Today's Story Line:
BOSTON — Some 400 missiles later, the world is a different place. The Iraq bombing opened an era in which nations simply attack to eliminate weapons before they are used. And the US is now stuck with containing Iraq militarily, not just by sanctions or UN inspections. The US also crossed a line and is actively trying to bring down Saddam Hussein. Meanwhile, the UN is scratching its collective head over whether a superpower has usurped its role. Quote of note: The US attack "reduces the role of the UN regarding Iraq, but it also reduces the role of the Security Council in general in future crises." - US official.
Former superpower Russia, which holds nukes in one hand and a beggar's cup in the other, is being held accountable for how it distributes emergency US food aid aimed to head off a famine.
America's war on drugs extends to ending a civil war in the world's major source of cocaine. Peace talks are due next month in Colombia.
- Clayton Jones
REPORTERS ON THE JOB
* CAN'T CALL DOMINO'S: Usually the press center in Baghdad isn't all that crowded, but when things heat up in Iraq, it's a different story. Like other reporters with satellite telephones, the Monitor's Scott Peterson was set up just outside the center, laptop computer balanced on a makeshift desk. From his vantage point, he could spot 14 other "sat phones." Scott and others have been spending nights at the press center so they don't miss any action. The reporters feed on takeout pizza and roast chicken. "The pizza's all right," says Scott.
* GUERRILLAS IN THE MIDST: Covering the Colombian government's peace negotiations with rebels, contributor Quil Lawrence discovered just how rooted guerrillas have become in the hinterlands. He spent a few hours in the crowded motorboat that serves as the commuter line down the Cagun River to Puerto Betania, a remote town in the area the government has agreed to give over to the rebels as a peace-negotiation zone.
When the boat arrived he saw two men walking down from the village with AK-47 assault rifles, dressed in black pants and camouflage T-shirts. No one gave the guerrillas a second glance - nor did they seem to care that there was a "gringo" journalist snooping around. Lawrence later saw one of the young men, in civilian clothes, riding a horse through town. Leaving Puerto Betania on the morning boat, he saw five rebels rush to catch a ride. Stepping down into the rocking boat, one of them, in a casual "here, hold this" gesture, handed his rifle to the farmer sitting next to Lawrence so as not to drop it.