Ross Mackenzie

The war to liberate Iraq is entering its third week. President Bush said last week, regarding the Iraqi regime's tenacious hold on power, "This man Saddam Hussein has tortured and brutalized his people for a long, long time. We had reports the other day of a dissident who had his tongue cut out and was tied to a stake in the town square, and he just bled to death. That's how Saddam Hussein retains power."

Yet other things have been happening, some impinging on the war and some not....

  • This is called Operation Iraqi Freedom. Good name. Former CIA Director James Woolsey has suggested one equally good - with a French twist. How much fun it would have been to name this after a Frenchman dedicated to liberation, indeed the leader of the decisive charge at Yorktown - Operation Lafayette.
  • The Senate Judiciary Committee has approved 10-9 the re-nomination of Priscilla Owen for the federal appellate bench. The Democrats defeated her original nomination last year. Now her committee-approved re-nomination goes to the Senate floor where it will await resolution of the Democrats' unconscionable refusal to allow a floor vote on Miguel Estrada.
  • Boss Yasser finally has agreed to the naming of a Palestinian prime minister - his very own PLO deputy, Mahmoud Abbas. The word on Abbas? He's a Holocaust denier who wrote a 1984 book entitled "The Other Side: The Secret Relationship Between Nazism and Zionism."
  • John Snow, former chairman of CSX and now treasury secretary, received from CSX a retirement package worth an obscene $69 million in cash, stock, deferred compensation and pension money. Thereby, the new secretary has given the vernacular a new definition of "snow-job."
  • The low Natalie Maines says she and her fellow Dixie Chicks are "ashamed the President of the United States is from Texas." The lofty Frank Griswold, presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church, says, "I'd like to be able to go somewhere in the world and not have to apologize for being from the United States." Maybe the lofty and the low deserve each other.
  • Oh, and in case you were missing Walter Cronkite, he turned up at Drew University recently to give a speech. On precisely the night President Bush told Saddam to get out or face war, Cronkite ripped the Bush administration for "arrogance" and likened the president to a chimpanzee.
  • Monica Lewinsky is back, too - she whose dalliances with Bush's predecessor may have diverted Clintonian attention from Saddam's development of nuclear and biochemical weapons. La Lewinsky, who has said elsewhere she "would do anything to have my anonymity back," will host Fox's next reality series, "Mr. Personality," wherein single females will choose favorites from groups of eligible males with hoods (or bags?) over their heads. As a Washington Post TV writer notes, that's appropriate "because, as Ms. Lewinsky can attest, personality is mostly from the waist down."
  • Speaking of juveniles (Post again), "Thousands of Washington area students walked out of (dozens of) high schools yesterday to protest the war, rain soaking their 'What Would Gandhi Do?' T-shirts but not drowning out their chants ('Hey hey, ho ho, we won't kill for Texaco')." That parents and administrators would so fear their young that they would allow such walkouts by adolescents raises anew the question, "Are the lunatics running the asylum?"
  • At the next educational plateau, Yale University has accepted a million-dollar directed grant to put the school in the forefront of "queer theory" and homosexual studies - a program coordinated by a teacher who has triumphantly declared Abraham Lincoln "unequivocally gay." This is the same Yale that some years ago turned down at least $20 million to promote the study of Western Civilization.
  • Question: Will the senators who just voted against energy independence by killing (52-48) oil exploration in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, likewise undermine energy independence by killing a plan to bring natural gas via massive pipeline from Alaska's North Slope fields, across Canada, to the Lower 48?
  • The trend of news stories suggests that the worst possible outcome from the destruction of the shuttle Columbia may in fact come to pass: the United States pulling the plug on manned space flight. This would happen when other countries, notably China, are proceeding aggressively with programs to put men on the moon and send them beyond the beyond to the planets.
  • Jay Leno got it right on his "Tonight Show" last month: "According to The New York Times, a group of liberal venture capitalists are in the process of developing their own liberal radio network to counter conservative shows like Rush Limbaugh. They feel the liberal viewpoint is not being heard - except on TV, in the movies, in music, by comedians, magazines and newspapers - other than that, it's not getting out."
  • Last summer, former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher said this about Islamic terror: "Perhaps the best parallel is with early Communism. Islamic extremism today, like Bolshevism in the past, is an armed doctrine. It is an aggressive ideology promoted by fanatical, well-armed devotees. And, like Communism, it requires an all-embracing long-term strategy to defeat it."

  • Ross Mackenzie

    Ross Mackenzie lives with his wife and Labrador retriever in the woods west of Richmond, Virginia. They have two grown sons, both Naval officers.

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