And he’ll do it for the sake of bringing the real news from the ground in Iraq.
I was at home in the United States just one day before the magnitude hit me like vertigo: America seems to be under a glass dome which allows few hard facts from the field to filter in unless they are attached to a string of false assumptions. Considering that my trip home coincided with General Petraeus’ testimony before the US Congress, when media interest in the war was (I’m told) unusually concentrated, it’s a wonder my eardrums didn’t burst on the trip back to Iraq. In places like Singapore, Indonesia, and Britain people hardly seemed to notice that success is being achieved in Iraq, while in the United States, Britney was competing for airtime with O.J. in one of the saddest sideshows on Earth.
No thinking person would look at last year’s weather reports to judge whether it will rain today, yet we do something similar with Iraq news. The situation in Iraq has drastically changed, but the inertia of bad news leaves many convinced that the mission has failed beyond recovery, that all Iraqis are engaged in sectarian violence, or are waiting for us to leave so they can crush their neighbors. This view allows our soldiers two possible roles: either “victim caught in the crossfire” or “referee between warring parties.” Neither, rightly, is tolerable to the American or British public.
Today I am in Iraq, back in a war of such strategic consequence that it will affect generations yet unborn—whether or not they want it to. Hiding under the covers will not work, because whether it is good news or bad, whether it is true or untrue, once information is widely circulated, it has such formidable inertia that public opinion seems impervious to the corrective balm of simple and clear facts.
Yon is saying that he’ll make his dispatches from Iraq available, free of charge, to the National Newspaper Association. As well as other news associations too, I’m sure.
Read the whole thing, and then go contribute some money to this guy. And then after that, get a hold of your local media outlets and demand that they pick his reports up.
Contrary to popular opinion, Michael Yon is not some right-wing, neocon apologist in Iraq to paint a rosy picture. I’ve been reading his dispatches from Iraq for years now, and there have been times when I didn’t want to. When things seemed hopeless in Iraq. When I was angry with Yon because I believe in this mission, but what he was telling me made it all seem pointless.
He doesn’t report on Iraq in a way conservatives or supporters of the war want, he reports the truth. A truth the American public needs to hear.