With a second trip to Iraq under his belt, new Defense Secretary Robert Gates has taken an immersion course in the war. Weeks after touring Iraq, he was in Afghanistan last week securing support for the U.S. mission from the allies he met with. But his was no luxury junket. Sure, he ate five-course dinners with heads of state, but mostly it was box lunches and warmed over meatloaf on military aircraft, says an aide. And the hours: One day lasted over 25 hours and included a stop at the Saudi king's hunting lodge outside Riyadh.
With Dan Gilgoff and Angie C. Marek