Far from today's vote in Congress and far from the counter-event at the White House, dismounted foot patrols continue their work at this hour, in and around Baghdad. They are being carried out by members of the military who have been trained to carry out the mission -- and who force themselves to keep their heads in the game even if there's talk back home about a change in that mission. It's what they have to do. Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa., said today, "we're going to bring those troops home." The president later said, while not in so many words: no you're not. The fight goes on. On two fronts. We'll cover both tonight.
In a package of coverage we are calling "The Day After," we'll look at the reaction to the Elizabeth Edwards announcement, and the personal and political impact.
We have two high-interest features tonight: one involving Tom Brokaw and the other Making a Difference -- our popular Friday night series.
It's always interesting -- sometimes terrifying -- when news stories follow you home from a job in the news business. Like this week, when we realized we might have been feeding our beloved 13-year-old dog Lucy some of the tainted food going around. We were briefly worried, and watched her sleeping and drinking habits closely. I'm happy to report she's fine, but it's the same fear being felt in households across the country. We'll take another look at this story tonight, as investigators zero in on a cause and lessons are perhaps learned about prevention and checking.
For sentimental reasons, I want to show the de-commissioning of Big John tonight. The aircraft carrier John F. Kennedy has seen a lot of history (first dedicated by Caroline Kennedy), and thousands of sea-miles and deck launches and landings later, the great, hulking piece of "floating diplomacy" is coming home for good. I think we owe it to its namesake and to all those who have served on board, along with their families -- to take a moment tonight to mark a passage in U.S. naval history.
It's also interesting to work in the same building as Conan O'Brien, because on days like today I get the chance to make a good-faith attempt at ruining my career... by appearing, as I agreed to, in a sketch with him for his show tonight.
One more reminder on two links of importance: the military blog by Michael Yon, the Special Forces veteran who is writing such amazing material as a unilateral embed with U.S. forces in Iraq, and the extraordinary article from ARMY magazine that explains so much about the Iraq war and psyche -- it's the fine work of a veteran of that war and arena -- and I've been happy to see so many readers agree that this should be REQUIRED READING on the part of all who shape policy there.
In the meantime, back to the day job: with a detour to a farewell gathering for our outgoing political director Elizabeth Wilner, I'm off to the newsroom to write. We hope you will join us for the Friday edition of Nightly News. Have a good weekend, and we'll look for you right back here on Monday night -- or whatever that guy says on the TV.