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Friday, November 9, 2007

The situation in Iraq IS improving II...

Michael Yon has been reporting from Iraq for quite some time. He raises his own money to stay there and, unlike nearly all mainstream media (MSM) reporters, he reports from outside the safe "green zone".

I became aware of his work originally back in 2005 when he took a picture that captured well the huge human toll that Iraqi civilians were paying due to the war and the insurgency. The picture, below, was eventually selected by Time magazine readers as the top photo of 2005.

(From Wikipedia): On May 2, 2005, Yon took a picture of U.S. Army Major Mark Bieger cradling an Iraqi girl wounded by shrapnel from a car bomb. Major Bieger tried to bring the girl to an American hospital to receive treatment but she died on the helicopter ride.

This week Yon posted a new photo, taken just earlier this week that again captures the prevailing sentiment in Iraq.

(Yon's Caption): Thanks and Praise: I photographed men and women, both Christians and Muslims, placing a cross atop the St. John’s Church in Baghdad. They had taken the cross from storage and a man washed it before carrying it up to the dome.

Yon gives further background on his web site: A Muslim man had invited the American soldiers from “Chosen” Company 2-12 Infantry to the church, where I videotaped as Muslims and Christians worked and rejoiced at the reopening of St John’s, an occasion all viewed as a sign of hope.

The Iraqis asked me to convey a message of thanks to the American people. ” Thank you, thank you,” the people were saying. One man said, “Thank you for peace.” Another man, a Muslim, said “All the people, all the people in Iraq, Muslim and Christian, is brother.” The men and women were holding bells, and for the first time in memory freedom rang over the ravaged land between two rivers.

The photograph reminds me of the Marines raising the American flag on Iwo Jima. As I said in my last post on Iraq, I am cautiously optimistic that the corner has been turned in Iraq.

One more interesting tidbit abut Michael Yon. He was interviewed on the Hugh Hewitt radio show on Wednesday and was asked by Hugh about the Iraqis and Iran. Yon's answer is not terribly surprising given their history over the last 30 years.

HH: And what about Iran? What does the average Iraqi tell you about Iran?

MY: Well, now that’s not only a good question, but an increasingly kind of semi-humorous question, because every day now, including yesterday again, a retired army colonel, an Iraqi army colonel, told me hey, we will support you in your war against Iran. And he keeps saying this in front of Americans…oh yeah. Every day I’m hearing that.

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