Michael Hirsh

Stories by Michael Hirsh

  • Closing the Neocon Circle

    Bush, in his Jan. 20 address, did prove himself a dissident in one sense. When the president declared that "the survival of liberty in our land increasingly depends on the success of liberty in other lands," he was delivering a dissent from traditional U.S. foreign policy, one that could have been lifted whole from the pages of Sharansky's new book, "The Case for Democracy: The Power of Freedom to Overcome Tyranny and Terror." (Public Affairs; New York). Bush, in fact, has been pressing the book on aides and friends in recent weeks and urging them to read it. And it is clear that Bush's speech--as well as Sharansky's influence--could have huge consequences for America in the coming years.In Bush's speech, drafted by chief White House speechwriter Michael Gerson with input from an old Sharansky ally dating to the Reagan years, National Security Council official Elliott Abrams, Bush in effect declared an end to a three-decade-old debate in foreign-policy circles. Fittingly, it is a...
  • IRAQ: NEW WAR, OLD TACTICS?

    The army may have closed the books on Spc. Charles Graner, the alleged chief torturer at Abu Ghraib who was convicted last Friday. But a new Red Cross report concludes that abusive practices were still occurring last fall at Guantanamo Bay, well after Graner was charged, NEWSWEEK has learned. The confidential report, delivered to U.S. officials last month, is based on a Red Cross visit to Gitmo in September. Despite some improvements--like tribunals mandated by the U.S. Supreme Court--the report reaffirms a previous finding from June that practices at Gitmo were "tantamount to torture," according to sources who have seen it. (The Red Cross declined to comment on the report.) The latest Red Cross visit occurred a month after two major probes authorized by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld reprimanded the military for such practices. Another one of these probes, led by Brig. Gen. Richard Formica and focused on Special Forces-led interrogations in secret facilities, has been held up...
  • PUTIN'S PRATFALL

    To Vladimir Putin, the cheers ringing through Kiev's aptly named Independence Square must have sounded like catcalls from hell. Only three weeks before, in a ham-handed display of Kremlin bullying, Putin had championed his own dubious candidate for Ukraine's presidency, ex-convict Viktor Yanukovych. A fraud-tainted election followed, and the Russian leader haughtily dismissed calls for a recount, warning against Western "interference." But after a long, tense standoff in which tens of thousands of Ukrainians thronged the streets in protest--and only a day after Putin again rejected the idea of a runoff--Ukraine's Supreme Court last Friday ordered a new election for Dec. 26. When the news was broadcast live on the giant television screens in central Kiev, more than 30,000 supporters of opposition candidate Viktor Yushchenko went wild, kissing, hugging and blowing noisemakers. Then the pro-Western Yushchenko appeared, declaring: "Today Ukraine is a democratic country."Why is that bad...
  • STILL ON TOP

    Gregory Mankiw's intellectual honesty has occasionally landed him in trouble. Not long after he became chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers in Washington, Mankiw suggested that the "outsourcing" of jobs, a hot-button issue in the presidential campaign, was actually good for America's economy. Mankiw, a top Harvard economist, recently shared other thoughts on George W. Bush's second-term agenda with NEWSWEEK's Michael Hirsh. Excerpts:HIRSH: Are you worried about the large U.S. trade deficit? Is the dollar likely to continue to fall?MANKIW: The trade deficit is a symptom of other developments in the world economy and should not be viewed in isolation. To some extent our trade deficit is a symptom of slow growth abroad. If Japan and Europe were to start growing more rapidly, they would buy more U.S. goods, which would reduce the U.S. trade deficit. The president has engaged other countries on promoting faster growth around the world, and has worked to open foreign markets to U...
  • BEHIND BUSH'S BACK

    George W. Bush did get one big thing right in the post-9/11 era. His campaign to spread democracy and freedom to a part of the world that the great transformations of the 20th century had bypassed--the Middle East--was in the honored tradition of American global leadership going back to Woodrow Wilson, FDR, Harry Truman and Ronald Reagan. It's just that Bush seemed to get so much else wrong in his first term. Part of the problem--in addition to the trumped-up evidence against Iraq--was his tone, many people said. Even some supporters cringed at the insults the U.S. president kept firing off, quite gratuitously, at the rest of the world, each of them a shot in his own foot.Combined with his trademark smirk and strut--reminiscent of "a sullen, pouting, oblivious and overmuscled teenager," as Yale historian John Lewis Gaddis put it--and what many abroad saw as a scary blend of simple-mindedness and certainty, Bush went over like a Visigoth at a garden party. And, not surprisingly, when...
  • Inner Circle No More?

    It wasn't very long ago that the Bush administration saw L. Paul Bremer III as a true-blue loyalist, a favorite of the president's who had a good chance at a senior position in a second term, perhaps even as secretary of State. So there was considerable surprise and distress inside the White House this week when Iraq's former administrator let loose with what he intended to be off-the-record comments criticizing the administration's handing of Iraq-remarks that were quickly picked up by the Kerry campaign.Bremer was playing Monday-morning quarterback on Iraq, suggested one White House official. Another described teeth gnashing among Bush aides when the comments became public. Some viewed Bremer as seeking to absolve himself of responsibility for the mistakes made in Iraq, the first official said, many of which could be traced back to decisions made by Bremer himself, particularly the decision to disband the Iraqi Army.On Tuesday-the same day after Bremer's critical remarks were made...
  • To Torture Or Not?

    President Bush today distanced himself from his administration's quiet effort to push through a law that would make it easier to send captured terror suspects to countries where torture is used. The proposed law, recently tacked onto a much larger bill despite the fallout from last spring's interrogation scandal, is seen as an attempt to counter a recent Supreme Court decision that would free some terror detainees being held without trial.In a letter published in The Washington Post, White House legal counsel Alberto Gonzales said the president "did not propose and does not support" a provision to the House bill that removes legal protections from suspects preventing their "rendering" to foreign governments known to torture prisoners. Gonzales said Bush "has made clear that the United States stands against and will not tolerate torture."But John Feehery, spokesman for House Speaker Dennis Hastert, who introduced the bill last Friday, said the provision had actually been requested by...
  • Seeing Red

    Back in the United States, George W. Bush was delivering thumping speeches to ecstatic crowds about how "the world is becoming more free" thanks to his administration's policies. But in central Moscow last week, on a narrow street outside the general prosecutor's office, a handful of demonstrators took a different view of the status of freedom in Russia under Bush's close ally and friend Vladimir Putin. "Our society is now lurching toward a dictatorship," said one protester, Vladimir Ulas. "Putin is making a mockery of democracy." Who was this brave voice, defending the principles that America holds dear? Ulas is the first secretary of the Moscow city committee of the Communist Party.Such is the ironic trajectory of post-Soviet Russia these days. As President Putin continues to move his country away from democracy--putatively in an effort to stop future terrorist attacks--the Russian people's former oppressors, the Communist Party, are among the few voices still speaking out against...
  • Back To The U.S.S.R.?

    Back in the United States, George W. Bush was delivering thumping speeches to ecstatic crowds about how "the world is becoming more free" thanks to his administration's policies. But in central Moscow last week, on a narrow street opposite the general prosecutor's office, a handful of demonstrators took a different view of the status of freedom in Russia under Bush's close ally and friend Vladimir Putin. "Our society is now lurching towards a dictatorship," said one protester, Vladimir Ulas. "Putin is making a mockery of democracy." Who was this brave voice, defending principles that America holds dear? Ulas is first secretary of the Moscow city committee of the Communist Party.Such is the ironic course of post-Soviet Russia these days. As President Putin continues to move his country away from democracy--putatively in an effort to stop future terrorist attacks--the Russian people's former oppressor, the Communist Party, is among the few voices still speaking out against his actions...
  • Taking Aim At Our Enemies

    For a year and a half, A.T. Smith lived, ate and slept the ultimate security nightmare. On Sept. 2, 2004, the president of the United States would speak in the middle of Madison Square Garden. George W. Bush would be standing directly above Penn Station, a vast hub funneling thousands of anonymous people every hour--each a potential terrorist, in the view of Smith, the Secret Service officer in charge of planning for the Republican National Convention. The Madrid train bombing in March, Smith says, sent a big shiver down his spine. Tens of thousands of police stopping trucks at security checkpoints throughout the region would help. But they would be just the visible tip of the security iceberg. What turned out to be really new, say Smith and other officials, was the covert network of surveillance made possible by a slew of new homeland-security technologies.The RNC, of course, like the Democratic convention in Boston before it, was a high-priority "national-security event." But the...
  • ABU GHRAIB: 'BREAKING' A GENERAL

    The Pentagon reports on interrogation practices at Abu Ghraib and other prisons were somewhat vague on how widespread the abuse was, especially by military intelligence. NEWSWEEK has learned that an especially damaging allegation may have been left out of the final report by the investigating officer, Maj. Gen. George Fay. A sworn statement by a soldier with the 302nd Military Intelligence Battalion says that in January 2004, interrogators physically abused the 17-year-old son of an Iraqi general, identified as Hamid Zabar, in order to "break" the general. "The interrogators took his son and got him wet" the May 13 statement says. "They then put mud on his face and drove him around in the back of a Humvee. The boy was very cold. They placed the son in an area where the father could observe him. The general thought he was going to get to see his son but they just allowed him to see the son shivering and this broke the general." The statement was corroborated by another soldier. A...
  • EUROPE'S BIG BET ON A BUSH 'REGIME CHANGE'

    Americans tend to be ambivalent about alliances: sure, friends abroad are good to have, but don't get too close. And heaven help you if you interfere in domestic U.S. politics. John Kerry learned that to his embarrassment when, in one of his biggest gaffes, he suggested publicly last March that foreign leaders wanted him to replace George W. Bush. The not-so-subtle hint: vote for me and I'll get allies to supply troops, money and support for Iraq, perhaps in exchange for deals on Mideast peace and North Korea. The Bush campaign loved the suggestion of foreign complicity. "Hey, John, Kim Jong Il here," the president gibed in a speech to roars of laughter, imagining a phone chat between Kerry and North Korea's dictator. "Just wanted to call and let you know you're my guy."It's no longer a joking matter. Foreign cooperation has become the issue of the hour, especially in Iraq. And so estranged are U.S. relations with many countries that just as the Bush administration is pushing for...
  • New Torture Furor

    A memo classified by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld in 2003 explores ways of conducting interrogations in the war on terror that would allow guards to evade future prosecutions for torture. In a series of minutely argued points that appear designed to evade restrictions on abusive interrogation techniques, the memo concludes that "excessive force" is illegal only when it is "malicious and sadistic." It also argues that treatment of prisoners should be defined as torture only when "the infliction of pain" is an interrogator's "precise objective."The March 6, 2003 draft memo from the Defense Department, which was obtained in part by NEWSWEEK, is titled a "WORKING GROUP REPORT ON DETAINEE INTERROGATIONS IN THE GLOBAL WAR ON TERRORISM" and explores numerous legal defenses for acts that might be construed as torture. (Click here to read the memo). It was first disclosed by The Wall Street Journal on Monday. Along with several other memos to come out of the Justice Department's Office...
  • 'Gaps And Discrepancies'

    Things may be heating up in the prison abuse scandal for Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Miller, the former Guantanamo Bay commander who is now in charge of detainees in Iraq. In a harshly worded letter, the senior Democrat on the House Intelligence committee questioned the "candor and accuracy" of Miller's responses in a classified briefing to the committee last week.The May 21 letter to Miller from Rep. Jane Harman, the ranking minority member on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, chastises the general for "gaps and discrepancies in your presentation" and for selectively withholding information. "If information is only provided in response to a question that is phrased in precisely the right way, it is virtually impossible for Congress to fulfill its constitutional oversight responsibility," Harman writes.In her letter, Harman refers to new details about interrogation policies at the Gitmo detention facility that became public less than 24 hours after Miller's May 20...
  • Chinks In Our Armor

    Tom Christie was worried. It was the fall of 2003, and the Pentagon's chief weapons tester had noted problems with the Army's pride and joy, the new Stryker Armored Vehicle. The $4 billion program was seen as the vanguard of the lighter, high-speed Army of the future. But even with new add-on armor, the Stryker "did not meet Army requirements" against rocket-propelled grenades in tests, Christie wrote in his 2003 annual report. Now the Pentagon was about to deploy the first 300 Strykers to Iraq while an insurgency raged.So Christie did something unusual: he sent a classified letter to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's office urging the military to be very cautious about where in Iraq it deployed the Stryker. The response? "I was slapped down," says the straight-talking Christie. "It was: 'What are we supposed to do with this [letter]?... Are you trying to embarrass somebody?' "There may be embarrassment to come. Six months after that exchange, the fighting in Iraq has called into...
  • INTELLIGENCE: TENET AND THE CIA: A SURVIVOR'S TRO

    Asked how long George Tenet might stay on, intelligence officials won't say. But they point out that Tenet recently surpassed Richard Helms as the second-longest-serving CIA director and, with seven years (as of July) under his belt, he's approaching the legendary record holder, Allen Dulles. In other words, even Tenet apparently recognizes it's about time to call it quits. One sign: he is putting himself back in circulation by increasing his speaking engagements. But Tenet hopes to avoid the appearance of leaving under fire.That may not be possible. For Washington's Great Survivor, the flak has never been heavier. Tenet has managed to survive the CIA's failure to predict the 1998 Indian nuclear tests, the rocky transition from Bill Clinton to George W. Bush and two of the most disastrous dropped balls in CIA history: 9/11 and Iraq's WMD program. But the cumulative toll of the recent 9/11 commission hearings may be more than Tenet can finesse. "I love George," says a former senior...
  • The Issue Is Iraq

    No one was more eager to question Condoleezza Rice about 9/11 than Bob Kerrey. The former senator from Nebraska, who as ever seems unwilling to play the Washington game of decorous double-talk, has been haranguing witnesses for weeks over why neither the Clinton nor Bush administrations did more to prevent the attacks. But as he prepared to badger Rice about the history of what happened two and a half years ago, not even Kerrey could ignore the maelstrom of events occurring half a world away this week.Referring to the dramatic turn of events this week in Iraq, when the once-quiet majority Shias joined the insurgency and dozens of U.S. soldiers were killed, Kerrey noted that he was "not going to get the national-security adviser 30 feet away from me very often." So he offered Rice some grim advice. "I think we're going to end up with civil war if we continue down the military-operation strategy that we have in place," Kerrey, now a 9/11 commissioner, said in the hushed hearing room...
  • TERROR'S NEXT STOP

    Abu Mussab al-Zarqawi didn't start off life as a mystery. And nothing about the shabby two-story house where he grew up in Jordan suggests that it once nurtured a terrorist mastermind. A few weeks ago in this hardscrabble town of Zarqa, 17 miles from Amman, his family held a party at the house. Sitting on flat mattresses on the ground, picking at an assortment of pizza, cake and grapefruit, his sisters said the man born Ahmed Khalaylah (Zarqawi, which derives from his hometown, is his nom de guerre) was popular as a youth and kind to animals as well as very religious. Later, reached by telephone after coordinated attacks against Shiites in Iraq left nearly 200 dead, one sister flatly said: "My brother wouldn't do that." Told that U.S. officials had fingered him, she shot back, "What do you expect from the infidels?"Zarqawi's green-eyed mother, Um Sayef al-Khalaylah--interviewed before her death earlier this month--also scoffed at the idea that her 37-year-old son was a terrorist big...
  • Pencil It In

    The Bush administration is fighting with itself again. At issue: whether the president will stick to his State of the Union promise to hand over sovereignty to the Iraqis by June 30. Interestingly, the main battle lines this time are not between those ever-clashing titans at Defense and State, Donald Rumsfeld and Colin Powell. The fight is largely between Baghdad and the Beltway. And all indications are that Baghdad--in the person of Iraq civil administrator L. Paul Bremer III--is carrying the day.As recently as a week ago, senior State and Defense department officials back in Washington, in a rare state of agreement, were suggesting privately that the June handover probably would have to slide--possibly until January 2005, when genuine elections could be held. This would almost certainly mean a political migraine for the president. Bush would face Democratic charges this fall that America is still mired in an Iraq quagmire and that he had reversed himself yet again on a critical...
  • IRAQ: CHALABI'S INFLUENCE

    Never popular with the Iraqi people, the U.S.-appointed Governing Council was supposed to fade into history. Under an interim agreement signed in mid-November, the council is to have "no formal role" in selecting the new transitional assembly to which Iraqi administrator L. Paul Bremer will hand over sovereignty on June 30. But some council members are backing a new proposal that may let them retain some power and influence in post-occupation Iraq, NEWSWEEK has learned.Ahmad Chalabi, a onetime favorite of the Pentagon's, has proposed a plan that, if approved by Bremer's Coalition Provisional Authority, will allow Chalabi and his fellow Governing Council members to approve a slate of candidates for the "caucuses" to be held in each of Iraq's 18 provinces. Chalabi's plan calls for the provincial caucuses to select candidates for the assembly from the approved list. Governing Council members who support the proposal say the candidates would not be "clones" of the 25 Governing Council...
  • The Mullah Behind the Curtain

    Granted vast authority under the U.S. occupation, L. Paul Bremer has been the most powerful man in Iraq for the past seven months. But that is changing fast--almost hourly. Indeed the new Iraqi era that America set in motion last March is hurtling ahead so fast that one can barely keep up with it.Bremer may still hold the title of Iraq's civil administrator. But the most powerful man in Iraq at the moment is actually the Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani, the reclusive Shiite cleric from the southern city of Najaf who persistently refuses to meet with Bremer. That's not necessarily bad news for the Americans. Sistani's obstinacy has little to do with a cloistered or backward mentality, which is how some frustrated U.S. officials characterize his thinking. It has everything to do with the fact that, while Sistani claims he knows nothing about politics (he resolutely stayed out of it during Saddam's rule), he is proving to be the most brilliant politician in Iraq. Indeed, if Sistani...
  • THE DESPOT AND HIS DEMONS

    Muammar Kaddafi ranks high in that small pantheon of world leaders who inspire both horror and humor. The Libyan dictator has sponsored or supported some of the worst acts of terror in memory, most notoriously the 1988 downing of Pan Am 103. But Kaddafi, with his mop of curly black hair and antic behavior, also tends to put one in mind of Chico Marx. Even his allies in the Islamic world often dismiss the erratic Libyan's behavior as odd. After the Arab League summit last March, when Kaddafi shouted that Saudi Arabia was "making a deal with the Devil" by relying on American protection, Al-Riyadh newspaper wrote that he "needs to be treated by psychiatrists."Suddenly, however, a coldly calculating Kaddafi may have figured out how to get what he has long been denied: acceptance by the community of nations. And he's eagerly cutting a deal with "the Devil," Washington, to do so. He's even turning into an eager stool pigeon against his former rogue cronies, providing critical clues in the...
  • Casualties Of War

    The Death Toll Among Soldiers Is Mounting, Even As Political Pressure Builds And We Head Into A Bitter Election Battle
  • Bioterror: Stepping On Toes?

    Tommy Thompson, the secretary of Health and Human Services, and Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge have one thing in common--they both love to talk about how much better prepared America is for a bioattack like the still-unsolved anthrax letters of two years ago. But a turf fight between the two departments has seriously hindered those preparations, officials say. One expert connected with HHS says America may actually be less ready in some respects than it was just after 9/11--when HHS's medical experts quickly funneled $1 billion to communities to deal with bioterrorism--because of the confusion caused by the takeover of Ridge's new Department of Homeland Security. Now DHS is in charge of deploying HHS's stockpiles of vaccines and medicines, but it lacks health-care expertise and experience, HHS officials say.The dispute is diverting attention from the real problem: the health-care system is drastically underfunded. Most homeland-security money is going to "emergency responders...
  • How Much Safer Are We?

    On the southern California coast, nearly two years after 9/11, it's easy to feel far away from the horror of the attacks. A hundred feet above the ground, Mike Mitre, a crane operator at the nation's largest port of L.A.-Long Beach, deftly swings 60-foot shipping "cans" into place aboard a giant Hyundai cargo ship as he chats in his glass-bottom cab. Mitre is an amiable guy who loves his work. But when he hears that the bureaucrats back in Washington are confident that the nation's ports and border crossings are more secure, he turns cynical. He points to loaded trucks leaving the port, their plastic seals unchecked as they are waved through. "Port security? What port security?" he asks.Mitre's skepticism is well founded. On a recent day, this reporter drove straight into the truck lanes of the Port of Baltimore--which U.S. Customs officials say is one of the nation's best protected--without being stopped, then spent two hours wandering, unnoticed, among stacked shipping containers....
  • Q&Amp;A: The State Of Security

    Tom Ridge, the head of the Department of Homeland Security, is scrambling to complete a megamerger that would give Wall Street's finest a migraine--incorporating 22 federal agencies into one.Not surprisingly, he has been the target of much criticism, mostly focused on what is perceived to be the relatively new agency's slow start. Ridge spoke to NEWSWEEK's Michael Hirsh on the eve of the second anniversary of 9/11. Excerpts:You said in a recent speech that "to date, we've never received specific, credible information" that would allow you to give localities or regions intelligence of a certain threat? Your recent 9/11 anniversary advisory also said that DHS had "no specific information on individual targets or dates for any attack." Can you point to any actual cases where measures by the Department of Homeland Security or other agencies have actually stopped a terrorist attack?Since March 1, since we've had this department up, we've sent out about 40 bulletins and advisories ......
  • What Went Wrong

    IT WAS A BLIP ON THE SCREEN THAT TURNED INTO A MONSTER, LEAVING 50 MILLION AMERICANS POWERLESS. THE INSIDE STORY OF A SLEEPLESS NIGHT.
  • Is Iraqi Intel Still Being Manipulated?

    His story seemed, in the beginning, a godsend for the Bush administration. In early June, Iraqi nuclear scientist Mahdi Obeidi revealed to CIA investigators that in 1991, just after the Persian Gulf War, he had gone into his backyard to bury gas-centrifuge equipment used to enrich uranium.It appeared to be hard evidence backing up what the Bush team had maintained all along: that Saddam Hussein had a secret nuclear-weapons program and had hidden it so well that United Nations inspectors never would have found it on their own. This, after all, was one of the justifications for the war that began in March, and evidence for Vice President Dick Cheney's charge that the Iraqis were "reconstituting a nuclear program." Obeidi also turned over to the CIA 180 documents on Iraq's enrichment program, as well as about 200 blueprints for centrifuges.Suddenly the Bush administration seemed about to reap one of the windfalls it had long anticipated from the ouster of Saddam. Newly enfranchised...
  • War, A Primer

    Chris Hedges has guts. Not just battlefield guts--he spent 20 years as a war correspondent--but the moral courage to tell Americans what they least want to hear about war. Real war, that is: the war of blown apart bodies and lives, of tortured souls and human depravation.In his critically acclaimed 2002 book "War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning," Hedges treated war as the ultimate narcotic, an addiction he himself had barely managed to kick. Now, in "What Every Person Should Know About War," he offers up a handbook of simple questions and answers about war that range from the mundane, even silly ("Will I make friends during combat?") to the morbid ("What will my body look like after I die?") to the transcendent ("What does it feel like to die?"). "We ennoble war," he writes by way of explaining the book. "We turn it into entertainment. And in all this we tend to forget what war is about..."Hedges is an author who seems to practice what he preaches. In late May, in an apparent...
  • The General Nobody Knows

    It's a blistering day on the plains of Colorado, and Gen. Ed Eberhart strides into his brand-new "situational awareness center" at Northern Command. Eberhart may be the most powerful man in America nobody has really heard of: he's in charge of military deployments against domestic terror. A frisson of activity fills the room. In seconds every soldier is either standing or halfway out of his computer console. Eberhart's staff doesn't get to see him much: in the nine months since Northcom was created, he's been to dozens of states, visiting National Guard and Coast Guard bases, local fire, police and paramedic units, even Rotary Clubs--forging the loose network that might respond to a domestic terror attack. Eberhart waves his team back to their places. The duty officer is at his side. "Everything quiet?" Eberhart asks amiably, eying the array of flat computer screens on the front wall. "Anything new down in Arizona?" "Nothing new on the fires right now, sir. We're monitoring a...
  • Neocons on the Line

    Paul Wolfowitz seems a bundle of contradictions, all of them roiling inside him. Calm yet driven, a champion of bold action who speaks in a soft, somewhat quavery voice, Wolfowitz today finds himself pacing the world stage like a nervous father. He is a father in a sense--to an idea, one that has taken on a life of its own and, somewhat in the manner of a wayward child, is causing its parent no end of grief. It was Wolfowitz, the gentlemanly superhawk, who within days of 9-11 prodded the Bush administration into a radical new strategy: forcefully confronting states that sponsor terrorism. It was Wolfowitz--the ex math whiz who fell in love with the idea of "national greatness" as a youth and is now seen as the Bush administration's chief intellectual--who pressed Bush hardest to transform the war on terror into a campaign for regime change and democracy in rogue nations, especially in Iraq and the Islamic world.Now the deputy defense secretary and his fellow neoconservatives are on...
  • Stepping Into The Fray

    George W. Bush doesn't like to travel abroad much. And so when he arrived in the Mideast for the first time in his tenure last week, ready to make peace, the president fell back on a comfortable ritual: he greeted Arab leaders like long-lost fraternity brothers at a reunion weekend. He gave a bear hug to Hosni Mubarak, dined at his compound and, knowing that the Egyptian president has a bad knee, insisted that Mubarak take a golf cart back to their meeting site after a news conference. "I'll drive," Bush announced, kicking a Secret Service agent out of the driver's seat. As a beaming Mubarak rode shotgun, Bush then led what an aide described as a "golf-cart motorcade."The next day, in a moment of bonhomie not seen since the early days of Camp David in 2000, when Palestinians and Israelis traded jokes over dinner, Bush ushered Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and his new Palestinian counterpart, Mahmoud Abbas, to a bench and two chairs outside for an impromptu 40-minute chat. "I'm...