"We know what their agenda is,— Whalen interjected. "Their agenda is to sour the American public on this war in Iraq so we can withdraw.—
Whalen reported that a survey has shown that of 1,400 news stories about the war, negative stories outnumbered positive ones by a 10:1 ratio. "That's why newspaper circulation is tanking,— he said. "That's why network news ratings are tanking. That's why [the number of] people reading online sources of news is exploding.—
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Photo by Tracy Powell
Jackson chimed in, making the transition, "The only reason we get some kind of balance is because of people like Michael Yon, a roving reporter, former Special Forces . . . —
Yon also is an author who has attracted a loyal following that includes actor Bruce Willis, among others. In the studio before the show began, Whalen pulled up one particularly riveting installment on Yon's blog, titled, "Gates of Fire
." In it Yon recounted a patrol with an Army Stryker Brigade unit in Mosul. A lieutenant colonel featured in Yon's ongoing missives came under fire from a shop and was hit. As the officer went down, still firing from one knee, Yon first kept taking digital photos. Then, when green soldiers froze, he grabbed a rifle and leapt into the breach, spattering a shop with covering fire until the wounded man was pulled to safety.
"I think this guy should win a Pulitzer,— Whalen said.
Minutes later, Yon was on the line, his fourth visit with Pundit Review. After plugging a recent column Yon contributed to the conservative Weekly Standard newspaper, Jackson asked about the mood in Iraq on election day.
"The mood of the people was very exuberant,— Yon said, sounding surprisingly soft-spoken. "I was all around Baghdad. All the dangerous places, the less dangerous places. . . . The mood of the people was very good. Really, nothing more needs to be said than the super-high turnout. That speaks for itself.—
Yon said there were very few attacks that day. "I heard one explosion at six twenty-five in the morning, but that turned out to be no casualties. Extremely good day. Actually, the best day I've spent in Iraq.—
Responding to questions from the Pundit Review hosts, Yon said Iraqis are, contrary to the opinion of some war critics, ready for democracy, that they know how to make a country work, and are "not just a bunch of warring tribes, as is often portrayed.— The insurgency remains strong, he said, but the Iraqi security force and other government agents are gaining strength. With that, Whalen and Jackson went to the phones. "Let's go to Rick in Florida,— Jackson said.
Rick is a high school friend of Yon's who wanted to say hello. Mike in Massachusetts came on, told Whalen and Jackson their show is "a breath of fresh air, no question.— Mike wanted to know what would happen if American troops pulled out. Would Iraqis be able to maintain order?