By Brian Williams, Anchor and managing editor
A longtime member of my computer "favorites" list was discovered by the New York Times this morning. While their Business section profile will tell you much of what you need to know about the blogger Michael Yon, I constantly visit his website looking for updates.
I first met Michael in Iraq -- I was travelling with my late friend and good luck charm, retired four-star Army General Wayne Downing. Yon was attached to the group we were with for the night -- and when General Downing discovered who he was, it was as if he'd met a rock star. Wayne thought Michael's website was one of the few where he could find the truth about the status of the war.
Yon is a former SF (Special Forces) guy, who knows his way around -- around Iraq, around a military base, and now, the world of journalism. If you read only one dispatch by Michael Yon, read Gates of Fire. It is as real a depiction as I've read of the height of the fighting there. It's gripping journalism, and it chiefly serves as a character study of the incredible young men and women serving their country in this nation's dual wars.
Michael's style isn't for everyone, nor is his viewpoint. His journalism speaks with an unusual voice -- but it's one I find familiar after my time in Iraq, and the time I've spent around the military. His is the voice of the soldier, often unfazed by what he sees, mission-focused and battle-hardened. These guys don't scare easily, and they never let up, and Michael tells the story from their point of view.
After we lost Wayne Downing this past year, I donated money in Wayne's name so that Michael could continue his work. We need his voice amid all the other noise about the war in Iraq, and I'm happy to know that more readers will now come his way by dint of this morning's story in the Times.
On another front: I spent much of the latter half of last night in shock, along with my son, that our beloved Giants are actually going to the Super Bowl. It's Yankees/Red Sox all over again: the two great cities of New York and Boston, pitted against each other once again. While we all admire the leadership of the great Favre, our boys didn't give up in the cold -- the Eli Manning era, as many papers speculated today, just might be under way.
Now to the news: the cold, the economy, politics and more. (And speaking of the economy: if you're not up on just how serious things have become on that front, be sure to read my colleague Chris Colvin's blogs on the subject.) Richard Engel is back on post in Bagdhad, and as proof of that, he tonight offers a rare interview with the commanding U.S. General -- who these days is the subject of rumors that he's going to either head NATO or run for office of some sort back home in the States. We will take a moment to remember Dr. King (the spirit of this day will permeate much of our political reporting at the top of the broadcast) with his own words from what I think is his most chilling speech, on the last night of his life. As a photographer from that era put it earlier today on MSNBC, King was a General, fighting the last battles of the Civil War. We'll remember the General tonight. Thanks for being with us as always.