Arthur Hochstein was the art director of TIME magazine from 1994 to the end of 2009. In a feature for SPD he included this as one of his favorite covers.
I’ve always thought that some of the best covers have a poster-like quality: simplicity, strong typography and a clear image. Take away the border and the logo and there is still a complete image. The subject was “What will Iraq look like after the U.S. pulls out?” I had to show a hypothetical, and that called for a conceptual approach. The primary element was typographic—remove the A from IRAQ and fill it with the American flag. I tried several options, including pulling the A off to the side with a rope. But when I tried removing it from above it took on added power, because it echoes the U.S. withdrawal from Saigon at the end of the Vietnam War. The helicopter came from a stock agency; there’s a story behind that, but it’ll cost you a cocktail(!) to hear it.