8 3 mins 14 yrs

Many of you might already know Michael Yon by his widely publicized, hugely popular photographs from the war front.
A former US Green Beret, Yon has been working as an embed journalist since December 2004. He works freelance and has been embedded with both American and British troops. He writes what he sees and  this book, Moment of Truth in Iraq,  provides one of the most complete, interesting, and even-handed accounts I personally have ever read.

As an embed, Yon witnessed mistakes committed during the early years of the war, and  recently, witnessed the precarious “second chance” being played out by General Petreaus and his troops. Yon writes of the guerrilla warfare, in progress as you read this book review.  This book documents the actions of our soldiers as they carve out a precarious victory.

Yon has a captivating writing style.  But don’t believe me; judge for yourself. Here is an excerpt from his book from a section describing his embed with British troops:

                                                                    Combat in Basra


    The British soldiers had been out longer than thirteen hours and the heat was stifling. Ambient temperature was now 115 F outside the vehicles, and temperatures approached 70 C (around 150F) inside. Soldiers poured water down their body armor.  The driver was naked other than his body armor and helmet, while soldiers in the back literally pulled down their pants. This was more than an attempt at comfort; they were trying not to die. Thick clouds of thick dust baked the putrid Basra odors until they could gag a goat, although by then the soldiers inside the Bulldogs and Warriors could have offered serious competition in a stink contest. With their heavy body armor and helmets, and laden with ammunition, rashes erupted on their skin. Their goggles and ballistic glasses were filthy. The place was like a toilet used as an oven. The people on the septic streets were flushed with hostility.

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8 thoughts on “Moment of Truth in Iraq

  1. I like Yon and look forward to reading this book. His photo essays are just incredible. As are the British and American troops he has been covering.

    He is also the only American journo or blogger, American period, to show any true appreciation for British troops stationed out there and to salute them so brilliantly and respectfully. The posts he put up a year ago were amazing. That he has included that in his book also is just…i love the man. Cannot wait to read it. Thanks for the heads up.

  2. >>The place was like a toilet used as an oven. The people on the septic streets were flushed with hostility.<<

    Nice conceit! 🙂

    And nice post, Patty.

  3. It’s already sold out at Amazon.com, still available at Barnes and Noble.com. I hope you guys do read it… if you do, tell me what you think.

  4. He must be the only squaddie making any money out of that war.
    His postings are sometimes almost surreal.

  5. I am glad he has had the opportunity to write about his experiences and what he has seen. By most accounts he seems to be a fairly good and honest writer.

    I am sad that 4059 of our soldiers haven’t gotten the opportunity since they gave their lives in a war in which victory (whatever that means) is as elusive as it ever was.

  6. Michael Yon rocks! He’s hands down the best reporter out there. I will definitely be reading his book.

  7. Mahons – There is no great victory in installing a motley crew of weirdos into government, mysoginists and mediocre politicians or even i have no doubt ex terrorists, post Saddam, for sure. No better than the peace deal hammered out over Northern Ireland frankly. But isn’t it better to hope that they did not die in vain by at least supporting the idea of ‘winning’. Even if that is through the bizarre compromises and uneasy peace we hammer out. Getting the various factions to cool their jets to favour stability. Hell, even getting the post Saddam era to allude to the kind of democracy that works eg with equality, secular etc. Basically Saddams Iraq without the ethnic cleansing.

    I just think it is too tragic to chalk up their lives to nothing.

    But in future, i agree – America should stop "exporting democracy" and save American and British blood. Even if that was really the way we dressed up what was essentially 9/11 payback.

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