Michael Yon’s War

D. B. Grady
The Atlantic
6/1/2010

It began with a bridge. On the morning of March 1, a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device detonated on Tarnak River Bridge near Kandahar, Afghanistan, killing multiple civilians and one American soldier. While the destruction of a single bridge might ordinarily pose a mere inconvenience to the U.S. war machine, in the oppressive terrain of Afghanistan it became a logistical chokepoint, halting ground-based operations for days.

War correspondent Michael Yon sought the answer to an uncomfortable question: who was responsible for the security of that bridge?

Yon is no ordinary reporter. A former Green Beret with U.S. Army Special Forces, he has spent more time embedded in Iraq and Afghanistan than any other journalist. His dispatches have produced some of the most memorable combat narratives of the war, and a large share of its most iconic images. Make no mistake; Michael Yon is not a dispassionate observer of the Columbia J-School variety. When writing about U.S. forces, he says “we.” When writing about insurgents, he calls them terrorists or Taliban. And when reporting failures in the war effort, he names names. This has earned him both the respect and ire of senior military staff. In the case of the Tarnak River Bridge, the name most repeatedly mentioned as responsible for its security was Daniel Menard, the Canadian brigadier general in charge of Task Force Kandahar. Yon went public with this information.

The article continues at The Atlantic.

Michael Yon, who is also uncharacteristically critical of General McChrystal, has posted these links to Facebook in an attempt to show how the mainstream media is not reporting the story:

“There is more to the case of Brigadier General Daniel Menard than I or
anyone else (to my knowledge), has written about. Various stories are
getting bits and pieces, but they haven’t cracked the nut and most are
focused on the weapon or the sexual matters. They are skipping
something far more important: The Bridge. And…none appear to be
digging deeper into something even more important: the command climate
at RC-South. (Hints to journalists.) None appear to be digging into
the fact that officers across the battlespace are finding ways to avoid
abiding by General McChrystal’s guidance.

“The war is being bungled and covered.

“Note: I did not bombard with emails. Was a short string of interrogative missives over a period of hours. Menard caved. A brigadier general surrendered under pressure of emails and Facebook entries from a lonely writer. He had no chance against the Taliban.”

Daniel Menard scandal leaves military reeling

Military: Canadian commander in Afghanistan relieved after ‘inappropriate relationship’

Top Cdn soldier in Afghanistan dismissed from post, accused of inappropriate relationship

Read also “Military Mysteriously Cuts Short Top War Correspondent’s Time in Afghanistan” at Human Events:

The military has cut short a war correspondent’s embed, and there may be evidence that the decision may have been part of a smear campaign against the writer.

Michael Yon, a former Green Beret, has been covering Iraq and Afghanistan for six years. He has also covered conflicts in Thailand, the Philippines, and Nepal. Following a string of events covered by Yon that cast a negative light on two top NATO commanders, the military decided to terminate Yon’s embed prematurely, citing reasons that didn’t add up.

ISAF’s reason for disembedding Yon was “embed overcrowding.” Yet in an email to Admiral Gregory J. Smith, an ISAF public affairs officer, Yon wrote, “I rarely see journalists. Those journalists I see have been doing drive-by reporting.”

Yon states that he has forwarded to his attorney “compelling evidence” of a smear campaign perpetrated by members of Gen. McChrystal’s staff. He says that the general’s staff have released official statements that are “defamatory and libelous.”…

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