Monday, June 14, 2010

A final throw of the lifeline ...

When someone you still/once respected is in a spiral of self-destruction either personally, physically, or mentally - if you care about them you speak to them directly. You don't pander to their self-destructive habits, you don't look the other way, you don't say things that avoid the problem.

No, you treat them like an adult and speak clearly. That is what many, including 'ole Sal, has tried to do with Michael Yon. After an exchange of emails with him over the last few weeks - I washed my hands of the whole thing. He is an adult. It is his choice.

When a person's self-destructive behavior becomes a danger not to just himself, but to others though - there reaches a point where you have to turn away, pivot, and engage.

Over at MudvilleGazette,
Greyhawk nails it. I can't say it better.
Again, I'm convinced that whether through misguided rage, confusion, or lack of knowledge and experience you've allowed yourself to be used by people with an agenda that you believe matches yours. I'm not so sure it does, and I'm certain you yourself have no idea when you're being so used. And as so many of your readers reveal in their comments, your posting of material like this lends it false credibility. Your remaining readers trust you, and I've warned you before that you run great risks when you run roughshod over that trust. They deserve better.

More importantly, the men and women in harm's way deserve better. They deserve light, and they're getting heat. You're vulnerable and you're being used. It's time to man up, admit your failure, and stop.
Read it all.


AW1 Tim said...

Amen to that. I've always respected Yon's skills, but this past year something has definately changed, and not for the good. It's sad to see, but he cannot change unless and until he's willing to admit there is a problem.

Micheal would benefit greatly from a B4 package: Beach, Beer, Boombox, Babe.

Byron said...

So, you trying to say Phib is lying? Eh, Mr. Anonymous Guest?

Anonymous said...

Did you even follow the link to Mudville?  Don't be a squat and run troll.

MR T's Haircut said...

what did I miss?

Desert Sailor said...

I echo the B4 plan!!

Oh, and Mr. Guest, Byron only trolls for fish in deep water.  Here in CDR S's world he is considered to be "Ref A."  Save your comments.

For me, I'd like to see Mike pull back...the MILBLOGS do not need a divisive arguement over this.

Byron said...

Actually, I'm a Cajun: I fish with a dip net and a quarter stick of dynamite.

UltimaRatioRegis said...

That made me laugh out loud.

Kristen said...

This is so sad.  He's a very talented writer.  His reports from Iraq were just riveting.  I so hope that he puts some distance between himself and the war, and recharges his batteries.  I would really like to see the Michael Yon of old return.

Alpha said...

He is simply too close to the issue and needs perspective.  It happens.

John of Argghhh! said...

Hey, Mr. Haircut!  Like yer new movie!

John of Argghhh! said...

Oh, c'mon, I'm just a soljer, like I was going to stay on topic in a sailor's spaces...

MR T's Haircut said...


PAIN!!!  I pity the Fool who aint as smooth as the Original MR T!

UltimaRatioRegis said...

For the record, Clubber Lang is one of my favorite movie characters of all time.  "I train alone!  I fight alone!"  Doin' pullups on the ropes?  Awesome. 

YNSN said...

This is difficult for me to comment on.   The sentiment I hear in the email cited, I hear echoed quite a bit from the Army guys I am with, especially the ones who had a tour or two in IRQ. 
What was it, three months ago when the bridge outside of KAF was hit witha VBIED?  That was when his candor changed.  He then went after the CO of TF KANDAHAR with all his might.   Well, the CO of TF KANDAHAR has since been removed from Command.  He was kinda right about that guy. 

Things are screwed up out here.  This is my first war and all.  But, still everything we're doing out here doesn't feel quite right.  I am not in the know about much of anything.  But, that is the impression I feel.  We need Michael back here, we need the old one at least.  He is still capable of good things.  He just need to get the 'eff of Facebook and twitter.  Those two forms of publishing are killing him.  Just go back to your website and post an entry a week.

I promise you though, he is onto something.  I don't think my ISAF Commander is attempting a media blackout of AFG.  But, we're missing the mark on some things out here, significant things.  Hopefully, later in the Summer I will feel differently and Michael will be back to himself again.

Curtis said...

Originally I thought that he had lost it.  As I read the revised ROE, the treatment of those detained, the insanity of the government of Af and of course consider the madness of our own, I'm willing to give him the honor of the doubt.  I do think I'd trust his word over any of the ones I don't know operating in country.

He is agry as all get out.  He's been fucdked over.  The people that brought him to this point appear unaware that he is just reporting on the facts as he and others observe them.

Once upon a time I was extremely angy in the service as we declared a unilateral halt to an all out war at sea.  The guys left behind must wonder if the leadership does have their best interests at heart.  It's pretty plain to see that this administration and the generalship in AF don't have their best interest at heart and are focusing/concentrating on other high interest priorities.  Shades of other wars.

Despite what I wrote earlier, elsewhere, Yon has my vote.

DeltaBravo said...

As for the new "A-Team" I would just say it's "The A-Team...played by the B-Team"

tcoverride said...


Why do you trust him? If you can honestly, without emotion answer that question, and then apply the rationale for your trust to the many milbloggers who have tried, repeatedly, to get him to stop publishing things which put others at risk, you'll likely find that your reasons for trusting him apply, with greater measure, to those who do not stand with him.

John said...

I still appreciate Yon's contributions and perspective, but I admit that I am placing less confidence in his take on the strategic issues than in the past.

I have no doubt that he has good intentions, and is trying to call it as he sees it from his tiny spot in the very large picture.  However, his personal pique from getting booted has clearly skewed his vision on other issues. 

Stick to the reporting via photo-journalism and leave the comments on vast issues with llittle info to the pundit class. 

He may be right, but I think not, especially with so many other respected voices saying he is wrong this time.

Mike Yon is still a great writer and photographer, but not ready to do the generals' jobs.  Especially when the generals are being micromanaged and undercut by the civililan leadership with different agendas and goals than total victory with a commitment to last as long as it takes.

I think the war has been lost, with Obama's commitment to pull out, and our inability to counter a foe whose bloodthirsty willingness to murder any locals who ally themselves with us make a COIN strategy built on civilized mores and conduct unworkable.  If we cannot even say the name of the evil fighting against us, then there is no point pretending we are fighting it.  Not the fault of our brave men and women, but of bad political leaders making bad political decisions.

Yon can cover what happens, and I look forward to seeing his reporting.  With a grain of salt.

Anonymous said...


Perhaps because he reminds me of COL Hackworth of "About Face" and SLAM Marshall and countless other people that left the green zone and reported the actual news.  He ain't unique.  Many of his peers died in the doing of it.  I miss Kelly most of all who died on the 'march up' but there were so many others.

He is criticizing some pretty foul leadership and some pretty foul policy and some pretty foul ROE.  He got the boot for pointing out the lack of the emporers new clothes. 

Yeah, on reflection, a guy who can critique an idiot general who gave an AD at the visit of higher command and carried on with a subordinate and was later sacked by his government....yeah.. Room for some serious doubt.  I'm just going to count on the in depth investigation out there by Durranty and the NYT in order to form my opinion.

Casey Tompkins said...

Oh, I dunno. I think John would have made a great Hannibal Smith... :)

Spade said...

I liked him better when he was reporting what the guys on the ground were doing. Gates of Fire and all that. That was good stuff.

His writing isn't nearly as good now that he's doing this stuff.

Curtis said...


Sorry, that "Guest" poste was my response to you.  Forgot to put my name on it.


Curtis said...

If I may expand and extend...  Yon is pretty much the man that described almost the entirety of the generals and admirals of this age as perfumed princes.  I think he probably has one of the best aspects to the tactical level of war and we all loved that.  When he expounded on that and then grew to appreciate the Operational and Strategic aspects some started to call into question his vision or appreciation of the art of war or his, frankly; patriotism.

The ones that profoundly dissapoint me are the leaders that do what the current Af leader did and ordered that troop comforts be totally and utterly shut down at the fobs, you know, for the good of the troops.  It's a kind of screw em that hasn't been seen since, oh, I don't know, General Order No. 1.  Unlucky enough to be at Dahran or Lucky?, cross the causeway on the weekend to Bahrain and have as much beer and whores as you like.  Then, all of a sudden, out of nowhere, an edict that forbade all Army/Air Force to cross the causeway.  NAVCENT FWD just told them to FO and crossed every weekend..for the black and tans of course.

I remember having some beers with the MajGen USAF in Saudi Arabia, at a party.  Real actual beer.  That was way way back in time when the US military looked after the desires of its soldiers, made an effort on their behalf, didn't buy at all into the sharia nonsense and actively worked to get around the strict arab BS.

I just read some of the stuff at Mudville and have to confess, Yon's still my go to guy on the actuality of the wars.  The perfumed pashas are passing out now during Congressional testimony.  The ones in theater don't impress me much.  A POLMIL guy or FAO could post the facts and nobody here would cringe.  Much.