Michelle Malkin is back from Iraq and has posted pictures and reports about what she and Bryan Preston saw and experienced there. The following is just one small excerpt of an information-packed post. Be sure to read it all.
Modern war in the Middle East is no longer as cut-and-dry as shooting all the bad guys and going home. We are fighting a “war of the fleas”–not just Sunni terrorists and Shiite death squads, but multiple home-grown and foreign operators, street gangs, organized crime, and freelance jihadis conducting ambushes, extrajudicial killings, sectarian attacks, vehicle bombings, and sabotage against American, coalition, and Iraqi forces. Cellphones, satellites, and the Internet have allowed the fleas to magnify their importance, disseminate insurgent propaganda instantly, and weaken political will.
I came to Iraq a darkening pessimist about the war, due in large part to my doubts about the compatability of Islam and Western-style democracy, but also as a result of the steady, sensational diet of “grim milestone” and “daily IED count” media coverage that aids the insurgency.
I left Iraq with unexpected hope and resolve.
The everyday bravery and consummate professionalism of the troops I embedded with has strengthened my faith in the U.S. military. These soldiers are well aware of the history, culture, and sectarian strife that has wracked the Muslim world for more than a millennium. “They love death,” one gunner muttered as we heard explosions in the distance while parked in al Adil. Nevertheless, these troops are willing to put their lives on the line to bring security to Iraq, one neighborhood at a time. Michelle also links to other bloggers who have written about their personal experiences in Iraq. She suggests some of the pundits doing so much commentary on Iraq should visit as well.
Although we were there for a brief period, Bryan and I learned much on the ground and outside the wire. There really is no substitute for being there. I highly recommend the experience to fellow bloggers and pundits of all stripes.
In fact, one of our hosts at Forward Operating Base Justice said they would be happy to welcome Keith Olbermann as an embed. And Chris Matthews (last heard smearing U.S. troops as participants in “ethnic cleansing”), too…How ’bout it, boys?