Comments, and a Putin speech to Germany from sent in from around the www.

American Soldier!  If they ship you out, and you bite the big one in the service of our nation, I forgot to tell you the consequences.

You don't get 72 virgins, that's another religion. Ya gotta realize that today virgin means that she not only knows all the lyrics to Backstreet Boys and Britney Spears CDs but she'll use them in her love letters and her break-up emails, and they don't stay virgin for long anyway.

What we have lined up for you is even better.

You'll get 144 women with the sort of experience that will keep you up all night. The ones who know not only what you want, but what you need. The soccer moms with tantric training. The one that bought the minivan with the third seat that turns into a bed not because her kids fight if you don't keep them apart, but because she hoped you might need a lift home some night. The one that wrote her phone number for you in icing on a made-from-scratch cupcake. The one with such a sultry alto that when she speaks it is like a zipper unzipping.

The stakes are high, but the rewards are even higher. Are you man enough for it? Are you patriot enough?

Condit on the Homeland Security Committee. As his first official duty in office, a wired GC should be sent straight to Taliban headquarters to try and negotiate...

How well will American public hold up as the gradual truth dawns, that you can contain terrorism, fence in its group of supporters, but you can't actually beat it, militarily, or with counter-intelligence.

"The passport of a suspected hijacker has been discovered near the ruins of the World Trade Centre." - Ananova

That's one hell of a passport! It survives a massive explosion then flutters down to the ground where it can be easily found amongst the millions of tons of debris.

Did they not find the hijacker's address book with it? Entries:

O Bin Laden - Afghanistan S Hussein - Baghdad, Iraq

"The Anti-Terrorism Act of 2001 could land you life in prison if you don't have a firewall. Suppose someone launches an attack from your machine and you can't prove it was not you?'re in the slammer."

Did you buy your gas mask yet?

I'm afraid these gas masks won't be useful for anything other than Chlorine or Mustard gas attacks. You need a special rubberized full body suit to protect yourself from nerve gas, and vaccine shots for bio-weapons (either non-existent, or very rare and next to impossible to get, or available but limited to military personel). realistically, the only hope against a WMD (weapon of mass destruction-- chem, bio, nuke) attack, is move to Alaska or Southern Argentina.

Could someone tell me what kind of gas mask will protect from anthrax?. I'm serious...... There are NO MASK'S left in the Greater Sacramento area. They're on order. I heard a  lot of them won't work. 

Go to an industrial safety supplier, get a respirator and cartridges that will absorb organic chemical mists, and vapors. That will do it for both. Anthrax however, once applied, will live for centuries in the soil, possibly ruining the area forever. FYI, the best combo is a safety hard-hat, chemical goggles, and the respirator I mentioned above (the best you can afford, with cartridges that are suitable for organic pesticides, chemicals, mists, and vapors. If you just want to stop airborne anthrax "spores", a fine particulate filter would be enough, and is cheaper than the organic chemical filter cartridge. You may even consider a chemical hood and face shield, also available at industrial supply houses. There is no need to buy military surplus when the Industrial stuff is better. 

Putin addresses German parliament in Russian and then German BBC Monitoring Service - United Kingdom; Sep 25, 2001

Before a German audience, Russian President Vladimir Putin, has noted that even though the Cold War is over, Europe has still not rid itself of " many of the stereotypes and ideological cliches of the Cold War ". He complained that Russia was still being sidelined when important decisions were taken on things such as combating terrorism. Speaking about the attacks on America, Putin said everyone was responsible, but especially the politicians. This was down to the fact that people had failed to recognize the changes in the world over the last 10 years and had still not learnt to trust one another. The following is the text of Putin's speech to the German lower house, the Bundestag, carried live by Russia TV and German ZDF TV on 25 September:

Dear Mr President,

I am [first] going to speak in Russian for a while. Dear Mr President, dear Mr Chancellor, ladies and gentlemen.

First for Russian leader in Bundestag

I am sincerely grateful for the chance to speak in the Bundestag. This is the first time that a Russian leader has such an opportunity in the history of Russian-German relations. This honour I have been granted today only confirms the mutual interest of Russia and Germany in dialogue. I feel emotional that it is in Berlin that I can speak about Russian-German relations, about the development of ties between my country and a united Europe and about the problems of international security. Berlin is a city with a controversial history, a city which more than once in modern history has been the centre of confrontation with virtually the whole world; but even in the darkest hour no-one could smother the spirit of freedom and humanism, the foundations of which were laid by [philologist] Wilhelm von Humboldt and [dramatist and literary critic Gotthold] Lessing. Neither was this possible in the difficult years of Hitler's tyranny. Our country honours the memory of antifascist heroes.

Russia has always had special feelings for Germany and has treated your country as one of the major centres of world and European culture, a culture to the development of which Russia has also made a big contribution, a culture which has never known borders, which has always been our common asset and which has always united peoples. Therefore today I dare deliver the main part of my speech in the language of Goethe, Schiller and Kant, in German.

Democracy and freedom caused collapse of USSR

[Putin continues his speech in German] Ladies and gentlemen, I have just talked about the unity of European culture. Nevertheless, this unity did not prevent the outbreak of two terrible wars on the continent, two wars in the course of one century. Nor did it prevent the building of the Berlin Wall, which became the fateful symbol of Europe's profound division. For us, the Berlin Wall no longer exists, it has been destroyed. It would be appropriate to remember today once again how this happened.

I am sure that the great changes in the world, in Europe, and in the area of the former Soviet Union would not have been possible without some main preconditions, namely the events that took place in Russia 10 years ago. These events are important in order to understand what happened in our country and what one can expect from Russia in the future.

Actually, the answer is simple: under the effect of the laws of development of the information society, totalitarian Stalinist ideology was no longer able to oppose the ideas of democracy and freedom. The spirit of these ideas filled the overwhelming majority of Russian citizens. In particular, the political choice of the Russian people enabled the leadership of the former USSR to make the decisions that, in the end, led to the tearing down of the Berlin Wall. In particular, this choice has repeatedly extended the limits of European humanism and permits us to claim that nobody will ever be able to turn Russia back to the past. [applause]

Russia can strengthen Europe

As regards European integration, we do not simply support these processes but watch them with hope. We watch them as a people that has learnt well the lessons of the Cold War and of the detrimental ideology of occupation. I assume it would be appropriate to add that Europe did not gain anything from this division, either.

I am firmly convinced that in today's fast changing world, where truly dramatic demographic changes and unusually high economic growth can be seen in some regions of the world, Europe, too, is directly interested in the development of relations with Russia. [applause]

Nobody doubts the great value of Europe's relations with the United States. However, I simply think that, certainly and in the long-term, Europe will better consolidate its reputation as a powerful and really independent centre of international politics, if it combines its own possibilities with Russia's human, territorial, and natural resources, with Russia's economic, cultural, and defence potential. [applause]

We have already taken the first steps in this direction together. Now it is time to think about what can be done to turn a united and safe Europe into the pioneer of a united and safe world.

Russia wants "stable peace"

Ladies and gentlemen; in the field of security we have done quite a lot over the past few years. The security system, which we established over the past decades, has been improved. One of the achievements of the past decades has been the unprecedentedly low concentration of armed forces and weapons in central Europe and the Baltic region. Russia is a friendly European country. For our country, which has suffered throughout a century of disastrous wars, stable peace on the continent is the main goal.

As is known, we have ratified the treaty on the comprehensive prohibition of nuclear tests, the treaty on the nonproliferation of nuclear weapons, the convention on the ban on biological weapons, as well as the START II agreement. Unfortunately, not all NATO countries have followed our example. However, ladies and gentlemen, if we talk about security, we must first realize from whom we must protect ourselves and how.

Politicians clinging to old values to blame for US attacks

In this connection, I cannot avoid mentioning the disaster that took place in the United States on 11 September. People all over the world wonder how this could happen, and who is to blame for it. I will answer these questions: I think we are all to blame for this, in particular we, the politicians, to whom the ordinary citizens of our countries have entrusted their safety. And is it happening primarily because we still have not managed to recognize the changes that have happened in the world over the past 10 years. We continue to live in the old system of values. We speak of a partnership, but, in reality, we still have not yet learnt to trust one another. Despite all the sweet talk, we secretly still resist. Sometimes we demand loyalty with NATO, sometimes we quarrel about the purpose of its enlargement. We still cannot agree on the problems of the missile defence system, and so on and so forth.

World is no longer bipolar but much more complicated

Indeed, over many decades of the 20th century, the world lived under the conditions of the opposition of two systems, which almost destroyed all of mankind several times over. This was very frightening, and we got so used to living in this count-down system that we are still unable to understand today's changes in the world, as if we did not realize that the world is no longer divided into two hostile camps. Ladies and gentlemen, the world has become much more complicated. [applause]

We do not want to or cannot see that the security structure which we created over the past decades and which worked efficiently to neutralize the old threats is now unable to withstand the new threats. Often, we continue to quarrel about issues that, in our opinion, are still important. Probably, they are still important, but, while doing this, we fail to see the new, real threats and overlook attacks - and what brutal attacks.

Attacks on Russian cities in 1999 recalled

As a result of the explosions in the inhabited apartments in Moscow and in other major Russian cities [in 1999], hundreds of peaceful people were killed. After having grabbed power in Chechnya and taken ordinary citizens hostage, religious fanatics launched an impudent and large-scale armed attack on the neighbouring republic of Dagestan. International terrorists have openly, quite openly, stated their intention to establish a new, fundamentalist state between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea - the so-called Caliphate or the United States of Islam.
I would like to stress that it is impermissible to speak about a battle of civilizations. It would be wrong to equate Muslims in general with religious fanatics. In our country, for instance, in 1999 it was precisely the courageous and tough reaction by the inhabitants of Dagestan that caused the defeat of the aggressors, and the inhabitants of Dagestan are 100 % Muslim.

Shortly before my departure for Berlin, I met the spiritual leaders of Muslims in Russia. They seized the initiative to hold an international conference in Moscow, under the slogan of Islam Against Terror. I think we should support this initiative. [applause]

Struggle against terrorism should be coordinated

Nowadays it is not just international problems which we already know are escalating, but new dangers are also developing. Indeed, Russia, together with some CIS countries, forms the real barrier to drug trafficking, organized crime, and fundamentalism crossing over from Afghanistan, Central Asia and the Caucasus to Europe. Terrorism, national hatred, separatism, and religious extremism have the same roots everywhere and bear the same poisonous fruit. That is why the methods to fight these problems should also be universal. However, first we should agree on fundamental issues. We should not be afraid to talk frankly about the problems. It is very important to understand that criminal acts cannot be used to pursue political objectives, regardless of how good these objectives may be. [applause]

Of course, evil should be punished - I agree with that. However, we must understand that no retaliation can be a substitute for a comprehensive, purposeful, and well-coordinated struggle against terrorism. In this respect, I fully agree with the US President. [applause]

I think that the readiness of our partners to gather together their forces in order to combat these real dangers, which are not just an illusion, will show just how serious and reliable our partners are. These dangers can stab right at the heart of Europe from the remote borders of our continent. I have said so repeatedly, but following the events in the United States, I do not need to prove that any longer.

Obstacles to closer partnership need to be tackled

What do we lack nowadays for efficient cooperation? Despite all the positive things that have been achieved over the past decades, we have not yet managed to work out an efficient mechanism for cooperation. The coordination organs, which have been established so far, do not give Russia any real opportunity to participate in the preparation of decisions. Nowadays, decisions are sometimes made without [consulting] us at all, and then we are emphatically asked to approve them. Then there is once again talk about loyalty to NATO; it is even said that without Russia it would be impossible to implement these decisions. We wonder whether this is normal, whether this is a real partnership.
Yes, the implementation of democratic principles in international relations, the ability to find the right resolutions, and the readiness for compromise - these are difficult things. Yes, it was the Europeans themselves who first understood the importance of seeking joint resolutions and rising above national egotisms. We agree, these are good ideas. The quality of decision-making, their efficiency, and - finally - European international security largely depend on the extent to which we can turn these clear principles into practical politics today.

Europe still divided even though Cold War over

It appeared only a short time ago that soon a common house would be built on the continent, a house in which Europeans would not be divided into eastern and western, or northern and southern. Yet, such dividing lines remain. The reason is that we have so far not freed ourselves for good from many of the stereotypes and ideological cliches of the Cold War. Today we must state firmly and finally: The Cold War is over. [applause]

The world has entered a new stage of development. We understand that without a modern, lasting, and firm international security architecture we will never create an atmosphere of trust on the continent; and without that atmosphere of trust, a united, larger Europe will not be possible. It is our duty today to say that we will rid ourselves of these stereotypes and ambitions, and together guarantee security to the people of Europe and the whole world.

Russia still misunderstood

Dear friends; when people in Europe talk about Russia today, they fortunately do not do so only in connection with oligarchs, corruption, and the mafia. Still, there is a great lack of objective information on Russia. I can say with confidence that the main objective of Russia's domestic policy is, first and foremost, to guarantee democratic rights and liberties, a decent standard of living and the security of the people. Yet, dear colleagues, let us take a look back at recent developments.

Russia embarked on a painful path of reform.

The magnitude of the challenges we had to face was unparalleled in history. Of course, many mistakes were made. Not all problems have been solved. Nevertheless, at the moment, Russia is an extremely dynamic element on the European continent. This dynamism is not limited to the political sphere, but can also be seen in the economic area, which gives us great hope.

Russian economy shaping up well

Political stability in Russia is being achieved thanks to several economic factors and not least also thanks to one of the most liberal tax systems in the world. It is true: our income tax is 13 per cent, and the profit tax is 24 per cent. [applause, unintelligible interjections]

Thank you. Economic growth last year reached 8 per cent, 8.3 per cent, to be more precise. This year, we were planning on 4 per cent, but the economy will most likely grow by about 6 per cent, maybe 5.5 or 5.7 per cent; we'll see. At the same time I am convinced that only comprehensive and equal European cooperation will produce the step forward we need to solve problems such as unemployment, environmental pollution and so on.
We are ready for close trade and economic cooperation. We are also planning to join the WTO in the immediate future. We expect international and European organizations to support our efforts. [applause]

I would like to turn your attention to things that you, as legislators, are certainly in a position to evaluate better, and that will not be seen as propaganda. A change of priorities and values has taken place in our country. In the consolidated budget of 2002, social spending occupies first place. I would like to emphasize that, for the first time in Russian history, spending on education has exceeded defence spending. [applause]

Russians and Germans have similar mentality

Dear colleagues; let me now say a few words on German-Russian relations. I would like to look at this separately. Russian-German relations are as old as our countries. The first Teutons appeared in Russia at the end of the first century. At the end of the 19th century, Germans were the ninth largest ethnic group in Russia. Yet, it is not only the figures that count, but the role that these people have played in the development of our country and in German-Russian relations. These people were farmers, merchants, intellectuals, military people and politicians. Russia and America are separated by oceans, between Russia and Germany, there is our great history, the German historian Michael Stuermer once wrote. I would say that, just like the oceans, history not only separates but also unites countries. [applause]

It is important to interpret this history properly. As a good western neighbour, Germany often embodied Europe for the Russians: European culture, the talent to think in technical categories and commercial skills. It was no coincidence that, in the past, all Europeans were referred to as Germans in Russia; and the European district in Moscow was called the German neighbourhood. The two peoples have, of course, had a mutual cultural influence. Many generations of Germans and Russians studied and still today enjoy the works of Goethe, Dostoyevskiy, and Lev Tolstoy. Our two peoples understand each other's mentality very well. A good example of this are the excellent Russian translations of German writers; these translations are very close to the original texts, maintain the rhythm, the atmosphere, and the beauty of the originals. Boris Pasternak's translation of Faust is only one example of this.

Russia and Germany have shared history

Ladies and gentlemen; our shared history has many different aspects, including painful ones - especially in the 20th century. Yet, in the past we were allies more often than not. The relations between these two European peoples were always bolstered by marriages between dynasties. Women have actually always played a major role in our history. [applause]

Just think of the daughter of the Prince of Hesse-Darmstadt, Ludwig IV, known in Russia as Princess Elizabeth; a tragic fate. After her husband was murdered, she founded a nunnery. During World War I, she nursed wounded Russians and Germans. In 1918, she was executed by the Bolsheviks. Yet, not long ago, she was recognized and canonized - for general veneration. A monument in her honour now stands in the centre of Moscow.
We must not forget the Princess of Anhalt-Zerbst; her name was Sophie Auguste Friederike - and she made a unique contribution to Russian history. Simple Russian people called her mother. Yet, she went down in history as Russian Empress Catherine the Great.

New era opening in Russo-German relations

Germany is today Russia's most important business partner, and our biggest creditor, one of the main investors, and our eminent partner with regard to foreign policy. One example: last year, trade between our two countries climbed to the record level of DM41.5bn. That is comparable to the total trade of the two German states [before unification] and the Soviet Union. Can we be satisfied with this and just rest on our laurels? I do not think so. There is plenty of room for improvement in German-Russian cooperation. [applause]

I am convinced that we are opening a new page in the history of our bilateral relations today. By doing so, we are making a joint contribution to building the European home. [applause]

In conclusion I would like to utter the words which in the past were used to characterize Germany and its capital, and I would like to use these words to refer to Russia and say: We are, of course, at the beginning of the road of building a democratic society and the market economy. This path is littered with hurdles and obstacles that we have to overcome. Yet, apart from all objective problems and sometimes - sincerely and honestly - our lack of ability, the strong and vital heart of Russia beats beneath all of this; and this heart is ready for fully-fledged cooperation and partnership. Thank you very much. [applause]

Russia TV, Moscow, in Russian 1330 gmt 25 Sep 01 [for Putin in Russian]
ZDF TV, Mainz, in German 1330 gmt 25 Sep 01
/BBC Monitoring/ © BBC.