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I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing intrepid independent journalist Michael Yon, back in the US after another tour of Iraq and a short stint in Afghanistan. I had hoped to catch Michael a couple of weeks ago, but the timing never worked out quite right -- and we almost missed each other tonight by accident when we had some confusion due to time zone differences. Fortunately, we made our connection and we spoke for about a half-hour earlier this evening.
I've podcasted our interview in three parts. In section 1, Michael and I discuss his impressions of Afghanistan. Michael only spent about a fortnight in Afghanistan, operating completely on his own, without embedding among US or Western forces. He had little good news for us about his limited experience there. The nation still operates on a tribal basis, only now the poppy harvest has hit record numbers, which fuels a booming drug trade. Michael never got to talk to the central government, but from what he did see the Karzai government has a lot to chew. He also reports that the Western forces there are seriously undermanned but fighting magnificently, especially the Canadians at the moment.
Michael has a much more optimistic view about Iraq, which he discusses in section 2. He says that the Iraqi security forces have done a tremendous job in standing up, although he believes that the US will need to have some forces there for years. The death tolls are still very high among the Iraqis, but they appear much more cohesive as a nation than the Afghans. He feels that the nation has a chance to unify and establish a stable democracy in the Middle East, and that most of the remaining problem revolves around Baghdad and its environs.
However, Michael stands by his characterization of the situation as a civil war, which has led to problems with a few conservative media voices, a problem we discuss in section 3. He doesn't spend his time worrying about it, however, preferring to focus on telling the story as he sees it and letting the chips fall where they may. We discuss the impact that blogging has had on the mainstream media, and we also mention Howard Kurtz as one of the most insightful media critics regarding the blogosphere.
Michael will go to work on a book which he hopes to finish soon, and after that may go back to doing what he does best. I hope you enjoy the interview as much as I did conducting it.
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» Podcast interview: Captain Ed interviews Michael Yon from Hot Air
About Iraq and Afghanistan. It’s in three parts; you might be surprised when you hear which country Yon is more hopeful about. Ed doesn’t say how he recorded the interview, but I’ll use this as a peg anyway to relay the news that Sky... [Read More]
Tracked on May 15, 2006 11:40 AM
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