Yesterday John saluted Michael Yon as one of our great war reporters. Coincidentally, Dean Barnett joined Kevin Whalen of Pundit Review Radio to interview Yon, who spoke from Baghdad yesterday morning. The audio recording of the interview is accessible here. Yesterday Glenn Reynolds also posted Yon’s email message reporting on the ceremony in which General Petraeus assumed command in Iraq. The message echoes several of the remarks Yon makes in the interview:
This morning in Baghdad, General George Casey transferred authority of MNF-I to General David Petraeus.
Anyone who knows much about General Petraeus might agree that David Petraeus seems to have been born and raised to win this particular war. Frankly, the odds seem nearly impossible. Iraq is broiling and it’s getting worse. But there are glimmers of hope, and I see those glimmers with my own eyes here in Iraq. Troop morale is still good to high, and Iraqi Security Forces are improving, for instance. But make no mistake: America has asked David Petraeus to walk into a burning barn and perform brain surgery on a dying patient. If it can be done, David Petraeus is our man. The odds are against him. Personally, I am betting on General Petraeus, his staff, and the great number of hard-minded people who believe Iraq can stand again. This means I am betting for the good guys, and against the terrorists.
I am not naive; I was the first writer, back in early 2005, to begin loudly proclaiming that Iraq was in civil war. People said I was “pessimistic,” or did not know the definition of “civil war.” I was the first, to my knowledge, to outline that Afghanistan will become a bloodbath during the Spring of 2007. Yet I believe that today we have found the right mix of knowledge and experience to succeed in Iraq.
Fortunately for the United States, the outgoing commanding general, George Casey has not decided to retire. General Casey will take his great experience back to Washington where it will be vital to the outcome of this war.