Iraq War Watch: Memorial Day Messages

Posted 1 CommentPosted in Iraq, Iraq War, Michael Yon
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iraqwarmay27aweb

Michael Yon: A Memorial Day Message

Memorial Day weekend is upon us. I am out here in Anbar Province with Task Force 2-7 Infantry. The area around Hit (pronounced “heat”) is so quiet previous units likely would not recognize the still. There was a small IED incident this morning, and the explosion was a direct hit, but the bomb was so small that mechanics had the vehicle back in shape by late afternoon. Calm truly has fallen on this city.

Dishes are appearing on rooftops and people are communicating more freely. During today’s prayers, one mosque announced that divorce is bad and that parents should take care of their children. One mosque cried about Christians and Jews, while yet another announced that Al-Jazeera is lying and people should not watch it.

Long-time readers know that I deliver bad news with the good. I was first to write that parts of Iraq were in civil war back in February 2005, well over a year before mainstream outlets started reporting the same. I was also the first to report, back in 2005, that Mosul was making a turn for the better. Mainstream outlets hardly picked up on that story, however, although the turn was easy to see for anyone who was there. When I returned from Afghanistan in the spring of 2006, after writing about the growing threat of a resurgent Taliban, bankrolled with profits from the heroin trade, I wrote that parts of our own military were censoring media in Iraq. The recent skirmishing over blogging from Iraq supports that contention. These reminders are for new readers who do not believe that a province that most media outlets had put at the top of the “hopelessly lost” column is actually turning a corner for the better.

Although there is sharp fighting in Diyala Province, and Baghdad remains a battleground, and the enemy is trying to undermine security in areas they’d lost interest in, the fact is that the security plan, or so-called “surge,” is showing clear signs of progress. The city of Hit, for instance. Only about a hundred days ago, Hit was a city at war. Today, the buildings are still riddled with bullet holes, but the Iraqi people are opening shops and painting over the scars. They are waving and smiling while hundreds of men are volunteering to join the police. I saw a “policeman” on duty today whose “weapon” was a plastic pistol. I photographed the toy. And so this man was on “duty” with a toy pistol, though he has not yet attended the police academy and is not even being paid. A writer could probably squeeze bad news from that story, but I won’t try. In fact, Hit is a place where writers who wish to escape combat and bad news should visit. Emphasis mine

Contrast this piece written by Michael Yon who is embedded in Iraq living with American troops with the New York Times Lede for the Memorial Day morning edition (from Drudge):

NYT LEAD MONDAY: A dozen soldiers interviewed over one-week period, most said they were disillusioned by repeated deployments, by what they saw as abysmal performance of Iraqi security forces and by conflict they considered civil war, one they had no ability to stop…

Update: Here is the link to the NYT piece.

Happy Memorial Day indeed…….

Update #2:

Michelle has a round-up of reporting from Iraq and Afghanistan:

Counterterrorism analyst Daveed Gartenstein-Ross is embedded in Iraq. Read his latest dispatch from outside the wire: Patrolling Yarmouk.

Outside the Wire’s J.D. Johannes, embedded with the Black Lions of Task Force 1-28 in Baghdad, reports on the “cellular battlespace.”

Miblogs reporting…

Desert Flier, a flight/trauma nurse in Anbar province, blogs about Ramadi all-nighters.

Stimp at My Desert Adventure blogs about soldiers pimping their rides.

More at the Dawn Patrol.

Jules Crittenden takes note of the Associated Press’s holiday grim death toll notice and spots a telling omission…..

Here are the names of the fallen who have died serving in Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan.

Now this is better……more fair and balanced.


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