So Close, Yet So Far

American journalists get the guided Libyan tour

They saw the graceful parabolas of orange tracer bullets against the blackness of the sky. They heard the scream of jet fighters and the thunder of antiaircraft fire. They felt their hotel shiver in response to the bombs' pounding. But many of the U.S. reporters clustered in Al Kabir Hotel in downtown Tripoli were not quite sure what was actually going on. Like the people in Plato's parable of the cave who can discern reality only from the shadows that a fire throws on the wall, the correspondents could only make informed guesses as to what was happening.

TIME Correspondents Dean...

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