John McCain has staked his presidential hopes on his judgment about the Iraq war—judgment that he has honed on eight separate visits to the country. Robert Draper retraces the senator’s steps through the minefield—and recounts what he learned
the explosion came from a couple of miles away, but everyone in Coalition Provisional Authority administrator Paul Bremer’s office could hear and even feel it. It was the afternoon of August 19, 2003, less than four months after President Bush’s mission accomplished speech, and Bremer’s visitors—Congressmen Harold Ford (D-Tenn.) and Jim Kolbe (R-Ariz.), plus Senators Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Tex.), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), John Sununu (R-N.H.), and the delegation’s leader, John McCain—represented both parties and every region across America. All of them had supported the efforts to liberate Iraq from Saddam Hussein and were now here, for the first time, to witness the consequences of their fateful decision. But as an eerie quiet reclaimed the city and the meeting plodded onward, its tenor was somber. It wasn't just the mysterious explosion: The violence and lawlessness springing up all over post-Saddam Baghdad had already been giving everyone second thoughts.
click here for more >