April 01, 2011

Defending the Kill Team... poorly

(See previous entry.) Michael Yon, predictably, comes to the defense of 5th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, who he feels were maligned in the pages of Rolling Stone this week for, you know, thrill-killing innocent people occasionally.

I was embedded with the 5/2 SBCT and was afforded incredible access to the brigade by the Commander, Colonel Harry Tunnell, and the brigade Command Sergeant Major, Robb Prosser. I know Robb from Iraq...

Well, credit for being honest, I suppose. A lesser man would realize that the good friend of a man irretrievably tarnished by these events -- whose reputation as the brigade chief disciplinarian will forever be mud after these atrocities committed by his soldiers -- might himself be accused of insufficient objectivity should he write about those crimes... but not our Michael.

Yon's "few bad apples" defense is pretty weak for all his passion (he's now calling for his fans to boycott Rolling Stone advertisers). His anger for Rolling Stone mostly centers on the Motorcycle Kill clip, involving a different group of soldiers from the same brigade in the Arghandab.

Now, it's fair to say the link between this clip and the Kill Team story is pretty tangential... not sure why it's linked from the story's web page, either, to be honest. But focussing on just this clip (which most people, seeing the ammo vests on both the dead Afghans aren't going to condemn 5 Brigade any the more for anyway) at the expense of the rest of the whole damn story is typical gnatshit-out-of-pepper Yonism.

I remember being part of a much smaller army around the time it got into trouble for a soldier's murderous atrocity in Somalia. And yeah, I didn't think the entire Canadian military deserved to be judged for the actions of MCpl Matchee back then either. But I didn't attack the newspapers that broke the story and resulting coverup for only writing about bad soldiers. Bad soldiers, like bad police officers and bad judges, need to be written about; no servant of the public can ever get a pass on that most basic of accountabilities. But Yon's only impulse here was not to try to deal with or challenge the facts of the story in any way, but just to say, "yeah, but I had friends in that brigade and they were nice." Well I have a friend in that brigade too, chump, one whom I'm sure had nothing to do with this either. Not. Relevant. Now.

Posted by BruceR at 12:08 AM