Justice In Iraq & New York City -
Are We Complacency Terrorists? by
Cliff McKenzie, Editor
ZERO PLUS 1366 DAY--New York, NY, Wednesday,
June 9, 2005--On
the news lately, I've heard commentators crying out about the
waste of American lives in Iraq.
The theme is: "Would
you, a parent, want your child to die defending freedom in a
land that doesn't want it?"
The emphasis is on the
"waste" of American effort--and precious lives of
our children--to vaingloriously establish freedom and democracy
in a section of the world that violently opposes such intrusion.
fights the same battles in its own streets that it does
Ironically, America fights
the same battles in its own streets that it does in Iraq and
other third-world countries.
But there is no clamor
about the daily deaths of hundreds of Americans dying in the
poverty and squalor of our "third-world" war against
ignorance, crime and the degeneration of millions of American
The issue is social justice.
I happen to live in the
East Village of New York City. Surrounding me are high schools
where less than fifty-percent of the students are graduated.
Not far away, in the Bronx and Brooklyn, high schools are combat
a nine-year-old girl stabbed her playmate
Recently, a nine-year-old
girl went into the kitchen, got a steak knife, and stabbed her
best friend to death because they were arguing over a toy the
other girl had. Her guardians had left the two children alone.
of children deprived of parenting and left to sit in open windows
where they fall five stories to their death, or who leave their
front doors and are prodded by the local drug dealer to mule
some drugs for a five-spot, isn't much different from the battles
raging in Iraq.
We just don't seem to
care much about the social injustice to a large portion of our
society as we do about our committed youth who join the Armed
Forces and vow to fight for "the rights of others."
I have two daughters
who are both in the "social justice" battlefields.
One carries two 9mm Glocks
and the other carries a cross.
One is a federal special
agent and the other works with the homeless and disenfranchised
and has a Masters of Divinity degree from New York's Union Theological
I worry about the safety
Daily, they trod into
the war zones of America to defend the rights of the less able.
Daily, they put their
lives on the line by willingly engaging a vicious and violent
culture that provides a nest of Terrorism unequaled in Iraq.
It is unequaled because we condone it while we throw rocks at
the soldiers who voluntarily risk their lives thousands of miles
away to create a free society from a land ruled by oppression
Complacency is the third
and most powerful form of Terrorism. Its counterparts, Fear
and Intimidation, set up the conditions for the virulent disregard
and marginalization of any hope or belief that "things
will change," and allow the quagmire to keep sucking down
the innocent as the adults--society--turn their heads and pretend
not to hear the silent screams of despair.
I think about the critics
of American policy in Iraq shouting into television cameras
about the "waste" of American lives in that war zone,
and their desire to see America retreat from its role as the
world's "defender of freedom."
of the war in Iraq should focus on the War on Terrorism
If anyone should scream,
my wife and I would be top candidates. Our two beautiful daughters
step onto the streets of America each morning and face Terrorism's
"neighborhood face." Just around the corner are parents
abusing their children not unlike Saddam Hussein, or neglecting
them with such aplomb that when one stabs the other with a steak
knife, no one yells for the parents to be indicted for allowing
conditions of violence to exist so that a child figures the
only resolution to getting her ball is by killing her best friend.
regarding the War on Terrorism should focus not on the willingness
of American military to travel thousands of miles to desolate,
foreboding nations to plant the seeds of democracy, but rather
on the War on Terrorism here at home.
I've viewed Terrorism
abroad as nothing more than giant global sore oozing pus as
a reminder that we here in America have the same infections
percolating within our own communities. Terrorism--the installation
and perpetuation of Fear, Intimidation and Complacency--needs
to be attacked here, in our homes and communities as well as
When an American warrior
dies in the defense of freedom in Iraq, his or her blood flows
into the streets of a community where an alleged "good
father" living in a nice home in a nice neighborhood is
creeping down the hallway or up the stairs to his daughter's
bedroom to molest her one more time.
When a mother shouts
at her child: "Shut Up! Can't you see I'm busy!" isn't
different from a car bomb smashing into a crowd of workers in
Iraq and blowing body parts to all points of the compass. The
ravages to a child's self-esteem are just as wounding and brutal
as any suicide bomb.
trying to shove a wedge between parents and children?
As a parent, I worry
about my children's safety here on the streets of New York.
I would worry about them if we still lived in the exclusive
area of Laguna Niguel, California where they grew up because
they both willingly seek to face danger at their own risks.
One is armed with a gun,
the other with faith and belief. Yet, no one heralds their
work. No one screams about the risks the American army of social
justice daily undertakes to keep this nation from sinking into
a pit of Terroristic muck.
So when I hear the railings
of commentators trying to shove a wedge between parents and
their children by urging them to tell their sons or daughters
not to go to Iraq, I wonder if they might be Terrorists in disguise.
By telling their children those children are "wasting"
their lives or that what they are fighting for is "useless"
and "senseless," they undermine the core of the child's
It would be selfish of
me or my wife to tell our daughters to stop putting themselves
at risk by fighting for social justice in their respective fields.
As parents, we worry about one being infected by some disease
prevalent among the homeless and disenfranchised or carrying
it home to our grandchildren. We worry about the other being
shot or maimed by some mad criminal.
But we don't tell them
they are wasting their lives, or that their jobs are worthless
That would be simple
A mature person makes
his or her own decisions. We are proud our daughters fight for
social justice in diverse ways. Of course, we worry about their
safety. But, we don't spit upon their mission. We don't Terrorize
their purposes or destinies in life as so many Complacent Americans
are being urged to do by factions seeking to demoralize the
value of fighting for the rights of others--here or abroad.
in Iraq is the business of planting seeds
Everyone knows that our
business in Iraq is the business of planting seeds. Whether
the people there will fight to have those seeds grow or not
will be ultimately a parental decision. Long ago, Americans
decided to revolt against English tyranny and put their lives
at stake to provide their children with freedom and democracy.
Back then, modern commentators
would have shouted for them to keep their noses out of England's
businesses and retreat to the positron of Complacency.
Today, those who call
for the withdrawal of American troops on the basis of the "waste
of life" haven't looked at the "waste of life"
just around the corner where they live.
They haven't thought
through the impact of their words on those who fight for the
freedom of others, or the horrific shredding those words do
to the marrow of a person's belief systems. They are as negligent
as the parent who left the two children alone so that one could
stab the other in the chest.
Worse, such parents send
a signal to other children that "fighting for what is right"
is not a just cause.
Complacency, they suggest,
is far more important.
social justice within our own land first
When such children sift
through that logic, they begin to turn their heads to the social
injustice around them because it's "not their business."
If Iraq has any true
value for America, it is the reminder that Complacency breeds
Terror, not only abroad, but here at home.
Stop Complacency. Fight
for social justice within our own land. If we are social justice
oriented, we'll not want our troops to withdraw from Iraq. And
we won't withdraw from the battle just around the corner where
Vigilance must face Terrorism.
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