Ep 176: Michael Ware

Michael Ware is a legendary international war correspondent originally from Brisbane, Australia.

Through his career, Michael’s style has always been a first-person, front row seat to some of the most confronting and dangerous situations on this planet. From modern-day witch-hunting in Papua New Guinea, to profiles of deadly Mexican drug cartels, to going in to Afghanistan only weeks after 9/11 and being one of the few Western journalists to live full-time in Iraq during the war.

He was the Bureau Chief for Time Magazine in Baghdad before switching over to television for CNN, also in Baghdad.

Needless to say, Michael has seen the worst the world can dish up.

And during this conversation, he openly gives first-hand accounts of some of the things he’s witnessed during war.

This week you may have seen cruise missiles being launched from a US destroyer hundreds of kilometers from their targets in Syria. This is not the kind of war Michael has seen.

He talks about the fog, the horror, the gore and the death he has seen.

Not to sensationalize it - but to describe it, so that you and I may know what it is we’re asking for when our leaders decide to send troops into a country in our name.

So here’s a warning right up top. This discussion goes to some dark places. I’ll say right now, if you have any difficulty hearing what Michael talks about, please do call lifeline in Australia on 13 11 14 - or whatever 24hr counseling line is in your part of the world.

It’s a tough story to hear but it’s an important story to hear because if you’re listening to this, you won the genetic lottery. Whatever stars and planets aligned I don’t know - but you’re listening to this on an internet connected device somewhere in the world that is safe. And that is not how the majority of the world live.

Michael’s struggles with his demons are well documented, and when I first met him on a rooftop in NYC back in 2012 - he was very open about his PTSD. It was pretty obvious from his body language that I don’t press him on what caused it, but I’m grateful that five years later he and I were finally able to talk.

We met in a wonderful old hotel in Sydney, right in the middle of the city.

He was in town to talk about his new documentary series Uncensored, where he embeds himself into some of the most risky groups of people on the planet. From militant pro-Russian biker gangs, to the hill tribes on PNG, to the much-hated paparazzi of L.A., Michael brings a first-hand account of what he sees.

The show is in Australia on National Geographic and it’s bloody incredible.

Do what you need to see it.

We do talk about the first episode with the Russian Bikers, but don’t worry we won’t spoil it for you.

This is a heavy chat, but it’s important for you to hear.

I had a coffee beforehand, but you - like Michael, may need a drink as we go.

So hold on - because this is me and one of Australia’s finest, Michael Ware.

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