Michelle Malkin writes:

Modern war in the Middle East is no longer as cut-and-dried 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. Cell phones, 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 compatibility 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.

It's good to see a voice on the far right actually acknowledging that this war cannot be won by sheer force alone. Malkin's admiration for the troops is clear and shared by all of us. She does not engage in shilling or posturing in this column. She's actually concerned that we succeed. But when you read her piece, and weigh the evidence of potential success and the evidence of grotesque failure that she provides, you may not come away with as much hope and resolve as she did. I sure didn't.