- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 13, 2003

The color-coded terror assessment has been raised to orange, and that goes double for the denizens of the Washington region.
Washington is one of Osama bin Laden's go-to cities, if anyone still cares to accept the unyielding clarity of September 11.
Bin Laden, who, unfortunately, is still breathing, has crawled out from under his rock to let the world know that he feels compelled to help his good buddy, Saddam Hussein.
War is not the answer, of course, to quote the shrill number of airheads who see a considerable amount of negotiating room in bin Laden's kill-all-Americans doctrine. The wiggle room apparently is in the method of America's death, whether by chemical, biological or radiological means. Bin Laden probably is receptive to letting it be our choice, just as long as we are dead and he is not.
Right. It is a religious thing. We are not supposed to understand.
We are, in fact, supposed to go to the store to stock up on bottled water, duct tape, flashlights and batteries. We are supposed to decorate our windows and doors with plastic sheeting in the event of the unthinkable. We also are supposed to give the gasbags of the United Nations, Hans Blix and peace a chance.
This is the message emanating from the latest half-baked video of Madonna, the well-known foreign diplomat whose ability to stir the masses has dwindled in relation to her increasing age.
She is about out of time to become the first singer to have sex on video, which appeared to be a logical career move for her at one time, and has taken up the cause of Iraq instead.
There is something wrong with this picture. We are being urged to purchase duct tape and hunker down for the inevitable, while Madonna and her ilk are exploring their deep reservoir of humanity. The disconnect is especially insulting at this time. This is Code Orange time, after all, no time to be feeling the pain of Saddam or any other crackpot who is in a hurry to mingle with the 72 virgins in the afterlife.
By the way, the virgin thing certainly eliminates Madonna, if anyone that good in math has been able to keep score on her social activities over the years.
Here's the overriding element in all this: plastic sheeting.
This is the item that is supposed to keep the bad air out of your living space, if it comes to that. Great. In 2003, the plastic sheeting that insulates you from a potentially toxic environment is what it is all about. Are the experts certain of that? What if the plastic sheeting has a pinprick in it? Does that mean you die anyway, although in slower fashion than if you went outside and took a big gulp of bad air?
This is where we are in the war on terror, in the war against all the Richard Reid-like crazies. This is so fundamentally obvious, so hard to ignore in the day-to-day goings-on around Washington that you don't know whether to laugh or cry around the background noise of the nitwits in Hollywood, the nearly dead misfits from the Vietnam War protest days and the far-left loonies who have nothing better to do than come to Washington every so often and chant, "An eye for an eye and the world goes blind."
To which Washington says: The world also looks really different behind plastic sheeting.
Not to be too fine with the point here, but if it is either the virgin-seeking nutcases or us, the decision to choose them is easy, motivated by self-preservation, however primitive the notion is.
Like it or not, Washington has been forced to adapt to the new world disorder, to ever-increasing security measures, to closed streets, to concrete barriers being planted here and there, to a level of distrust that is at odds with the nation's freedom-loving spirit.
Even the poor blue-haired grandmother from Minnesota is obligated to undergo the security song and dance at airports, if randomly selected.
This is the reality, all too obvious, however incremental the changes have been in the past 17 months.
The famous have enough wealth to be insulated from it, to be above it all.
They don't have to concern themselves with duct tape or plastic sheeting.
They can go to their faraway chateau to wait it out, if necessary.
We don't have that luxury in these parts. We are living it from our makeshift bunkers.

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