|NBC’s Brian Williams, Richard Engel, and Retired General Wayne Downing|
|Photo by Michael Yon|
Michael Yon, who’s staying just a few tents down from the NBC team in Iraq, sent along this as-yet-unpublished* picture of NBC’s Brian Williams, whose reporting on the surge has been quite good. I asked Yon if he had any thoughts resulting from his current embed (and not expressed in his latest dispatch, “Meanwhile“) that he’d like to share with the readers of this blog. He emailed the following:
I would like to say that we have a very solid opportunity to make a success out of Iraq. But we need to allow General Petraeus — the man is brilliant and very experienced — the room to make this happen. He’s already making progress here. No wise person would argue or interfere with an experienced brain surgeon while that surgeon conducts delicate work. This is war, but it’s a very delicate war and few people have the requisite skills and relevant knowledge to make informed comment about the goings-on here. I implore folks at home not to lose faith. I spend a lot of time “downtown” with combat our soldiers, and the morale here is good to high. The soldiers are not quitting. To the contrary, they want breathing room to win. This can be a success.
Please recall that I was by far the first to say that Iraq is in a state of civil war. I first began writing this from the ground here in 2005, well over a year ahead of the rest. I was, perhaps, the first to say that we were losing in Afghanistan when it was “common knowledge” that we had won or were at least winning in Afghanistan. What I am trying to say is that I will absolutely deliver bad news when I see it. I see lots of bad news here and I report it. But I also see morale is good to high. I see a very real and achievable opportunity for some form of success. I see a commander, General David Petraeus, who needs our complete support. No matter what anyone thinks of our civilian leadership, please stick by us here in Iraq. We can win. If you want to worry, worry about Afghanistan. Just support us here. We can win if Americans support the command and troops not just in word, but deed.
Yon’s next dispatch is about the competency of the Iraqi Security Forces in Mosul. To anyone interested in coverage of Iraq that goes deeper than the daily headlines and explores the underlying dynamics of the U.S. mission there, I recommend keeping an eye out for it.
* HEH INDEED: Glenn Reynolds beat me to the punch.