Love it or Leave it!!

IF THERE BE TROUBLE, LET IT BE IN MY DAY, THAT MY CHILD MAY HAVE PEACE..Thomas Paine, "The Crisis" 1776, ("The Undefeated").

Michael Yon – Citizen Journalist

Posted by devildog6771 on December 17, 2010

Michael Yon - In His Arms (Strength and Compas...

Image by six steps  via Flickr

Michael Yon has written a new post called, Ripley’s Believe it Or Not. Ripleys Believe it Or Not is going to publish one of Michael’s photos, “Helicopter Rotors glowing due to Kopp-Etchells Effect,”in their next book. In Michael’s own words:

Ripley’s Believe it or Not has asked to publish one of my photos in their next book.  This photo was made in Sangin, Afghanistan during the last time I was with British forces.  Sangin is the most dangerous place in the country.  The enemy is good and the fighting is serious.  The area freaks out some people.  Sangin is a courage tester and every mission I half expected would be my last.

For those of you not familiar with Michael Yon, he is a citizen Journalist who has risked his life reporting on the war efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Several years ago one of his photos (see above) won world-wide acclaim. In that photo he showed a young girl being held and comforted by a U.S. soldier as the soldier took the young girl to be treated for her shrapnel injuries. Sadly the child died in route! That photo won Yon the “‘Top Photo of 2005” Award.

In the beginning of the Iraq War, we all watched with horror as Iraqis dragged the bodies of dead Americans through the streets then hung those bodies from a bridge. Two of those men were friends of Michael.

Wikipedia has a pretty good “bio” on Michael’s Yon’s life and his career as a journalist. It is a very good read! From Wikipedia, here are some of Michael’s works with a brief description:

2005 – Little Girl story and photograph

In May 2005, Yon took a picture of U.S. Army Major Mark Bieger cradling an Iraqi girl, named Farah, wounded by shrapnel from a car bomb. Major Bieger tried to take the girl to an American hospital to receive treatment, but she died on the helicopter ride. Yon wrote shortly after taking the picture that it “provoked a flood of messages and heartfelt responses from caring people around the world.”[32]

The photo created international news media attention as well.[5] It was submitted to Time. Their website’s viewers selected it as the ‘Top Photo of 2005’.[33] It received 66% of the vote.[34] An Islamic-based non-violence organization asked to use the picture, and Yon gave his permission. Documentary filmmaker Michael Moore used the photo without permission at,[35] with it placed alongside then-Senator Hillary Clinton attacking her support for the invasion of Iraq. In May 2008, Yon wrote that he planned to sue Moore for copyright infringement and described some of Moore’s media work as pornographic.[33][36]

2006 – Battle with Shock magazine

In 2006, the ‘Little Girl’ image was the center of a controversy when it was used by the Hachette Filipacchi Médias’ publication Shock Magazine. The magazine displayed the picture in a context that was critical of the war in Iraq. Yon felt this usage of the photo both dishonored U.S. troops and breached his copyright. He especially criticized the fact that the agency released the disputed article on Memorial Day.[9]

Yon contacted his lawyers and agreed with Hachette Filipacchi Medias that he would be paid a licensing fee, with the majority of proceeds going to a charity supporting US military families. On June 9, 2006, the agreement appears to have collapsed, with Yon alleging further misuse of the image by Hachette Filipacchi Médias at its website.[9]

2007 – Reporting alleged atrocities by Al-Qaeda in Iraq

Through June and July 2007, Yon followed multinational forces in battles at and around Baqubah during Operation Arrowhead Ripper, and he reported that the forces discovered a mass grave at the al Hamari village. Yon stated that Al Qaeda elements had murdered hundreds of innocent people in the area.[37] He compared the scene to the ‘Killing Fields’ of Cambodia. He speculated from the positions of some of the bodies’ that the militants may have forced a father to dig the graves of his children before their summary execution.[38]

Yon wrote on July 18 that the news media had been ignoring the story.[39] An Iraqi official later said that the insurgents had, among other atrocities, baked a young boy and served him to his parents.[37] Yon himself wrote in a later dispatch that he offers “no opinion about the veracity of [the official’s] words”.[40]

2008 – Moment of Truth in Iraq

In April 2008, Yon published his second book, Moment of Truth in Iraq, through Richard Vigilante Books. The book describes how U.S. counterinsurgency methods are creating what Yon sees as a foundation of success in Iraq. Within two weeks of its release date, Moment of Truth entered into‘s list of Top 10 bestsellers. Yon wrote fellow blogger Glenn Reynolds saying, “That’s just wild. Folks really did want that book after all. I was wondering how many people even cared. It’s great to know that people want to really know what’s going on.”[41]

2010 – Conflicts with U.S. military command

Through spring 2010, Yon engaged in an ongoing war of words with Brigadier-General Daniel Menard of the Canadian Army and General Stanley McChrystal, the latter who served as General over the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF). Yon blasted Menard for negligently firing his weapon in Kandahar and also Menard accused of having an affair with a female staffer. Yon criticized Stanley McChrystal‘s war strategy on many occasions, particularly the restrictive Rules of Engagement under his command. Daily Telegraph journalist Toby Harnden described Yon’s commentary as “excoriating”.[29][42] Yon suggested that McChrystal’s specialized background in the U.S. special forces left him ill-prepared to manage the ISAF, with “an incompetence… that I’ve never seen before”.[27]

After a Rolling Stone article containing controversial quotes from McCrystal and his staff mocking their civilian Obama administration colleagues was published in June 2010, Yon wrote, “Unless McChrystal basically denies the article, he must be fired. If he is not fired, I will start calling him President McChrystal because Obama clearly is not in charge.” Both McChrystal and Menard later left their commands. After General David H. Petraeus was appointed to Stanley McCrystal’s command, Yon sent Petraeus a message of support and later wrote on his Facebook page that Petraeus sent back “a nice response”.[29][42]

Please consider a donation to help Michael Yon continue reporting on the Afghan War effort.

Another place to make a much needed donation is WIKIPEDIA. Those folks do a great  job of providing source of accurate reference material over the Internet!


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