseless, going-nowhere war in Iraq?!

Liz, The Good Raised Up

Vinnie said...

I guess I am a right winger, more like a center liner or something. I support the war in Iraq.

But what I look for in Mr. Yon's writing is more about the soldiers that are there and what is going on there. The truth. I want to know about the meetings with local police chiefs, and the IED's that are blowing civilians and military up. I want to know about the children that these men take care of and hand out candy to after chasing a car load of the "enemy" who had just slaughtered 7 people in a car.

You get to see how much the people HATE the fanatics that are doing this. If it wasn't for these people we would be out of there already. Our men and women would be home safe with their families.

I go there because there is NO political motiviation.

Instead of "Another American soldier dead in Iraq" and a running body count we get

"PFC Nils Thompson had just celebrated his 19th birthday the day before. Nils was deeply religious, and would go to Catholic and Protestant services. He was a great kid and everybody liked him; but we were in downtown Mosul searching for the sniper that killed him, and had to stay focused."

That is un-biased news. You do not get this from any news channel. Either Right or Left or radio or TV. It is all politically charged to either side.

:) Good Luck in everything you do.

Paul L said...

Thanks, Vinnie for your comment. I think we agree that we both find value in Yon's work in that it tells a part of the story that is hard to find elsewhere, and that he doesn't seem to have a partisian ax to grind.

And I have no interest in debating the war with you here at this blog, but I do have to respond to this statement:

"If it wasn't for these people [the terrorists] we would be out of there already. Our men and women would be home safe with their families."

From my point of view, if our men and women had stayed home with their families in the first place, the terrorists would not have come into Iraq.

But we didn't, and they did, and now the challenge is to find a way for everyone to go home.

I Hate Wimpy Libs said...

Nothing but MORONS here. Stick your heads in the sand and follow your Liberal buddies to H***

Paul L said...

I was going to look for the trash can for Mr or Ms Libs' comment, but I don't think I will. His or her simple eloquence reason speaks volumes.