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Michael Yon on Canadians, Menard, (violating) OPSEC [merged]

The Bread Guy

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Blogger/journalist Michael Yon is in southern Afghanistan these days and, in the midst of his commentary on the ongoing fight, has some observations to share about the Canadians.  This, from Michael Yon's blog:
.... Since the 2001 invasion, U.S. soldiers have come and gone from the Arghandab, but we’ve never had enough soldiers to sit still.  More recently, the Canadians made jabs at Arghandab but did not get far.  Some people believe the Canadians have been militarily defeated in their battlespace. No US officer has told me that the Canadians have been defeated, and none have denied it.  There is no doubt that Canadian troops earned much respect, and that more that more than 130 paid the ultimate price.

On current course, Canada will have fully retreated by 2011.  This is crucial: the enemy realizes that our greatest weakness is Coalition cohesion and they have defeated what was an important partner.

Now it’s mostly down to the U.S. and Afghan forces to saddle Arghandab, or lose Kandahar ....

And this and this, from his FaceBook page
Canadians are in command of a sizable number of our combat forces here, though Canadians themselves are essentially finished fighting. This causing some "angst."

To be clear, the Canadians do not actually lead our forces in combat, but Task Force Kandahar is their area. The Canadians have been clear they will leave in 2011, and so securing Kandahar comes down mostly to U.S. and Afghan forces.
More selective, uninformed opinions.
From his point of view it would seem that the US Forces are going to show us how to do business...

Note how he tosses in a plug for implied financial support to continue his work...schmuck.
So, before the usual string of replies gets started, let's not give this yob the exposure he craves.

Milnet.ca Staff
I spent several months in the Arghandab in the last year, and I'd almost like to know where this individual gets the information that he bases his opinions on, but I'd be afraid to catch the glimpse of his analytical process.

I definitely wouldn't call what we did alone, what we did in conjunction with ANSF, and ANSF + US Forces, mere jabs.
Michal Yon is one of the journalists that gets it.  He has done some amazing stuff on the Americans in Iraq and I would urge you all to read his older stuff as it shows that he is 'pro military".  His coverage is focused on American stuff because well  that is his demographic and he is just reporting the feeling he is getting from AMERICAN boots on the ground.  I don't like the tone of the article either, but I won't write off a journalist that supports the military based on one article alone.  It is equivalent to writing of Christie Blatchford for writing something similar.

Journeyman said:
Much as WW1 started in 1917 and WW2 started in 1942.....for some.

I was wondering about that quote too.  I wonder if he is referring to the fact that the Americans, despite starting the invasion back in late 2001 are finally commiting enough resources to "finish" the job.  In any case as usual in an American centric history, the war only begins when they get there.
MJP said:
Much as WW1 started in 1917 and WW2 started in 1942.....for some.
I was wondering about that quote too.  I wonder if he is referring to the fact that the Americans, despite starting the invasion back in late 2001 are finally commiting enough resources to "finish" the job.  In any case as usual in an American centric history, the war only begins when they get there.
I suspect he's emphasizing the "truly"....now it's the focus of US operations.

But since I live for accuracy and military history.....  ;D
...so he is reporting the feeling from American boots on the ground, right then.
So the troops who have done multiple tours in Iraq are now set up to do multiple tours in Afghanistan are keen and eager.
He has the luxury to get up piss off anytime he wants to.
I hardly think he's qualified to speak on ANYTHING having to do with Canada in Afghanistan.
With something to say about the troops AND the governments, via FaceBook:
The U.S. soldiers who have worked with Canadians continue to praise the combat soldiers.General thoughts: excellent Canadian soldiers were under manned/resourced. (Just like our British brothers and sisters.) We also have been under manned/resourced here -- and still are. Touch wood that the reinforcements will turn ...the war. The US, UK and Canadian governments all should be ashamed of the war effort to date.
I wonder if Michael realizes it's not up to the TF cdr to decide whether to stay longer or not - from FaceBook:
LTC Frank Jenio (2nd of 508th; 82nd ABN) seems fine with Canadian general in charge. LTC Jenio told LTC Neumann that Canadian General (Daniel) Menard is "awesome" and verbalized respect for and confidence in Canadian leadership. We will have more forces than Canadians, yet they will be in command here. LTC Jenio said ...an officer asked GEN Menard if this might spur Canadians to commit more troops and Menard said (no).
He really has no clue about what he's saying does he?          ::)

Apparently some US troops are going to come under Canadian command...the first time since WW2. Funny, IIRC they've been under our command well after that war.

I'm just waiting until he starts posting OPSEC shyte on his blogs and he gets punted from KAF. It's bad enough he's pointing out where JDCC (mind you it's wrong) is and other nice spots....

...... though Canadians themselves are essentially finished fighting..."

...The Canadians have been clear they will leave in 2011, and so securing Kandahar comes down mostly to U.S. and Afghan forces.
What a relief.  And here I was with some reservations and concerns about our upcoming tour.  Looks like I just need to pack the sun tan lotion and beach towel....
Latest from Mr Yon and OPSEC:

Most recent Canadian deaths: A CF "cover up" at Kandahar?

Looks to me that the information Mr. Yon wanted to published contained quantities, exact locations and more OPSEC related details. Apparently he knows exactly what the Taliban would look for, and of course his story contains none of it.
Rather than OPSEC, perhaps some information was withheld with family sensitivity in mind.
Four apparently died on scene. Sgt. Kirk Taylor apparently died at KAF or on the way to KAF (Kandahar Airfield). Five wounded were flown to Germany. One soldier was apparently thought to be dead, but was pulled from the wreckage about three hours after the blast and may have started showing signs of life during helicopter flight.
Does the family of Sgt Kirk need to know that he didn't die immediately, but apparently suffered first?

This comes to mind only because there was a CF plane crash many years ago, where the CBC announced, "the two pilots were apparently killed instantly, but flames got the Flight Engineer as he tried to crawl away from the wreckage." For those on-scene, that's exactly what happened, but 'Mrs Flight Engineer' and the kids certainly didn't need to hear that.

Hardly a CF "cover up"
I think the only cover ups are when Mike Yon steps on his dick then tries to do damage control by pointing fingers at everyone except himself. He has developed friends in high places so he gets away with a lot.

He has learned a bit as he won't say anything negative about the 5/2 Stryker Brigade which he plans on spending the year with, even though soldiers and officers in the brigade are bad mouthing it and OCTs from Fort Irwin are saying they were not up to standard when they passed through there on their validation exercise.
BruceR. replies to Mr Yon at Flit:

For shame

A certain popular blogger (who I've mentioned before but shall not link to now or hereafter) recently put on his website details relating to a recent IED strike of:

*number of total casualties (including wounded);
*details of the damage to an ISAF vehicle produced by a certain quantity of explosive;
*precise details of the limitations of counter-measures employed by that vehicle; and
*the ISAF name for the route where it occurred.

In the same post, that blogger urged Canadian media to publicize the same info and claimed the Canadian government was trying to cover up its own incompetence by citing the security of the troops in asking other media not to reprint it. "There is nothing classified or sensitive about the information supplied..." he yawped. For the record, he's wrong, on all four counts above...

And Matthew Fisher of Canwest News, Canada's best war correspondent and just returned to Kandahar, adds to the story:

KANDAHAR AIRFIELD, Afghanistan — The explosion that killed journalist Michelle Lang and four Canadian soldiers last Wednesday was so massive that the 23-ton armoured vehicle that they were riding in was turned upside down and landed facing in the opposite direction.

"The vehicle flipped completely on its top about 10 metres away from the crater, off the road," Lt.-Col. Roch Pelletier, chief of operations for the Canadian brigade in Kandahar, said in an interview Monday.

"They probably managed to put the (improvised explosive device) under the road by digging a tunnel. It was something that was put in place a few days earlier. It was not a hasty IED, as we call them. It was deliberately planned ahead and took a long time to place . . . They dug it, they placed it properly. It was all set up."

There was no way that sentries on what was a routine patrol could have seen the IED buried on a muddy dirt road, Pelletier said, adding that the crews had carried out checks for "patterns of life," to see if people were behaving normally. There were no reports of anything unusual.

In military parlance, the IED was an HME or homemade explosive device, Pelletier said. While declining to say how big it was because of security concerns and because the incident remained the subject of an intensive investigation, he said it was "a large IED" of a type "they normally use. It was standard tactics. There was nothing new."..
Citing security reasons, the military would not say what kind of detonator that may have been used to trigger the explosion...

Reports this weekend on a U.S. blog [emphasis added] about the war [emphasis added] in Afghanistan suggested that Canadian Forces had not provided details of the explosion because it was trying to cover up that it took as much as three hours to free one of those in the blast from the wreckage. Pelletier emphatically denied there was any kind of coverup.

"That is not the case at all," he said. "To extract them we called casevac and we did that quite fast.

"The casualties were here (Kandahar Airfield), most of them, within 30 minutes. The deceased, who are normally extracted later, were back after about an hour" because the wounded are always given priority and moved first...

Those who heard or saw the blast and were interviewed on Monday by an Afghan cameraman working for a joint CBC/Canwest Global pool, expressed no regrets over its lethal consequences. Nine NATO helicopters had quickly arrived over the scene, they said. This had scared them and their children as they feared they would be blamed for what had happened and would come under attack from the air...

Notwithstanding last week's horrific attack, security had been relatively good in that area, the 38-year old infantryman said.

"We are having success with those projects and with the civilians there because we employ them, so they turn in a lot of IEDs and provide us with quite good information on the insurgents," he said.

As a result of this, the insurgents were "being pushed right now by their commander to prove themselves," he said. "One of them tried to prove himself by going for a big hit."

Within 24 hours of the explosion, patrols from the PRT had returned to the same area, Pelletier said.

"It is not fun the day it happens, but the day after it was business as usual because we have to take care of these projects."

He's playing it up hard on his little blog too. Preaching on about him not posting OPSEC etc. but includes things about size of the possible IED and it's effects.

There was another where he photographed IED components.      ::)

Someone should shut him down.

More Yonning from Terry Glavin:

One Damn Yankee Who Should Take A Good Long Walk Off A Short Pier.

...When I was in Kandahar recently, I was gently but firmly instructed against describing in any great detail or taking photographs of the insides of those weirdly-named "Light Armoured Vehicles" where so many of our people have died. Is the public ill-served by this minor fact-reporting bother? I hardly think so.

It's quite right and proper that journalists report the facts and tell the truth about what our soldiers do in Afghanistan, without any regard whatsoever to the degree that their work might cause pants-wetting among the military brass or its legion of public-affairs officers. But the purpose of journalism is not to endanger the lives of the men and women who guard us while we sleep, or to disrespect those who die while doing so.

As for operation-security quarrels journalists might have with the Canadian Forces, they can be settled in two ways. We resolve them quietly and by civil conversation and adjudication, now, or we set them aside entirely, and revisit them later, when we bloody well win.

This is war. Get used to it.

This is war. Get used to it.

What an idiot.
Yes this is war, and war zones are no place for journalists who shit the bed and give out information which can endanger soldiers and civilians a like.

We should keep him on KAF and say hey, this is war get used to it.

I can't believe we actually have to put our lives in danger babysitting guys like this.