Michael Yon’s fine reporting continues with a Memorial Day message. Yon’s excellent first-hand accounts of firefights can be quite compelling. The comments section of a Yon post interest me for another reason. His comment section reads like the collected responses of a large group of people participating in a Rorschach journalism quiz. Each person sees in Yon’s post what they want to see. Anything outside of their own narrow world view must be immediately shot down or disavowed. Faithful commenters were outraged when Yon suggested a civil war was underway. Others balked when he suggested that the surge may in fact be working.
Whether or not Yon’s analysis is accurate almost seems irrelevant to me. I read his posts eagerly to consume the vibrant flavor of his delicious and vivid reporting. It is the factual portion of his postings that are truly remarkable. He frequently captures the personal and intense nature of combat. Don’t come to the table without an appetite for harrowing and heart wrenching detail. The entree Yon serves satisfies my intellectual curiosity for news about the guys on the ground.
If you want your pre-conceived notions about the Iraq War confirmed by Yon stop reading the moment you feel uncomfortable. He does not report want he thinks you want to hear. He reports what he sees. As I wrote earlier, he does interject commentary, but if you read him long enough he is not coming from a particular partisan point of view. His point of view is that of a professional soldier. (Yon served in Army Special Forces.) 1. What is the mission? 2. How are we doing? He is very tough on the military brass and has frequently criticized their shortcomings. For the most part I have read little criticism of the mainstream media and political leaders by Yon.