- The Washington Times - Friday, September 28, 2001

Terrorism aside

"The friendliest country in the world, possibly the universe."

Lead sentence of the Web site Afghanistan Online (www.afghan-web.com)


Wurth telling

Herb Wurth was up to his usual practical joking when he telephoned his old Pentagon buddy Bill Clarke. By the time they hung up, neither was laughing.

Mr. Wurth explains what took place in a letter he sent this week to retired Air Force officer Frank Jennings, formerly assigned to the Pentagon in Washington:

"You may remember Bill Clarke, who used to work in [Pentagon Air Force personnel and public affairs], who at one time was an F-4 pilot in Vietnam. He now lives in Raleigh, N.C., in retirement," Mr. Wurth began.

"While visiting Raleigh this past weekend I called him, pretending (with my usual Wurth humor, which nobody understands but Wurth) to be a 'Sgt. Cunningham from Air Force Personnel in the Pentagon.' I asked him if he would be interested in coming back into the Air Force to fly F-4s at an undisclosed overseas location.

"He asked if I knew he was 73 years old. I told him that of course I knew that, as I had his personnel folder right in front of me, that his record showed he was an Air Force pilot flying F-4s in the Vietnam War, we were going to 'demothball' a lot of F-4s, and that we needed F-4 pilots very badly and, as he knew, you couldn't train them overnight.

"I thought he might catch on and know that I was joking, but much to my surprise he said, 'Sergeant, if the Air Force needs me, I'll be up there in the morning.' Of course, I then had to 'fess up."


Old warrior

"I'm going to vote, they need me."

Retired Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole, Kansas Republican, when asked why he was paying a return visit to Capitol Hill on Wednesday.


E-mail mission

When "Ma Bell," and particularly cellular phones, failed to function properly on the day terrorists struck Washington and New York, everybody from the nation's leaders concerned about more attacks to mothers worried about the safety of their children relied on the Internet to communicate.

As a result, the president and CEO of the Internet's technical coordination body, Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), tells Inside the Beltway that ICANN's annual meeting in November will now focus on pressing Internet stability and security issues.

"The events of September 11 have caused institutions worldwide to rethink their plans and priorities," says M. Stuart Lynn, whose corporation was created in 1998 to assume responsibility for Internet technical functions previously performed under U.S. government contract.

"The Internet is global in reach, as are the threats of terrorism," he notes. "September 11 offered a stark and tragic reminder of the incalculable importance to support emergency response, personal and other communications, and information sharing; e-mail, instant messaging, and the Web, for example, all played essential roles."


Status quo

President Bush went to great lengths yesterday flying all the way to Chicago to assure Americans that it's safe to fly again. Among his guarantees: the federal government bolstering and managing private security employees at all commercial airports, and purchasing and maintaining all security equipment.

Let's hope that happens soon.

One well-known K Street corporate lobbyist a "million-mile" flier with United Airlines who was en route yesterday to New England to give a speech to the World Affairs Conference says it's "business as usual" at one of the Washington area's two operating airports.

"I see nothing different than before the 11th," says the lobbyist, who asks not to be identified. "I went through security at Dulles airport this morning and there were no extra questions, and even though I carried an electric razor, personal computer, transistor radio and Palm Pilot, I was asked to turn nothing on. In Europe, I have to turn these items on all the time. Nobody asked me anything, as if nothing had happened."

There was no added security?

"There were three U.S. marshals standing over by a table talking to each other," says the lobbyist, "but they were not even looking at people like me passing through security. The regular 'blue sportcoat' folks just waved me through."


Nation's other disaster

"Lost in all of this, of course, is the real problem in Washington. [Redskins] Owner Daniel Snyder wrought all this chaos with his impatience and hubris in 2000, and now he gets to sit back and watch the disaster unfold, knowing no one in power can point the finger his way."

Sports Illustrated, after the Washington Redskins cut quarterback Jeff George Wednesday in light of the team's dismal start.

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