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Compiled by Cheryl Seal

NOTE: For past issues of Troop News, go to http://Democrats.com and put TROOP NEWS (don't enclose in quotes) into the "compass" search bar on the upper left hand margin.)


DUSTOFF! Medics Train in South Korea for Lightning-Fast Evacuations of the Wounded

by Franklin Fisher
Stars and Stripes:

The dustoff, a helicopter rescue of the wounded, became famous during the Vietnam War, when rescue pilots earned a battlefield reputation for unflinching devotion to getting the wounded out, often under heavy fire.

For the crew of Dustoff 3-6, from the Army's 377th Medical Company (Air Ambulance), the latest mission on this gray, hazy afternoon was a training exercise being played out among the green foothills and rice paddies of central South Korea.Based at Camp Humphreys, the company is part of the 52nd Medical Battalion, which is headquartered at Yongsan Garrison and handles medical evacuations by both ground ambulance and helicopter.

Within minutes of the alert, Dustoff 3-6 was lifting away from the rock-strewn battalion area, a brownish mass of camouflaged tents ranged along a sandy riverbank. On its sides the Black Hawk bore a red cross painted on a white square background.

Within a minute of the 1:35 p.m. takeoff, the Black Hawk banked sharply on its course, beating through the air at 220 mph. Below it passed long glimpses of rice plots, telephone poles, peach and grape farms, the occasional dirt or concrete road, farm houses and outbuildings with roofs of pastel blue or orange.

Aboard were the command pilot, 1st Lt. Michael Allums; the co-pilot, Chief Warrant Officer 2 Darby Brown; the crew chief, Pfc. James Pfrenger; and the flight medic, Spc. Nicolas Mudge.Less than three minutes after launching, Dustoff 3-6 spotted the ambulance with its four waiting wounded. The pilot set the Black Hawk down, weeds flailing or bent flat in the rotorwash.

But what crew members found [in this simulation] was not what the nine-line had led them to expect. Instead of only two of the four soldiers needing litters, the two walking wounded were serious enough to need them, too. One's entire arm had been nearly shot away, only a stump protruding from his shoulder. The other had broken ribs.

Now the crew faced a snap decision.

"It was one of those things where we had to make the call, either calling in another aircraft or just loading them on the aircraft and getting them out of there," said Mudge.Mudge and the pilot talked quickly."And we chose to get them out of there as soon as possible," Mudge said.

Soldiers rushed their wounded buddies to the helicopter. The litter patients were set onto long metal racks inside the helo. The others sat. The pilot pulled pitch. It was 2:13 p.m.

In the air, Mudge tended the litter cases. One had a simulated head injury and sucking chest wound. The other had an "impaled object" protruding from his chest.Fourteen minutes later, Dustoff 3-6 was back with the wounded.

Finding that four, not two, soldiers really should have been litter cases helped make the day's training especially valuable, Mudge said.

"I think it definitely prepares you for more real-world, such as what's going on in the Middle East, to be able to think on the fly and make certain decisions: "How can we get all of these guys on the aircraft?" "How can we get them out of here now?" To get a real taste of having to make split-second decisions and think on your feet and making things happen.

"By the time you get to the scene, nothing is what you think it's going to be. So thinking on your feet and being flexible is probably the most important thing about being a flight medic," Mudge said. Mudge has been an Army medic for nearly four years and he sees a big difference between flight medics and ground medics.

"I'd definitely say, having been a ground medic - they are two completely different worlds. I really feel flight medics in general have to have a more aggressive, tireless kind of spirit, just due to the nature of the job. Because it is a pretty rough atmosphere to try to work any kind of medicine in. The constant noise. Things like altitude. Just getting used to being on an aircraft."


Marine Corps Sergeant Sacrifices First Vacation in 20 Years to Aid Hurricane Victims

by Johanna Wilson
Sun News via Myrtle Beach Online

Hard rain stung his chest and pummeled his face, but 1st Sgt. Fletcher Armstrong III would not be stopped by nature's fury.

Food and water were needed by people at Secrets Excellence Punta Cana Resort in the Dominican Republic, and he was determined the need would be met.

So, the 38-year-old Marine forced his way through Hurricane Jeanne's 110 mph winds to get to the main common area about 500 yards from his hotel room. He wore only blue scuba shoes and a pair of red shorts with the word "lifeguard" on them.

The people he helped remember his red shorts and have stenciled his steely will into their memory. These former strangers, folk Armstrong now considers friends, are grateful to him because he fought the storm for them. For three days, Armstrong took on the role of provider, protector, watcher and warrior for 500 people - 100 Europeans and 400 Americans - stranded at a five-star hotel.

Folk say he is a hero. He shrugs off that lofty label. He is crying now, moved by thank-you e-mails and cards celebrating his leadership.

"If it wasn't for Fletcher, we would still be there," says D. Mitzi Dazo Strother, 67, of Holmdel, N.J. "And I say that from the bottom of my heart. He got everything going smoothly. I feel indebted to Fletcher. He is a credit to the Marines Corps. We are proud of him. He deserves any honor he gets."

Armstrong, who bought his home here May 19, just wanted a vacation. He longed to enjoy a romantic adventure with his fiancee, Melissa Hoffman, 34. He wanted to spoil her, and they both felt deserving of the time off. It had taken him four years to save the $4,500 needed for their trip.

"I'd never taken a vacation in my life," says Armstrong, a 20-year Marine veteran. "I was really excited about it."

Their US Airways flight arrived at 1:49 p.m. Sept. 15, a Wednesday, in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, but it took until 6 p.m. to reach their hotel, Secrets Excellence Punta Cana Resort.

"We got there and thought, 'This looks like Mr. Roarke's Fantasy Island,'" Armstrong said. "It was breathtaking."

The all-inclusive, adults-only resort was a majestic mix of marble, canopy beds, seven exquisite restaurants, thick robes and boutiques.

But after about an hour and a half of getting settled, they sensed something was wrong.....


Knitting Ladies Commemorate Fallen Soldiers

It's the little things that have helped Pat Dartt keep going. In the six months since her son, Bradley Fox, died from injuries he suffered as a soldier in Iraq, Dartt has been sustained by the small things people have given, said or done to help her through her grief.

Perhaps the most remarkable was the surprise package on her doorstep a month ago. Inside was an afghan knitted from red, white and blue yarn. Made of 12 squares from women in Georgia, North Carolina, Kentucky, Illinois and California, each square has a tag indicating who made it and where she lives.

"This is my boo-hoo blanket," Dartt told the Adrian Daily Telegram after removing it from its glass and maple display case. "When I got it I boo-hooed and boo-hooed and boo-hooed. It just overwhelmed me. I couldn't believe it."

Army Sgt. 1st Class Fox, 34, grew up in Adrian and died April 20 from wounds suffered March 14 when a roadside bomb detonated near his vehicle in Iraq. He was serving with the 1st Armored Division. He left behind a wife and three children in Germany, where the division is based.

Dartt's "comfort afghan" came from the knitting circle HeartMade Blessings. The group started in the 1990s when members of an e-mail discussion group began making comfort afghans for the ill. The group now distributes them to relatives of soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan through its "Operation Purple Heart."

Coordinator Wanda Ellis said a Michigan woman keeps track of every service member who dies in Iraq and Afghanistan and locates the address of the nearest relative. The afghan assemblers pay for the shipping.

"I sure thank these ladies," Dartt said.



Former Air Force Official Gets Nine Months for Colluding with Boeing to Rip off the Air Force

A former Air Force official was sentenced today to nine months in prison for improperly negotiating a controversial deal for the service to lease 767 aerial refueling tankers from the Boeing Co. Darleen Druyun, a former Air Force acquisition official, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to violate federal conflict-of-interest regulation in federal court in April.

At the sentencing, she admitted to helping Boeing in raising the price for the Air Force on the multibillion dollar deal while secretly negotiating a job for herself. Prosecutors said Druyun, who also was sentenced to spend seven months at a halfway house, failed a polygraph test. In response to Druyun's sentencing, Air Force spokesman Col. Dewey Ford said the service is committed to maintaining ethical standards.

"This was a case of an individual who engaged in personal misconduct and does not reflect the high levels of integrity and accountability within the Air Force acquisition community," Ford said in a written statement


Rumsfeld Holds 'Question and Answer Session' with Marines - who are Ordered not to Ask the Wrong Questions!

This reminds me of those old sales promotions where they claim some "Complimentary" item is "absolutely free" - then you end up finding it costs you $19.99

Rumsfeld, on his first visit to Iraq since its interim government was installed in June, said the insurgent violence is likely to get worse in the weeks ahead, so troop reductions are almost out of the question. The United States now has about 135,000 troops in Iraq.

"Our hope is that as we build up Iraqi forces, we will be able to relieve the stress on our forces and see a reduction in coalition forces over some period of time, probably post-Iraqi elections," the Pentagon chief said. "But again, it will depend entirely on the security situation here in this country."

Before Rumsfeld appeared at the main operating base of the 3rd Marine Air Wing, the approximately 1,500 Marines in his audience were give instructions by Sgt. Maj. Dennis Reed on what not to ask. "Don't ask when you're going home. We'll tell you when you're going home," Reed said.

Rumsfeld then gave a pep talk and fielded questions at a town hall style meeting. "We're so fortunate to be able to count on you in this time of peril," Rumsfeld said to applause.

The secretary later flew to Baghdad and met with U.S. Ambassador John Negroponte, Gen. George Casey, the top American commander in Iraq, and Lt. Gen. David Petraeus, who is in charge of training and equipping Iraqi security forces.

Accompanying Rumsfeld on the flight in a Black Hawk helicopter was Hazem Shaalan, Iraq's interim defense minister. As a remind of the tenuous security situation in the Iraq capital, the fleet of Black Hawks carrying Rumsfeld and his entourage flew at high speed, just above rooftop level, occasionally zigzagging en route to the International Zone where the U.S. Embassy is located.

LOL! I wonder if the pilots were trying to give Rummy just a little sample of 'life above Baghdad" - or at the very least, a good case of air sickness to remember them by!

In a brief exchange with reporters after the Baghdad meeting, Rumsfeld grew agitated by questions about the possibility of needing to bring in extra American troops before Iraq's scheduled elections.

"There's a fixation on that subject!" he said with exasperation. "It's fascinating how everyone is locked on that."

He asserted that the news media and others are ignoring the fact that the number of U.S.-trained Iraqi security forces is growing - standing now at about 100,000 - and that they are fighting and dying. "They do exist. Over 700 of them have been killed," Rumsfeld said.

Casey told reporters that he and Rumsfeld did not discuss U.S. troops levels in their meeting. "If I need more troops, as the secretary said, I will ask for them." He added that the number of trained Iraqi forces is going to increase by 45,000 by election time.


Kill Joy Officers Shut Down Free Beer For Soldiers Site

www.beerforsoldiers.com, a Web site that lets people buy a beer online for a US soldier, has been ordered by the top brass to stop running his site. According to Stars and Stripes, Sgt Dale Rogers, in Iraq with Company C, 1st Battalion (air assault), 503rd Infantry Regiment was ordered to retreat from the site after the regimental briefs said it was unethical.

A regimental spokesman said that whatever his intentions, the Web site was illegal as Rogers seems to be using his association with the Army as a way to solicit funds for beer. Undeterred, Rogers has handed the site over to his brother to run, although that might not be enough for the army who want it shut down.

According to his site he was currently serving somewhere outside of Fallujah, Iraq. "My Web site is going through a change," he said. "I am turning over this Web site to my brother due to legal pukes who say a soldier cannot solicit beer donations to increase the morale of his fellow soldiers. What a crock! But I am a soldier and I have to comply."



Banned at Base Theaters, Fahrenheit 9/11 Flying Off the Shelves as DVD in Base Vido Stores

Stars and Stripes: " The highest-grossing documentary in movie history, winner at the Cannes Film Festival, hailed in Boston but banned in Kuwait, "Fahrenheit 9/11" never made it to Yokosuka Naval Base theaters,or to any movie theater located on a military base.But the DVD version of Michael Moore's cinematic indictment of the current commander-in-chief and his administration came in the doors at the base video store this week - and went right out again.Employees of the store, operated by Softland Video, said all 22 copies it received Tuesday were checked out that day, and when they came back, they went out again. The movie was available for home viewing last week at most overseas military bases. Francis Anglada, a retired petty officer first class who now works for Morale, Welfare and Recreation, got the last one in stock on Thursday around 11:30 a.m. He'd been waiting a long time to see it, and said it was a "scandal" that it never showed in base theaters."


New Online Game Blurs Real War in Afghanistan with Virtual Reality

Kuma\War, the revolutionary online game that blends real world news coverage with interactive game technology to re-create authentic military missions, has released its newest mission "Dai Chopan: The Taliban Trap." Set in the terrorist enclave of Dai Chopan, Afghanistan on June 9, 2004, the mission re-creates an actual battle pitting U.S. Marines against Taliban fighters, whose murderous spree endangered the lives of Afghan citizens, police officers, and UN and aid workers, and delayed Afghanistan's first democratic election.

In "Dai Chopan: The Taliban Trap" players join US Marine Forces from the 22nd Expeditionary Unit (MEU) as they try to put an end to the Taliban's violent attacks in the Zabul province of Afghanistan. As part of Operation Mountain Viper, the Marines launch a surprise attack against the Taliban, but the assault does not go as planned. Along the convoy route to the insurgent's hideout, 100 Taliban ambush the unsuspecting Marines. Your mission will be to repel the assault, flip the ambush, and as the Marines succeeded in doing that day, rid the region of terrorist forces. Kuma\War, the revolutionary online game that blends real world news coverage with interactive game technology to re-create authentic military missions, has released its newest mission "Dai Chopan: The Taliban Trap." Set in the terrorist enclave of Dai Chopan, Afghanistan on June 9, 2004, the mission re-creates an actual battle pitting U.S. Marines against Taliban fighters..


Soldier Dies in Action, Mom Dies of a Broken Heart

Under a cloudless sky with rugged desert mountains as a backdrop, Army Specialist Robert Unruh has been laid to rest today along with his mother, who died a week after her son was killed in Iraq.

Forty-five-year-old Karen Unruh-Wahrer of Tucson, collapsed at her home October 2nd, hours after viewing her son's body. She was pronounced dead at a Tucson hospital that night. Friends say Wahrer couldn't stop crying after learning of her son's death. Her husband believes she died of a broken heart.

With military flags and those from all 50 states and U-S territories flapping in the wind, an honor guard presented Unruh's sister with a folded American flag and the Bronze Star, Purple Heart and Good Conduct Medal awarded posthumously to her brother.

A 21-gun salute in Unruh's honor followed.


Keeping Your Nasal Passages De-Dusted

Here's a home remedy suitable for "front line" use that may be helpful.

One of the big problems that soldiers are having is sand, dust, and more dust. It gets into everything, including your nose and eyes. Here's a recipe from an otolaryngologist for a nasal rinse that will strip the accumulated crud out of your nasal passages and shrink irritated mucus membranes. Packaged saline nose sprays (the kind without other chemicals in them) may help, but a good nasal "douche" can't be beat - not to mention, it's free. Note - you don't have to have an "irrigation syringe" or spray bottle to do this (tho the page here recommends it). You can also just lean over a sink or the ground outdoors and tip a glass gently toward your nose while you "snort" the stuff. Try not to drown!

Also, if you can't get hold of canning salt or sea salt, the regular table stuff is OK.

Recipe for hypertonic saline (saltwater) for home or office irrigation:

"To 1 (quart) of warm distilled water, add:
2 -3 heaping teaspoons of sea salt and 1 teaspoon of Arm & Hammer baking soda.

"The nose should be irrigated 2 - 3 times per day with a bulb syringe, large medical syringe (or a turkey baster!) or water pik with irrigator tip. [or just snort it from a glass!] Stand over a sink and squirt the saltwater into the nose in such a fashion that you are able to spit some of the saline out of your mouth.

"Aim the stream of saline as though you are trying to squirt the back of your head, NOT the top of your head. It is acceptable to breath the saltwater directly into your nose.

"Warm saltwater is preferred, as it is much more comfortable. The amount of salt added will depend on your tolerance. However, the more salt that is added the greater the decongestant effect. The bicarbonate is a buffer which makes the saltwater less irritating."


and http://www.skullbase.ca/nasal_irrig.htm


Traumatic Brain Injury may get "Overlooked"

Consider the case of Army Sgt. Alec Giess, now recovering at a Veterans Affairs hospital in Palo Alto, Calif. Giess served in an engineering unit that built housing for Iraqis. He was riding in a truck when the driver swerved to miss an explosive device. Giess was pinned underneath the vehicle. When they dug him out, he had lost consciousness, but not his cigar. "The cigar was blown up in my face and I was gritting it between my teeth," he said.

Dramatic Changes: Giess, 45, soon healed from his obvious injuries, including several cracked vertebrae and a broken collarbone. But when he went home to Oregon on leave, his wife noticed dramatic changes in his behavior. He would erupt in anger and fail to complete the simplest tasks.

"She couldn't understand, actually, what was going on," said Giess. "She was afraid of me. I thought I was all right, and my behavior was not all right. Not the way I was when I left."

Giess was finally diagnosed with TBI: traumatic brain injury. It is sometimes called "the invisible handicap." Symptoms include irritability, poor memory, lack of inhibition, anxiety, confusion, unusual fatigue and persistent headaches. These problems are often dismissed as postwar stress reactions.

While an estimated 20 percent of injured veterans in past wars suffered from TBI, doctors say more than 60 percent of injured troops returning from Iraq may be afflicted. The reason: Troops have new body armor that saves lives by protecting the torso, but not the brain.

Traumatic Brain Injury

You may figure your head is OK because you didn't actually lose consciousness in an incident. But that old rule of thumb doesn't always apply.

Here's a handy-dandy check list for symptoms of head injury:


Among the symptoms: more frequent headaches, forgetting what you just read or what people told you 30 minutes ago? Do you get tired more easily, especially when you are having to do more mental work? Are you more irritable than you were before the incident? Trouble concentrating? And yes, all of these can be symptoms of too many beers the night before! But if the symptoms are getting chronic or worse after an incident where you sustained a head injury, even a good thwack on the helmet, you should report this to a medic. Make sure it goes on record somewhere.

Here's a great resource, put out online and thus downloadable for free (bless the doctor's heart!):

By Dr. Glen Johnson, Clinical Neuropsychologist
Clinical Director of the Neuro-Recovery Head Injury Program


Thanks Dr. Johnson. Nice to know there are still some MDs out there that don't put price tags on everything!

10 Things to Do to Help Beat Lethal Depression in a War Zone

Here are 10 some tips compiled from a variety of sources, including "been-there-felt-that" veterans

1. Don't get drunk. Alcohol is a depressant - so drinking too much when you are depressed is, biochemically, like adding gasoline to a fire.

2. Get angry -: In a nonlethal way, of course! Depression often has an element of anger turned inward. So sit down and write a pissed off letter to someone - maybe the media or a Congressperson or the White House and let er rip. Or rant and rave at a buddy (ask him to just sit there while you go off - promising not to punch him, of course). And/or, you can punch the hell out of a pillow and pretend it's a terrorist or a politician.

3. Don't eat too much sugar. Some people are sugar-sensitive and get a terrible low-blood-sugar rebound effect some time later which can amplify depression. However, a modest sugar "fix" can actually help: a chocolate bar is especially good for this, because chocolate is believed to contain mood-enhancing natural compounds.

4. Repeat a simple prayer over and over - it will disrupt the mental "loop" many depressed people find themselves stuck in. It also tends to hook into positive energy. The Serenity Prayer is a good one, given the circs: "God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage the change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference."

5. Do aerobic exercise for 20-40 minutes once a day. Once past boot camp, the aerobic work outs like running five miles with a pack the size of Danny Devito on your back become pretty infrequent. Instead, walking around on patrol in unfriendly territory may be your chief exercise. However, it isn't aerobic - which involves getting an all-body pumping action going. When people are under stress, adrenaline levels rise and may build up. This can contribute to physical problems as well as psychological stress. Aerobic exercise gives adrenaline "somewhere to go." It also pumps in endorphins, which increase the sense of well-being. And, the workout helps with sleep. If you can't run, calisthentics like jumping jacks, running in place, etc. or punching the heck out of a pillow suspended on a rope (for lack of a punching bag) can do the trick.

6. Avoiid marijuna: Like alchohol, it can have a depressant effect, making your mood worse.

7. Eat well - don't skip vegetables, fruits or grains. Depressed people tend to eat less, and to eat less wisely, contributing to their sense of non-well-being. And, in any situation where people sweat more and drink more fluids - as in the case of people unused to the hellaciously hot weather in Iraq - water-soluble vitamins, which include C and the B vitamins, can be flushed out of the system to some extent. This can contribute to moodiness. If you have access to vitamins - take them faithfully.

8. Do positive visualizations. When you lie there awake with insomnia, don't keep playing over the images that upset you, however plentiful they are. Go back over scenes of your life and pick out the very best ones and try to replay them. If there's a place you really loved - like a fishing pond, mountaintop or rowdy cowboy bar back home, visualize it. Keep going over it until you can remember every detail. Make it your "mental retreat." Also picture yourself back home in the future - make it a positive image, with smiling faces, scenes of what you'd like to be doing. Many psychologists and philosophers alike say that people can actually mold the path of the present by visualizing a future point they want to get to in a dedicated way.

9. Help someone worse off than you are. As the old saying goes - you may not have shoes, but there's someone out there without feet. If there's a scared "newbie" or a guy who just got a Dear John, go out of your way to be supportive. What you give this way comes back threefold.

10. If you start having repeated images of hurting yourself or someone else (like your superior officer!), go see the closest chaplain or medic. They have received training in hooking soldiers up with the appropriate help in these cases.

Last but not least, remember that the only thing that lasts forever is killing yourself. Everything else is temporary.

RESOURCES: Here's an excerpt from "Depression in the Military" put out by Homeland Security (amazingly enough), with my comments in brackets:

"As a military member [and thus as a "federal employee"] there is a vast selection of resources available to you. The Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is available to active duty, reserve, retired members and their dependents. The EAP is a confidential assessment and short-term counseling and referral service that can be used without a referral. By law all information you share with EAP, psychologists and psychiatrists is confidential unless suicide, imminent harm to another, or child abuse is indicated. [in the firest two cases, you will not be penalized, just placed under medical care - probably shipped to Walter Reed, which beats Iraq even on a bad day. In the case of child abuse, you will probably be required to undergo counseling]. Your command, District Chaplain and medical provider can also assist you in getting help [I'd go with the chaplain, if I were you, but avoid the frothing-at-the-mouth hellfire types!].

EAP has a 24-hour, 365-day-a-year hotline number which employees and their families can call, 800-222-0364.

The Samaritans Hotline- (800) 852-8336

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention- (888) 333-2377

National Foundation for Depressive Illness- (888) 248-4344

The US Active Duty Soldier/Veteran/Reservist/Guardsman RESOURCE GUIDE


Thanks to Ananova.com

Librarian Vows to Work Half-Naked Until Demands are Met


Dogs Go Trick or Treating


World Sex Championship Held in Poland (No wonder the Polish troops are so eager to get home!)


Clergyman and Village Officials Pose Naked for Calendar to Raise Money for Church Organ {the kind you do hymns on, that is!]


Man fights off 700-pound Bear, then Trips over own feet and Shoots Self in Head



Noisy Neighbors Force Al Queda to Move

Sources close to the world terror organization Al-Qaeda say that the group is planning a big move, literally. It appears that several of the group's top members are being forced to move by what they are calling loud, irresponsible neighbors. The Islamic website identified the [noisy neighbors] as 26 year-old Chris Jones, from Tiffin, GA, and another American simply identified as "Griff." "They are on a stated quest," read the website, "to tour "around the world in eighty cases (of beer)." They are disgusting pigs. We wish that they had never darkened our doorstep."

Such hatred for the two is apparently not widespread among the locals in Afghanistan. Sheep herder Abdul Dabi says that the boys have been a huge hit. "I love those guys," said Dabi, "last night we cleared out the fire place in Griff's apartment and broke every single bottle in the house."

Zawahri put his list of grievances with the two at approximately "an arms length". He has kept a running journal on a blog site that is updated daily. One excerpt reads: "I knew we had a problem on the first night. They began playing The Wall at about midnight and it must have repeated itself like seven times because it didn't get quite until the sun came up. Hey, I like Roger Waters as much as the next guy, but seven times?


Osama Bin Laden Escapes During Shooting of New Visa Ad

Visa's new ad is highly controversial, featuring Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden on the black market buying weapons of mass destruction. The crew trusted him to turn himself in after the shoot, but the terrorist quickly fled.

George Bush is blaming the filmmakers for letting their ticket back into the white house get away. They asked the group what promted the escape, and what they did to stop it. "You see, about that. Funny story, really," says the director. "He said he would turn himself in if we let him do this ad. He stole the weapons and escaped. Looking back on it, I guess we should have used prop bombs."

"Well, they did more than I'm doing," said President Bush.

"The shoot was going fine. We faded out on, 'Visa: it's everywhere you want to be,' with bin Laden fully equiped with deadly explosives." By creating an extreme environment, Visa hoped to prove that Visa really can be everywhere you want to be, and of course, they wanted a celebrity.

Bin Laden still had the credit card on his possession for a few hours and was being tracked by satelitte feed. He purchased a Big Mac and freedom fries from a McDonald's drive through, and a coffee cake at Starbucks, and then dropped the card so he could not be found. Authorities say that they are hot on his trail, but these same authorities were arrested by U.S. soldiers minutes before they would capture the world's most wanted man.

"We had him in our grasp. The card was warm," said one bin Laden tracker. "If only he had been in an Arby's commerical; then we could have outrun him easily."

This will not be the end of bin Laden's televison run, however. Singular Wireless is lauching a similar ad from the caves of Tora Bora with Osama bin Laden asking the crucial question; "can you hear me now?"


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