- The Washington Times - Monday, March 17, 2003

Two-wheel escape
During the height of the Cold War in the 1950s, Wendel Allen represented the U.S. Air Force on a panel studying how the city of Washington could be evacuated in event of enemy attack.
Mr. Allen therefore was intrigued upon reading last week that the U.S. government was conducting a similar evacuation study a half-century later.
During the Cold War, he tells this column, "it was suggested that flat railroad cars could be stationed near the 14th Street bridge, and when the siren went off, people could rush to them."
Mr. Allen didn't think much of the idea.
"After weeks of conferences, this is what was decided and voted upon," he says. "It passed with one abstention Wendel Allen."
In addition, he says, all major road arteries leading out of the nation's capital were to be designated "one-way," with no traffic crossings permitted along any of the escape routes.
"The panel fully believed that if there was absolutely no cross traffic, the cars could go right out of the city," Mr. Allen says. "We even had large maps printed showing the major arteries to be distributed to the public."
But what about the evacuees' loved ones at home and school?
"Working men were not to attempt to go home to get their wives and children," Mr. Allen reveals. "The wives were also to get on one of those outgoing arteries and under no circumstances were they to attempt to go to the schools to get their children.
"It would be the teachers' responsibility to get the children out of town," he says. "I attempted to tell the committee that if they thought the mothers would drive merrily out of the city without their children, they truly believed in the tooth fairy."
Finally, Mr. Allen says he used to drive in a car pool with a "little old lady" who, in his expert opinion, "was the only person I knew who had a workable idea. She said if you wanted to get out of town and survive, you should buy a motor scooter … keep it gasolined up and ready to go.
"If the sirens went off, you could rev up your scooter and could make your getaway," she had explained to him. "You could get around the stalled cars and in case of road problems you could actually lift your scooter around them."
"After thinking about it for over 50 years," says Mr. Allen, "the little lady was right then, and is still right."
Buy some Burgundy
A U.S. senator took the unusual step of issuing a news release Friday calling on The Washington Post to publish a retraction after its "Reliable Source" gossip column published a "totally inaccurate" item.
Sen. Chuck Hagel, Nebraska Republican, "did not criticize President Bush [about Iraq] in his speech, as reported in the column. Senator Hagel was supportive of President Bush in his remarks," the release stated.
The newspaper had written that Mr. Hagel, in a speech Thursday to the National Council of International Visitors, was "critical of fellow Republican President Bush's 'unilateralism.'"
Yes, the senator told the gathering: "I'd like to announce that tonight I'm off to buy a case of French wine."
However, Hagel communications director Mike Buttry said yesterday that the senator was not referencing his support for the French government's anti-war position.
"It was a very serious speech," he says, in which Mr. Hagel told "ambassadors and elected officials that they need to do their part to bring our allies [like France] together."
As in buying a case of French wine.
"Senator Hagel didn't say anything remotely sympathetic about the French position on Iraq," says Mr. Buttry. "He mentioned [President Bush] three times, and every time it was positive."
The Post has since issued a retraction.
Special protection
A U.S. lobbying firm helping to rebuild Afghanistan "hires only U.S. Army Special Forces veterans," reveals Kevin McCauley on the public relations news site odwyerpr.com.
The Four Horsemen International is "busy lining up investors and providing security in Afghanistan," says Mr. McCauley, who identifies the Horsemen as Jim Weatherford, John Allen, Gerry Escarfullery and Mike Bergen.
They arrange security and business meetings and rent houses and cars for potential investors in Afghanistan, he says, believing their military backgrounds offer clients the "very best levels of protection parameters."
"The firm will only hire ex-Special Forces personnel to 'guarantee the professionalism' of their work," notes the writer. Already the firm is providing security for Kandahar Gov. Gul Agha Shairzai and his brothers.
"The brothers are the sons of Haji Abdul Latif, who was dubbed the 'Lion of [Kandahar]' for his heroics during the Russian occupation," writes Mr. McCauley. "The Shairzais were U.S. allies in the fight against the Taliban and al Qaeda and are committed to improving the quality of life and economic stability of Afghanistan, according to the Horsemen's federal filing."
The firm is named after the Four Horsemen war, death, pestilence and famine of the Book of Revelation.

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