To Our Readers: Jun. 13, 1994

It would be easy to be overwhelmed by the world's biggest government building, housing the country's largest bureaucracy. But TIME's new defense correspondent, Mark Thompson, has found a way to tame the beast. "I don't view the Pentagon as some monolithic hulk," he says. "Once you add in family members and defense-industry workers, it is more like a city the size of New York. It has nice and not-so-nice neighborhoods, cozy bars, gangs and fiefdoms. Thinking of it in that way makes it less intimidating and almost friendly."

Thompson's stories, on the other hand, have not always been so friendly. In...

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