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March 05, 2007
MICHAEL YON POSTS A REPORT FROM IRAQ. Excerpt:
There’s a lot of talk back at home that morale among American forces is low here. While writing this, I called Rich Oppel from the New York Times, who is in Baghdad, to ask him how morale looked from his vantage. Rich said that a lot of the soldiers are not happy with the extensions of their tours, something I have heard soldiers complain about also. However, I watch morale very closely. More closely than all else. Low morale in a particular unit can be the result of poor leadership in that unit, or just not getting mail, for instance. But gauging morale is not a simple affair of asking a few soldiers. A person has to live with them across Iraq. Having done so, my opinion is that overall troop morale is good to high. (If their morale could be bottled, it would probably would sell like crack, then be outlawed.)
During this latest loop around, we visited American and Iraqi soldiers, and people in very different kinds of locations. Most of the things I saw, heard and smelled will never find their way into any particular dispatch. But they will be added to the near mountain of background facts that shape the context that allows me to speak with a little authority. Just a little. If morale starts to sag, I will be one of the very first to know. I’ll know it even before most of the troops know it. And if I see morale sagging, I’ll write about it.
Read the whole thing.