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Social Justice In Iraq & New York City -
Are We Complacency Terrorists?

Cliff McKenzie, Editor

GROUND 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.

America fights the same battles in its own streets that it does in Iraq

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 youth.

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 zones.

Recently 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.

America's "sub-culture" 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 Seminary.

I worry about the safety of both.

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 and tyranny.

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."

Critics of the war in Iraq should focus on the War on Terrorism at home

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.

American perspective 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 abroad.

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.

Are commentators 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 value system.

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 and senseless.

That would be simple Terrorism.

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.

Our business 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.

Fight for 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.


Go To May 29 Story: "Beware The Calm Of Complacency That Attacks Us During Summer Terrorism"



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