Michael Yon is one of my favorite reporters. His website is MichaelYon-online.
This is a brief summary of some of his work:
I first traveled to Iraq in December 2004, but the prime impetus to go occurred almost nine months earlier, after two friends were killed in two days in Iraq–one in Falluja, the other in Samara. In April, 2004, I attended both their funerals, also days apart, one in Colorado, the other in Florida. I met many veterans of the war on terror, some of whom encouraged me to go to Iraq or Afghanistan, and write the truth.
One childhood friend in particular—Rodney Morris—regularly called and emailed me, asking me to come over to Iraq, where he was then known as Lieutenant Colonel Morris. My initial reaction was, “Are you crazy!? I am a writer, not a war correspondent.” I thought there was nothing I could offer, and being intimately familiar with the effects of bombs and bullets, and having no wish to be burned alive or shot down, I repeatedly declined. But those two funerals, coming so close upon each other, got me thinking.
In a decision that entailed shelving serious investments in labor and time, I put current projects on hold and packed off for Iraq. When 2004 turned into 2005, I was in Baquba, near Baghdad. At that time, heading into Iraq’s historical first elections, there was daily fighting in Baquba. It was definitely newsworthy, but I was not sponsored by or affiliated with any media organizations. In fact, I had barely heard of the word “Blog,” when about three weeks into January 2005, I blogged my own first dispatch from Baquba.
Today Michael posted the following letter from a young woman in Iran. This is his dispatch:
A young Iranian woman has written to me off and on for a couple of years. Yesterday she sent a note.
I responded in part with a few questions:
What do young Iranians think about our government and about the Iranian government? Also, do you think there will be war?
She replied immediately. I corrected some minor grammar:
“To make the long story short people in Iran, not just youth, hate the government and want to move out of the country as soon as they can. My sister [deleted] is moving to [deleted] with her husband this July and then when my mother gets retired, me, my younger sister [deleted] and my parents will sell our house and move to live with them. My father isn’t convinced yet but all he needs is time, I’m sure he will choose to come with us.
“I am a patriot and I will remain one no matter where I am, but lets face it. Things are bad and getting worse as every day goes by. I have plans for my future and do not want to stay in a country where my skills and capabilities are most likely going to waste.
“The Iranians do not hate you nor do they hate ur government. This is all the media. The people have nothing to do with the media Michael. No one is against you here except for those on the government’s side. Unfortunately they’re not few, they’re actually many, but they won’t last forever. Someday this is all gonna turn upside down. Sometimes I ask myself do I wanna be here for the next revolution? I dunno …
We need to remember that although Iran is currently ruled by evil people, the people of the country are not all evil. My heart goes out to this lady and my sympathy goes out to her for what she has been through. The best answer for Iran would be for the people of overthrow the current government, but I suspect the government has done away with anyone with the potential to lead such a revolution. The country is not evil–the government of the country is.