Ross Mackenzie

Tiptoeing through the garden of items recently in the news....

Really, what is the Niger yellowcake issue all about? Sixteen words - these words in President Bush's State of the Union: "The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa." These are lies? On the contrary, they may be true. These are words to bring down a President and turn his Iraqi operation on its head? No, indeed. Rather, the assault on the President is based on the purest ideology. Bush's desperate opponents, who deplored the enterprise to remove Saddam Hussein, have nothing else to nail him with but the thin reed of those 16 words.

Here's justification alone for Bush's Operation Iraqi Freedom, a July 21 page-one Washington Post article datelined Baghdad, wherein reporter Peter Finn records the visit as Jumana Hanna returns to the site of her torture and eternal anguish - the city's sprawling police academy: "This is the place where in the 1990s Hanna was hung suspended from a rod and beaten with a special stick when she called out for Jesus or the Virgin Mary. This is where she and other female prisoners were dragged outside and tied to a dead tree trunk, nicknamed "Walid" by the guards, and raped in the shadow of palm trees. This is the place where electric shock was applied to Ms. Hanna's vagina. And this is where in February, 2001, someone put a bullet in her husband's head and handed his corpse through the steel gate like a piece of butcher's meat."

The most important thing to happen in Iraq recently - perhaps more important than even the deaths of Uday and Qusay Hussein? The creation of the 25-member Governing Council. It is taking over from U.S. authorities and occupying forces a vast array of governmental functions. And maybe, if Saddam is captured alive, it will determine the particular nature of his fate.

Least admirable in the Iraqi operation continue to be the useless UN and traditional American "allies." Key continental Europeans (France, Germany, Belgium) and others such as India and "moderate" Arab regimes are persisting in their reluctance to supply forces to stabilize and rebuild Iraq. Instead, they are leaving the task largely to 150,000 U.S. forces (costing $4 billion per month), plus the Brits and Spain and Australia and several Latin American countries - and small contingents from these former Soviet bloc countries that well understand the meaning of liberty: Poland, Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania and Ukraine.

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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