"While the MSM slept, Michael Yon -- the self-employed, reader-empowered embedded journalist blogger reporting from the front -- captured the spirit of the age in one amateur photograph that has touched the hearts and minds of our fellow citizens in spades," we wrote two years back re the citizen journalist's image of Major Beiger cradling a fatally wounded Iraqi child.
"Our soldiers, those from countries such as the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, Germany, France (yes, France) and the United States, are better in all aspects but one," wrote independent journalist and former Green Beret Michael Yon last March in "Ernie is dead," a FOXNews.com dispatch blogged here:
The terrorists somehow manage to beat us in our respective medias. We may own the air, but terrorists own the airwaves.
I believe we are losing the war in Afghanistan, but I have strong hope for Iraq. Nearly all of America and Europe believe Iraq is a lost cause, but there is hope here, and it lives in the thousands of stories about this place that are never told because they have not been witnessed by our media, or at least not reported.
The surge was just getting under way back then, even as broken-record types like Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, John Murtha & Company were stuck on all is lost, it's time to cut and run, and it's all Bush's fault.
"The Iraqis asked me to convey a message of thanks to the American people," the "blogosphere's own Ernie Pyle," Michael Yon sets the scene for this image of "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." © Michael Yon 2007*
Now comes Michael Yon's latest photograph (above) to touch the hearts and minds -- and typing fingers -- of the immediate blogosphere. Gaius of Blue Crab Boulevard has a good roundup of one-liners. Michelle Malkin is calling it an "iconic image of hope and unity in Iraq," and Wretchard of The Belmont Club compares Yon's image to Joe Rosenthal's flag-raising at Iwo Jima, musing "There are times when a single picture captures the essence of an entire campaign. Maybe Michael Yon's picture from Baghdad has done it for the surge":
It's important to remember that the flag raising on Suribachi occurred on the fourth day of a campaign that would last a month longer. In the War against extremism, as in Iwo Jima, the worst may be yet to come. But it's good to take a deep breath and remember what the journey is all about.
Instapundit reader John Ramsay sees "a poignant contrast with this picture":
From the caption of our early-Surge post "A vicious circle of shortsighted sanctimony" of last January: “By the time we reached the embassy, the gates were shuttered and armed Marines were standing guard above the concrete walls . . . Thousands of desperate Vietnamese, screaming and begging, were trying to climb the walls and get through the coils of barbed wire, only to be pushed back into the street by none-too-gentle rifle butts,” wrote Newsweek reporter Loren Jenkins of our countrymen's ignominious cut-and-run exit from Saigon when the city fell to the North Vietnamese in April of 1975. (Photo unattributed)
Indeed. 'Wish we'd thought of that. Great fodder for a new post or even a new category: The Good, the Bad and the Smugly?
"The toppling of Saddam’s statue seemed like the iconic moment, but it proved only to be the first frame," notes Jules Crittenden:
"Unlike the Saddam shot, an image of tearing down the old evil, Yon’s captured the Iraqis putting something up, restoring something good, themselves. There is still a lot of fighting and dying ahead, but here’s an image of hope and determination, a sign that victory might not be too far off.
Fighting with "hope and determination" for "something good" against "the old evil." It sounds downright American. Then there's The Anchoress's deep, dark and delicious take:
What I see in this picture is something more than a historic moment -- I don’t even know if that’s what we should call it -- I see the sort of thing people do when they are neighbors, when they are working together for their neighborhood, for the good of all who live there, and that makes it seem less “historic” than calmly, wonderfully normal, ordinary, wholesome and sane. I see tolerance, which so many are so certain cannot exist in Iraq -- or anywhere in the Middle East.Tolerance in the best sense of the word -- converting no one, insisting on nothing beyond ordinary acceptance; tolerance that gives people room to live their lives.
Day by Day says it all in 3022 words (three pictures = 3000 words + 22 words of text).
One picture is worth a thousand blogposts?
*NOTE. "Michael Yon is making this photograph available to media outlets, such as print publications and cable and television news broadcasts, at no cost for a limited period of time . . . He is entirely reader supported . . . If you value his work, please consider supporting his mission."