In addition to having taken a break recently in order to work on his book, it is no secret that he has been grappling with PTSD, brought on from the hellish years he worked in Baghdad. I was told that, unfortunately, when he needed more time off in order to deal with things, his request was denied. So he will not be returning.
While it is a huge loss for us (and for CNN) I am extremely relieved that he chose to take care of his own needs first. And while I sincerely hope that he will return to US television someday on another network, it is far more important that he gets the care he needs.
His work for CNN over the past four years has been an astonishing and brutally honest look at the causes and results of war. Not easy subject matter to watch… but he made us care. His urgency and passion burst through our television sets and made us pay attention, made us want to understand.[..]
And exactly how does a news organization justify (to themselves, even!) not giving their war correspondents whatever they need in order to deal with their wounds, whether they are visible ones or not? If ABC had treated Bob Woodruff so callously, there would have been hell to pay. I don’t doubt they wanted him back in the field ASAP — doubly so after losing Christiane Amanpour — but don’t force him to make a choice between getting better and getting paid. That just sucks. Surely it would be better to have him off the air but still yours once he is ready to come back than to have him off the air and someone else’s upon his return? So not only has CNN made a callous move here, they have made a stupid one, as well.
What a tremendous asset he has been to CNN. And how foolish they are to lose him.
Michael War was a breath of fresh air with his reporting in the Gulf. Look at how he blew past the empty rhetoric of Bush and generals,Petraeus, Condi Rice, Lieberman and McCain with brutal and unflinching honesty about the conditions there. I can only imagine the nightmares he still endures. And CNN's response to his pain (which Men's Journal covered in Dec. 2008 in a powerful interview with Ware) was to tell him he wasn't allowed any more time to come to terms with the death and destruction he saw daily for years for their benefit. Instead, they hire one of the great armchair soldiers, Erick Erickson.