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Michelle Malkin has announced she's heading for Iraq. I've known of this for a little while and have had mixed feelings. On the one hand, she's an old friend dating back about 13 years. She can seem hard-edged in her blogs and columns, but some of her worst enemies would take a liking to her if they knew her in person. Put another way, I don't want to see her butt zapped. Conversely, I have repeatedly exhorted that nobody can understand Iraq or the war who hasn't been there. The vast majority of self-styled Iraqi experts at the think tanks and in the media have not in fact been there. Some have called them chicken hawks and "Chairborne Rangers;" I will simply say they are ignorant. Michelle has blogged constantly on Iraq, but mentally I gave her a pass because she's not exactly natural embed material. She has no military background, she has two small children at home, and she's so small both in height and frame that she may constitute the lightest embed ever to go over. When I gave her my body armor and helmet on Christmas Day I honestly thought she might tip over. I wear an X-Large while she's a Super-Tiny. Hopefully once she arrives at her duty station she can swap it for something smaller and more protective (I have no side ceramic plates).
As to that duty station, those with Malkin Derangement Syndrome (her hate mail makes mine look positively quaint) are already blogging that this will be just another celebrity tour. They couldn't be more wrong. The Celebrity Tour, as exemplified recently by Sean Hannity, Bill O'Reilly, and others who aren't of Irish extraction comprises flying into Baghdad International and bedding down in comfy-cozy celebrity quarters in one of the three huge bases right next to the airport. These bases receive virtually no shelling and are literally safer than most American cities. Once there they schmooze with troops, the overwhelming majority of which have never seen combat. The result is that these people get all the celebrities; the guys doing the fighting and dying in the real Iraq just get grunt reporters like Mike Fumento.
Michelle is not taking that route. OPSEC forbids revealing her destination, but suffice to say it's a camp that's actually smaller than my Forward Operating Base of Camp Corregidor in Ramadi. That makes it likely to be shelled. It has perhaps no more than half a dozen women and she'll probably sleep in a crackerbox -- hopefully sans rats. It's not like the Anbar, but outside the wire IEDs await, and quite possibly snipers. Ambushes are possible. Yes, Michelle will be a celebrity and I've urged her to bring as many photos as she can to sign for the troops; the men will never forget her visit. But she's going as a true embedded reporter. She's got a lot of guts in that tiny frame of hers. We should all wish her Godspeed.