war in iraq


Newsweek : 'Hell Bent On War'

January 26, 2003

Newsweek coverNEW YORK, Jan. 26 /PRNewswire/ -- As President George W. Bush continues to threaten to go it alone against Iraq, administration officials tell Newsweek their strategy is to give one last chance, not to Baghdad, but to the United Nations. "We're on the cusp of a big decision," one senior administration official tells Senior Diplomatic Correspondent Richard Wolffe and Senior Editor Michael Hirsh in the February 3 Newsweek cover story, "Hell Bent On War," (on newsstands Monday, January 27).

Wolffe and Hirsh report that secretary of State Colin Powell's recent conversion from dove to hawk is the surest sign that what once looked like a game of brinkmanship with Iraq is becoming a deadly serious preparation for war. One senior State Department official explains Powell's change of heart as a gradual awakening: "People ask why Powell is becoming increasingly hard-line. It's because every day, when we wake up in the morning, the facts are clear that Iraq has gone back to its old ways and is refusing to disarm, and trying to prevent the inspectors from disarming them. It's a big decision, especially for a former general who knows what this is all about."

At the U.N. last week, Powell stunned his fellow foreign ministers by comparing imminent war in Iraq to the U.S. invasion of Panama in 1989, Newsweek reports. Powell dismissed French and German criticism by saying that everyone complained, too, when Washington removed dictator Manuel Noriega. But the outcome went well, and the country was returned, democratized, to its people. "Success begets success," Powell said, according to officials who heard his impromptu remarks.

And there are more signs that the Bush White House is thinking of war: President Bush's father was wandering through the offices of his son's advisers, while former secretary of State Henry Kissinger sat patiently in the West Wing lobby late last week. The 41st president (in town for a gala dinner) seemed to be enjoying himself, as he tried to "pop in on friends" including national-security adviser Condoleezza Rice and chief of staff Andy Card. "I'm just here to give a little adult leadership," he quipped.

Although the U.S. is looking to move ahead, with the exception of a few U.S. allies -- Britain, Spain and Bulgaria -- most U.N. Security Council members are pushing for inspections to go on for months longer. Several ambassadors tell Newsweek that these nations have their own quiet agenda: to stop war at any cost by endlessly playing out the inspections. "The bottom line is that people just don't believe in this war," says one Security Council member. "And the U.S. can't attack while the inspectors are there."

British officials tell Newsweek that Blair will plead for more time for the U.N. inspectors this week. Yet while the Brits need to find a smoking gun fast, the Bushies seem happy without one. "In some sense the smoking gun is already there," says one senior administration official. "It's seven years of inspections that produced in 1998 an inventory of weapons of mass destruction. There are smoking guns all over the place."

Newsweek also examines managing fear on the frontlines. As the U.S. military girds for war, shipping tons of arms and ammunition, thousands of tanks and planes and artillery pieces to jumping-off points around Iraq, commanders must prepare themselves and their men for the hardest part of war: overcoming fear. Assistant Managing Editor Evan Thomas reports on the war of nerves and how the troops preparing for conflict with Iraq are coping with it. From casualties to a possible refugee crisis, new reports suggest a war's health consequences could be devastating. Senior Editor Geoffrey Cowley examines the likely human toll, not just on U.S. troops but on the 26 million people who happen to live in Iraq.

Miami Bureau Chief Arian Campo-Flores reports that U.S. military buildup overseas has given a boost to the worldwide protest movement. But to the frustration of protest organizers, the antiwar movement has yet to grow into a potent political force, mainly because there's no war to protest, at least not yet, and also because the antiwar protesters are often forced to share the stage with a hodge-podge of other activists. But the biggest problem: it doesn't matter how big your megaphone is if nobody in power is listening.

Newsweek includes several essays and columns on going to war with Iraq. Senior Editor and Columnist Jonathan Alter writes in a column, "'Trust Me' Isn't Good Enough," that the main reason Bush is depleting his trust fund is that he is himself distrustful. "But even if you agree, as I do, that [Saddam] will eventually have to be removed by force, bold assertions of a direct threat to world peace aren't the same as real evidence of that threat ... The gun doesn't have to be smoking. But there does have to be proof that a gun exists. And we have to know -- not trust -- that it is pointed at us," writes Alter.

Paris Bureau Chief and Middle East Regional Editor Christopher Dickey writes that no one doubts that America will win a war with Iraq, but many wonder if it will win the peace. "The question is not whether people in the region want more democracy, greater freedoms, a stake in a stable future without the constant threat of war. They're desperate for all that. But there's no confidence that this American administration, or any other, has a genuine long-term commitment to helping them achieve those goals," writes Dickey.

Newsweek International Editor Fareed Zakaria writes about the possible benefits of going to war with Iraq in his column, "Looking on the Bright Side." The benefits include the elimination of a major producer of weapons of mass destruction, liberty and economic well-being for the Iraqi people, political and economic reform in the Arab world, a severe blow to the causes of radical, violent anti-Westernism and a break down of the oil cartel.

Newsweek also includes an essay "'Being Shot at is No Fun'," by General Wayne Downing, a former assistant to the president for counterterrorism and a Newsweek contributor. Downing writes about bombs, screaming men and the terror of uncertainty.

Source: Newsweek


war in iraq