Ross Mackenzie

The latest word from U.S. commanders in Iraq is that al-Qaida may have been just about rubbed out. If true, will I-was-wrong confessions soon follow from critics of the U.S. enterprise post-Saddam?

* * *

Regarding Blackwater: Why contract protection of individuals and facilities in Iraq to U.S. mercenaries instead of to U.S. special forces — the latter governed of course, as mercenaries are not, by the U.S. Code of Conduct? Has Blackwater been an improvised explosive device, albeit of a different sort, just waiting to go off?

* * *

In the West, where water is the most precious commodity, seven states draw from the Colorado River — the water made possible by major dams. Environmentalists have detested the dams since before John Nance Garner. As if to emphasize their continuing hostility at a time of diminished rain and snowmelt flowing out of the Rockies into the Colorado, five environmental groups have sued the Interior Department to protect certain species of fish native to the Grand Canyon — including the humpback chub and the razorback sucker. The ultimate step on behalf of “native species” would be to decommission — i.e., blow up — the dams. Then environmentalists would have their chubs and suckers, but those in the West depending on the Colorado for water wouldn’t have a drop.

* * *

Quick takes: (1) The unionized percentage of the U.S. private-sector (non-government) workforce now stands at a paltry 7.4 percent (the unionized percentage for government workers is about 36 percent). (2) In August, Ted Kennedy cast his 15,000th Senate vote — an attainment of only two other Senators, Robert Byrd and the late Strom Thurmond. Oh, and (3) from 1999 through 2006, the number of spas in the U.S. rose 232 percent — from 4,143 to 13,757.


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.

Be the first to read Ross Mackenzie's column. Sign up today and receive Townhall.com delivered each morning to your inbox.