Nation: The U.S. and the Skyjackers: Where Power is Vulnerable

ALL week the nation fixed its agonized attention on Qa Khanna, the stretch of Jordanian desert where three hijacked airliners rested improbably, like a mirage of beached whales. The piracies represented an oddly terrifying juxtaposition of technology and barbarism, an almost science-fiction quality of civilization in a retrograde time machine, stranded abruptly in a desert waste. A handful of fanatics, equipped with nothing more complex than guns, dynamite and airline schedules, rendered some of the most advanced nations impotent to protect several hundred of their citizens (see THE WORLD). In one violent...

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