Ross Mackenzie

Having forced votes — and amassing an 0-40 record — on measures limiting deployments or demanding a pullout of U.S. troops, the congressional Democrats now are refusing to vote until oh, maybe next year on President Bush’s $196 billion request for military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. The Democrats are behaving this outrageously even when a Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll finds Iraq (46 percent) and terrorism (23 percent) two of the top issues voters think the federal government should address.

Notes the president, correctly: “Unfortunately, on too many issues, some in Congress are behaving as if America is not at war. . . . This is no time for Congress to hold back vital funding for our troops as they fight al-Qaida terrorists and radicals in Afghanistan and Iraq.” And this at precisely the moment news from Iraq has turned relatively good.

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Foreign Service officers swear an oath to go where the secretary of state sends them. Now hundreds of them (at least) are objecting to assignments to the U.S. embassy in Baghdad. Evidently they are (1) spoiled elitists unaccustomed to dirtying their hands in difficult posts, (2) unconvinced by the news of improving prospects for freedom and stability in Iraq, and/or (3) disrespectful of American troops and their achievements there

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Shortages of nurses and of physicians in certain medical subspecialties are well known. Less so is the developing shortage of general surgeons. Dr. James Neifeld, chairman of the department of surgery at Rchmond’s Medical College of Virginia, gets specific in a guest editorial in Surgery News: “The early retirement of many general surgeons (for reasons such as burnout, disgust with bureaucratic paperwork, and declining reimbursement), in conjunction with the increase in population, has resulted in an almost 50 percent decrease in the number of general surgeons per 1 million people” since 1975.

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Anyone suggesting that Rudy Giuliani is a “liberal on social issues” or whatever, should cogitate his November speech to the Federalist Society. Laying out for the assembled lawyers a markedly conservative legal agenda, he cited Supreme Court justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, and John Roberts as models for the judges he would send up for the federal courts.

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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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