The Back Story 

Thursday, Feb 27 2003

"Eisenhower, who led the European Allies to victory in World War II and was president from 1953 to 1961, faced a crisis in Egypt similar to today's and effectively chose containment rather than invasion . . . Now the focus is on Saddam, and it's true that he has been brutal and threatening for 25 years -- particularly in the 1980s when Don Rumsfeld was cozying up to him in Baghdad and the U.S. was shipping him seven strains of anthrax. The last 10 years have been the best-behaved of Saddam's career (not saying much), and he's now 65, controlling an army only one-third its peak strength, and in the twilight of his menace."

What would Ike do? "Hitler on the Nile," by Nicholas D. Kristof in The New York Times.

"Turns out that nearly half -- 46 percent to be precise -- of the duct tape sold in this country is manufactured by a company in Avon, Ohio. And the founder of that company, that would be Jack Kahl, gave how much to the Republican National Committee and other GOP committees in the 2000 election cycle? Would that be more than $100,000?"

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How to turn a profit on paranoia: "The GOP Home Shopping Network," from the Washington Post.

"In one week in this city, an anti-war demonstration was blocked by the mayor and police commissioner, and now Bernadette Devlin is deported. That one comes from Washington. She is cleared easily by American agents in Dublin who knew she was in order. Suddenly, they are ordered to send a fax to Chicago to block her. Somebody in Washington, with the mind of a rodent, has to order that."

After 30 years of freedom, 55-year-old Irish revolutionary and former member of the British Parliament Bernadette Devlin McAliskey has been banned from the United States. From Newsday.

"Drill sergeants exaggerate how terrible this stuff was to keep the recruits awake in class . . . Forget everything you've ever seen on TV, in the movies, or read in a novel about this stuff . . . These weapons are about terror, if you remain calm, you will probably not die. This is far less scary than the media and their 'experts' make it sound."

Comforting words on the exaggerated risks of biological agents, by Sergeant First Class Red Thomas, armor master gunner (retired), resurfaced after the last "Orange" terror alert. Commentary and context from the Urban Legends Reference Pages.

Reach the writer at judith.lewis@laweekly.com

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