The first thing is to get the president into a tent. If terrorists should dare attack this capital they would of course be repulsed and punished, but given the terrorist mentality -- suicide missions -- they could conceivably destroy the White House first.
Qaddafi's tent, on the other hand, was possibly the safest place in Tripoli.
I have never thought well of tents, having been stung once by a scorpion on my chest while sleeping in one, but my distaste for tents is hardly basis for policy.
If explosives should be used, apparently a ruler is safer in a tent than in a palace. Besides, the White House is a prime historical and architectural treasure of the city, and the sooner it is removed from any possible fray the better.
In fact, all persons of great importance here would do well to get out of marble palaces and under canvas. They should swim like fish among the rest of us -- I for one would gladly give our Cabinet officers sandwiches at my place as they circulate surreptitiously about the city, and we should all be ready to do this.
Some nervous nellies have questioned whether bombing a capital and attempting to kill the ruler of a country is an effective way to deal with terrorism originating there. Well, nothing else has worked, so maybe the attack on Libya will.
The Reagans do not have any little children, but I would hate for anything to happen to that spaniel. He should be sent to join Lucky, who has already been evacuated to California, well beyond the strife and concerns of the world.
(In fairness to the president, with whom I did not agree on this Libyan attack, I thought America looked singularly stupid at the time of the Iranian hostages. I felt something more forceful than palavering was called for on the part of President Carter. Here Reagan has done something more forceful and I disapprove, so he might well ask of people like me, "Well, you don't like it when we do nothing and you don't like it when we do something, and you don't seem to like the idea of sending agents to assassinate people, so just what is it you do want?")
Just today I was thinking of terrorism in general -- not political terrorism, but terrorism against innocent victims all the same. Take rape.
I cannot think of anything more likely to terrify a woman than rape by a total stranger. And yet I see in the Thursday paper that three rapes occurred in Northwest Washington, two in Northeast Washington and none whatever in the other two quadrants.
It is obvious the Northwest quadrant is the most dangerous place to live, especially if you read the endless list of other serious crimes listed in the same paper.
For more centuries than anybody can count, we have preached against rape, and yet these violent acts continue, and it may well be time to really do something about it.
We might set an example right here in our own capital. I see that "Nebraska and Massachusetts" is given as the site of one rape in the most rape-prone part of town, and it might be worthwhile bombing Ward Circle to send a message we will not tolerate this crime any longer.
It could be argued that the rapes occurred near Ward Circle, but did not necessarily originate there. It could be argued that bombing the circle is as foolish as bombing Berlin, where the atrocity occurred, rather than Libya, where it was plotted.
The trouble is, we are not always sure where the rapist came from. Like the president, I do not want innocent people to suffer, just the perpetrators of terror.
I am afraid it is unarguable that the slums of America breed more crime than the "rich" suburbs west of Ward Circle. Once we positively identify a rapist from a slum, we should then bomb this breeding place of crime, targeting as carefully as possible his very house, where no doubt many others are being trained.
Now we all know that "surgical bombing" of a crime-breeding area may accidentally blow up the French Embassy. A great pity, but that is war.
We have evidence where crime is bred, and it is detailed. It is precise. And we have census statistics to pinpoint the very sections of every American city. Well, my friends, I hate the thought of force, but two plus two does equal four. A surgical strike against every slum of North America (for make no mistake about it, some rapists and sluggers come from Canada) at 2:18 on a Friday morning might do much to rid us of the scourge.
You understand as well as I the endless care with which such a strike must be effected. We want no innocent casualties. Precise planning takes time, but the time to begin is now. In the short run we may pay a certain price. We must be more vigilant than ever and (as Mrs. Thatcher has warned her island kingdom) notify authori- ties of everything remotely suspicious.
The first thing is to ensure the safety of our commander. He should be relocated in a tent today. By noon.