High Stakes

The aftershocks of war in Iraq will reach every corner of the globe: The U.S. and world economies, big-power relations, and domestic politics

Around the White House, George W. Bush is known as a soul of punctuality, a clockwork manager whose aides are met with a stern glare for being late to a meeting. So it should come as no surprise to anyone, least of all Saddam Hussein, that at roughly 9:30 p.m. on Mar. 19 -- just 90 minutes after his 48-hour "leave, or else" ultimatum expired, the President initiated a series of attacks that he termed the "opening stages of what will be a broad and concerted campaign" to topple "an outlaw regime." He ordered a pinpoint bomb and cruise-missile strike on Iraqi leadership sites in Baghdad. Anti-aircraft batteries ringing the Iraqi capital opened fire, and the skies briefly lit up with explosions. Then, all fell eerily silent.

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