Originally published 03/18/2013
My youngest daughter was born in December 2001: a war baby. When my wife nursed little Beatrice in the middle of the night, she’d hear F-16s patrolling the Washington skies.During the weeks before, anthrax attacks had killed five people and infected 17 others. What would come next?In October, I attended a crowded briefing in the fourth-floor auditorium of the Executive Office Building, at which the Secret Service explained its plans to protect the White House against a biological attack. They weren’t very reassuring. Basically, we’d all be dead. Even more disturbing were the small-session briefings by staffers for the new Homeland Security adviser. They warned of simultaneous car bombings at strategic intersections, targeted assassinations of officials as they retrieved their morning papers from their stoops, and poisonous gases released in Metro stations....These anxieties may sound luridly overdramatic today, but they suffused the mental atmosphere of the government of the United States as President Bush made the fateful decision to launch the Iraq War.
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