Spotlight: A Mission to Burma

Sakchai Lalit / AP

An activist's poster calls for Suu Kyi's release.

In addition to representing the state of Virginia, U.S. Senator Jim Webb has penned novels featuring swashbuckling Americans seeking adventure in exotic backwaters. But even he might not have imagined a scenario in which a U.S. military aircraft flies him to the heavily fortified Burmese capital, Naypyidaw, to meet the country's reclusive military leader and secure the release of an American prisoner.

Burma may not be a charter member of the "axis of evil," but it surely deserves a dishonorable mention. Controlled by a clutch of generals since 1962, the country has devolved from Asia's breadbasket to an economic basket case,...

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