- The Washington Times - Monday, September 24, 2001

Dusting D.C.
Just how safe are we in Washington?
First lady Laura Bush took to the airwaves over the weekend, encouraging parents to tell their children that they're "safe."
No sooner was this unprecedented reassurance aired than Sen. Pat Roberts, a Kansas Republican who sits on the Select Intelligence Committee, emerged from a closed-door briefing to say that it's not a matter of "if" a second wave of terror will strike the United States but a matter of "when." Which makes us wonder how "safe" our children really are.
And as if that's not enough terror to swallow, Time magazine will report today that law-enforcement officials, while searching suspected terrorist hideouts in the United States, have found a manual on the operation of cropdusting equipment.
The discovery now adds to concerns among government counterterrorism experts that Osama bin Laden's conspirators may have been planning "or may still be planning," says Time to disperse "fast-killing" biological or chemical toxins into the air from a cropdusting plane normally used for agricultural purposes.
The National Agricultural Aviation Association has since posted this message from the FBI to its membership: "Members should be vigilant to any suspicious activity relative to the use, training in or acquisition of dangerous chemicals or airborne application of same, including threats, unusual purchases, suspicious behavior by employees or customers, and unusual contacts with the public."
Now it has become clear why the federal government banned all aircraft over stadium events in the United States.

Terrorist capital
The embattled republic of Tajikistan, which borders Afghanistan, is just one of several bases of Islamic militants who support Osama bin Laden, the prime suspect in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
Not a good place to visit, in other words.
In fact, Tajikistan is just about as dangerous a place as Washington, D.C. or so we can gather from the following description in Destination Guides:
"Kidnappings, downtown shootouts, poverty and desperation Washington D.C.? No, it's Tajikistan. This beleaguered Central Asian republic has its own flag, a national airline and a scattering of embassies abroad, but despite these emblems of sovereignty it remains a curiously incomplete and terribly troubled country."

Indefinite future
"We've pulled it indefinitely," Washington's WJLA-TV told Inside the Beltway yesterday, referring to ABC's show "Politically Incorrect With Bill Maher."
The host of the late-night talk show one week ago today infuriated many in America by claiming that the U.S. military practice of launching cruise missiles from 2,000 miles away was "cowardly."
Not only did several network affiliates around the country join Washington's Channel 7 in pulling the plug, Federal Express also pulled its advertising on the show "for the indefinite future."

Isaac and Ishmael
While we're on the subject of television, NBC's Emmy-winning "The West Wing" on Oct. 3 will air a special episode surrounding the terrorist attacks.
Details of the episode, written by creator Aaron Sorkin, are mostly secret; however, the program is reportedly titled "Isaac and Ishmael" the two sons of Abraham and respective leaders of the Jewish and Arab nations.
Washington pollster Frank Luntz, a well-known Republican adviser, recently began consulting for "The West Wing."

From the heartland
In the wake of the terrorist attacks, Inside the Beltway has been calling on Michigan resident Carrie Winter, a former schoolteacher and mother of three young children, to describe her myriad emotions. Mrs. Winter's latest thoughts:
"The metamorphosis in all the United States still continues. It is continuing in me. The sick feeling in the bottom of the stomach continues, the fear of the unknown is still present, but gradually these fears are being replaced.
"These fears are being replaced with a 'steely' resolve. That phrase is really overused, but it so describes the desire to win inside me. I am a mother bear, protecting her cubs. Anything that smacks of a threat to them, causes the hair on the back of my neck to stand up. I will defend and protect the lives entrusted to me.
"[Former Israeli Prime Minister] Benjamin Netanyahu, in his testimony before the Senate, said 'They have the will to destroy us, but they don't have the power. We have the power to destroy them; do we have the will?'"

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