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From comments on our previous story
Dear General Brooks,No doubt that wasn't the only letter sent. But the above comment was followed swiftly by this from the same source:
First off, let me establish some bona fides: I am a 1982 DMG RA Commission in Armor/Cavalry from University of Florida, graduate US Army Ranger School Class 3/4-83, 9 year veteran with cavalry platoon, armor company command, battalion staff, Brigade S3, etc. Father: USMA '46, both Grandfathers USMA '19, 20, Great Grandfather, USMA 1897, Uncles, cousins,etc., all USMA. "Beat Navy" were my first publicly spoken words at age 2 in the Catholic chapel at West Point (right in the middle of Father McCormick's homily!). I am as dyed-in-the-wool pro-military, pro-soldier and pro-US Army as you wiill ever find. I say this to alert you to the fact that this letter comes from an old soldier speaking to a fellow soldier, though I have been a civilian for 15 years. I know that you have placed your sons in harm's way and I value your sacrifice. I still love our soldiers, and I am so proud of them and the work they are doing on behalf of me and mine and our republic. I know, as you do, that their story is never told well, if at all, and that those who both love the soldier AND speak on their behalf in the media are rare and should be treasured.
I have been privileged to have read Michael Yon's work, seen his stunning photographs and am proud to have even corresponded with him from time to time (mainly about our shared alma mater and the Florida Gators). I am flabbergasted that the US Army has chosen to make Michael Yon a target for both maltreatment regarding his excellent and award-winning photgraph of Major Dave Bieger and Farah, as well as placing obstacles to his return to the Iraqi theater. I am unsure if you have followed Michael's work, but you will not find a more clear and unambiguous supporter of the soldiers and Marines on duty in Iraq in any publication or mediume extant. Michael is an ex-operator, so he doesn't punch out jingo-istic propaganda, but paints stunningly accurate portraits of the type of men and women you and I both know comprise our armed forces, but whose stories are seldom, if ever, told. His sories of the Deuce-Four were told with such beuty and realism that I found my palms sweating, I was so engrossed.
Sir, I know that I only see this issue from the perspective of those who love and appreciate Michael's work. There may be another side, but it certainly seems as if the US Army position as I have seen it directly quoted seems very narrowly constructed and gives little acknowledgment to the powerful impact Michael has had praising our armed forces. Frankly, it seems like it was drawn up by some JAG "Garrit-trooper" and endorsed by others of that ilk. Michael has smelled the cordite and camo-stick, on duty and even more amazingly, as a civilian. Why does he undertake such hazardous duty? Because he loves soldiers and wants the world to see them in their powerful glory and in their tender humanity. His picture of Major Bieger was the most moving picture I think I have ever seen. It captures everything that you and I know about the Army, and the story of the people who are in it. Do not deny him the credit for having taken such risks to himself and his family, just to tell that story.
I hope the US Army will reconsider it;s stance on the matter at hand, acknowledge the work as Michael's and further allow him to return to doing the job few others have the temerity or the talent to do.
Posted by G8rRanger at February 3, 2006 01:57 AM
EVERYONE SHOULD READ THIS (EDITED BY ME) REPLY BELOW FROM BG VINCE BROOKS, WHO RESPONDED TO MY MESSAGE (ABOVE) WITHIN 1 HOUR OF MY SENDING IT.And today at Michael Yon's:
Thanks for the note. Thanks for your service and the service of your family. [PERSONAL OBSERVATIONS FOR ME OMITTED]
It is an important issue to address and as you might imagine it is complicated. Keep up your support of Michael Yon because he has performed a great service, to be sure. But keep up your support of the Army you're a part of too. We'll sort this out.
END OF BG BROOKS REPLY
I replied again to him. I told him the military has NOT been big supporters of blogs and it's not in their nature to be fans of undisciplined press in a combat zone, even if they are soldiers or ex-soldiers like Michael. I understand that, but Mike is one of the good guys. And he's a Florida Gator, so what else is there?
Still, you ought to know that Vince has the ball, knows Mike is a good guy and will sort it out.
Posted by G8rRanger at February 3, 2006 03:56 AM
The dispute over the unattributed and unauthorized distribution of my photographs has been resolved in principle to the satisfaction of the involved parties. The dispute had been exacerbated by Army lawyers, but once the matter was brought forefront and examined by Brigadier General Brooks, Chief of Public Affairs, it was resolved by another more senior Army attorney. At the end of the day, the Army did the right thing. I greatly appreciate the efforts of those involved, including the blogosphere and Brigadier General Brooks, whose determined attention and immediate action removed the obstacle.Good to see this resolved to the satisfaction of all concerned.
And a tip of the hat to commenters on our story of Yon's submission for a Pulitzer Prize for bringing the story to the blogosphere.
But above all, I agree with Chap's bottom line.
Didn't lawyers get involved in delaying the Predator shot they had on OBL at the beginning of the war?
Why do I get the feeling that while we're making strides in technology, junior leadership, and command and control on the battlefield, we taking big leaps backwards in the power lawyers have in the conduct of war, operations, and life in general?Posted by Don at February 4, 2006 02:34 PM
"taking big leaps backwards in the power lawyers have in the conduct of war, operations, and life in general?"
I fully expect lawyers will soon bring a "War Crimes" court case forward, on behalf of some 4 year old girl who was being "tortured" by her 5 year old brother.Posted by Soldier's Dad at February 4, 2006 02:51 PM Hide Comments | Show/Add Comments in Popup Window(2) | (Note: You must refresh main page to view newly posted comments here)