Why is General Brooks making trouble for Michael Yon?

Michael Yon is reporting from Iraq and is doing an incredible service for the morale of our military men, but there always are those who seem to have an agenda that justifies misusing their authority. In this case, it appears to be Brigadier General Vincent K. Brooks.

Get the whole story on how
reluctant hero Michael Yon ended up in Iraq as a freelance blogger who
is 100% financially supported by readers and is being treated shamefully by General Brooks. Read Tabla Rasa.

I feel that Michael has consistently told the unvarnished truth in his firsthand accounts about what is happening on the missions when he accompanies the troops and he is highly regarded by the fighting men who know of his work. This is one of his photos.


Brigadier General Vincent K. Brooks was the former chief PAO (Public Affairs Officer) of the US Army. He is currently the deputy commanding general – support for Multinational Division-Baghdad.

In 2005, when the military attempted to appropriate this famous photo by Michael Yon, Brooks apparently intervened on Yon’s behalf. Now, he seems to be determined to make it as difficult for Michael to report as possible.

Michael calls them as he sees them and his viewpoints seem to be aligned with the fighting men he lives with. He obviously cares for the men he goes on mission with and for many senior officers, but his views of some high level military decisions are not always flattering and this makes each dispatch compelling reading.

At a time when the military needs favorable media coverage as never before, General Brooks seems hell-bent on keeping Michael from reporting! This general’s agenda needs a little examination and a lot of publicity.

I think Michael Yon’s writing has earned him the right to better support from the military. Read Michael’s dispatch and decide for yourself.

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0 Responses to Why is General Brooks making trouble for Michael Yon?

  1. David:

    You write that Michael reports the “unvarnished truth” about Iraq. I wonder if you are confusing truth with belief or fact with perception. I’ve been in war as both a journalist and a man in uniform serving his country and have found that truth in combat is an elusive concept, often based more on pre-conceived principles than an absolute definition of fact vs. fiction.

    You and I have discussed the war many times and I recognize that your conservative beliefs sometimes cause you to perceive the war in Iraq from a certain viewpoint just as my inbred skepticism as a journalist causes me to dismiss what others see as truth, especially when it comes to anything reported by the government or military. But all sides in war have an agenda and that agenda can shade the truth.

    I do not believe that it serves the pursuit of accuracy to declare someone’s reporting as “the unvarnished truth” because I know from experience that no one journalist, blogger and observer can possibly capture the truth based on personal observations in a complex, widespread, ecosystem like war.

    I’ve read Michael’s writings. He writes with passion but his writings also reflect an obvious point of view and when a point of view is apparent in writing it can never be objective nor 100 percent factual. He is an observer who is providing his perspective of what he witnesses. It is well-written perception but it is perception nonetheless.

    When someone asks about truth in modern journalism I often point to the excellent opening to Robert Evan’s biography “The Kid Stays in the Picture.” It reads:

    “There are three sides to this story: My side, your side and the truth — and no one is lying.”

  2. I enjoy your blog immensely and I’m with you on the Michael Yon story, David.

    I’ve followed the young man since way back when – meaning before he was a blip on even the screen of the local news and as I see it, Michael tells the good, the bad, and the ugly, albeit often colored by the filter of those he’s with, and as with all of us, with his own experiences behind him.

    Perhaps one has to get a sense of the history of the man to fully appreciate what he’s doing. That however doesn’t negate any of what you observe about General Brooks’ actions.

    Thanks for giving Michael and what he’s doing a little bost via an excellent blog.

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