Footnotes of an America United

There were these footnotes to the story of America fighting back in the war on terrorism.

The first Congressional voice of dissent to the U.S. operation in Afghanistan comes from Democratic Congressman Jim McDermott, an outspoken liberal from Seattle, Washington.

Quote: "I'm not so sure President Bush, members of administration or the military have thought this action out completely or fully examined America's cause," Jim McDermott. He voted against the Gulf War 10 years ago. He added -- quote -- "the destruction of the infrastructure did not work in Iraq. This sounds an awful lot like Iraq."

McDermott's comments, in a Seattle radio interview on Monday generated what the host of that interview said was the most immediate negative response he's ever experienced on his show.

The Madison, Wisconsin school board has barred local schools from saying the Pledge of Allegiance each day, preferring instead to play the National Anthem. There's a new state law in Wisconsin that requires schools to do one or the other, and the Madison school board ruled against the Pledge of Allegiance because they said it contains the phrase "under God." So it will play the National Anthem, without the words, which school board President Calvin Williams described as the -- quote -- "least intrusive and least offensive course."

The French humanitarian group, Medecins Sans Frontieres, which means "doctors without borders," has denounced the food air drops over -- the U.S. is doing over Afghanistan. The group said the drops are -- quote -- "a purely propaganda tool of little real value to the Afghan people," end quote. What is needed, said the group, is large-scale convoys of basic foodstuffs rather than single meals designed for soldiers.

In fact, the U.S. is sending in large quantities of grain and other food in addition to the 37,000 meal rations it has been air-dropping since Monday. Doctors Without Borders suspended its work in Afghanistan when the airstrikes began.

And Senior Bush administration officials are privately conceding that while a major effort is under way to track the money wing to terrorist organizations, it is unlikely to be able to cut off funds in advance for a new terrorist organization. The money may be able to be traced afterward, a senior official told me, but the use of cash is likely to thwart advance knowledge of where it is going.