April 20, 2011


I was halfway through a post responding to Michael Doran's essay in Foreign Affairs when I read the news that Chris Hondros had passed away after being wounded in the same firefight that claimed the life of Tim Hetherington. I think one of the reasons it is acceptable to make snarky remarks about the "mainstream media" is because most people do not have the slightest effing clue what it takes to throw one's self into a dangerous place and report a story for folks like me reading their morning newspaper in the comfort of a warm apartment. I have a few friends still reporting from Misurata tonight, and my prayers are with them, but mostly I want to take a moment to thank the many journalists who have risked their lives this year from Algiers to Zabul to report the news that I consume on a daily basis. It has been a tremendous honor to get to know the men and women who cover the conflict in Afghanistan as well as the Arabic-speaking world since March of 2002 -- when my battalion commander walked into my tent in Afghanistan and said, "Lieutenant Exum, I would like to introduce you to someone. This is Tom Ricks from the Washington Post."

I am very grateful for the men and women who have sacrificed so much -- marriages, limbs, lives -- to report the news I consume everyday. It has been a privilege to share drinks and stories with you in Cairo and Beirut and Kabul over the years. My prayers, again, are with those in Libya tonight as well as with the Hetherington and Hondros families.

You all have my sincere thanks.