Newswire

Newswire

  • High Tech In Low Places

    When they hit Iraqi lines, U.S. ground forces will be counting on their own expensive and sophisticated weaponry, but the technological match between them and the Iraqi Army is much closer than it was in the air. Instead of a "Nintendo war" with "smart" weapons, the images from this phase of the battle are likely to be the traditional kind: grueling and bloody. ...
  • The One Man Enemy

    Military people, I have noticed, habitually refer to the enemy as "he." They even do so when there is no particular "he" to refer to. "Now he could send his reinforcements around this way," says the briefer at the map, talking about the government or military of some country whose paramount leader's name we hardly know, "but we could intercept him here..." etc. This is one of the few areas in which, I believe, the gender-neutrality issue has not been raised: the question is not why the formulation is not he-or-she, but rather why it is so personalized and particularized, as if describing a fight between two individual men. To see things in this oddly foreshortened way can distort judgment and invite disastrously wrong actions. ...
  • Furtive Pleasures From A Pulp Master

    Paperback pulp thrillers had their heyday in the 1950s. These were unsavory tales of men who talked with their fists and women who gave those fists something to talk about. Jim Thompson's dour, bitterly funny stories of born losers and psycho cretins sold the best of all. Thompson didn't buy the boosterish optimism of the postwar years and neither, apparently, did his many readers. But when the pulp market dried up, about the time cheap hotels installed TVs in their lobbies, Thompson's fortunes faded. When he died at 70 in 1977, none of is 29 books was in print. ...
  • Cabana Set

    You've seen them a hundred times during the TV-network coverage of the gulf war: those mysterious, bright blue domes looming in the background of correspondents' stand-ups in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. But what are they? An informal "Newsweek' survey reveals that most people assume the domes are "part of a mosque," "radar stations" or even "traditional Saudi homes." In fact, according to network news officials, the structures are rooftop cabanas for the swimming pool at the Dhahran International Hotel.
  • Bringing Them Back Alive

    War is not just advance and retreat; it's also spin and counterspin. In the same week that Saddam Hussein paraded his first POWs before the global audience, the alliance forces announced their first successful rescue of the gulf war. In a daring attempt last Monday, an MH-53 Pave Low helicopter stole into Iraq to grab a Navy F-14 Tomcat pilot downed in the desert just eight hours before. Two A-10 Thunderbolt attack planes circled as the chopper hovered in. Suddenly an Iraqi Army truck blundered into the area. One of the Warthogs opened fire with its 30-millimeter gun--powerful enough to destroy tanks--and blew the truck off the road. "It was a rather indescribable feeling to know that he was now on the helicopter, and we were coming out of enemy territory--that we were about to pull this off," said Capt. Paul Johnson, who led the effort. ...
  • Hard Days Ahead

    The euphoria wore off quickly. Last week the United States and its allies settled into the ugly business of grinding down Saddam Hussein's military machine. As stormy skies finally cleared enough for the work of war to go on, targets all over Iraq were pounded methodically by airstrike after airstrike. But the ultimate target, still largely untouched, was the Army that lurked in occupied Kuwait and southern Iraq, more than half a million men and 4,000 tanks, anchored by a war-hardened elite, the Republican Guard. "Our strategy to go after this Army is very, very simple," Gen. Colin Powell, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said at a Pentagon briefing. "First we're going to cut it off, and then we're going to kill it." ...
  • A Postwar Agenda

    A new balance of power could create prospects for progress in the Arab-Israeli conflict ...
  • Scooping The World

    Longtime peace activist Daniel Ellsberg, the former government official who leaked the Pentagon papers to The New York Times in 1971, still has friends with inside information. At 3;30 p.m. on K-Day, Ellsberg received a phone call from a journalist who told him the U.S. war against Iraq would begin at 4:30 Eastern standard time. Ellsberg watched his TV set for the next two hours to see if the tip was correct. It wasn't until 6:50 that ABC News broke the story that Operation Desert Storm had begun--when planes took off at 4:27 EST. Ellsberg's source was three minutes off.
  • Desert Storm Edition

    The overall CW on the prospects in the gulf war changed from a strong up arrow at the outset, to something more like a sideways. But hawkishness is still in. ...
  • 'Strong And Steady'

    Every president, in wartime, has an image he wants to project. During World War II, Franklin D. Roosevelt was confident, even cocky, with his jaunty cigarette holder and fireside chats. John F. Kennedy wanted to be effortlessly cool. "I guess this is the week I earn my salary," he winked as the Cuban missile crisis broke. Lyndon Johnson wanted to be tough and resolute in Vietnam, but he became self-pitying and obsessed, spending his nights in the basement of the White House picking bombing targets. ...
  • Do Unto Others As They Have Done

    The scenario is chilling. Hours after 20 long-range missiles slam into civilian settlements in Israel, Phantom jets race toward the enemy's ancient capital. At noon, six planes bomb the central square, smashing homes, the defense headquarters, a hospital and a cultural center. The attack kills or wounds 100 people, some of them incinerated in cars. ...
  • A Course At The 'College Of Rommel'

    Winston Churchill, who served with Kitchener in the Sudan before becoming Britain's First Lord of the Admiralty, had a favorite analogy for desert combat. He compared it to naval warfare: a contest over undulating, trackless terrain as far as the eye could see. The desert is both a tactician's dream (few natural obstacles to mobility) and a logistician's nightmare (exposed supply lines). As the biggest armored battle in history looms near, the side that best exploits the desert's unique advantages--and blunts its gritty toll on delicate components--will enjoy a decisive edge. Some lessons from the past: ...
  • 'Keep Smiling,' Israel

    Saddam's missiles stretch the tolerance of a nation that always strikes back ...
  • When Cnn Hit Its Target

    The gulf war may not create a new world order, but it could signal a new television order. Big events do that. The 1963 Kennedy assassination marked the emergence of live TV as the pre-eminent medium for the coverage of breaking news. It helped lead to a system of three powerful television networks that gathered news everywhere but were essentially American. The beginning of war in the gulf, the most watched TV event ever, may lead to a restructuring of that system along global lines. CNN's historic scoop on the first night of the war was the most stunning sign yet of how that 24-hour network, the only one with true global reach, is changing the news business forever. ...
  • 'You Must Be The Thunder And Lightning'

    Army Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf III doesn't mince words when he talks about his Iraqi enemies. The commander in chief of the allied forces in the Persian Gulf has vowed to "kick (Saddam's) butt,' termed the Iraqi senior command "a bunch of thugs' and belittled Iraqi soldiers as "lousy.' But as he addressed the troops of Operation Desert Storm last Wednesday night, Schwarzkopf sounded positively Churchillian. "I have seen in your eyes a fire determination to get this war job done quickly," he said, hours after the first allied bombers streaked toward Baghdad. "My confidence in you is total, our cause is just. Now you must be the thunder and lightning of Desert Storm." ...
  • Getting Ready To Rebuild

    The Kuwaitis are already making plans to rebuild their oilfield operations once the conflict is over. "Anything that had any value was stolen by the Iraqis--street lamps, stop signs, window shades--and all the equipment," says Larry Flak, of Houston's OGE Drilling Co. The Kuwaiti-owned Santa Fe International Corp. has reportedly purchased wellhead equipment from Ingram Cactus Co. and stored it in Houston warehouses for shipment to Kuwait when the war ends. Kuwaiti officials have also had discussions with several Texas firms about supplying consultants, oilfield workers and equipment for the recovery effort. "We've been asked for quotes, but we haven't any orders yet," says a company official.
  • Buzzwords

    The military jargon used by American servicemen and -women in the gulf is always changing. Here's some popular slang: American fighter pilots' derisive term for the Iraqis' antiaircraft artillery.A deep valley in the desert, from the Arabic.Civilian casualties.Iraqi commanders. As in Homer Simpson, the bumbling cartoon character.An Iraqi attack plane.Flight suit.Pilot talk for the hectic confusion of air-to-air dogfights.Helmets, which used to be all white. Now they're camouflaged.
  • Terror: Iraq's Second Front

    "Let the aggressors' interests be set on fire, and let them be hunted down wherever they may be in every corner of the world." Declaring that "there is no longer any room for delay," Baghdad radio called on Muslims last week to attack the "interests, facilities, symbols and figures" of the United States and its gulf coalition partners. "The time has come," blared the broadcast, "to crush the enemy and erase the disgrace." ...
  • A Recovery As Early As Spring?

    The first days of war sent an unexpected message of hope to the flagging American economy. If the Saudi Arabian oilfields can be defended, then most of the conflict's economic damage is behind us. ...
  • Missing Missiles

    Following the Iraqi Scud missile attacks on Tel Aviv and Haifa, the United States hurriedly sent several batteries of American Patriot anti-missile missiles to Israel. Patriots could have stopped the incoming Scuds, but Israel rejected the Patriot in favor of its own anti-missile missile, called the Arrow; more than $150 million has been spent on development. Israel banked on the Arrow because it covers a much wider area than the Patriot. The Arrow's first test launch this fall was less than successful: its was destroyed when it turned toward the test site. After Iraq's invasion of Kuwait, Israel decided it couldn't wait and secured two Patriot batteries in October. Before the last shipment, Israeli technicians were taking a crash course in how to operate them. But American experts have come along to handle the new Patriots, which will be immediately operational.