Micheal Yon may have opened a can of worms

#1
#4
Yon got crossways in Iraq with BG Brooks who tried to kick him out of the country. Brooks was eventually overruled. When you allow reporters like Yon in country you have to take the good press along with the bad. British commanders probably dont want stories about poorly equiped British troops.
 
#5
The man is unfailingly supportive of the soldiers. Not only that, but he is FINALLY widening peoples views in the US as to what we, Britain, are doing in Afghanistan which is IMHO a very very important aspect of his reporting. He also tells it how it is for those in the public here in the UK who cannot get out there. The MoD is being so short sighted it is untrue, and although I despise those who jump on the 'Labour/Civil Servants are shite blah blah blah' bandwagom for no reason, this is a truly stupid decision. I mean, biblically stupid. He isn't even being critical over equipment (beyond Helicopters, and that can of worms isn't exactly secret now is it?) - and if they ARE underreporting casualties then frankly it needs to be bought to the public eye.
 
#6
He was in the middle of putting together his election day dispatch. He mentioned that one of the soldiers beside him had his antenna shot off. So I'm presuming he might off witnessed casualties of some sort, and that being the main point he was bringing across in the dispatch.

If his next dispatch about the elections in Sagin does come out, I'm presuming it will be heavily edited.

However, I believe he is to join the US marines down Lashkar Gah in September anyway, so his time with us was going to be over soon enough anyway.
 
#7
I suspect the problem may be that he has exposed the utter futility of the war in Afghanistan and the complete waste of British lives trying to open a poxy road in a sh*tty town in a god-forsaken country and the total lack of relevance this has to the Prime Minister's stated mission of protecting the UK.
 

elovabloke

ADC
Moderator
#8
tearsbeforebedtime said:
Hidden in plain sight...

http://www.mod.uk/NR/rdonlyres/7C6FACEC-4002-4A17-950C-6F37FFCB57B8/0/opherrick_31jul09.pdf

This guy is starting to get on my t1ts now.

His reporting was top notch stuff, I don't know why he is throwing such a tantrum.

Also see http://www.arrse.co.uk/Forums/viewtopic/t=131641.html and my comments there.
As are Yon's despatches. You only go there if your interested and nobody seems to be interested enough to bring the casualty issue out into the public gaze.
 
#9
elovabloke said:
tearsbeforebedtime said:
Hidden in plain sight...

http://www.mod.uk/NR/rdonlyres/7C6FACEC-4002-4A17-950C-6F37FFCB57B8/0/opherrick_31jul09.pdf

This guy is starting to get on my t1ts now.

His reporting was top notch stuff, I don't know why he is throwing such a tantrum.

Also see http://www.arrse.co.uk/Forums/viewtopic/t=131641.html and my comments there.
As are Yon's despatches. You only go there if your interested and nobody seems to be interested enough to bring the casualty issue out into the public gaze.
Apart from The Spectator: http://www.arrse.co.uk/Forums/viewtopic/t=131731.html
 
#10
Micheal Yon for my money is one of the best War Correspondents the world has ever seen. What ever the issues the MOD need to realise the scale of his achievements and insights, and get him back onboard asap.
 
#11
For some reason I can't let go of this, probably because his duplicity after such excellent work is breath taking.

He is having a strop because theatre can only take so many journalists at a time. He was originally staying for 2 weeks. He was extended because he was low maintianence, the Battle Group liked him and he was putting out stories. Later he was extended again for the same reasons.

5 weeks (an extra 3 weeks!) is a good innings. Now he hasn’t gotten his way, “the MoD canceled my embed after today's dispatch” err, really Mr Yon? And “British MoD playing games after shutting me down. Perhaps they sensed I am preparing to report that they are underreporting casualties.” Are you sure?

The respect he built up with his reports (and I have been an avid reader) is now gone because I have heard both sides of the story and am frankly shocked.

I queried MoD not liking the type of reporting, embeds can write what they like as long as it does not breach OPSEC (endangers troops lives, exposes TTPs etc) or is factually incorrect (220kg of Heroin seized, err, no. It was 10kg. The rest were chemicals). Everything else is fair game.
 
#12
Yeoman_dai said:
The man is unfailingly supportive of the soldiers. Not only that, but he is FINALLY widening peoples views in the US as to what we, Britain, are doing in Afghanistan which is IMHO a very very important aspect of his reporting. He also tells it how it is for those in the public here in the UK who cannot get out there. The MoD is being so short sighted it is untrue, and although I despise those who jump on the 'Labour/Civil Servants are shite blah blah blah' bandwagom for no reason, this is a truly stupid decision. I mean, biblically stupid. He isn't even being critical over equipment (beyond Helicopters, and that can of worms isn't exactly secret now is it?) - and if they ARE underreporting casualties then frankly it needs to be bought to the public eye.
Go back a coupla summers - furore erupts in press A-Adjt at RHQ RRF posts on the MoD/RRF webpage an e-mail from Maj Jon Swift (OC A Coy, att'd to the 3 Para BG) saying exactly the same thing: UK Plc is underreporting casualties. This ain't exactly new news.

I did some rough calculations about that time, and have revisited them occasionally: by my estimate the rule of thumb (for UK and US) is that you can expect approx 9.5 wounded for every death. I can't give you an estimate of how that would break down into SI/VSI etc. We've had (I think I heard on the news this a.m.) 22 killed in the last month. Now do the sum.

If you can find online the documentary "The Fallen" (I think I watched it first on Youtube), it features a the mum of a dead para, showing a photo of him with all of his section.

She points her finger at each one in turn and says "He's dead, he's wounded, he's wounded, he's dead . . . "

Probably more killed in that Company in one tour than in my battalion over the entire 30(+) years of the NI Troubles

Keeping it quiet? You betcha they are.
 
#13
Read the article linked to in this thread:
Link

Ratio of injured to fatal casualties quoted as - for UK and US troops - between 30 and 40 to one. For context WW2 quoted as 4 to 1, Vietnam 15 to 1. Advances in protective gear, the quality of immediate medical aid and medevac times are no doubt the reason for the increase.

And of those wounded the article quotes 7 ish out of 30 will be tier 4, that is very, very badly hurt with no chance of a return to what they were before.

Do we see those numbers quoted in official sources ? We do not. What we do get every time these numbers are mentioned a flurry of spin merchants / useful idiots / retirees who still think the Army is like BAOR (*) turn up to insist that it can't possibly be so.

The one thing we do not see are authoritative statistics showing what is actually happening.

Make your own mind up, it's not like the Government has a vested interest in hiding the results of their underfunding of Defence from the electorate is it ? What's that Skippy, there's a General Election next year and the average voter dislikes parties that cripple soldiers for no reason then try and stiff them on their pensions ? Oh.

(*) Take your pick.
 
#14
Just back from the States, US Generals stating in the clear that Taliban control 1/3rd of the country. The cry has gone out for the politicians to urgently ARTICULATE the aims of the Afghan conflict. This from a country far more articulate than our own in expressing the war aims.

I give Obama 2 years before he gets cold feet. No politician is brave enough to talk "pull-out" because so many have died or been injured already and because of the effect it would have on morale.

Personally, I think we are headed for failure/containment only. Seeing who Karzai now keeps company with I'd rather see a military/coalition govt forcing through reforms and aid. NATO countries should be dealt with unsparingly if they refuse to pull their weight then throw them out of the alliance.

Appears from my armchair as though the Afghan Op is running out of time, forget fancy talk of 30 or 40 years. The most alarming report I have seen recently, was the possible inaccurate report of 18 year old British soldiers being sent to war with insufficient training. If we are resorting to policies akin to the Great War to make the numbers up, then the Generals have lost my support. I don't want to see young men used as cannon fodder.
 
#15
Try as I might I can't get upset by the fact that most of NATO doesn't want to risk their troops in AFG. I do get upset that we are doing so for no adequately explained reason.

I agree that the US will be out sooner rather than later. Personally I'd see the driver as being the need to create a viable strategic reserve to allow them to restart exerting influence in areas that actually matter to US geopolitical interests.
 
#16
the possible inaccurate report of 18 year old British soldiers being sent to war with insufficient training. If we are resorting to policies akin to the Great War to make the numbers up
Interesting point, i cant vouch for the accuracy of that report either but look at it the other way, with recession firing people through the recruiters office (not neccessarily people who want to soldier, but need to for lack of anything else) the flip side of this is (in our Brigade anyway) that retention and working to keep experience in the job is non-existant because they know if one man leaves/is kicked out then there will be a bloke from depot along in a minute.
To the point were it is an active threat where a fairly low slap on the wrist for infractions downtown (100hrs comm ser) gets you kicked out. This is not to say that discipline is not important but it is also the side effect it has on blokes still serving, that perhaps their job is not as secure as they thought and it can be taken from them at any time if they run into trouble so perhaps they should take skills learned into the public sector (CP etc)

This begs the question of how valuable or how highly do the brass rate prior operational experience?
How much of an effect will a lack of said experience have on casualties, having privates and NCOs in great number does not make up for the experience and wisdom brought by men who have been in theatre before.
 
#17
Stonker, I don't think you are right. The document I found was by googling MoD + casualties. Not a very taxing task I think you’ll agree.

I think the point is that people just don't care enough. Civilian support for the troops is high but very few have their lives impacted by the wounded because so few civilians know a soldier.

The televised images of young men and women coming home in flag draped coffins captures what some see as the futility of this war and for others it serves to remind us why we cannot fail.

The wounded are kept out of sight and are sufficiently 'low' so as to not be visible to the general public unless you are unlucky enough to personally know one of the injured or their families.

That is why the Government can get away with it.
 
#18
Dollsteeth, completely agree, many many people are being made redundant in the private sector just now, for the slightest disciplinary blemish. Redundancy policies are geared toward disciplinary offences. The report suggested that as much as 70% of the deployment would be made up of rookies. In some way, a mature soldier, who has been round the block a few times, who loses his life in a country many miles from home is a sort of accepted risk. It happened in Oman 30 years ago, a quiet war, where people died knowing the risks. What is upsetting about Wootton Bassett is the realisation from the assembled crowds of friends of families that many of these brave soldiers were very recently school kids. The RAF takes a deal of flak on this website, but I have always been uneasy about the way the British Army is willing to take casualties, seemingly more readily than those in blue uniform.

I am deeply uneasy about reports of shortened training to fire people on to the front line where they could be construed as the modern day equivalent of Great War soldiers being sent over the top.

Someone tell me this report was a load of bolleaux. There is only so much cynicism I can deal with from the MoD.
 

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