CNN's Walt Rodgers has made his triumphant return to Iraq. For now, Walt's greatest claim to fame remains his wartime reporting - offered as he sped through the sand with a phone-cam fixed squarely on a Bradley's tailpipe, keeping viewers worldwide awake only through his insistently staccato pronunciation of the word "Baghdad," which divided the city into two halves, Bag and Dad, something like historical Buda and Pest or contemporary Minneapolis and St. Paul. But he clearly has not wasted his few months away from the action, and is ready for bigger things. Indeed, he seems to be intent on leaving his press pass behind, and assuming simultaneous command both of the American military and of the nascent post-Saddam Iraqi judiciary. He was able on a Saturday Capital Gang segment, for instance, to explain in not too much detail that the current US counter-insurgency strategy is of a type that "never works." Today, he's passing judgment on the Iraqi Governing Council's decision to ban the TV station Al Arabiya, an action which Walt considers undemocratic. (He undoubtedly considers the decision to issue warnings to the BBC and, gasp!, CNN a crime against humanity, though he has yet to deliver his verdict publically.)
What's next for Walt? After US commanding General Abizaid has dutifully revised his strategy according to Walt's unstated precepts, and after the IGC's Jalal Talabani has reversed his terrible decisions, Walt may have a difficult choice to make. Should he satisfy himself producing the next tapes from Saddam Hussein advocating insurrection and murder, which CNN can share with its sister networks from the Arab world and beyond? Should he return to the United States and replace Donald Rumsfeld as Defense Secretary? Or should William Rehnquist finally retire, and let Walt hand down the opinion establishing once and for all that the right to shout "Fire!" in a crowded nightclub shall not be infringed? Or should Walt move next to Germany, where he can personally lift the ban on the works of Adolf Hitler; to Japan, where he can ensure that Aum Shin Rikyo gains full, unfettered access to all media; or to Latin America, where numerous groups that have previously resorted to hostage-taking in order to get their tracts published and recruitment videos aired would benefit greatly from Walt's intercession?
Such a big world, with so many people so desperately in need of Walt's wisdom - but maybe he should give Iraq another month or two, just to make sure everyone gets things exactly right. One wouldn't want the place to fall immediately back into darkness after his light has moved elswhere.