How Rice's Posse Struck Back

For all its globe-trotting glamour, the life of a diplomat can also be harrowing. In 1997 David Welch volunteered to drop into northern Iraq to broker a cease-fire between two feuding Kurdish militias that Washington hoped could eventually help overthrow Saddam Hussein. For Welch, there was one major risk to going in: he wasn't sure how he would get out. "What's your evacuation plan?" fretted Jim Steinberg, then Deputy National Security Adviser in the Clinton White House. "Five hundred bucks in cash," Welch replied, "and a bottle of Scotch."

As it turned out, the Scotch went for toasts. The rival Kurdish...

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