Michael's Dispatches

Important Update



The British Ministry of Defence canceled my embed after today's dispatch.  Please Read "Bad Medicine".

Next Stop U.S. Forces.

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  • This commment is unpublished.
    Travis B · 12 years ago
    I bet they did not like your attention to detail did they?.....Oh well everything happens for a reason. God Bless you all over there. Looking forward to hearing from you soon!!!!
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Dave Holden · 12 years ago
    Bloody ridiculous. You have been the best thing for British Forces PR and Pride for many a long year. As an ex 26 years man thank you. Sadly a lot of the wheelers and dealers haven't a clue when they are on to a winner. Keep up the good work Michael. Respect to you.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Simonsez · 12 years ago
    Put 50 in the tip jar this am. Bloody wankers!
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    Scott Dudley · 12 years ago
    British MOD continues to be clueless and hapless. Find yourself some Marines. You have been an outstanding documentarian for 2 Rifles.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Janice Stroud · 12 years ago
    Read the Bad Medicine Dispatch last night and thought it was another excellent piece of war reporting from you.... my son has been deployed since last Christmas in Afghanistan, I started following you when he deployed to Iraq. Please keep up the excellent work and be safe
  • This commment is unpublished.
    James Purves · 12 years ago
    Really sorry to hear that Michael, did they give a particular reason? Do you feel it's fair?

    I'm sorry you won't be embedded with the UK troops anymore, as a Brit, a UK tax-payer and staunch supporter of our troops abroad I'm gutted the MOD has decided you should move on.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Desert Sailor · 12 years ago
    Michael you continue to cover the British effort so well, it's amazing. It rings so true as well, I can hear the "Desert Rats" from Basra days in '06 in each of your dispatches...awesome stuff sir!

    Was it Google Earth that got you invited out?

    Go find some Canadians or get in with the Marines, they too are somewhat busy.
    Stay safe and keep up the great work.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Vanessa · 12 years ago
    about the British troops.
    If you had not been their to write their stories we would never have a clue to these warriors work.
    Good job.
    Shame on the Ministry for canceling on you.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    J UK · 12 years ago
    That is just how the MoD operate - they don't tolerate criticism.

    Their first reaction to it is to try and silence it, if they can't do that they will try and discredit it. failing that they will deflect blame or try and spin it. If they can't do that they will bury it and obscure it from the general public.

    OPSEC isn't just used to keep the enemy in the dark... :P
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Jarvis · 12 years ago
    Another ham-handed cock-up by the Gordon Brown maladministration. How tone-deaf can MoD be?
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    CB · 12 years ago
    Thank you for your reporting, I dont know where I will look to find out the news anymore, as the BBC is full of idiots preaching to the the sixties generation hippies, and I'm afraid Mr Gordon Brown is the biggest ex hippy of the lot. I dont know why your embed was cancelled, and I dont care what reason is given, it is wrong. The sooner we have an election in Britain the better as these unelected buch of tossers are killing the country, and the best bit about our country is our Military. I suspect they ( G Brown and C just dont like the fact that Michael keeps pointing out we need more helicopters, something our Labour party leaders insist we have enough of, this despite all the ex generals, officers, soldiers, opposition politicians and news paper reports to the contrary. Our curent government thinks the silent majority are stupid, we are not. They think they can blind us with bluff and bluster. We are not stupid, we cant be blinded, we have seen this all before, and we are watching very carefully. Despite what they may think in looney left land, most people in this country are proud of our troops, proud of our military history, and proud of what they are doing now, and we the silent majority do not like what the government is doing to them. I live very close to Wooton Bassett, on the edge of Salisbury Plain and I see the cost of war when the planes deliver the fallen back to RAF Lynham ( they fly over my house at about 50 feet) so I am not looking at this from a gung ho approach, I know our troops are the best, I know they are proffesional, and I know that some will pay the ultimate price of war. But I cannot except and do not see any argument for how the penny grabbing accountants in white hall can justify saving money at the expence of a life, when that person is risking there life for us and the greater good of western civilisation. To them I say Buy some more bloody Helicoptors, commit some more troops, do what ever the generals want or ask of you to get the job done.
    Because if you dont after the next election the people might want to consider what you have not done. Years ago treason meant having your head cut off and put on a spike, and as we in the UK are big on tradition, perhaps we should re consider putting this back into law. ( we could also do the same to terrorists, then there will be no more repatriations of killers). As you can tell I'm pissed off.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Terri LPN · 12 years ago
    Sorry Michael, Thanks! May God Bless the British Soldiers ,you did them and us a wonderful service! Stiill Praying will always be!
  • This commment is unpublished.
    nell · 12 years ago
    I have just come across your site on order-order.com. We need you to post more widely so that you get more publicity and order-order would be a good place to start.

    As for the MoD - well we need people like you to tell us what is really going on in this war - because this govt are just plainly self serving liars. I can't tell you how badly I view the MoD and such people as bob 'aintbustinagut' and his sidekick kevan.

    I do hope you find a way to continue. May I suggest you also appeal to the retiring General Sir Richard Dannatt to see if he could not help your case.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Greg Marquez · 12 years ago
    I'm wondering if it wasn't the title of your post, "Bad Medicine" which I take is a reference to Pharmacy Road. The English have been particularly defensive about the NHS service lately and perhaps they felt this was an attack on the medical treatment their soldiers were receiving. Thanks for the article.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Andrew Smith · 12 years ago
    I have emailed complaint to MOD in the hope they will let you embed again with British Troops. Thank you Mr Yon for your reports on whats our soldiers are doing in Afganistan. I hope other people we email Mod as well at http://www.mod.uk/DefenceInternet/ContactUs/AskAMinister.htm
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Don More · 12 years ago
    Thanks for the most insightful reposting from Afghanistan that I have read. I have also emailed MOD to register a complaint.
    Keep up the good work, wherever you end up.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    srp · 12 years ago
    It's perhaps not an accident that the post that just motivated me to cough up another $20 bucks in support is the same one that MOD couldn't tolerate. It didn't seem particularly scathing to me, but it was informative. I also don't see much of an operational security issue when you describe tactical realities that the enemy is already exploiting. Surely they don't think details about strike aircraft weaponry, which is available on open source sites, is verboten?
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Mailman · 12 years ago
    You could be the head of the Army with the fetid carcass that is the current Labour Government sniffing around trying to discredit you.

    So you see, you actually got it easy!


  • This commment is unpublished.
    AF · 12 years ago
    Guessing it was posting the exact location of troops what done it via googlemaps. A few of us here were like this :O when we saw that. Thought that was a crazy move! But thanks for letting the Americans know what our troops are up to and Good luck and stay safe on your next despatch. Pity the MOD won't reconsider but they have to put some curbs on location details I expect, did they give you a reason?
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    Dave Arnold · 12 years ago
    God bless you Bam Bam! The Americans will be lucky to have you.
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    Petunia · 12 years ago
    Thank you, Mr Yon, for the risks you have taken, the hardship you have endured, and all you have done to tell it like it is.

    Your dispatches have been a stark contrast to the normal diet of platitudes, half-truths and outright deceit fed to us by the professional sophists at MoD and by our largely disinterested and bone-idle media.

    I very much hope you will find it possible to proceed with the post on election day and any others you may have in the pipeline covering your experience since.

    Again, my sincere thanks, and best wishes for the future.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Kurt · 12 years ago
    Dear Michael, I cannot imagine a day without reading your blogs. You're far and away one of the best bloggers out there, and I will grant you my support.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    DonC · 12 years ago
    Very strange - as you say in your post, its not as though the locals don't know exactly where the Brits are already!! Like all wars, this one is getting way too political - instead of reading your reports and trying to respond to them positively, they silence you instead. Why is it that only politicians have to think like this?

    Hope you have better luck with the US political machine.

    @Greg Marquez - You put too much faith in the loyalty of the British Government towards the NHS. Its the British people that love the NHS, successive Labour and Tory governments couldn't care less...
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Scott Dudley · 12 years ago
    Can't possibly be any location data or other OPSEC issues. If your neighbor, across the street, wanted to, he could see when you leave, what you leave in, what you are wearing, how many go with you. what direction you are heading, and so on. Every move 2 Rifles makes is watched.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    JW · 12 years ago
    I second the motion to find some Canadians. Things are always hot in Kandahar.
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    Doc Watson · 12 years ago
    and wear it like a badge of honor from those bastards. There isn't a single journalist in the field who has honored British patriots like you have. Their action makes perfect sense in light of the fact that they can't handle the truth.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    JD · 12 years ago
    Michael, I wait for your bloggs to come out, your insight into what our troops and our allies are having to deal with in Afghanistan and Iraq is next to none. I can only think it's a loss for the people of the UK, that they will not be aware of what is going on with thier sons and daughters in the war zone. The fact that the Brits have needs for more equipment and troops remind me of the way our government tried to short change our troops in Iraq mid-way in that action, only to see that the American people will not stand by idlely, knowing that more upgrades of equipment to protect our troops were needed and received. The current British governing body will have to listen to thier people and hopefully your messages to attain the same for thier sons and daughters. God bless you Michael and watch your six.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Harry · 12 years ago
    I have no original praise to add to that which has been written already. You are a fascinating journalist and your blog is unique and essential to the awareness and understanding of what the brave men & women of the UK Armed Forces are facing in Afghanistan right now.

    We are all speculating as to what led to you being withdrawn from your embed with 2 Rifles. I am sure we will find out in time if was because of your 24 August despatch, or the cancellation coincided with it...

    Whatever the cause, I hope you will be able to resume reporting from the front line with the Brits. Thanks for everything Michael, and stay safe sir.


  • This commment is unpublished.
    The Kitchen Dispatch · 12 years ago
    Bad Medicine was a great post, Michael.
    Stay safe.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Crazy · 12 years ago

    Excellent reporting, as always. Please could you confirm one thing? You wrote that the MOD cancelled your embed after "Bad Medicine". Was it as a direct result of that article? Or had your embed just come to an end and the timing was coincidental? Or was your embed over, and this article reminded them of the fact?

    Thanks - hope you get another embed soon.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Corin Vestey · 12 years ago

    I suggest any and all Brit readers who want Michael's embed with UK troops to continue write to their MPs. I've asked my MP to write to Bob Ainsworth, the Secretary of State for Defense, to complain about the MODs action. At the very least you may make some MPs aware of Michael's work. You find out who your MP is and contact them by email through his website: http://www.theyworkforyou.com/

    It only takes a minute to remind the politicians we are watching them. Make the time people.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Joanne · 12 years ago
    It won’t be petty. Yon’s posts are covered on Helmand blog after all. There are no doubt good reasons for this so people shouldn’t be too hasty. I was surprised Michael didn’t wish the Rifles well, I’m sure they had his back the entire time he was with them.

    The British are doing the serious heavy lifting in Afghanistan. As an American living in the UK married to one such Brit out there I was shocked to see the marked difference in coverage between America and the UK when I went home this Summer to the US. The UK benefits from far more daily news coverage, press stories and TV series covering their men’s actions. The change is enormous. By contrast the media coverage in America is a shoulder shrug. Mostly the Brits are lumped together under “international forces” and American support is waning for this war.

    UK TV series “Ross Kemp in Afghanistan” was on his second journo tour this year and it, like your posts, was utterly compelling. There is another series on at the moment. ITV covered the medical facilities in February with “Doctors and Nurses at War” Again all compelling viewing. I urge Americans (and the Brits who feel bizarrely shortchanged!) to check these series out on youtube and continue to support the British out there. Yon’s posts were crucial for getting American home support. I hope he gets another embed quickly.

    Here are some worthy UK charities and noteworthy places to stop by. Please give them your support!


    Hopefully you will get another embed with the Brits. I agree some coverage of the Canadians and Australians would be awesome too. All brothers in arms. Nothing but respect and admiration for all our awesome men and women out there

    And thank you for your continued dedication Michael.

    Good luck.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Corin Vestey · 12 years ago
    Plenty of MOD trolls about it seems
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Crazy · 12 years ago
    Corin, is that "MOD trolls" comment aimed at me? :

    far from it, i'm a fan. check out the following thread on the (British) Army Rumour Service: http://www.arrse.co.uk/Forums/viewtopic/t=1 1641/postdays=0/postorder=asc/start=0.html
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Boat Guy · 12 years ago
    It's too bad that the stories of units such as 2 Rifles will no longer be told. As has been obvious from your previous writing these under-reported and thus under-apprieciated allies had one real chronicler - you. What was also obvious from your reporting was that those stories deserved to be told.
    It's a better deal for our guys, though. We'll keep the support coming, regardless of who you're with.
    God bless, stay healthy
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Shop Dude · 12 years ago
    Truth is the first victim of war, but in your case, it's alive and kicking. Yet another great article in 'Bad Medecine'. Even if the humour isn't as good, stay safe with your US oppos on your next embed.

    You deserve a shiny bit of tin.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Brian · 12 years ago
    "It won’t be petty."

    I wouldn't bet on that, you obviously have no experience dealing with military Public Affairs officers. Yon has been in pissing contests with US Army Public Affairs Officers on a number of occasions. There was one instance where he picked up a rifle and fired back at an insurgent who was shooting in his direction, but apart from that, the rest were petty.

    "I was surprised Michael didn’t wish the Rifles well, I’m sure they had his back the entire time he was with them."

    Now you're the one jumping to hasty conclusions. Do you suppose he might have said his goodbyes in person, since he could, rather than post them to a blog which is largely inaccessible to forward deployed troops?

    "The British are doing the serious heavy lifting in Afghanistan."

    I wouldn't say that either. In the last couple of months things have picked up considerably for conventional units like 2 Rifles and some US Marine battalions, but the 'heavy lifting' in Afghanistan is still being done by the special operations forces (US, UK, Polish, German, Canadian, etc - they work under the same command) Benjamin Kopp, of Kopp-Etchells Effect was one such soldier. In any event, it is best we don't hear too much about what they do.
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    watcher in the dark · 12 years ago
    We British are used to being ill-served by our politicians, who will cheerfully send our troops to war without supporting them. But we now have the civil service not helping too. A cynic would observe the troops have two enemies; the Taliban and increasingly our own "leaders."

    It makes no sense that you cannot be embedded with the British army, but thanks for all your great work in giving us a real insight into the conflict and the determination of our service people to do their job no matter what.

    Now we will have to rely on the usual biased media such as Al-beeb, whose heroic efforts to lift the morale of the enemy is so well appreciated. But I look forward to reading more of your dispatches. Michael, from being with the US forces. Good luck to you always.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Ed M · 12 years ago
    I've read your works since 2005 and have learnt a great deal from them. You have given an excellent view of British troops at work and I am at a loss to understand why the MoD would be so silly as to cancel your embed. I have written to my Member of Parliament tonight to request him to use his influence to have your embed reinstated. Stay safe and thanks again for sharing your insights.
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    Al Canada · 12 years ago

    Your reporting and photographs have been fantastic. Thank you. I too think you did a wonderful job of publicizing the experiences and mission of the Brits.

    Best of luck,
    Al in Canada
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Ex-Matelot · 12 years ago

    The next time you are in England maybe Wooton Bassett is worth a visit. The idiots at MOD cannot keep you away from there. As a good proportion of your readership appears to be the military themselves maybe a despatch from there would help dispell their feeling that those of us at home don't care.

    With regard to the UK MOD I think that the perception of their "allegiance" has changed in recent years. In my time in the service (1981 - 200 ) they were generally viewed by serving members as "our representatives" in government. Basicallly they were the good guys trying to get the best for us from a government with far too much on it's plate and too little money in its pocket. Now it seems to those serving members I talk to (including my son) that they are percieved as part of the problem. The MOD civil service are too highly politicised and are at best a conduit for the promotion of a party political agenda as opposed to the best interests of the services. The UK MOD no longer seems to have the effectiveness and well being of HM Forces as it's core aim. They are far more interested in hushing up the scandals as they come along and serving their career politician masters. I'm not saying that the whole MOD is rotten but they have, without doubt, lost the confidence of the average sailor, soldier and airman.

    You do a good job, Michael and I shall continue to read your despatches wherever and with whoever you are embedded.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Anne Knecht · 12 years ago
    I really appreciate your efforts to report and give opinions as opinion. I can tell the difference. Perhaps the MOD is too sensitive. I think someone got his feelings hurt.
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    jic · 12 years ago
    "Guessing it was posting the exact location of troops what done it via googlemaps. A few of us here were like this :O when we saw that. Thought that was a crazy move! "

    Which part do you think was "crazy": showing where troops were several days ago, or showing the location of a major base that must already be known by everybody within a 50 mile radius?
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Alan Johnson · 12 years ago
    Michael ( et al )
    I have been following you for years, have told all of my vet friends and active duty people about your site and have tried to get the message out to any one who will listen ( and those who may not want to! ) A signed copy of Moment of Truth has made the rounds. I have always tried to throw a few $ in the jar when possible but now have made the commitment to send a regular contribution your way, you are doing way too an important job to let it founder. I am using the " old fashioned way" of having an automatic payment to sent to your snail mail address, if others are as wary of online payment that is an option they can use.
    You always tell it like it is, and you have the insight to understand the reality, not the image that is trying to be conveyed by "whomever", the difference between theory and reality, right?

    Keep the faith, drive on and God Speed
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Pete Guichard · 12 years ago
    Hi Michael,

    I very much enjoy your posts... I wish I was over there too... I gave some thought to why you may have been kicked out of your embed with 2 Rifles... Here's what I've come up with:

    1) The Google map... It did help us readers, but could also encourage the opposition by providing them fresh tactical prospective on hitting the bases
    2) Describing the payload the planes carry... Could be construed compromising information on planes firepower
    ) The soldier and dog missing the pressure-IED... Someone up the ranks looks bad
    4) Five soldiers tragic death.... Sequential IEDs killing the rescued and rescuers...
    5) Pharmacy Road... Seems like 2 Rifles is on a suicide mission...

    My hunch is that part of your story underscored the futility of the 2 Rifles assignment... Thanks again for keeping us informed.

    Keep safe,
  • This commment is unpublished.
    James · 12 years ago
    "I wouldn't say that either."

    Big deal that she said that. Why zero in on that one remark, the likes of which we see by the gazillion on US blogs about the US military mostly ever in complete iginorance of British or international Forces there. Any one-off mention like this of British troops or any unique expression of pride in them in that respect is instantly dismissed by a Yank as essentially obnoxious (or by others as MOD trolling). Fairly typical.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Brian · 12 years ago
    I did not dismiss anything she said as obnoxious. I politely disagreed with her.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    jic · 12 years ago
    " Why zero in on that one remark"

    You mean like you did?

    "Any one-off mention like this of British troops or any unique expression of pride in them in that respect is instantly dismissed by a Yank as essentially obnoxious"

    So, you missed the very large number of comments here praising British troops, both from the British and the "Yanks"?
  • This commment is unpublished.
    defenceheadquarters · 12 years ago
    Michael Yon’s embed with British forces has not been cancelled and we are disappointed that he has chosen to characterise it as such. We have hosted Michael with British forces for five weeks, some two weeks longer than originally planned.

    We welcome Michael’s thorough reporting of the work of British forces and we have no objection to his recent piece entitled "Bad Medicine". All journalists embedding with the UK military are given access to troops without censorship. However all materials coming out of theatre is checked to ensure that key tactical details that would aid the enemy are not being made public. Michael’s dispatch was subject to these checks and was given the go-ahead.

    This was posted by the MOD. You can find a copy at www.blogs.mod.uk
  • This commment is unpublished.
    CJBr · 12 years ago
    I thought all of your posts were looked over by someone your embedded with? Not so they can cut out your opinions but so they can say "This unit location should be more vague" or "This soldiers name should not be listed".... Checked so nothing is inadvertantley given away?

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