Katie Couric by Andrew Eccles/CBS Katie Couric by Andrew Eccles/CBS

War, what is it good for? Amping up one's profile among the evening-news-anchor elite, that's what. CBS has announced that Katie Couric will mark her first anniversary as Evening News frontwoman with a 12-day trip to Iraq and Syria, beginning Sept. 4. The answer to "OK, but why now?" is the status report being prepared by General David Petraeus that President Bush will use to determine the next steps in Operation Iraqi Freedom (if that is still the campaign's tagline).

With Couric on the road, Early Show's Harry Smith will claim the Evening News helm.