Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Michael Yon

Free-lance journalist extraordinaire Michael Yon, having published a number of gripping accounts of our troops activities in Sagin, has now been kicked out of the town by an anal MoD, for writing this report.

Obsessed with OPSEC (operational security), the MoD "minders" have taken exception to the candour with which Yon writes. Yon himself gives us a clue as to how his material is being viewed.

"We set off down the market road," he writes. Then, in an oblique reference to those "minders", he adds: "Some folks believe such reports are 'security violations', as if the thousands of people living here do not know exactly where the bases are, or do not know exactly where we came from and went to. Operations take place here every day. Civilians are everywhere."

We have summarised part of his report over on Defence of the Realm to give a clearer narrative line on the operation he describes, which we call The battle for Pharmacy Road.

The operation is a success – through the skill and ingenuity of our troops. It is difficult to see what the MoD is worried about. But then it is not OPSEC they are really concerned with – it is controlling the message. And they would sooner have no message at all than allow someone else to tell the story in their own way.