An Open Letter To Michael Yon

Michael Yon wake up call

UPDATE: My answer to Yon's request that I show my cards is here.

I did not want to write this, but I think it is important to do so. I'm not the only one who believes that either; the sentiment is fairly widespread. A number of members of our community have reached out to him and tried to help Yon out but have seen the same kind of behavior that has caused him trouble on his embeds. This isn't about slamming him, it's about telling him to wake the hell up.

Michael Yon has done some excellent reporting from both Iraq and Afghanistan, but if my count is correct he has now been kicked off four embeds. Each time he has excoriated those who booted him and blamed them for his predicament. There comes a time when you have to look in the mirror and accept responsibility. It is not a collection of incompetent public affairs officers or some conspiracy to silence truth telling, it is his own fault. He has broken the rules time and time again and then when that bit him in the ass, he bit back.

Now he has basically started firing in all directions including this unhinged post.
Life was good before I went to Iraq. But after three friends were killed during the GWOT, and my growing mistrust for the media and for the US Government/Military, I quit traveling the world and went to war. The United States was in peril. I am American. Today, I do not trust McChrystal anymore than some people trust the New York Times, Obama or Bush. If McChrystal could be trusted, I would go back to my better life. McChrystal is a great killer but this war is above his head. He must be watched..
Let's be clear now, he didn't go "to war" he went "to the war". He is not a participant, he is a journalist. That sense of personal involvement has appeared many times in his actions and in his writing as he explains the failings of those running the war and our operations. Now he is telling us that Gen. McChrystal is over his head and needs to be watched? I'm sorry but if I have to choose between the eminently qualified and competent McChrystal and Yon, there's not even a question. If this was just one isolated incident I would not have bothered to do this publicly, but it is one in a long string and he has called his own competence into question.

Since his most recent boot from his embed he has been slagging our leadership and the conduct of the war in general; it is important to note that sour grapes are in effect. He has been complaining that McChrystal & his staff were somehow incapable of taking care of his needs.
Crazy Monkeys: Senior Public Affairs people often make me think of crazy monkeys. (Like some monkeys I've seen in India.) 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.)

The disembed from McChrytal's top staff (meaning from McChrystal himself) is a very bad sign. Sends chills that McChrystal himself thinks we are losing the war. McChrystal has a history of covering up. This causes concern that McChrystal might be misleading SecDef and President. Are they getting the facts?

Next time military generals talk about poor press performance in Afghanistan, please remember that McChrystal and crew lacked the dexterity to handle a single, unarmed writer. 100,000 troops -- probably that many contractors -- and no room for one writer. How can McChrystal handle the Taliban?

OK that's about enough self-centered whingeing, and I can't believe he is questioning McChrystal's character. That's BS and low.  He has claimed he was told there was no room for him to embed, well that is not what I heard. It appears he was again removed for violating the embed rules. At some point you need to own up to the fact that it's not the rest of the's you. That point is now.

Disclaimer: I have not embedded...ever. I am not going to embed because I don't want to. I like being in the rear w/ the gear. I have plenty of stamps on my passport, have toured the most craptastic places on the planet, and now don't deploy anywhere w/o room service. I respect what Michael Yon has done, I just think he is acting like a jackass.

Others opining:

Chuck Z

Greyhawk I & II

Kanani Fong

CDR Salamander

You Served

Laughing Wolf

The Donovan

Greta Perry

The Brat