Footnotes of an America United

There were these footnotes to the story of America united.

NATO, for the first time ever, has invoked Article 5 of its charter, which says that an attack on one member is an attack on all and that each member country "will assist the party or parties so attacked by taking, forthwith, individually and in concert with the other parties, such actions it deems necessary, including the use of armed force."

But that seems not to matter much to Belgium or Norway, both of whom have said they have no intention of contributing arms or men to a war on terrorism.  Indeed, the Belgian foreign minister has rejected the use of the word "war."  Italy's defense minister, after first taking the same position, has now completely reversed himself. 

The Palestinian Authority would like the United States to know that Hamas and the Islamic Jihad, the two radical Muslim organizations responsible for hundreds of civilian deaths by suicide bombing, including the bombing that killed 15 people in that pizza parlor in Jerusalem in August, are not terrorists.  General Amin al-Hindi says he has told the CIA that these are groups "resisting a military occupation and cannot be considered terrorists."

Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson are backing away from that exchange they had last week on Robertson's 700 Club television show in which the two said the terrorist bombings were a result almighty God having lifted the protection he had previously given America.  The blame for that, Falwell said, could be aimed at "the pagans and the abortionists and the feminists and the gays and the lesbians who are trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People for the American Way, all of them who have tried to secularize America."

Robertson said at the time "I totally concur."  Now, though, he says the remarks were totally inappropriate and blamed his initial reaction on being caught off guard.  And Falwell is saying he is sorry and that the remarks were harsh and ill-timed. 

The Capitol Hill office of Democratic Congresswoman Barbara Lee of Oakland, California is under protection since she cast the lone vote last week against the bill authorizing the president to use force to fight terrorism.  Lee said she feared "an open-ended war with neither an exit strategy nor a focused target."

She has received an estimated 20,000 e-mails, most of them opposed to her, from around the country.  And back in California, the president of the Oakland NAACP has criticized her vote, calling it "dereliction of duty."