"Our policy is simple: We are not going to betray our friends, reward the enemies of freedom, or permit fear and retreat to become American policies. ... None of the four wars in my lifetime came about because we were too strong. It is weakness ... that invites adventurous adversaries to make mistaken judgments." -- former President Ronald Reagan
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.
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."
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," 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," 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, 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 Allen, "the little lady was right then, and is still right."
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 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 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.
READ OUR RIGHTS
Police departments nationwide should reread the Constitution, suggests a senior congressman, because there exists a "misunderstanding" of one's actual rights.
Rep. Roscoe G. Bartlett (R-Md.) was angry to learn last week that anti-war protesters in La Habra, Calif., destroyed a private memorial to the victims of Sept. 11.
"The anti-war protesters burned and ripped flags while the local police watched and did nothing," says the congressman. "It is unconscionable there would be Americans who would show no respect for those victims of 9/11.
"Even more outrageous is that the police department excused this vandalism by citing the First Amendment's protection of freedom of speech. Freedom of speech is a God-given right of every American; destroying private property is not."
So Bartlett requests that the La Habra Police Department - and all law- enforcement officers nationwide - re-examine the Constitution, Amendment I of which states: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."