May 16, 2008

The Real Iraq

by Michael J. Totten

Moment of Truth in Iraq, by Michael Yon (Richard Vigilante Books, 227 pp., $29.95)

Iraq is where ideologies go to die. Arab nationalism, Baathism, anti-Americanism, al-Qaidism, Donald Rumsfeldism, and Moqtada al-Sadrism have either died there or are dying. Conventional liberal opinion, more or less correct about the foundering American war effort from 2004 to 2006, has been severely bloodied

Posted by Michael J. Totten at May 16, 2008 6:07 AM
Good review MJT.
I hope that Mr. Yon gets a Pulitzer. When I first starting reading M. Yon's articles a few years ago, the similarities between he and Ernie Pyle were striking. Still think so.
Very pleasant to see how well his latest book is selling.
Posted by: rsnyder at May 16, 2008 6:40 am
Posted by: dougf at May 16, 2008 11:14 am
I profoundly disagree with the assessment of Yon's writing in this review, starting with the subhead: "Michael Yon sees the country, and the war, without ideological blinders."
Oh come on.
It may be true that Yon doesn't buy into the whole list of ideologies named there: "Arab nationalism, Baathism, anti-Americanism, al-Qaidism, Donald Rumsfeldism, and Moqtada al-Sadrism."
But from what I've read (of his blog, not the book), it's pretty clear that Yon does have an ideology. In a nutshell: he believes that war is glorious and justified and that American soldiers are the heroes.
For that reason I'm not planning on reading more. But maybe someone who has read more might have a different impression. I'll just put the question out there: can anyone point to some articles by Yon in which American soldiers aren't the heroes of a glorious war, that acknowledges that there's any truth in another point of view, or that being so closely identified and embedded with the troops might limit his perspective on what's really going on?
Posted by: Brian at May 18, 2008 10:30 am
Brian: he believes that war is glorious
You, sir, don't know what the hell you are talking about.
I asked Michael a few weeks ago why he never wrote his book about the battle of Mosul. He said because it is too disturbing and that writing the book would force him to think about it more than he wants to. He said he couldn't even look at the photo on his book cover for six months and had to have someone assist him with selling it.
So why don't you sod off to one of your left-wing lunatic blogs where you and everyone else thinks the rest of us love war. I know it makes you all feel righteous and vastly superior. You guys should start your own church.
Posted by: Michael J. Totten at May 19, 2008 3:05 am
the "sod" is using the word "war" in the way it is thought of by the progressive-left: as an ultimate cuss-word, the epitome of what is never justifiable. They cannot accept any scenario in which it must be resorted to.
They won't confront the following:
What if they (e.g., Islamofascism) start a war on us and we don't come?
Then follow: loss, surrender, submission, suffering, extermination.
It's all too primitive and blunt; the "real world" of rational beings can't POSSIBLY operate in that way! (This despite 70,000 years of exactly such precedents.)
So when you see/hear a leftist/sod use the word, "war", know that you have reached the Core Illusion: that refusal to fight means the end of violence and conflict.
Posted by: Brian H at May 19, 2008 6:41 pm
Michael Yawn? Exactly. He claims to not buy into ideologies, but he seems to have forgotten his own!
Posted by: Marc at May 21, 2008 8:57 am
I'm surprised to hear that about Mr. Yon. I had no idea; nothing I've read suggested that side of things. My apologies, and I withdraw my comment.
Posted by: Brian at May 25, 2008 11:35 am
I think there is something very odd about that photo that Michael Yon put on the front of his book. The soldier is carrying a child who is severely injured, and on the way to getting medical care for the child, stops to kiss and cuddle the child.
Would you do that? would you stop and cuddle someone's severely injured child or would you be moving as fast as you can to get medical care for the child?
I emailed Michael Yon and asked him about that, and he told me that I don't understand war and I had to be there. I found him rather insulting.
Here is a piece that Yon wrote, under the title "Jungle Law". I could not access the original piece (not sure why not) but I found it reposted somewhere else:
"The Deuce Four soldiers left quickly with the
Posted by: Susan - NC at May 26, 2008 10:38 pm
I keep checking this thread because I found the book rewarding, but more pressing issues (Lebanon) are dominating the comments now.
Posted by: scottmoshen at May 27, 2008 12:18 pm
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