John Barry

Stories by John Barry

  • The Fog Of Battle

    It was, in sheer scale, "the greatest cavalry charge in American history," wrote one military historian. The four-day, 250-mile sprint of the 24th Mechanized Division around the western flank of Saddam Hussein's Army in the 1991 gulf war was a dashing feat of arms, a show of American can-do spirit and ability. But as the U.S. military prepares to finish the job, possibly by driving all the way to Baghdad, it is worth considering the heavy lifting required to move a division of tanks and armored-personnel carriers that far, that fast. The 24th Mech had 1,600 armored vehicles, 3,500 wheeled vehicles and 90 helicopters. To keep the division's 18,000 soldiers rolling along required 395,000 gallons of fuel, 213,000 gallons of water and 2,400 tons of ammunition--each day. Before shoving off, the 24th Mech stockpiled 2.3 million gallons of fuel and 3 million tons of other supplies. Multiply those totals by four or five, and you have some idea of the bare minimum of logistics required by...
  • War Crimes: Digging Up The Truth

    The United Nations will send a forensics team to a mass grave at Dasht-e Leili in north Afghanistan where hundreds of captured Taliban were buried last December after suffocating in airless container trucks en route to prison (NEWSWEEK, Aug. 26). After initially shunning an investigation, Lakhdar Brahimi, the top U.N. representative in Kabul, said Hamid Karzai's provisional administration and the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission agreed to proceed. "I think it is fairly certain that a large number of people died in suspicious circumstances," Brahimi told the Security Council last week. The two leading warlords in the region, Abdul Rashid Dostum, and Atta Mohammed, denounced NEWSWEEK's report as "sensationalistic, inaccurate and false," but acknowledged that "approximately 200" prisoners died, mostly of "wounds suffered in the fighting, disease, suffocation, suicide and a general weakness." But they offered to cooperate with "objective and impartial investigators" if they...
  • What We Face: The Bottom Line

    It is the question of the moment: should the United States invade Iraq and oust Saddam Hussein? President George W. Bush urgently argues Saddam is a madman in possession of a massive stockpile of chemical and biological weapons--an arsenal he could turn loose on us or our allies, or use to arm our enemies. Vice President Dick Cheney claims the Iraqi dictator will have a nuclear bomb "very soon." Others--including a growing chorus of Republicans--urge caution, warning a hasty strike will distract U.S. forces from the still-unfinished war on terrorism and shatter our fragile coalition with Arab allies. Just how immediate a threat does Saddam pose--and what are the benefits and drawbacks of a military operation to overthrow him? A NEWSWEEK Briefing Book:How Dangerous Is Saddam Right Now?The answer would be "not very" if the Iraqi dictator didn't command scientific teams with 20 years' know-how in covert chemical- and biological-weapons programs. These teams are almost certainly...
  • The Death Convoy Of Afghanistan

    Witness Reports And The Probing Of A Mass Grave Point To War Crimes. Does The United States Have Any Responsibility For The Atrocities Of Its Allies? A Newsweek Investigation.
  • Beyond Baghdad: Expanding Target List

    While still wrangling over how to overthrow Iraq's Saddam Hussein, the Bush administration is already looking for other targets. President Bush has called for the ouster of Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat. Now some in the administration--and allies at D.C. think tanks--are eyeing Iran and even Saudi Arabia. As one senior British official put it: "Everyone wants to go to Baghdad. Real men want to go to Tehran."In a statement broadcast into Iran in mid-July, Bush promised unspecified U.S. "support" to "Iran's people" as they "move toward a future defined by greater freedom." And early this month, a top Bush aide said the current regime--both the elected government of reformist Mohammed Khatami and the unelected mullahs who dominate public life--was ineffectual. Speaking to an audience at the Washington Institute for Near East Affairs, National Security Council aide Zalmay Khalilzad did not call outright for a regime change in Iran, but didn't argue when a questioner asserted that this...
  • Rumors Of War

    The "Future Of Iraq Project" is holding its second two-day working session this week at the State Department. Participants will enthusiastically sketch out their plans for running Iraq after Saddam Hussein is gone. At the first session, in July, a group of 10 Iraqi exiles and a few Western observers debated issues of "transitional justice": reforming the courts, ending police abuses and looking at amnesty for some rights violators. This week's theme is "public finance," things like eradicating corruption, restoring Iraq's international credit rating and finding and taking back the billions allegedly stolen by Saddam and his sons. Everyone involved agrees the talks are a splendid idea. "We should have done this years ago," says a European diplomat.There's just one problem. Saddam isn't cooperating. Despite the Bush administration's repeated vows to remove the Iraqi dictator, and despite the "battle plans" slathered across the pages of The New York Times in recent weeks, no one in...
  • Afghanistan: New Proposals For How The U.S. Can H

    Alarmed at the deteriorating security situation in Afghanistan and the slow pace of international aid, top Bush administration officials are reviewing U.S. policy. "We have talked about needing an 'exit strategy,' but the real challenge is to have a 'success strategy'," said one policymaker. Among the proposals:Extend the mission of ISAF, the 4,650-strong international peacekeeping force in Kabul, at least through Afghan elections planned for 2004.Send a high-level civilian official to coordinate foreign aid. President Hamid Karzai's infant government can't, and big donor nations, especially in Europe, are concerned about corruption.Send a senior officer to coordinate the U.S. role in helping internal security and improve liaison on the ground; this would free the current commander, Lt. Gen. Dan McNeill, to hunt Al Qaeda.Speed the creation of an Afghan national Army. Regional warlords pay their militias more than the troops in the national Army get. Possible fixes: have ISAF do some...
  • Death In The Ranks At Fort Bragg

    When 32-year-old Jennifer Wright went missing in late June, her husband, William, told neighbors he knew what had happened: she'd run off with a friend. An Army Special Forces master sergeant stationed at Fort Bragg, N.C., he'd recently returned from a tour of duty in Afghanistan, and his marriage was showing signs of strain. William Wright claimed it wasn't the first time Jennifer had up and left, eventually to return. Jennifer Wright's family was skeptical. She was a doting mother, and they didn't believe she'd leave her three sons.They were right. On July 19 Wright reportedly confessed to strangling Jennifer weeks before. He took police to a wooded area, where he'd allegedly buried her.The murder was grisly, but in the tight-knit military community in and around Fort Bragg, it is becoming depressingly familiar. Jennifer Wright was just one of four Fort Bragg wives allegedly slain by their soldier husbands in the past six weeks. Inevitably, the murders raised uncomfortable...
  • Exclusive: Osama Bin Laden And The Mystery Of The Skull

    Does the United States have the skull of one of Osama bin Laden's lieutenants, or even bin Laden himself? If not, why the mystery about what we have found? In early May, Canadian troops came across a grave site at the Afghan village of Ali Khel near Tora Bora on the border with Pakistan. The cluster of graves was festooned with flags and banners, and lit at night. Villagers said the graves held the remains of Qaeda fighters killed in December in the battle for Tora Bora. Bin Laden and his top aides were in the area when the 17-day U.S. air assault began but he hasn't been provably seen since. Could he be buried at Ali Khel?A U.S. Army forensic team, hastily airlifted to the site, unearthed 23 bodies, from which it took "samples" before reburying them. Mystery No. 1: what samples? The story at the time (repeated last week by a spokesman at the U.S. military HQ in Afghanistan) was that these were tissue samples, bound for the U.S. Armed Forces Institute of Pathology, where DNA would...
  • Choose Your Weapons

    George W. Bush never served in Congress, and he doesn't feel especially at home around rank-and-file members. When he wants to charm or scold Capitol Hill, he tends to call on House and Senate leaders and let them spread the word. But when House Republicans started complaining in January that the president was skimping on the Defense budget, Bush quietly summoned members of the Armed Services Committee to the White House to clear the air.Sitting around the Cabinet Room table, Bush and Dick Cheney promised to make good on their campaign pledge to modernize the military with a new generation of advanced weapons--and said Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld would lead the way if Congress would only quit its carping. "You have to give Rumsfeld more freedom," Cheney told them. "Dick's right," Bush cut in. "Let him do his job." According to a White House official who was in the room, Bush told the lawmakers that Rumsfeld had his blessing to kill off aging or unneeded weapons programs to...
  • Charm Won't Do It

    As he waited in his breezeway to greet Crown Prince Abdullah, George W. Bush should have been relaxed, or at least able to fake it. He was in his favorite spot: his ranch in Crawford, Texas. He already had made friends and done business with two world leaders there, Tony Blair and Vladimir Putin. The administration brain trust was with him now, at the ready. But as the minutes ticked past, the president fidgeted like a pitcher with the bases loaded. Abdullah was late. The TV crews had nearly trampled the ranch house's new lawn of native grasses. But what may have distracted him most was what his own father had told him to expect from Prince Abdullah: an earful. The de facto ruler of Saudi Arabia was coming to speak bluntly to the son of his best American friend, former president George H.W. Bush.Two royal families--the House of Saud and the House of Bush--did the do-si-do in Texas last week, warily circling each other in a search for Middle East peace. But the central figure in the...
  • Rumsfeld's Big Worries

    The military brass have warned that their forces are stretched thin, and worry about a long stay in Afghanistan, or a Mideast peacekeeping mission. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld insisted last month that talk of U.S. forces' being "overextended and exhausted" was "a fundamental misunderstanding." But in a memo to the service secretaries two weeks earlier, on March 13, Rumsfeld said: "The entire force is facing the adverse results of the high-paced optempo and perstempo" (the number of operations and the strain on troops). In the memo, obtained by NEWSWEEK, Rumsfeld warned: "We are past the point where the Department can, without an unbelievably compelling reason, make any additional commitments." He adds: "It is time [to] begin to aggressively reduce our current commitments." Meanwhile, the Bush budget office won't pay for deployments already made. Since 9-11 the Pentagon has called up 83,000 Reserves and National Guard. The cost through the end of the fiscal year: $5.3 billion....
  • Paid To Worry

    Dr. Stephen Younger is a mild-mannered, slightly bookish federal bureaucrat unknown to the general public. But as much as any other government official, he is the man charged with worrying about how to head off the next terrorist attack. As the director of the Defense Department's Threat Reduction Agency, Younger spends about $2 billion a year looking for ways to deter and defend against terrorism. He is not alone, of course; from President Bush on down, there are 40-plus government agencies and 43 congressional groups and a new Office of Homeland Defense jostling to fight the war on terror. But Younger, a former nuclear-weapons designer who studies ancient societies and reads Trollope on the side, may have a better feel than anyone in Washington for the nature and dimensions of the threat--and what to do about it.Studying the problem anew in the wake of 9/11, Younger has concluded that "everything we thought we knew turned out to be wrong." He had assumed, for instance, that a...
  • Pipeline Brigade

    Is George W. Bush using war as an extension of his oil policy? It looked that way in February, when Washington announced a $700 million aid package for the Andean region, largely to fight the twin threats of guerrilla war and drugrunning that threaten the area. As is usual, half the money will go to Colombia, but with a new twist: $98 million for training and equipping a Colombian brigade of around 2,000 soldiers to protect the 772-kilometer Cano Limon pipeline. Used to transport crude oil to the Caribbean coast from a field pumped by Occidental Petroleum of California in partnership with the Colombian state oil company, the pipeline is a favorite target of rebel saboteurs.This would hardly be the first time a nation defended its interest in smoothly flowing oil supplies by force of arms. Iraq's 1990 invasion of Kuwait and the gulf war that followed are only the latest conflicts over control of fossil fuel. Bush's critics have argued since September 11 that his "war on terror" is...
  • 'Odd Couple' Alliance

    If this weekend's Anglo-American summit in Crawford, Texas, is anything like the lovefest that most people expect it to be, some credit has got to go to a 49-year-old Scottish rugby player-turned-oil and gasman named Bill Gammell. Gammell turns out to be a missing link in the relationship between President George W. Bush and Prime Minister Tony Blair.When Bush met Blair for the first time, at Camp David in February of last year, the two leaders had so little in common that the president made a little joke out of the fact that they both used the same toothpaste (Colgate). They didn't look or sound much like soul mates. Bush was a conservative Texas Republican who had run a baseball team and acquired a taste for the high-school locker room humor of the "Austin Powers" movies. The British prime minister was an Oxford-educated barrister and lifelong center-left politician with a keen interest in the Qu'ran. But Bush knew that he and Blair could do business--and he knew it, NEWSWEEK has...
  • Analyzing The 'Axis Of Evil'

    Rhetoric aside, "axis of evil" doesn't mean much. Iraq and Iran are bitter enemies--they fought each other in the bloodiest war of the 1980s--and North Korea has little in common with either of them. Though all three "rogue nations" are thought to be developing weapons of mass destruction, no U.S. attack is imminent against any of them; good military options are as scarce as allies for such an undertaking. Instead, Washington faces challenges, and a few opportunities, from three very different countries: ...
  • After Afghanistan, What Next?

    The biggest applause line in President Bush's State of the Union speech tonight? Don't even ask. We already know it: that made-for-television moment when Bush, having lauded the skill and bravery of American soldiers and fliers in Afghanistan, turns to the gallery and gestures for Hamid Karzai, new boss of that liberated ruin, to stand and take his bow. ...
  • Next Up: Saddam

    Saddam Hussein lives for vengeance. But in 2002 the Iraqi dictator, who haunted the '90s, could well get a taste of someone else's wrath. And for President George W. Bush, it will be personal. In 1993, after the gulf war and after the first President Bush retired as commander in chief, Saddam tried to murder him with a car bomb in Kuwait, but the Clinton administration didn't want to hear about it. The new president's staff encouraged diplomats in the region to play down the aborted attack, especially the incriminating evidence that pointed directly to Baghdad. The reasons: the White House didn't want to have to react; it didn't have a policy for eliminating Saddam; it wasn't even sure how best to contain him. Eventually, reluctantly, Bill Clinton fired off a few cruise missiles and relied on exile groups, covert conspiracies and overt sanctions to defang the vengeful dictator. That policy fell apart in 1998, and four days of intense bombing called Operation Desert Fox couldn't put...
  • Lt. Gen. Charles F. Wald

    Victory, as the ancient Greeks said, has a thousand fathers, and the scramble is already on to claim paternity for Operation Crescent Wind, the air campaign that broke the Taliban's rule over Afghanistan in two months flat. U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld is the one who is most lionized in the media. But much of the credit has to go to Lt. Gen. Charles F. Wald, the air boss at Central Command when the war started and now the Air Force's deputy chief of staff for operations--the top three-star general's job in the Air Force. Wald, whom defense expert William Arkin jokingly dubs the "Zelig of air power," has played a key role in every air campaign since the gulf war--from Serbia to Kosovo--and learned lessons from each to improve performance the next time. Wald will be the man to watch if the United States takes on Iraq next year in what would likely be another precision-guided air war.Wald has the usual "right stuff" credentials. He did a tour in Vietnam, flying as a forward...
  • Lt. Gen. Charles Wald,

    Victory, as the ancient Greeks said, has a thousand fathers, and the scramble is already on to claim paternity for Operation Crescent Wind, the innovative air campaign that broke the Taliban's rule over Afghanistan in two months flat. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld is the one who is most lionized in the media. But much of the credit has to go to Lt. Gen. Charles F. Wald, the air boss at Central Command when the war started and now the Air Force's deputy chief of staff for operations--the top three-star general's job in the Air Force. Wald, whom defense expert William Arkin jokingly dubs the "Zelig of air power," has played a key role in every air campaign since the gulf war--from Serbia to Kosovo--and learned lessons from each to improve performance the next time. Wald will be the man to watch if the United States takes on Iraq next year in what is likely to be, if it happens, another precision-guided air war. Wald has the usual "right stuff" credentials. He did a tour in Vietnam...
  • Evil In The Cross Hairs

    It must be one of the most repulsive home movies ever made. Osama bin Laden chuckles contentedly over slaughtering his own men along with several thousand Americans, while his flunkies kiss up to him like junior executives at bonus time. Except in the minds of Middle Easterners who preferred to fantasize about conspiracy theories, the dimly lit hourlong video, filmed on Nov. 9 and obtained in early December from a house in Jalalabad, left no doubt that bin Laden was behind the September 11 attacks. Family members of the victims said the grainy videotape made them too sick to watch. In the hearts of many Americans, bin Laden's smirking and gloating, at once evil and banal, inspired an overwhelming desire for revenge.They may get it soon enough. Late last week bin Laden appeared to be staging his last stand. Afghan fighters, aided by Delta Force and other U.S. and British Special Forces, closed in on the Tora Bora caves, while U.S. warplanes rained down precision-guided bombs as well...
  • Facing A Long, Cold War

    Commander Rakhmad Gol is enjoying himself. For the past six years he's been fighting a frustrating war against the Taliban, usually enduring defeat, sometimes making small but costly gains of territory. Now he's watching raptly as U.S. warplanes bomb Taliban positions just a few hundred yards away. He exults as a dark gray cloud of smoke and dust bursts into the bright blue sky above the Shamali Plain. The boom from the explosion arrives a few seconds later. "There, look, that was right on target," he says, cheering the destruction of what he says was a Taliban tank and gun emplacement. The threadbare soldiers under Gol's command are getting into the spirit of things, too. Walkie-talkies crackle as fighters hurl insults at the Taliban over a shared frequency. "If the Americans give our government all the help they can," says Abdul Sabur, who has been fighting in Afghanistan's caves and trenches for six of his 21 years, "we will end this war fast."That is extremely unlikely. Gol and...
  • Priority: Pakistan's Nukes

    The 2,200 troops of the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit are cooped up on the assault ship USS Peleliu, presumably itching for action. If they ever go ashore, it's as likely to be in Pakistan as Afghanistan. Given serious trouble in Pakistan--if, say, President Pervez Musharraf were overthrown by forces friendly to the Taliban and Osama bin Laden--the Marines would be charged with protecting and evacuating Americans and other Westerners. But sources have told NEWSWEEK the Marines could also be sent on a more momentous and desperate mission: safeguarding Pakistan's nuclear weapons and materials, to keep them away from bin Laden.Whether the Marines would actually be needed for such a task, and whether they could pull it off, remains unclear. Sources say Musharraf has strengthened security at Pakistan's nuclear facilities since September 11. Last week his foreign minister, Abdul Sattar, insisted the nukes were "under foolproof custodial controls." Musharraf also has purged Taliban...
  • The War Of The Night

    Special Forces Open The Ground War. The Making Of Elite Fighters--And The Battle They Face
  • A Fight Over The Next Front

    In the military, which has an acronym for everything, there are a number of ways to express, by means of abbreviated profanity, that things are not going well. In World War II, the Greatest Generation talked about "snafus" and situations that were "fubar." Around the Pentagon during the opening days of the First War of the 21st century, the abbreviation of the moment is AOS, which, politely translated, means All Options Stink.Toppling the Taliban and nabbing Osama bin Laden were supposed to be just the first steps in the new war on terrorism. The more difficult challenge, it seemed, would be rolling up Al Qaeda cells in 60 nations around the globe and then taking on Iraq's Saddam Hussein and eliminating his weapons of mass destruction. The Taliban could hardly be a match for the world's greatest superpower, and Americans, conditioned by Hollywood, could readily visualize Delta Force storming bin Laden's cave.American Special Forces may indeed stage a commando raid inside Afghanistan...
  • Commandos: The Real Tip Of The Spear

    It is usually the disasters that people remember. In 1979 it was the helicopters of Desert One lying burned and gutted in the Iranian desert; inside were eight dead Delta Force commandos and pilots who never got off the ground in a botched effort to rescue the hostages in Tehran. There was the debacle in Mogadishu in 1993, when the world watched a dead Army Ranger dragged through the streets as gleeful Somalis danced around him. The successes of America's Special Forces, almost by definition, don't make it onto CNN. The men who run those bold operations, like Rear Adm. Albert Calland, must take pride in their own secret memories.Calland, a fresh-faced former Navy SEAL, ran the naval Special Forces unit that in 1987- 88 fought a covert war in the Persian Gulf. The Reagan administration wanted to stop Iranian Special Forces from disrupting oil shipping during the Iran-Iraq War. Calland's men, secretly running high-speed launches from drilling barges, worked with helicopter-borne Army...
  • Behind America's Attack On Afghanistan

    George W. Bush had promised the war on terrorism would be a war like no other, and on Sunday he delivered. Striking a blow for the hearts and minds of Muslims at the same time he struck Afghanistan, the president fired the opening salvos of Operation Enduring Freedom at midday. In a television address to the nation soon after, he pledged that the campaign would not be short. Invoking what promises to become his mantra, he told the American people, "We will not waver, we will not tire, we will not falter, and we will not fail."After weeks of careful deployments--and intransigence from Afghanistan's ruling Taliban, Bush decided on the timing for the strikes last Wednesday, NEWSWEEK has learned. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, who had returned from a trip to shore up support in the Mideast on Saturday, mapped out the final details early Sunday morning. So closely held was the plan that even the president's close friend and advisor, Commerce Secretary Don Evans, had to travel back...
  • How To Strike Back

    Afghanistan is a country of jagged ridges and deep gorges that is about the size of Texas. It is nature's gift to guerrilla warfare. And for centuries it has been known as the place where great powers go to die. The terrain was a nightmare for both Soviet and British troops, who were ambushed from the hills, massacred in the passes, cornered on the steep, treeless mountainsides. Afghanistan's modern history of slaughter, of skewered hubris, goes back to 1842, when 16,500 British soldiers and civilians were killed in a winter retreat from Kabul; only one escaped. In the 1980s, supplied with U.S. Stinger missiles, mujahedin guerrillas fought off every major Soviet offensive in the Panjshir Valley, taking out Moscow's helicopters and planes. "You can easily go inside Afghanistan, but you will not come out easily," Maj. Gen. Hamid Gul, the former head of Pakistani intelligence, said to a NEWSWEEK reporter last week. He was only echoing Rudyard Kipling, who more than 100 years earlier...
  • Alleged Hijackers May Have Trained At U.S. Bases

    U.S. military sources have given the FBI information that suggests five of the alleged hijackers of the planes that were used in Tuesday's terror attacks received training at secure U.S. military installations in the 1990s.Three of the alleged hijackers listed their address on drivers licenses and car registrations as the Naval Air Station in Pensacola, Fla.-known as the "Cradle of U.S. Navy Aviation," according to a high-ranking U.S. Navy source.Another of the alleged hijackers may have been trained in strategy and tactics at the Air War College in Montgomery, Ala., said another high-ranking Pentagon official. The fifth man may have received language instruction at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Tex. Both were former Saudi Air Force pilots who had come to the United States, according to the Pentagon source.But there are slight discrepancies between the military training records and the official FBI list of suspected hijackers-either in the spellings of their names or with...
  • Spin (Out Of) Control

    Last week British paratrooper Ian Collins, 22, was killed on the first day that NATO began collecting weapons from Albanian guerrillas in Macedonia. Officials blamed a gang of youths who threw a concrete slab off a bridge onto a British jeep. But there are indications that the attack was organized and premeditated, and may even have had tacit police support, according to NATO sources. It wasn't an encouraging start to a mission that has already violated many of the conditions NATO set for itself.Under the peace plan, Macedonia's Parliament has to respond to the weapons surrender by beginning a reform of the Constitution that would grant improved rights, official citizen status and more jobs to ethnic Albanian minorities, as well as give amnesty to demobilized rebels; a vote is expected this week. If it's voted down, the peace process will go down with it and NATO will presumably have to go home--providing yet another condition for the alliance to violate in order to stay in...
  • Periscope

    President George W. Bush's talk of "a new relationship" with Russia in which the cold-war standoff gives way to "a new strategic paradigm." Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld is in Moscow this week, in fact, for talks tying U.S. missile defenses to deep cuts in nuclear weapons. But NEWSWEEK has learned that, behind the scenes, the administration is embarking on a 10-year, multibillion-dollar program to modernize capabilities to make nuclear weapons.The force behind the program--formally titled "The Recapitalization Initiative"--is retired Air Force Gen. John Gordon, former No. 2 at the CIA who now runs the National Nuclear Security Administration. Last spring he warned Congress that so much of the nuclear complex was decrepit that "we're faced with... a crisis in the facilities." At a briefing for the president and top officials, Bush expressed dismay at the state of the plants--but aides held that a formal proposal to upgrade the facilities would generate fresh controversy about...
  • Dropping The Bomb

    The 20-minute briefing at the White House last month was dry and crammed with statistics and acronyms, but it got the president's attention. The U.S. nuclear arsenal today includes 5,400 warheads loaded on intercontinental ballistic missiles at land and sea; an additional 1,750 nuclear bombs and cruise missiles ready to be launched from B-2 and B-52 bombers; a further 1,670 nuclear weapons classified as "tactical." And just in case, an additional 10,000 or so nuclear warheads held in bunkers around the United States as a "hedge" against future surprises. According to a knowledgeable source, Bush was stunned at the amount of destructive power in a president's hands. "I had no idea we had so many weapons," he said. "What do we need them for?"Good question--but one without a simple or easy answer. Ever since U.S. nuclear-attack plans were codified into a Single Integrated Operating Plan (SIOP) in 1960, presidents have been appalled by the very notion of having one day to open the...