In early 2007, as Iraq seemed to be slipping inexorably into chaos and President George W. Bush into inescapable political purgatory, Meir Dagan, the head of the Israeli Mossad, flew to Washington, sat down in a sunlit office of the West Wing of the White House, and spread out on the coffee table before him a series of photographs showing a strange-looking building rising out of the sands in the desert of eastern Syria.
Vice President Dick Cheney did not have to be told what it was. “They tried to hide it down a wadi, a gulley,” he recalls to filmmaker R.J. Cutler. There’s no population around it anyplace…. You can’t say it’s to generate electricity, there’s no power line coming out of it. It’s just out there obviously for production of plutonium.
The Syrians were secretly building a nuclear plant—with the help, it appeared, of the North Koreans. Though the United States was already embroiled in two difficult, unpopular, and seemingly endless wars, though its military was overstretched and its people impatient and angry, the vice-president had no doubt what needed to be done: Condi recommended taking it to the United Nations. I strongly recommended that we ought to take it out.
Launching an immediate surprise attack on Syria, Cheney tells us in his memoirs, would not only “make the region and the world safer, but it would also demonstrate our seriousness with respect to nonproliferation.”
This was the heart of the Bush Doctrine: henceforth terrorists and the states harboring them would be treated as one and, as President Bush vowed before Congress in January 2002, “the United States of America will not permit the world’s most dangerous regimes to threaten us with the world’s most destructive weapons.”
It was according to this strategic thinking that the United States answered attacks on New York and Washington by a handful of terrorists not by a carefully circumscribed counterinsurgency aimed at al-Qaeda but by a worldwide “war on terror” that also targeted states—Iraq, Iran, North Korea—that formed part of a newly defined “axis of evil.”
1 According to those attending National Security Council meetings in the days after September 11, The primary impetus for invading Iraq…was to make an example of [Saddam] Hussein, to create a demonstration model to guide the behavior of anyone with the temerity to acquire destructive weapons or, in any way, flout the authority of the United States.
2 And yet five years after the president had denounced the “axis of evil” before Congress, and four years after his administration had invaded and occupied Iraq in the declared aim of ridding Saddam’s regime of its weapons of mass destruction, the North Koreans had detonated their own nuclear weapon and the Syrians and Iranians, as the vice-president tells us in his memoirs, were “both working to develop nuclear capability.”
Intrigued by a study showing parents were no happier than non-parents, Jennifer Senior, a contributing editor at New York magazine, travelled across the country to observe how - and maybe even ascertain why - too many parents make themselves miserable in a quest to raise smart, happy kids.
Newsweek spoke with Senior about her new book, All Joy and No Fun, which explores the many mysteries of the modern family, including why mothers can’t relax, and why neuroscience offers better child-rearing advice than any parenting book.
The Parent Trapped)
A new book by a self-proclaimed sociopath explores a successful life without empathy- and the sociopaths that live among us.
"I love watching animal movies on television, and they always say, don’t run away, and don’t turn your back, and don’t lie down flat. I love it—it’s from my childhood. How do you prevent dying? How do you prevent being eaten, or mauled, by a monster? I still worry about it!” - Maurice Sendak.
In honor of the illustrator and writer’s 85th birthday, Newsweek and Blank on Blank are proud to present this animated short about the beloved, late author, which is based off of audio we had left over from a 2009 interview conducted by Newsweek’s Andrew Romano and Ramin Setoodeh.
It’s beginning to feel like Nathaniel Rich Month at The Times. The author’s new novel was reviewed in the Arts section on April 10, then again in the Sunday Book Review on April 14. Mr. Rich also wrote an essay for the Sunday Book Review, with many references to that novel, “Odds Against Tomorrow.” In addition, the Editors’ Choice section of the Sunday Book Review listed Mr. Rich’s novel second on its list.
Back in January, Mr. Rich and his brother were also the subjects of a feature story about literary families. (His father is Frank Rich, the former Times columnist; his mother is Gail Winston, an executive editor at HarperCollins; his brother is a comedy writer, a novelist and a regular contributor to The New Yorker.)
Newsweek has a great article about the rebuilding of the library at Alexandria this week (January 18, 2013).