Ross Mackenzie

The nuclear option, Social Security, John Bolton; Paris Hilton selling hamburgers or something; "Deep Throat" starring - masquerading? - as Mark W. Felt. Those topics are consuming the news columns. But what about . . . Iraq?

Let's review.

- The pace of killing goes on - and not only for Americans trying to secure the place. During the past 18 months, comrade Zarqawi and other al-Qaida sympathizers have been dispatching Iraqi civilians at the rate of 20 per day.

- Zarqawi himself may have been wounded in the lung - one of the more hopeful indicators of a general pacification coming on.

- American forces continue to train up Iraqi troops - with mixed results.

- At the governmental level, dignitaries still struggle toward drafting a constitution. Here's to the resulting document binding the Iraqi people more successfully than the constitution of the European Union - consisting of several hundred pages containing 435 annexed protocols - has bound Europeans.

- In the U.S. Congress, two things: (1) The estimable deliberative body has wandered at last toward making the connection between non-enforcement of immigration law and the terror threat: A bill requiring the states to verify whether applicants for driver's licenses are legal immigrants awaits presidential signature; (2) In the House, a measure has failed that would have barred women from Army forward support companies that embed with ground combat units. Hey, hey, ho, ho: We want women in combat roles!

Oh, yes.

- Photos appear worldwide showing Saddam in his Jockey shorts.

- There's the residual roar about American treatment of prisoners - at Abu Ghraib, at Guantanamo, at isolated points in Afghanistan and Iraq. Who will ever forget the consequences of the item written by Newsweek's Michael Isikoff? And Brig. Gen. Janis Karpinski, the only Army general officer recommended for busting in re Abu Ghraib, says it's all a Pentagon setup to make her the fall gal.

- Selected media leaks over several years suggest the International Committee of the Red Cross (emphatically not the same as the American Red Cross), presumably neutral and pledged to confidentiality, has grown ideologized against the United States. With privileged status to inspect conditions for detainees held in the terror war, the ICRC seems to be grinding more anti-American axes than on the night before the Battle of Agincourt.

- President Bush visits Georgia - a former Soviet "republic" featuring deadly Islamist feuds. While in Tbilisi he narrowly escapes an assassination attempt when someone in a sea of people lobs a grenade that fails to go off. Anger at the president venturing to Georgia overwhelms any sense of relief that he wasn't killed.

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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