Who’s winning in Iraq?

That’s the key question, isn’t it? Ted Kennedy calls it a quagmire. Colin Powell and John Abizaid caution that the bad guys want to disrupt the January elections. Arthur Chrenkoff provides a regular compendium of “good news” for Iraq. You can find the latest installment in the Wall Street Journal (registration required).

Proper tribute

But there’s another important point: People on both sides of the fence when it comes to the war say they support our troops. Yet, the pro-troop rhetoric invariably seems both sterile and stale – as if the men and women doing the fighting are idealized creatures, rather than flesh-and-blood kids who fight and risk death. Nothing sucks the blood out of someone more quickly than ritualistic worship, and we need to find ways of humanizing our fighters again. Earnie Grafton of the San Diego Union-Tribune has avoided this trend with a wonderful homage to Nachez Washalanta II, a Marine Pfc. killed in Iraq.

Meanwhile, the National Football League is threatening to hand $5,000 fines to players who persist in wearing decals bearing the number 40 – the one worn by Pat Tillman, who gave up a career in football to serve in the Army Rangers, and who died serving his country in Afghanistan. The NFL set aside the second week of the season as a time to pay tribute to Tillman, but now says it wants to cease and desist in order not to sully the sensibilities of anti-war players.

ODDS & ENDS:

The “T” Factor

Feminist writer Naomi Wolf claims Teresa Heinz Kerry is emasculating the would-be commander in chief, her husband. “Let's start with Heinz. There is no genteel way to put it - she is publicly, subliminally cuckolding Kerry with the power of another man - a dead Republican man at that.” “Listen to what the Republicans are hitting Kerry with: Indecisive. Effete. French. They are all but calling this tall, accomplished war hero gay,” she writes in New York magazine.

The Reason Behind the Madness

The French have done everything they can to undermine the public war on terrorism (they have cooperated nicely in the behind-the-scenes business of breaking terror cells in France and throughout Europe.) This doesn’t mean the French can dodge the long dagger of terror. The incomparable Paul Greenberg makes the point in one of his typically withering yet lyrical columns.

Klingons for Kerry

FIERCE WARRIOR RACE STRONGLY BACKS DEMOCRAT. Even as John Kerry struggles to establish national-security credentials nationally, an exclusive WW straw poll shows his campaign dominating one warlike demographic: Klingons.

Share your thoughts with Tony.  E-mail him at  tonysnow@foxnews.com.