Iraq

Turkey at War in Iraq

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Iraq war optimist Michael Yon thinks Americans are woefully, even willfully, ignorant about how great things really are over there. Now Turkey has decided war in Iraq was working out so wonderfully that it had to get in on the action too.

From Bloomberg (not the next president of these United States) News:

Turkey bombed units of the Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, in northern Iraq and ordered troops across the border in pursuit of the militants…..

Turkish F-16 jets and artillery pounded at least 63 suspected rebel positions inside the Kurdish-controlled region from Oct. 21 until yesterday…..

The army sent 300 commandos into Iraq by helicopter on Oct. 21 to hunt down PKK fighters after 12 soldiers were killed by the group the same day, the official said. The attack on PKK bases up to 40 kilometers (25 miles) into Iraq lasted about 28 hours before troops returned to the Turkish side, he added.

……. Turkey's parliament on Oct. 17 passed a resolution authorizing the government to send troops into Iraq to attack PKK positions there. The U.S. opposes such action on concern it would destabilize the calmest part of Iraq.

"These military operations will continue and perhaps the Turks will start economic sanctions against Iraq too," said Wolfango Piccoli, a political risk analyst at Eurasia Group in London……

About 80,000 Turkish troops are now lined up along the border with Iraq…

Read more about other rebel groups who make Kurdish Iraq their home, ones aimed at Iran and not Turkey, in Michael Totten's feature from our October issue.

NEXT: 12 Media Myths about the Jena 6 Case

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  1. All that you have to know about Michael Yon is that he advocates managing the media message about the war as part of the war effort.

    This is a direct admission that he would be willing to lie if he thought it would help the war.

    We can safely disregard everything he has to say on the subject of Iraq policy for all time.

  2. Can we just acknowledge Kurdistan as an independent country and then bomb the shit out of Turkey, already?

    Or make Kurdistan the 51st US state as they offered to Nixon (and then bomb Turkey for invading us)?

    Cant we get Europe to go along with Turkey joining the EU being dependent on them playing nice with the Kurds (and maybe giving up their Kurdish region)?

    Actually, the last is an interesting question. Would Turkey give up that region in exchange for EU membership?

  3. Stop with your sillieness! What we really need is a protest song about this. Something that is catchy enough to sell cars to my grandchildren.

  4. Seeing as the PKK is a pretty awful terrorist group it’s a little hard to blame Turkey for going after them. It might be taken as a sign of good faith that they waited this long. Or not.

  5. That was sweet, Guy.

  6. What we really need is a protest song about this

    There are plenty out there.
    If you really hate your kids, download a few and force them to listen.

  7. Thinking back I remember the Turkish-Kurdish tension as one reason I opposed the war from the start. That was more than 4 years ago, though, and at the time I was expecting things to get ugly much, much quicker. So I’m not sure if this confirms my genius or says I was overly pessimistic.

  8. So where’s all the administration’s talk about nations’ “right to defend themselves from terrorists” a la the Israeli-Lebanese conflict? Oh, that’s right, Turkey is pissing in our punch bowl.

  9. Guy,

    At 15, aren’t you a bit young to have grandchildren?

  10. I can’t read Turkish, but I assume that the biggest dumbfucks in Turkey are demanding that people start reporting the good news from Iraq, and are probably insisting that this will make them safer.

    We should send our dumbfucks to live with their dumbfucks, and invite the sane Turks to live over here.

  11. I say let them invade Iraq, then get the hell out of there.
    US to Turkey: “YOU TOUCHED IT LAST!”

  12. I don’t blame the Turks one bit. If these were Canadians raiding Minnesota over a settled border dispute,* we’d kick some ass. What’s good for the goose is good for the gaander.

    *And they would if they thought they could get away with it! 😉

  13. While there is a possibility Michael Yon might be a latter day Walter Duranty, I am willing to give him the benefit of the doubt for now because:
    1) he has been there a few different times over the last few years,
    2) He has done independent stuff as well as embedded stuff
    3) I have seen nothing so far that contradicts any facts (as opposed to opinions) he has presented

  14. I am thinking that what is going on between Turkey and the Kurds is probably a case of two wrongs.

    I would like to see the Turks try to stop oppressing the Kurds rather than trying the Impossible like Israel did in Lebanon.

  15. biggest dumbfucks in Turkey are demanding that people start reporting the good news from Iraq, and are probably insisting that this will make them safer.

    The Turks don’t have a right to respond to cross-border terrorist attacks, Thoreau? Who the hell is talking about Turkey spinning a bad situation into a good one? I think you may have finally lost it. Or your cynicism has taken over your brain.

  16. A good thing is that this warmongering by Turkey will prevent them from becoming an EU member. It’s hard to pick sides here. How do you pick between the nationalist Turks and the socialist Kurds? It’s like picking between Hitler and Stalin.

  17. Turkey’s Kurdish problems stem from Turkey’s problems with Kurds.

    Doesn’t excuse the PKK for its actions, but the tensions that motivate the PKK have at least some of their roots in racist oppressive policies in Turkey.

    If Turkey wants to defeat the PKK, they could start by courting favor among the Kurds that provide the support for the group by granting them equal status as citizens (maybe even allowing them to speak their language).

  18. Yea, what the Noo Mekhican said!

  19. It seems I am a bit behind the curve on the news from Turkey. They have made some reforms to language restriction laws recently.

    I wonder how that looks on the ground.

  20. Anyone have any insights from first hand experience?

  21. “I wonder how that looks on the ground.”

    dunno. a little dusty? maybe if it fell in a puddle, wet?

    (what K said at 11:34, too)

  22. My cyncism has taken over, ed. I guess I do see their point.

    Still, you gotta admit, it’s fricking dangerous to invade the only stable part of a country that’s otherwise at war. It isn’t a very smart move on their part, even if it isn’t quite batshit insanity.

  23. At 15, aren’t you a bit young to have grandchildren?

    My comment was to be read as my “future grandchildren”.

    That time travel hobby was pretty interesting, now I have a son who is 9 yrs. my senior, by your math 🙂

  24. The Canadians are already coming, eh? We see them shopping at Wal-Mart in International Falls, we see them at the Mayo Clinic and other Minnesota hotspot medical facilities. We see them even in FL and TX in the winter. Now they think we want their “red hot” currency, eh? They also put gravy on their French Fries. If that’s the way a bunch of terrorists from the Great White North act one can only sympathize with our friends all over the world, who want democracy and security and the American Dream.

  25. We see them shopping at Wal-Mart in International Falls, we see them at the Mayo Clinic and other Minnesota hotspot medical facilities.

    Better not let Ezra Klein see you posting that. You will be in for the Vlasic Pickle story of your life!

  26. Fifty-first state? Why, that’s a great idea! Let’s call it Kurdlahoma!

  27. On the tangent.
    Anyone see Frontline last night?

    Thoughts?

  28. On the tangent.
    Anyone see Frontline last night?

    Thoughts?

    Wow. Admits that it’s a tangent, refers to a random show, asks for opinions.

    Might want to work on a little thing called “context”.

  29. I don’t blame the Turks one bit. If these were Canadians raiding Minnesota over a settled border dispute,* we’d kick some ass.

    That would be one of the stupider things Canadians could do. I grew up in MN, and it has to be one of the most well armed states in the U.S. (especially up north).

  30. Marcvs,

    Frontline covered the developing tension between the US and Iran. There are many parallels to the Turkey situation.

    If you didn’t see the show, the appropriate response would be “no.”

  31. For more context

    The Frontline episode:
    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/showdown/

    http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/para/mek.htm

    The MEK are the Iranian counter part to the PKK.
    Your government works directly with them and is getting their intelligence about Iran largely from them.

  32. The MEK
    Designation of National Council of Resistance and National Council of Resistance of Iran under Executive Order 13224

    The Secretary of State has amended the designation, under Executive Order 13224 on terrorist financing, of the Mujahedin-e Khalq, known as the MEK, to add its aliases National Council of Resistance (NCR) and National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI). That Executive Order blocks the assets of organizations and individuals linked to terrorism. The decision also clarifies that the designation includes the U.S. representative office of NCRI and all its other offices worldwide, and that the designation of the People’s Mujahedin of Iran (“PMOI”) as an alias of the MEK includes the PMOI’s U.S. representative office and all other offices worldwide.

    The Secretary of State designated the MEK as a foreign terrorist organization in 1997 under the Immigration and Nationality Act, and again in 2001 pursuant to section 1(b) of Executive Order 13224. That order (as amended) authorizes the Secretary to designate foreign entities and individuals that he determines – in consultation with the Secretary of the Treasury, the Attorney General, and the Secretary of Homeland Security – to have committed, or to pose a significant risk of committing, acts of terrorism that threaten the security of U.S. nationals or the national security, foreign policy, or economy of the United States.

    The action to amend the Executive Order 13224 designation of the MEK to include NCR and NCRI is based on information from a variety of sources that those entities functioned as part of the MEK and have supported the MEK’s acts of terrorism.
    Released on August 15, 2003

    More from the Frontline site
    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/showdown/themes/mek.html

  33. This is interesting. Actually, if PKK terrorists are attacking NATO member Turkey, aren’t we ourselves required to fight the PKK by the treaty? Remember how we demanded that all the other NATO members help us fight al-Qaeda after 9/11?

  34. Or, in accordance with that great White House Thanksgiving tradition, President Bush could give Turkey a pardon.

  35. Crimethink,

    I believe you are right about our obligations.
    Is Turkey required to coordinate its military actions with NATO then?

  36. “Is Turkey required to coordinate its military actions with NATO then?”

    The way we are?

  37. Turkey has been our best ally in the middle east for 50 or 60 years. They want to bomb part of Iraq, we should get out of their way.

  38. NM-I didn’t catch the Frontline but would have liked to. I’m very concerned about this crazy push to get us involved in Iran, and officializing an Iranian rebel group seems to be setting us up for mistakes similar to the Iraq fiasco…

  39. JBinMO

    That was a question.
    I ask questions when I don’t know the answer.
    Do you know the details in a case where one NATO member is using military force in the sphere of another?

  40. If Turkey, which recieves a ton of support from us, complicates our position in the MIddle East in a belligerent and ill considered act then they can win the “Israel for a Day” award…

  41. We should just tell Turkey to follow our example in dealing with terror attacks. Let the people responsible escape, then attack another unrelated country you’ve got unsettled scores with.

    Armenia isn’t a NATO member, are they?

  42. crimethink-lol

  43. If Turkey, which recieves a ton of support from us, complicates our position in the MIddle East in a belligerent and ill considered act then they can win the “Israel for a Day” award…

    I don’t think we have a right to complain about complicating the ME with belligerent and ill-considered acts at this point…

  44. MNG,

    It is available on-line.
    (see link up thread).

    As always, I was impressed with their ability to get access to people that other reporters can’t…of course the Iranian hardline officials were less than forthcoming, but the juxtaposition of official views with reformers and the US was informative.

  45. crimethink-oh I agree with what you are saying, but what bugs me is when we give a ton of money and support to a nation, and then it goes and does something which makes things much harder on us, and then we don’t condition our money and support on them “behaving” themselves. If a nation needs to do things they feel they gotta do (and I think Israel and Turkey have persuasive arguments supporting that need from time to time), then OK, but don’t expect us to keep the dough rolling when you obviously make things harder for us…

  46. I don’t think we have a right to complain about complicating the ME with belligerent and ill-considered acts at this point…

    Sure we do. We’re the experts, after all.

  47. Neu
    Sorry about the snark, I misunderstood.

    As far as I know, a NATO member can attack anyone, we are only obligated to come to their assistance if the are the ones being attacked.

  48. Then we should be attacking the PKK?

  49. 7.65mm. Walther PPK.

    more stopping than your “ladies’ gun” .25 Beretta, and without the problems with the silencer getting caught on the shoulder rig.

  50. We should just tell Turkey to follow our example in dealing with terror attacks. Let the people responsible escape, then attack another unrelated country you’ve got unsettled scores with.

    They could always go into Cyprus.

  51. All that you have to know about Michael Yon is that he advocates managing the media message about the war as part of the war effort.

    This is a direct admission that he would be willing to lie if he thought it would help the war.

    Well, that’s one way to interpret manage the media message. Not necessarily the correct one, but hey, what’s that matter? Just because you would lie doesn’t mean everybody else would.

    Given that Michael Yon has spent way more time in Iraq than anybody posting here, I would be inclined to at least consider his opinion.

  52. Dear Fluffy

    Is that your name or your state of non existent mind…

    Michael Yon has never lied, will never lie, nor has he ever endorsed a policy of lying. He hate the Military Press Office, and he has been VERY VOCAL about that. He hates the fact that they sugar coat this war, and rarely want to discuss failures and screw ups.

    But you’d KNOW that if you really read his work and you’d KNOW the Military tried to censor him because he told the ugly truth about shit going on in Iraq – inspite of also writing the truth about the positive encouraging changes in Iraq and about the great work and acccomplishments of our troops.

    So take your ignorant and false accusations and stuff them!

    His work has garnered accolades and praises from Brian Williams, as much as from Sean Hannity and the few true journalists who put integrity above the lies that their corporations spew forth – read his work, use his work, and at times have even quoted his work.

    But he knows, what millions of us know, that the MSM has painted a distorted negative image of the situation in Iraq – with info gotten from stringers with their own agendas.The MSM has NOT been honest about this war.

    If you read John Burns work, he paints the same picture of Iraq as Mike – Burns lived in Iraq for 5 years and writes for the NY Times,
    A LIBERAL left wing paper that he has admitted edited his stories with left wing less than flattering slant.

    But if you to Listen to his interviews on Charlie Rose — you get an honest straightforward clear picture of Iraq that matches Mike’s picture word for word.
    Good bad and ugly.

    Mike has spent 2 yrs traveling throughout Iraq – not in the green zone. He doesn’t use a stringer for his information, he sees it first hand.

    — if you actual read Mikes work, you’d know that MORE times than not, he has pointed out major errors by the Bush admin, and has gone on record as lending veracity to the the less than stellar realities put forth in Tom Ricks book – Fiasco.

    So Fluffy – go stuffy – your utter total BS!

  53. SOMEBODY OBVIOUSLY IS VERY WORKED UP. REMEMBER YOUR INDOOR VOICE.

    TIME FOR A TIME OUT.

  54. T, I think you misunderstand me.

    Yon thinks that the media should coordinate with the military to manage the way news is presented regarding Iraq in order to assist the war effort.

    This means that I am free to assume that he himself is presenting Iraq information in a way that is designed to assist the war effort.

    That means that his first priority isn’t telling the truth. Telling the truth competes for priority status with the good of the war effort.

    Precisely because I have not been to Iraq and can’t re-edit his stories based on a first-hand knowledge of the situation, I therefore have to discard his reporting in its entirety, because I can’t know which parts are true and which parts are there to help the war effort.

    If a writer admits to having any other consideration whatsoever besides finding and communicating the truth to the extent it is possible to do so, they are not a reliable witness. To anything.

  55. Sorry Helena, I don’t know Yon from Yanni, but as someone who disagrees with fluffy quite a bit here I have to say he’s (or she?) one of the more insightful and bright posters here (and there are quite a bit imo). I do know that Rick’s books has been praised by quite a few “people I think have demonstrated they know what they are talking about” and your snark on it combined with the “LIBERAL left wing newspaper” crack [is the NYT liberal in the same way that the Weekly Standard, or even the Washington Times, is conservative? Because they strike me as very different indeed] and attack on fluffy make me think your the one full of BS here…

  56. This was going to happen sooner or later as long as Iraq and the U.S. remained unable to stop attacks by the PKK. The PKK, whatever one thinks about the Turkish ill treatment of Kurds, is a terrorist organization, which amongst other things pursues a policy of using child soldiers as part of its fighting force.

  57. This is interesting. Actually, if PKK terrorists are attacking NATO member Turkey, aren’t we ourselves required to fight the PKK by the treaty?

    You would think, wouldn’t you? On the other hand, since the the PKK is operating out of territory nominally controlled by a fellow NATO member nation’s military, it is probably best for everyone involved, including Turkey, not to open that can of worms.

    Remember how we demanded that all the other NATO members help us fight al-Qaeda after 9/11?

    That didn’t happen. NATO offered to invoked Article 5 on September 12, 2001 without any demands from the US, and confirmed it on October 4 (chronology). The United States, however, pretty much said, “thanks, but no thanks” and went into Afghanistan all by its lonesome, only asking for NATO to get involved months later.

  58. josephdietrich,

    This particular “can of worms” is already open and has been open for some time now (about a decade?).

  59. Syloson of Samos, I don’t really think so. In general, NATO has been pretty reticent to do anything about terrorism, historically not considering it a reason to invoke Article 5 over. Edgar Buckley, in the third article I linked to, mentions this in passing (even naming the PKK specifically), when he writes about the discussion over why the September 11th attacks were an exception to this. At the end of the day, there isn’t really a reason for Turkey to risk tensions with the other NATO member nations by demanding Article 5 because 1) it is something they can handle themselves, and 2) being a member of NATO has its benefits, as in insurance against a full-scale invasion by a hostile nation-state. Nor are the other NATO members going to be jumping all over themselves to invoke Article 5, given the, ahem, delicacies of the situation. So you’ll get a lot of “I the Secretary General of NATO, firmly condemn these attacks on our friend and ally Turkey” but no real action from the organization.

  60. josephdietrich,

    I don’t give a hoot about Article 5.

    The Kurdish political authority has had about ten years to close this particular can of worms.

  61. The question in my mind is, why isn’t the Kurdish government stopping these cross-border attacks by the PKK?

    Because they sympathize with them?

    Or because holding off Saddam (1992-2003) and then assisting our war effort (2003-present) has left them without the available military capacity?

  62. Syloson of Samos, I’m not defending the PKK, nor am I saying that Turkey doesn’t have a right to defend itself when attacked, or that they shouldn’t conduct operations in Iraq, or that the Kurdish government or the US occupation shouldn’t have shut the PKK down if and when they had the chance. I only meant, in response to crimethink’s comment, that for Turkey to try and get NATO involved in this would be way more trouble for them than what it would be worth. That is the “can of worms” I was talking about, not their military raids into northern Iraq.

    FWIW, I think Turkey has as much right to go into Iraq as the US had to go into Afghanistan. The people that have attacked them stage their operations from there.

  63. Fluffy,

    No, I think you were perfectly clear.

    1) You disagree with his opinion about how the military should be handling the media.
    2) Because of your disagreement, you assume he would act in a certain way, up to and including lying.

    Did I miss anything?

    You’re ready to presume he’s a liar because of how you interpret his position on media management. I might be more persuaded if you had some evidence of bad faith or intentional distortion on his part, but everything you’ve presented is your opinion.

    If a writer admits to having any other consideration whatsoever besides finding and communicating the truth to the extent it is possible to do so, they are not a reliable witness. To anything.

    Good luck gathering reliable any data with this as your standard.

  64. Fluffy wrote “Yon thinks that the media should coordinate with the military to manage the way news is presented regarding Iraq in order to assist the war effort.”

    I can see from that statement that I did NOT misunderstand you, Fluffy.

    Mike does NOT think that at all.He has never said that, never written that, nor implied that.

    This is YOUR misguided interpretation,and one that speaks more about YOUR mindset, than about Mike and what he has clearly and concisely written over the course of two years, for everyone to read.

    If you really read his entire body of work, and if you understood what you read of his work, the you would NEVER make that ridiculous bogus claim nor come to the erroneous conclusion about what Mike thinks.

    Mike makes it clear in this dispatch and at other times, that the MSM for the most part, has presented a one sided view of this war. It has. Funny how you don’t address that truth!

    “If a writer admits to having any other consideration whatsoever besides finding and communicating the truth to the extent it is possible to do so, they are not a reliable witness. To anything.”

    I agree – but that defines the journalists of the MSM on both sides, left and right, but it doesn’t describe Mike nor does it apply to his writings.

    If you read the full body of his work including his scathing attack on the Military PAO for sugar coating this war,and you’d know that he blames the Military for the enmity that the MSM harbors towards the Military, which is ONE BIG reason why left wing media outlets slant their reporting negatively.

    He is the only journalist out there today that has been committed to telling the whole truth good bad and ugly.And its cost him financially, and its turned the ego driven military PAO against him.

    Mike thinks the media- both left and right – should present both sides of the truth, instead of presenting agenda driven news.
    Like he does.

    But you’d know that if you read his entire body of work.

  65. IMHO, when people make it clear that they don’t think it is possible for a reporter to be professional, fair, accurate, and objective – not perfectly so, but when they say that there isn’t any such thing as even attempting to do so – that tells us a lot more about their own credibility, and that of the media sources they like, than about the craft of journalism.

  66. It sounds like a number of people here have only read Yon when following a link ridiculing him for finding anything positive in the darker times. He has had plenty of posts criticizing how the US military has mismanaged the situation and other negatives. Yes, he does have an overall positive outlook, but that has not kept him from reporting the bad stuff as well.

  67. Michael Yon has one huge advantage over 99% of the other people working this war.

    He actually goes there and gets out of the Green Zone to see what’s really going on.

    That alone places him at the top of the heap of Iraq War reporters.

  68. R.C. Dean,

    He actually goes there and gets out of the Green Zone to see what’s really going on.

    Lots and lots of reporters do.

  69. R.C. Dean,

    Then again, if 99% of those ‘working this war’ actually were staying in the Green Zone what would that tell us about the state of civil society in Iraq?

  70. http://www.michaelyon-online.com/wp/resistance-is-futile.htm

    Michael Yon:

    “I’ve written about why an effective and engaged media is especially crucial for the kind of counterinsurgency strategy.”

    http://www.michaelyon-online.com/wp/al-sahab-the-cloud.htm

    Michael Yon:

    “In a counterinsurgency the media battle space is critical. When it comes to battling for public opinion, rallying support, and forcing opponents to shift tactics and timetables to better suit the home team, our terrorist enemies are destroying us…The enemy knows that in modern-day counterinsurgency the media is an extension of the battle space.”

  71. INDOOR VOICE, Helena. INDOOR VOICE.

  72. As for Brian:

    At no point in that dispatch has Mike ever said that Americans were “woefully, even willfully, ignorant about how great things really are over there”.

    He did say they have been deliberately
    misinformed by an agenda driven Media.
    And they have. Whether that agenda leans right or left!

    And because I feel the point bears repeating again – at no point has Mike ever said that he wants the Media to co ordinate with the Military to manage the way the news is presented, except in Fluffy’s misguided and fanciful imagination.

    Mike wrote “Anyone who has been in Iraq for longer than a few months, visited a handful of provinces, and spoken with a good number of Iraqis, likely would acknowledge that the reality here is complex and dynamic.”

    Mike has been in Iraq since Dec 2006 and prior to that spent 9 months in Iraq in 2005 – we can’t say the same for the overwhelming majority of journalists who write about Iraq – on both the right or the left – with the exception of John Burns, Dexter Filkins, Tom Ricks, Richard Engel, and Nic Robertson
    ( altho I’m personally 50/50 on his reporting!)

    Complex – as in “not black and white”.
    That, Brian, is a TACIT acknowledgment from Mike that the situation in Iraq is far more complicated and not as easily defined as the simpleton media explanations of “IRAQ IS IN CHAOS”—- or the bogus proclamation you falsely attribute to Mike of “Everything is going great in Iraq”.

    ” dynamic” – as in “ever changing,not remaining still”-

    as in –for a while it was going really bad but now a serious and real “sea change” is occurring

    as in —Just because it sucked 6 months ago (which Mike did write about) doesn’t mean it sucks now.

    Mike also wrote:

    “But in the last six months it also has been increasingly hopeful, despite what the pessimistic dogma dome allows Americans and British to believe.”

    INCREASINGLY HOPEFUL mean inspiring hope; promising,

    As in —progress is happening and things in Iraq are moving in an inspiring and more promising direction on a daily basis.

    As in – things are NOT AS BAD AS THE MSM and left wing bloggers and democrats want you to believe.

    What those two paragraphs I quoted do NOT mean is that things are great in Iraq – that, Brian, is YOUR misguided interpretation of what Mike clearly and concisely wrote.

    Talk about twisting words and being dishonest about what Mike wrote in order to satisfy your agenda – you are no different than the MSM!
    What other stuff have you commented on where you’ve deliberately twisted what was written by someone else??

    When things suck in Iraq – Mike writes about it – much to the dismay of Military Brass
    (some, not all) and he Military PAO Higher Ups (some, not all).

    More importantly – Because Mike also shares with his readers the ugly truths about Iraq, when he does writes about the situation in Iraq as being increasingly hopeful – we know he isn’t lying because he hasn’t whitewashed the truth with the typical right wing rhetoric of “EVERYTHING IS GREAT IN IRAQ” or the typical left wing “EVERYTHING IS PERPETUALLY,& IRREVERSIBLY HORRIBLE IN IRAQ”

    Since he first went to Iraq in 2005, Mike has written the truth as he has witnessed and personally experienced it- sometimes it’s good, sometimes it freaking sucks, sometimes its really bad, but he has NEVER
    –N E V E R– stayed away from the truth even when it cost him readership and donations from those who lean “right” and only wanted good news to counter the perpetual bad news from the MSM.

    It’s amazing how people claim they want truth when what they really want is to hear the truth that fits with their agenda and lends veracity to their misconceptions.

    Mike Yon provides a great counterpoint to the MSM – he provides stories that you never read anywhere else; SOME of those stories are ugly, SOME are bad, and SOME are heartwarming and inspiring–but they are all honest!

    They are the truth as witnessed and documented first hand and written with the expertise to put that truth in context. Since all meaning in the world accrues in duration Mike Yon– like John Burns, Richard Engel, Michael Gordon,& Tom Ricks who have also spent long periods of time, in some cases years, in Iraq –understands the big picture and understands how each small success and failure fits into the whole.That is what has also been and continues to be lacking in MSM reporting.

    Over the past few months some of the stories Mike has written have been about about the day to day achievements by our troops AND by Iraqi’s themselves who are finally putting aside sectarian differences and working together, along side our troops, in building a better, safer, and more productive Iraq on a grassroots local level.

    It is THIS truth that is not being reported by the irresponsible one sided “Iraq is in chaos” MSM.

    Al Queda is getting their asses kicked so bad that Bin Laden had to resurface to give them a pep talk!

    That fact alone lends credence and veracity to Mike’s honest observation that as complicated and dynamic as the situation in Iraq is, over the “last six months it also has been increasingly hopeful”.

    As for Turkey, the incursion into Iraq comes after years of the Turks asking the US to stop Kurdish terrorism within Turkey’s borders, by pressuring the Iraqi Kurds to stop harboring the PKK.

    While their incursion into Kurdish Iraq is not the best possible scenario at this time, it doesn’t detract from, or mitigate, all the positive changes that Mike has witnessed and written about.

    Fires are gutting California right now, but that doesn’t mean life in the rest of the US is in dire straits.

    Your non existent sense of perspective when it comes to Iraq and to what Mike writes, speaks about how willfully ignorant YOU are, Brian.

    It seems that it won’t matter one bit if syndicated papers pick up the truth that Mike writes about Iraq, and delivers those truths to Americans who have been misled by an agenda driven media – because you, Brian, have just proven that some Americans only care about
    ” truth ” that confirms their biases and/or supports their personal/political agenda.

  73. fluffy,

    As far as I can tell, part of what Yon considers HELPING the war effort is to TELL THE TRUTH. Even at the expense of the millitary’s image.
    Way before most hawks even noticed the sectarian tensions, and of course bucking the party-line of Rumsfeld that Iraq was doing fine, Yon was yelling at them that a civil war was fast approaching if not already upon Iraq. In fact while Yon says Iraq is doing much better now, he states that the war in Afghanistan is turning south.

    In fact, he vividly described how the millitary’s coordination for jounralists was FUBAR’ed and more-or-less would even discouraged pro-war journalists from going to Iraq.
    When all the hawks have been up and down screaming about supporting the millitary, he knows when to call them on bullshit.

    So while Yon does want to do a better job coordinating journalism and the millitary for the war, this doesn’t mean that he’s towing the line.

  74. Helena,

    “Anyone who has been in Iraq for longer than a few months, visited a handful of provinces, and spoken with a good number of Iraqis, likely would acknowledge that the reality here is complex and dynamic.”

    Reality in most places is that way. Yon isn’t telling anyone anything new.

    As for the AQ thing, the war there has never been primarily about the activities of AQ.

  75. Suffice it to say Iraq is going to look nothing like what a lot of people thought it would look like following the initial invasion. As I stated yesterday, this war is no longer primarily about the U.S. and the U.S. is no longer in the driver’s seat.

  76. Yeah, right.

    You can get as hysterical as you like about it, but when a person admits up front that they went to Iraq specifically to find the good news, when they admit up front that they feel they have a huge stake in the neocon strategy being vindicated in Iraq, when they describe the media as part of the battlespace, and when they claim that the rest of the media has been biased against the prosecution of the war [when it’s been the complete opposite – the media dutifully helped whip the populace up for war, dutifully reported administration talking points for year after year, and came to have a negative outlook on the war much, much later than the population at large] – I’m justified in thinking that their coverage is agenda-driven.

    I’ve reviewed his so-called “criticism” of the war, and it’s only criticism by the “McCain standard” – i.e. you cheerlead for the war year after year but quibble about some detail. Considering the fact that the most substantial criticism I can see in his recent dispatches is that the Pentagon isn’t doing enough to control media coverage of the war, I don’t see how I can take his record of “criticism” as a point in his favor.

  77. What really matters here is how the media covers the event and who is biased, not that Turkey is using unilateral military action in the only stable area of Iraq while the US is trying to reduce violence in the rest of the country

  78. I can’t believe this is even controversial. If terrorist operatives are operating out of Iraq and striking targets in Turkey, and the powers that be in Iraq (central govt? Kurds? US?) are unable or unwilling to hunt them down themselves, then Turkey has the right to cross the border to neutralize the threat.

    All along, the administration already made it clear that they expect everyone in the US to continue funding and supporting this war just so they can save face; now, apparently, they think that Turkey needs to allow itself to be attacked so that the Iraq war architects can save what little face is left.

  79. So Crimethink,

    Given that the MEK are operating out of Iraq and attacking Iran, would they be justified in bombing the MEK base currently under US protection?

    Turkey should be coordinating this action with Iraqi and US forces, not taking unilateral action, imho.

  80. NM,

    International law is very clear that Iran would have that right. Though, they should give the government of the place in question a chance to neutralize the threat.

    Again, if you’re claiming that Turkey shouldn’t be doing what they’re doing, I don’t know how you can justify the US invasion of Afghanistan and the Israeli adventures in Lebanon.

  81. “As in —progress is happening and things in Iraq are moving in an inspiring and more promising direction on a daily basis.

    As in – things are NOT AS BAD AS THE MSM and left wing bloggers and democrats want you to believe.”
    This is nutting futs. It reminds me of the NRO stories, one after another “why don’t the US reporters tell all the good news, why do they focus only on the bad, everything is getting better, we are turning the corner, etc.” Those NRO stories were coming out in 2004, 2005, etc., Then they turned around and (after it became undeniable how crappy we were doing there) said “Well of course most of the news is bad and has been, but the important thing is IT’S GETTING BETTER NOW!!” Sorry NRO, Yon, and Helena, your credibility on Iraq is shot. You’ve been saying its getting better, and turning the corner, etc. for the longest time, and we simply don’t have any reason to take such nonsense seriously…

    I think both crimethink and NM are correct. On the one hand, how can Turkey sit back and take attacks on it and do nothing? On the other it is terrible for the US for this to happen (as NM points out Kurdistan is one of the few bright spots in Iraq). You can both be right of course, Turkey is within its rights to defend itself and this will be bad for US efforts. I will add though that I have less than total sympathy with Turkey as it strikes me that their bad treatment of their Kurds has created their terrorist woes with the same.

  82. Again, if you’re claiming that Turkey shouldn’t be doing what they’re doing, I don’t know how you can justify the US invasion of Afghanistan and the Israeli adventures in Lebanon.

    Neither do I.

  83. Crimethink,

    Though, they should give the government of the place in question a chance to neutralize the threat.

    And do you feel Turkey has done this in good faith in this particular case?

  84. MNG,

    Of course this is a disagreement between “is within their right” and “should.”

    They shouldn’t be doing what they are doing in the way that they are doing it.

    The US, sadly, has lost a lot of ability to make “shouldn’t be” arguments in the world these days, however.

  85. FWIW,

    Last night on the Newshour, both sides agreed that there was not a military solution to the problem.

    Hmm…sounds familiar.

  86. Neu Mejican,

    And do you feel Turkey has done this in good faith in this particular case?

    Yes. Iraq and the U.s. have had ample oppurtunity to deal with the PKK. Indeed, Turkey has for years been stating that if nothing is done about the PKK then Turkey will have to do something about the enclaves the PKK operate from.

  87. Given that the MEK are operating out of Iraq and attacking Iran, would they be justified in bombing the MEK base currently under US protection?

    Using our current standards, they’d have the right if there was a possibility in the future of an attack.

  88. Neu Mejican,

    Then, how should they be doing it? By asking, for the umpteenth time, the US, Iraq, Kurds, or whoever’s in charge of the disaster this week, to pretty-please track down the terrorists who’ve been crossing the border and killing Turkish people for years?

    If the US and the Kurds are unwilling to act, they are complicit with the PKK and cannot complain of an invasion. If the US and Kurds are unable to act, they are not sovereign in that territory, and likewise cannot complain of an invasion.

  89. “but when a person admits up front that they went to Iraq specifically to find the good news,”

    Michael Yon has never said he went to Iraq to find good news. Please provide proof of your twisted accusations. Please provide a link and a direct quote from him.

    He did write that he went to Iraq to find out the truth about what was going on because there was a disconnect between what the media wrote and what soldiers in Iraq told him was really going on. He went to find out the truth. And he did. It’s not a truth you like. But that’s your problem.

    As I have asked: Please provide a link to the exact quote the exact quote where Michael Yon makes that claim.

    “when they admit up front that they feel they have a huge stake in the neocon strategy being vindicated in Iraq,”

    Michael Yon has never admitted to any such thing. Please provide undeniable proof of this bogus claim. I want a direct quote from anything he has written, or interview he has given to support your claim.

    “when they describe the media as part of the battlespace”

    The media IS part of the battlespace and they know this. That is why they choose to embed and why they chose to bias their reporting.

    If the military didn’t want the truth to be known about Iraq they would shut down the embed program.

    One can always find negative stories in a war zone, Fluffy. But that is always only half the story. There is another side that needs to be equally represented in the media. It has not been.BIASED media is unacceptable in a democracy.

    If the media feels they have NO obligation to keep the American public HONESTLY informed about this war, which includes fair and balanced reporting of the facts, ALL facts,all the truths as they directly witness them, or are able to ascertain during their time in Iraq – then they should never cover it. Otherwise they need to apply that same biased standard to every story they report. Either the media reports ALL news objectively or they don’t.

    The media has failed us. You should be angry at them. Not Mr Yon. He is not a journalist and he is not obligated to hold himself to the same standards. However, a close honest unbiased and unfiltered examination of his writings demonstrates that he has exceeded the standards.

    Why does every major news organization have Baghdad bureau if they do not consider themselves to be a part of the battle space?

    And since our enemies have used our media effectively to break the will of our people, as they have done, then by fiat, all media becomes part of the battle space. It doesn’t mean that they must become a propaganda machine of good news only, but their role as Tokyo Rose is also unacceptable!

    Your argument is that Mr Yon has only one agenda, to report good news, and so he cannot be trusted. It is an argument that is not merely flawed it is provably wrong by an examination of his writings. I will ask you again to provide proof of your accusations. Please provide proof of where HE states that this is his sole agenda.

    “when they claim that the rest of the media has been biased against the prosecution of the war”

    The medias responsibility is not to “dutifully whip the populace up for war” as you have insisted they did. It is to report news objectively. Your accusation that the media engaged in this behavior only makes the argument that they are irresponsible, and allow their biases at any given point to dictate their reporting.

    That lends strength and veracity to what Mr Yon wrote in latest dispatch.

    So, the media IS agenda biased as you point out [when it’s been the complete opposite – the media dutifully helped whip the populace up for war, dutifully reported administration talking points for year after year, and came to have a negative outlook on the war much, much later than the population at large] yet you don’t have any trouble with them being agenda biased as long as their agenda matches yours.

    Your only grievance is with Mr Yon, who you claim is agenda driven, albeit your claim is false and can be proven false. But the point is you don’t care that the media is agenda driven, only that Mr Yon is!

    The media has been irresponsible and biased in their coverage by your own admission- yet you have no problem with a media that shirks its obligations and according to you whips up frenzy for a war.

    Instead you twist the truth about Mr Yon’s coverage because he provides good stories and positive progress which you personally find untenable, even though he has also never failed to write about the opposite, which you fail to point out!

    Perhaps you see no purpose in this war. But do you really harbor only ill feelings towards Iraqis? Do you want them to fail? Do you not believe they want to work with American troops to restore security, to live in democracy, to work through their own tribal tendencies, and eventually to provide a clean path for our troops to come home? Do you not want proof that this is happening??

    Or do you hate the military and this administration so much that you demand failure at all costs?

    If you feel Iraq is such a mess, do you not want to know that in this mess, there are daily signs of positive change? Postive change that will benefit all of us.

    Why does hearing about those positive changes anger you so much, Fluffy? Why are positive stories lies, and negative stories the ONLY truth?

    I hate this war, Fluffy. I cry for the lives lost. It’s a mess, I won’t argue that it isn’t. But in this mess that was created, I want nothing less than to know, that human spirit and ingenuity is working towards clearing up the mess, and in doing so, helping to birth a stable, democratic Iraq. That end goal is one that will benefit us, and not our enemies. Why does that anger you?

    Our media by your own words has been biased in their reporting and have neglected their duty to Americans, which is always to provide news that is truthful and presented in context.

    War, is never black and white, good news or bad news only… it is always complicated! I want news stories that reflect that complication, not deny it. That paints a truer picture of the situation in Iraq. That is what Michael Yon provides.

    You cannot read Mr Yon’s work, and then allege he lies, distorts,or only presents “good news”.
    Either you haven’t read all his writings completely, or you filter what you read through your own angry pessimistic agenda, and then accuse him of having an opposite agenda.

    Any reasonable person who has read Mr Yon writings knows you are cannot prove these allegations you make about him. Taken out of context, one can twist meaning from anything anyone writes.

    And to bring this back to where it began:
    Fluffy, you’ve claimed that Mr Yon is advocate controlling the media. Mr Yon has only indicated the opposite. I have read everything Michael Yon has written about Iraq and Afghanistan. He was nearly kicked out of Iraq twice, and was twice denied access to Iraq for what he wrote.

    He authored “Censoring Iraq” which directly contradicts what you have allege.

    It is your credibility, Fluffy, that is at stake and your agenda that is questionable, actually it’s rather obvious.But your agenda clouds everything you write about Michael Yon.

    Please provide all the proof I have asked for above,via direct links, and any direct quotes not taken out of context, from any of his writings,

    Please provide a link to where Michael Yon advocates controlling the media.

    I doubt you will find it. I have looked everywhere already. I doubt you will find any links to any of the allegations you claim.

  90. Yon sucks, did anyone see Katie Couric’s works over there, much better. And that chick from CNN, that’s cutting edge reporting, compared to Michael “I love war” Yon, those 2 are superstars. It’s always best to get your info from 5 minute news clips with sappy intro music. That’s the real stuff. That’s why I know so much about Turkey.

  91. At least Helena is nearly using her indoor voice this time.

    *pat pat* now run along you little scamp.

  92. Crimethink,

    Then, how should they be doing it?

    I have already answered your question.

    To quote myself: Turkey should be coordinating this action with Iraqi and US forces, not taking unilateral action, imho.

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