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Footnotes of an America United

 

 And there were these footnotes to the story of America strikes back.

Another sign that life isn't the same after September 11th: "Dear Abby" readers normally mail holiday greetings to soldiers overseas as a way to boost morale for troops away from family and friends.  But this year, the Defense Department has asked the column's distributor, Universal Press Syndicate, to stop the service because of concerns about anthrax.  The military postal service agency says the program is too vulnerable to tampering.

Meanwhile, Northwest Airlines has removed packets of Equal, Sweet'n'Low and powdered creamer from all its flights.  The spokesman for the carrier says the move was meant to prevent delays and ease fears.  Two flights this week were disrupted after passengers found white powdery substances on board.  Not anthrax, it seems, but artificial sweeteners and creamers.  The airline will continue to offer sugar and salt, neither of which is likely to be confused for anthrax spores.

The group Human Rights Campaign is complaining about a message scrawled on a bomb aboard the U.S.S. Enterprise.  An AP photographer onboard the aircraft carrier shot this picture showing the bomb with the message -- quote -- "highjack this, fags."  The Navy issued a statement saying the Pentagon understands and shares the view that the comment was way out-of-bounds.

The Navy's chief of information says commanders have been instructed to take steps to prevent something like this from happening again, but the statement noted that -- quote -- "There is no written Defense Department guidance covering spontaneous acts of penmanship by our fighting forces." The Navy says the overwhelming majority of statements have expressed support for victims of terrorist attacks.  Nevertheless, the Navy adds, the photo didn't meet Defense Department standards and the Pentagon never would have released it.

 

Finally, the "Miami Herald" reports that an immigration inspector almost kept hijacker Mohamed Atta from getting back into the U.S. earlier this year.  After arriving from Madrid on January 10th, Atta was questioned for nearly an hour at Miami International Airport.  He aroused suspicion by saying he wanted to take flight lessons in the U.S., even though he just had a tourist visa.  The second inspector eventually cleared him for entry into the country.

Our Fox poll shows Americans aren't sure exactly whom to blame for the anthrax attacks.  Forty-two percent point to Usama bin Laden, but 31 percent lay it at the feet of other parties.  And 14 percent feel bin Laden is working in conjunction with others.