Thursday, May 27, 2010

Mike Yon has gone Nanners.

//Update: //Welcome Facebookers!  Below is the original text Mike Yon referred to this morning when he called me sloppy, a milkook, and mistaken.  I let my writing stand.  If you care more for the content, you'll get the idea.  If you're here as a grammarian, have at it.  I appreciate your commentary here, and will respond as necessary.  At the end of the original piece, I will post the same response I wrote to Yon on facebook this morning.  Enjoy!//

Depending on your choice of rock to live under, you may not have heard of Michael Yon.  Michael Yon is a photojournalist, prior military and Special Forces Soldier.  He is the photographer who took this (iconic) photograph in Iraq:  //Update://Mike has accused me of copyright infringement for using his photo.  Instead, I offer this artist's rendering of the photographer.//

Unfortunately, Michael Yon has the uncanny ability to not just piss people off, but to do so in a such a spectacular manner as to make you wonder if he realizes the consequences of his actions.  He "leaks" information that he overhears, he calls out very senior officers in a public forum (making me wonder if he does so for the credibility granted him if they answer him directly, or for the "They are afraid to answer me because they know it's true" mantra of most moonbats.  One time would seem like a fit.  Twice, maybe a pattern.  It's gotten so common that I'm wondering if it's not indicative of a larger problem.   In keeping with his multiple (Uncle Jimbo as the count at four) "firings" from embeds, it seems he's been having problems keeping his ability to stay embeded in Afghanistan.  Why do you think that is?

Let's look at a few of his most recent posts on his Facebook Page (per the norm, my commentary is parenthetical and italicized):
"Life was good before I went to Iraq. (A good start) But after three friends were killed during the GWOT, (still holding with you) and my growing mistrust for the media (right on) and for the US Government/Military,  (Whoa.  Danger! Will Robinson, Danger!) I quit traveling the world and went to war. (EXCEPT, Y'KNOW, WITH A CAMERA)  The United States was in peril. I am American. Today, I do not trust McChrystal (That's General McChrystal to you) anymore than some people trust the New York Times, Obama or Bush. (President Obama, President Bush)  If McChrystal (again, General.  Pretty sure he's earned that.) could be trusted, (Yep--you aren't doing this because it gives you popularity, notoriety, fame, etc.  You'd go back to whatever it was you were doing--oh, that's right, freelance writer.  So what your saying is that if you trusted General McChrystal, you could go back to doing exactly what you are doing right now.)  I would go back to my better life. McChrystal is a great killer but this war is above his head. (And you know that because?  How many Joint and International military efforts have you commanded?)  He must be watched."-- Mike Yon, via Facebook
"Crazy Monkeys: Senior Public Affairs people often make me think of crazy monkeys. (Like some monkeys I've seen in India.) (Hey Mikey, I don't think that's a good way to win friends and influence people, especially the ones who decide if you can embed.) They break into the cockpit and start flipping switches with no idea what the switches do. They keep doing it until something breaks or you beat them back. And just when you think you've beaten ...them all back, another monkey slips in. (This time by name of Admiral Smith.) (Great way to fling poo... like a Monkey!  I'm sure Admiral Smith will applaud the nuanced allegory of your comparison of him to a monkey.)  Kay Day wrote a good piece about the Crazy Monkeys:"-- Mike Yon, via Facebook
"The disembed from McChrytal's (General, That is) top staff (meaning from McChrystal himself) is a very bad sign. Sends chills that McChrystal himself thinks we are losing the war. (No, it sends the message that General McChrystal thinks you're a boob, and provide no benefit to his command.)  McChrystal has a history of covering up. (I suppose you can support this with, you know... facts?)  This causes concern that McChrystal might be misleading SecDef and President. Are they getting the facts?"(You mean the facts that don't matter to you?--See below)-- Mike Yon, via Facebook
"McChrystal's crew has spoken: Embed is ended. This comes from McChrystal's own spokesman (through one CPT Jane Campbell USN cc RADM Greg Smith and COL Wayne Shanks USA). This lends confirmation to ideas that the disembed came from McChrystal's crew. (If not before, 100% now.) McChrystal cannot be trusted to tell the truth about this war.  (Or maybe he feels YOU can't be trusted.  Maybe he just doesn't like having reporters around who don't understand that they are a burden on the command, and when they become too bothersome, tiresome, or start calling his people monkeys, they may be told to leave--when the dropped hints fail.)  Packing my bags."-- Mike Yon, via Facebook
"Rear Adm. Smith,  (Sorry I called you a monkey)
I'm a writer embedded with U.S. Forces in RC-South. RC-South PAO recently apprised me that the embed was ended. This happened precipitously and for dubious cause. (You are a liar, or your people are.)  Cited cause: embed overcrowding. I rarely see journalists. (Since *I* rarely see them, they must not exist.)  Those journalists I see have been doing drive-by reporting. Having embedded before, the PAO pattern is familiar and predictable.  (You are a liar, or your people are.)

[I] Am with 5/2 SBCT. It was agreed, as prerequisite of my coming back with infantry, that I would stay with 5/2 to RIP. As a matter of business, these moves are expensive and time consuming. When the military fails to uphold its side, persistent problems are created from air.  (It's going to be expensive for me to buy a plane ticket home on short notice.)

After extracting from the field to KAF after PAO notification, was told by 5/2 Commander that I am welcome to stay.  (Hey Mikey, GENERAL McChrystal trumps a Battalion Commander.  Thought you'd have learned that in your time in the Army.  Could be the Battalion commander was just telling you that so he wouldn't be compared to a monkey.)  I am considering this offer but need assurance by your office that PAOs will go through you before disembedding me. (Because of WHO I AM, I expect to be given special treatment, and able to jump the food chain.)

And so it's down to you, Sir.   (Really, Really Sorry I called you a Monkey.)

Shall I stay or shall I go? (If I stay there will be trouble, If I go it will be double...)

Very Respectfully,

Michael Yon"

-- Mike Yon, via Facebook

That about sums it up. This is all taken from Yon's online facebook page. I am pretty sure publishing a letter to the Admiral in charge of determining if you can stay in your embed isn't the way to go. You see, you are playing chicken with him, daring him to keep you or can you. Admiral Smith's options: You go, and write a bad news report, from a reporter who was asked to leave theater--sounds to me like sour grapes. Admiral Smith lets you stay, and you continue to call him and his staff monkeys, and cast doubts on the abilities of the Commander of ISAF and US Forces, Afghanistan. Not a hard choice to make.

I understand a reporter's duty is to sell news.  I think you understand that too.  And when no one wants to read the good news anymore, you have to dig for news that isn't good, or just change your perspective on telling the news, so that you can still be the lone voice, crying out to be heard.  Unfortunately, the Public Affairs Office deals only in truth.  No half-truths, no lies, no Information Operations.  They understand that they are the credibility of the commander, and if they lie, even a little bit, then the credibility of the commander is shot.  Mike, it's a shame that you never learned that.  It's a shame that you sold your credibility for your ego.  I don't blame General McChrystal one bit for showing you the door.  I'm just amazed it took the General this long.  Mike, your behavior is nuttier than squirrel shit.  You need to seek professional help, and soon.  The advances in modern psycho-pharmacology are amazing, and you may someday return to productive work.
"If a writer wants to make money, he should avoid truth and tell people what they want to hear."--Michael Yon
Michael Yon, Freelance reporter and photojournalist, Nanners at age 46.

Think I'm wrong?  He's at the bottom of a tailspin.  More on his previous idiocy here:

This mornings' response to Yon from Facebook:

You call it copyright infringement, however I gain nothing from posting that picture, which I clearly identified as yours, and used as an illustration of your *best* work. Call it free advertising for you. I'm pretty sure you don't accuse people of crimes when they're posting your pictures and trying to drive traffic and donations to you, do you... See More?
You said my writing was sloppy and I made mistakes.
But you certainly didn't argue any of the points I made. Why is that? Is that your own intellectual (I'd say journalistic, but we know you aren't a journalist) sloppiness?

I republished (in that post) comments YOU made, then simply added what I thought were the errors you made in judgment. Maybe any mistakes I made were due to the fact that I left the better part of my hands in Iraq, and my typing is admittedly sloppy. The logic, however, isn't. You need to take a break--a real break--and unplug.
Maybe the milblogging community isn't enough of a wake-up call for you. Maybe charities offering to send you on a vacation so you can refocus, because they want you to be able to continue doing good work, isn't enough for you. Maybe, when the donation well runs dry, you'll get the picture.

I do think you are a talented photographer. I also think that many of the professional soldiers you excoriate deserve a much greater benefit of the doubt then you give them. I don't think you can begin to understand the levels of understanding and decision making abilities of the Generals you have met, simply because you left the uniformed world at such a low rank. Had you stayed in longer,you would likely have a greater respect for them, rather than preaching "those idiots at higher" to the SPC-4 mafia. I also believe that you really don't understand how to be polite and respectful, and still get your point across.

You wrote incredibly mean and unsubstantiated things about people who wear the uniform and work very damn hard to do their jobs. You refused to offer up your "proof" of their wrongdoing. You accused them of dumping your embed as a vendetta, then posted the letter they sent you explaining why your embed was ended as proof that you weren't dis-embedded for any reason other than there were other people waiting to embed.

I wonder when you stopped giving soldiers the benefit of the doubt that they were doing their best at a very hard job. What rank is the cutoff? You claim General McChrystal is incompetent, but how much time have you spent with him, and how well do you understand what he is A) tasked with doing and B) how he is trying to do that and C) how much "top cover" he gets, and D) the challenges he faces intrying to fight this war. You wrote that you no longer trust him, but never explained why. Were you trying to be misleading, or just being sloppy? My sloppiness and misleading writing was published, right alongside your writing, in "The Blogs of War." Why would you ever allow your name to appear in a book with such nefarious kooks? If you want to talk sloppy/lazy, I'll ask Maryann to write a guest post about her dealings with you.

Do you see what I've done here? I've tried to explain what I wrote, and why I wrote it. I've tried to defend my statements. I've tried to explain why I made the statements that i made. This might be something you want to do, rather than just casting a wide net, then walking away.

If you would like me to take down the picture I posted, I will do so. All you have to do is ask.

Finally, I am left to wonder, do you really support the troops, or just support the troops who support Mike Yon?



MY asked for my apology.  Here it is:

I'm sorry you were *only* dis-embedded twice, not four times, however I clearly referenced (and linked) that count from Uncle Jimbo.
 I'm sorry you were told to leave Afghanistan, because other embeds were waiting.
I'm sorry you continually attack our leaders in that fight, the doctrine we're using, and are trying to illustrate hopelessness and failure.
I'm sorry you chose to attack the PAO staff, calling those service members "crazy monkeys" while they were serving their nation, sacrificing, for you and all Americans.
I'm sorry you never realized that they are the ones who control how long your embed will last.
I'm sorry you've opted out of the milblogging community that has supported you from the beginning.
I'm sorry you can't understand that people were actually concerned for you, and were trying to tell you that you needed to readjust your perspective.
I'm sorry that none of your readers have been able to find fault with my arguments, but have instead chosen to make ad hominem and personal attacks.

I'm not sorry that I've asked people in the past to donate to keep you embedded.

I'm not sorry that I wrote what I believed to be a post illustrating to you and others that you were wandering off the reservation, by using your own comments and posts.

I'm not sorry that I tried to contact you privately before I publicly wrote anything, but I am sorry that I never heard anything from you.

Finally, I'm sorry I published your picture and called it an "iconic" picture of the Iraq War.  I will rectify that, ASAP.

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