In which Michael Yon burns through every bit of goodwill…

I’ve never been a particular fan of Mr. Yon. I’ll gladly concede that he did a great deal of good work in the early days of the Iraq war, and took one of the most poignant pictures to come from that war. But having read his writing for a while, I found it to be almost Presidential- that is, far to many uses of “I” and “me” instead of focusing on the purported subjects of his reportage.  Still, for a while there, it was the only game in town.

Sadly, his recent work hasn’t been nearly as interesting. But what is far worse is that he has ceased to report on the War on Terror, and instead decided that HE is the story most interesting to him.  He’s engaged in blogfights with some of the most heavily trafficked MilBlogs around. And he has not always done so gracefully.

There’s a fairly long running spat between Yon and Uncle Jimbo at BlackFive. Fair enough. Uncle Jimbo seems to rub a lot of people the wrong way. It just happens sometimes, and blogspats can get very nasty, very quick.

But Yon has also seen fit to attack CJ Grisham and deem him a danger to himself and others. In the wake of the horrific murders (allegedly) committed by MAJ Hassan, that’s a pretty damning charge to make. What is Yon’s evidence for this charge? Well, he lays that upon CJ’s own writings.  CJ has written the most courageous series of posts on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in the popular blogosphere, detailing the struggles he has faced. Instead of lauding Grisham for his bravery, and for using his experience to counsel other soldiers facing the same challenges, Yon instead implies that Grisham is unstable, and should be treated like a freak.

Well, let’s talk about unstable for a minute. Grisham has an excellent record in the Army, with years of stellar fitness reports to substantiate it. He’s obviously a good soldier, having been promoted quickly to the upper ranks of the NCO corps. And he’s never killed anyone in a bar fight, unlike some people.

War on Terror News has an excellent post showing Yon’s twitter feed and the scurrilous things Yon has said about Grisham. Further, for a guy who has not once seen action while serving as a member of the US Armed Forces, he’s awfully quick to shout down anyone who doesn’t agree with him- even if they veterans. Who made Yon the only person fit to comment on the war? Maybe it is fundraising time

I know many of you have seen Instapundit link to Michael several times, and his suggestion that you support his work. I would just say, please take the time to consider not supporting his work until he can learn to play well with others.

Oh, and look at the people Yon has banned. I’d say that’s a pretty good crowd of people to be associated with.

13 thoughts on “In which Michael Yon burns through every bit of goodwill…”

  1. Honestly, Yon went “Ulululululul” native a while back. I haven’t paid him any mind in a couple years.

  2. Well, I follow his FB page, and frankly, Uncle Jimbo just busted himself by admitting to never having set foot in Afghanistan or Iraq, but I don’t have a dog in that fight. This kind of shitfight happens everywhere, even on blogs I frequent. So, I tend to stay out of it and not throw stones into glass houses. I glean info from Yon as well as Blackfive, and to be fair, Yon posted a link to CJ’s site on his FB page, citing CJ’s problems with PTSD, and being asked (I think) to take it easy on CJ.

    By the way, my grandfather killed a man in a barfight. He served time for manslaughter, and being aware of the circumstances, I don’t judge him badly.

    I guess what I’m trying to say is, I get the info from all sources, and then decide, regardless of personal histories.

    1. Have You SEEN Uncle Jimbo? I would be worried about him walking down a straight flight of stairs. Not to bash jimbo, but he’s no spring chicken, so that’s an unfair argument.

      Jimbo does go overboard sometimes, but in general he seems like an honest analyst trying to get his point across, but he does go overboard. His feud with AllahPundit was kinda weird cuz he didn’t keep it to B5, which would have been fine, but he crapped on Ace’s place with it, that was just ungentilemanly.

    2. Well, that’s true. He is no spring chicken, as you say. He may go overboard, but what I was trying to say is that all milblogs have good contributions, some more effective than others. I try to stay as objective as possible when I read milblogs. I just wish these blogfights would not taint the good work they do.

    3. That was a bogus bust, and it’s not like Yon couldn’t have known it. Jim Hanson has always said he’s never been to either Iraq or Afghanistan. He’s said it on the blog, and he’s said it to me and The Hubs over dinner last summer. Jimbo’s soapbox has always been policy, strategy, and the absurd.

  3. I read the Uncle Jimbo argument and have seen occasional disparaging references to him (I imagine you’ve seen Chuck’s post that Yon has gone nanners), so it’s yet another case of someone forgetting that the story isn’t about them, it’s about the damn story! (see Civil War “historian” Thomas P. Lowry or WWII monument vandal Mark Patterson – sorry for linking to myself on the second, but no one else is writing about the damage to the Easy Co monument in Bizory)

  4. Hi! Thanks for the linky-love! Yes, I am pretty psyched about the fact that I am “Banned by Michael Yon”. I am going to have my sister Grace make me a sash with those words for the Milblog Conference in April…..are you going?

    @LC Aggie Sith – Uncle Jimbo wasn’t “busted” anywhere except Yon’s squirrelly little mind. UJ has never told anyone that he was in Iraq or Afghanistan. As a matter of fact he has repeatedly stated that he wouldn’t “embed” anywhere there wasn’t room service. I can remember him teasing me when I did my “embark” aboard USS Kearsarge back in ’08. So, you can’t be busted for a lie you never told.

    What started the beef with Yon & Jim was Jim calling attention to Yon being “disembedded” three times. Once could be a difference of opinion….but three times? What is that? Also there were assertions that there were OPSEC violations. They have never been proven or refuted to any certainty.

    1. Like I said, I get details from several quarters, and that bit I found in some online newspaper 🙂 I have lurked at your site as well, and have found it very informative.

      Good luck with the sash!! 😀

  5. Brad, as I look at this and the rest of the links, what do you do? Am I going to try to tell you or anybody else coming to the site, the answers? My observation, for me, this is site, on all sides. As John Donovan sometimes says, “Mileage may differ.” The thing that I focus on the most, is this. If I focus on the future, I think this is such a case. Whatever we believe about Michael Yon and his behavior, is actually of no value, because we’ve already made our choice and are already moving forward and this is the way it should be. At times, I’ve read Yon’s work and had mixed thinking about it. I did not have mixed emotions, they are radically different things. About the “banned list”, I have found some quality writing in all of the sites. One of those people was CJ Grisham and his work on PTSD. He may have been walking the point on a very difficult and complex subject. The real thing is this, he made himself transparent, so we might learn. The thing for you to understand is that this, we did not always agree. As time went on, I learned there were some things you just took a little more time to get through my thick skull.

    I hope that all of you can get to the point of deciding where he fits in, in the overall mosaic. As I look at things, I see these sites as places of healing.

    Brad and to the rest of you, *thank you*

  6. Thanks for the link.

    For the record: I’ve never heard Uncle Jimbo claim to have been in Iraq or Afghanistan. I don’t always agree with UJ, but his commentary is based in humor and he makes fun of himself as often as anyone else. In other words, UJ was not busted on a lie he did not tell, or even imply.

    Yon on the other hand has implied much greater expertise based on an implied record, but taking pics is not the same as experiencing what the pics capture. And having a tab is not the same as experiencing what the tab trains one to do.

    In that debate, Yon deemed anyone that did not trust him and condemn UJ, a “quack,” a liar, and/or a “disgrace to the uniform.”

    Yon’s rebuttal to his own words on our site was that it was “dishonest.”

    In the end, I hope that I can return to the policy that has worked for years regarding Yon: ignoring him. It worked for years and it probably angers him more than even UJ’s exposing him.

  7. I have been reading and linking to Michael Yon’s work when he first started …. so I have some perspective. Your comments on Michael Yon are spot on, and I could not have said it any better. I still link to his stories, but over the years he has changed.

  8. @Dave, You keep trying to cause a stir with this when in fact, most everyone has moved on. It has had its 15 minutes of fame.

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