Martha Brant

Front Lines: The Comforts Of Qatar

There are no highway signs directing you to Camp As Sayliyah, Central Command's desert headquarters in Qatar. Driving instructions are as follows: take the Western industrial road out of the capital, Doha, and just keep going across the flat, gravelly land for about a half an hour until you see a big checkpoint.In this hazy terrain devoid of landmarks, it's actually possible to miss the 262-acre site.

Sci-Fi War Uniforms?

It was the ultimate laboratory experiment. Prof. Ned Thomas and eight scientists from MIT last month traded in their white coats for military outfits at Fort Polk, La.

Frontlines: Packing For War

"Will you be around any refugees?" the nurse at the Traveler's Medical Service in Washington asked me. "Maybe," I said, still unclear exactly where all I might go in the Middle East if and when we go to war. "Then you'll need a vaccine for meningitis," she said.

Front Lines: Meet The Press

The State of the Union Message brought opposing forces together under one roof--and not just under the Capitol dome. As part of a new effort to court the world's media, the White House invited foreign reporters from nearly 20 news outlets to watch President Bush's speech with Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz--one of the administration's most ardent hawks.

Front Lines: Covering The Military

It's called the Battle of 73 Easting. The 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment under Capt. H. R. McMaster was cruising through the Iraqi desert back in 1991 when the company came upon a convoy of Saddam Hussein's Republican Guard.THERE WERE scores of Iraq's T-72 tanks.

Front Lines: Women And War

In my family, women have gone to war for generations. So when I signed up to cover what now seems like an inevitable war with Iraq, my decision did not meet with protest or worry, but, rather, stories.

West Wing Story: You're In The Army Now

"Welcome to the military. Get ready to stand in line," my greeter said when I arrived at Fort Benning, Ga., this week for media boot camp. But this five-day course for reporters who have enlisted to cover the next potential gulf war has meant very little standing still.I've carried my LCE (load-carrying equipment) on a five-mile march along a muddy red-clay trail.

West Wing Story: Blast From The Past

The numbers just didn't add up. For days leading up to George W. Bush's trip to Lithuania and Romania late last week, White House staffers were projecting that huge crowds would turn out for the president's visit. "The initial estimates are between 50,000 and 100,000," Press Secretary Ari Fleischer told us on Air Force One. "In each place?" asked an incredulous reporter. "Yes."Well, actually, no.

West Wing Story: The President Gets 'Lofty'

Lofty. It's not the adjective that first comes to mind when describing George W. Bush. Fiesty, maybe, even goofy, but not lofty. Until today.c "President Bush," a Czech reporter said during a press conference here with outgoing President Vaclav Havel in Prague this morning, "you have said some lofty words here." Bush looked confused; he couldn't quite understand--or perhaps believe--the translation. "I said some what?" he asked. "Lofty words," the reporter said again. "No one has ever accused...

West Wing Story: Musical Chairs

Recently, Press Secretary Ari Fleischer reshuffled the seating chart in the White House briefing room. The changes included moving all the news-magazine reporters a few rows back.THE SWITCH CAUSED ENOUGH of a flap that it even became fodder for Conan O'Brien's late-night comedy show the other day.

He Used To Be G94b

Ari Fleischer kept getting paged. The White House press secretary was sitting in on a meeting last October between his boss and China's President Jiang Zemin during the APEC economic summit in Shanghai.

West Wing Story: Smooth Diplomacy

The United Nations is not really George W. Bush's kind of place. First of all, the signage at the headquarters is in French. (The president famously dismissed an American reporter as "intercontinental" for speaking in French.)Bush hates the pomp and circumstance of the world body, where he was introduced this morning as "Your Excellency." And it irks him that the rigid parliamentarian rules dictated that the Brazilian foreign minister got to speak before him.Bush also had to sit through a...

The Road Show

George W. Bush is always on the lookout for a new running mate. Down on his Crawford ranch for summer vacation, the president likes to take his daily three-mile jog in the brutal Texas heat, and goads his staffers into coming along.

Iraq: Taking The Debate Public

Even when he's engaging in political warfare, Gen. Brent Scowcroft is courteous. Last week, the day before his op-ed titled "Don't Attack Saddam" appeared in The Wall Street Journal, he faxed a copy over to national-security adviser Condoleezza Rice--his protegee when he held what is now her job under Bush the Elder.

West Wing Story: Live From Waco

If there was ever a made-for-TV event, it was the President's Economic Forum, held at Baylor University in Waco, Texas, on Tuesday. With Congress away and President Bush on his "working vacation," August is usually a slow news month in Washington.

Look Who's Back

She's back. Karen Hughes, the former "counselor to the president," was at the White House Tuesday for the first time since she moved her family home to Austin, Texas, last month.

West Wing Story: Handshake Capitalism

Call it "faith-based capitalism." That's the new religion that President Bush and his economic team are trying to sell around the country.Bush was in Alabama on Monday telling a crowd of Birmingham business leaders and others that, despite the dipping Dow, "the economy is coming back.

Going After Greed

Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill made his reputation as a straight-and-narrow kind of CEO. As head of aluminum maker Alcoa, he guarded his image as an honest steward of a company that cared about employees as much as stockholders.