Nation: Losing, Whoever Wins

The gulf conflict offers the U.S. scant room for action—or optimism

When Jimmy Carter left Washington Monday on a campaign flight to Illinois and the West Coast, Iraqi bombs were already falling on Iran—but National Security Council Spokesman Alfred Friendly Jr. assured reporters that "this is still not a war." That comfortable illusion did not last the afternoon. Late that day and all day Tuesday, a stream of messages to the communications center aboard Air Force One and worried phone conversations between the politicking President and officials back in Washington made clear the...

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