The world's children sit in a circle.  In the middle is Saddam Hussein, playing a flute and calling on a hooded cobra who slithers out of the basket, fangs exposed, looking at each child hungrily.   Behind Saddam is Kim Jong Il of North Korea, also playing a flute.  Out of his basket rises a King Cobra, its hissing sound making the frozen children sweat with fear as the snake hovers over their backs, looking for which one it will strike.   Watching are the 15 Security Council Member Nations, arguing over when a smoking gun is smoking, trying to diplomatically decide when a snake will strike, and when it is "fair and just" to approve the snake's beheading.   No one sees the children shivering, or the Fear in their eyes.  They are too busy talking.


Friday--January 10, 2003—Ground Zero Plus 485
Waiting For The Fangs Of Terrorism To Strike

Cliff McKenzie
   Editor, New York City Combat Correspondent News

GROUND ZERO, New York City, Jan. 10- We wait.   We watch.  We wait.
       The hooded cobra arches its great head and sways before our children seated around the basket owned by the snake charmer, its forked tongue dances out to taste the molecules of air suspended in the silence, as if to smell our hesitation, our reluctance, our Fear of acting without "ultimate justification."

Seven-hooded cobra

       Our children do not move.   Their instincts tell them to remain frozen, not to flinch or flee the Fear and Intimidation the cobra creates as its glazed eyes scan each nubile face, selecting targets of opportunity, deciding which will be the first to receive the venom massed in its swollen pouches of poison.
       Behind our children sit fifteen members of the United Nations Security Council arguing over 12,000 sheets of paper Iraq supplied as an effort to stave off  the U.S. military attack.    Hans Blix, chief inspector for biological and chemical arms at the United Nations is telling the 15 Council nation members there is no "smoking gun," no evidence of a "clear and present" danger that would justify an assault on Iraq.   There is omission and deceit, of course, but the inspectors have not stumbled into a nuclear bomb ticking away, or petrie dishes full of chemical or biological weapons that would ignite Iraq into massive war of retaliation.
       The children hear another hissing sound.
        Their eyes slowly sneak toward it.   Behind them is another hooded cobra, much bigger than the one in front of them.   The snake charmer plays his flute and out of the wicker rises a gargantuan reptile, its eyes far more intense than the one in front of them, its fangs far more surgical and dripping with venom.


The North Korean Horned Cobra

         It is a North Korean cobra and the charmer is Kin Jong Il.   Behind him his aides are ripping into shreds and burning in protest the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty it signed in 1985.  They are laughing and dancing to the music of the flute, synchronizing their movements to that of the king cobra that undulates and forms an "S" over the necks of the children who are cautious not to forget the cobra in front of them, or its snake charmer, Saddam Hussein who  sardonically smiles at them as he plays and occasionally reaches out and strokes the head of his cobra, whispering:  "It's okay, you can trust me, my snake has no poison.   Trust me.  It has no poison.   Trust me."

        The children, of course, do not trust him.   They can see the bulges in the cobra's venom pouches.   Their primal instincts to survive freeze them in Fear.
         Today was an especially troubling day for a TerrorHunter such as myself.   I opened the news to two devastating stories--one about the U.N. arms inspectors finding nothing that would suggest a "smoking gun" in Iraq, and to North Korea's defiant retreat from the nuclear nonproliferation treaty.
         I thought of the United States trying to be "diplomatic" with both snake charmers.   I thought about Winston Churchill's warnings about Adolf Hitler before World War II when he saw the German leader as a great snake charmer, lulling the world to believe he wouldn't strike against the innocent.  Churchill, fighting a wall of Complacency by other nations who didn't want to act against the tyrant's rising power, said:  "In unanimity, we often find an absence of rigorous thinking."
        Rigorous thinking!
        I wonder if he really meant, Vigilant Thinking.
        Rigorous thinking implies unswerving thoughts, a rigid clarity, a foresight into the future so that the present cannot shake or drive off course the goal.
        Unanimity, on the other hand, is the sum of all Complacency.   It takes into account the least of all concerns as well as the most of all concerns, watering down any rigidity, infecting clarity with so many other "considerations" that cataracts form on the eyes of rigidity until the organ becomes blind to its original purpose.
        If we are truly Parents and Nations of Vigilance then our rigid, rigorous thinking has but one focal point--the safety and security of the children's children's children.   The future of their world is far more important than the compromises we might make in ours to sate the will of those who wallow in the quagmire of Indifference or Complacency, or those who shy away from the shadow of Intimidation for fear an action might create a backlash that would disrupt the current flow, or the Fear that angering the Beasts of Terror might create retaliation and that Fear creates paralysis through analysis.

Snakes are rising higher out of their baskets of selfishness

         Sometimes one thinks there are no snake charmers.   Russia turned its back and made no comment on the Iraq issue, as though it didn't exist.   China wants little to do with the North Korean snake charmer for any conflict with North Korea will send millions of refugees across China's borders, glutting a country that has trouble juggling its own problems.   France, thirsty for Middle East oil, dances with the Devil to avoid alliances that might make it an "unfavored" nation in the eyes of whomever sets the pricing or flow of oil from Iraq.  South Korea wants to extend its sunshine policy, it's "kiss-and-make-up" alignment with its northern half in hopes the two differences can meld into one.   Turkey doesn't want U.S. troops on its soil launching ground attacks against Iraq because its new Muslim leadership is wary of the West and has a penchant for keeping the cleavage driven firmly between East and West.
        Germany, a major supplier of arms to various countries, doesn't want to stop its merchandising of high grade industrial components to nations seeking to fortress themselves against Western oppression.
        As the many faces of selfish nations serve their private needs of complicity to the present, the snakes rise higher and higher out of their baskets.
        The children sweat.
         They cannot stop the liquid from leaking out of their pores, or trickling down the sides of their multi-shades of skin covering their cheeks.   Each from different countries, they do not yet know they are different, that one will grow to hate the other, or be taught the other child is an "enemy," or be instructed the child next to him or her is an "oppressor," who seeks to dominate the other and rule as tyrants do the will of the children of the land.  

 Our children's circle of Love and Vigilance

       No, these children ringed around the snake charmers to the front, and the one to the back, have no axes yet to grind.  They have yet to be taught bigotry, prejudice, hatred, animosity or revenge.  They have yet  to be told that the greatest glory they can offer their people and nation is to strap on a bomb and walk into a crowded bus, or that their religion is the only one, and all others represent infidels who must be wiped off the face of the earth to protect them.
      They have yet  to be told by their people that they have a duty and responsibility to protect their way of life even if it means starvation and deprivation, even if it means they cannot attend school or earn unlimited amounts of money based on their drive and ambition.   They have yet to  be told their lots in life, so they do not know they should root for the cobra to strike the child next to them from America, or the one from Britain instead of the one from Iraq or Saudi Arabia.

"Smoking guns"

        Each child fears the snake will kill any one of them, and in that death, they will all die a little.
       The children do not know about smoking guns, or why the adults watching them allow the snake charmers to play their flutes while the children sit and wait for the snakes to strike.
       When the children's eyes plead to the adults for help, the children do not understand why the adults turn their heads and bury their faces in arguments with one another over when the danger will become so dangerous that they should act.
        The children do not understand why America is waving a flag and yelling at the others yet not doing anything but yelling for America's Voice angers the snakes, and makes the vipers sway more wildly.

America's Voice often angers the Serpent Beast

        Churchill was right.  "In unanimity, we often find an absence of rigorous thinking."
        What will it take for us to cut off the heads of the vipers before they strike the children?   How many children must be bitten before the danger turns from smoke to fire?
          As a TerrorHunter and a Sentinel of Vigilance, I ask for Parents and Grandparents and Citizens and Loved Ones of Vigilance to pose the question--"what is rigorous thinking?"    Is it waiting until everyone agrees before acting to protect the children's children's children?   Or, is it acting to protect  the children's children's children and then seeking agreement that those actions were right?
          Do adults have to justify what is right to do what is right?
          Or, is such a process a sign of ultimate immaturity, a signal that Complacency rather than Right Action has hobbled the World Community into a state of unanimity over nothing.

Keep our children free from the venom of Terror

        If each of the Security Council Nations were subscribers to the Pledge of Vigilance, and if the rigorous thinking they imposed to make decisions was the security of the children's children's children, would they argue over details of whether North Korea or Iraq posed a clear and present danger to the future of our children?
         If our children become the core of our decisions, Complacency has little room to infect rigorous decision making.  Unanimity becomes clear as we wipe away the cobwebs of Fear, Intimidation and Complacency that blind us to do what is right for the children.
        I see the children being Terrorized by the snake charmers.

Vigilance will destroy the Serpent of Terror

       Worse, I see the alleged Guardians of the Children, the Security Council Nations, sitting by watching the Terror happen.
        I wonder which is the worse of the two, those who Terrorize the children's children's children, or those who allow it.
        To side with the children's children's children, take the Pledge of Vigilance today.   Be a rigorous thinker as well as a Vigilant doer.

        Jan. 9 -- Dolphin Terrorism--Lobster Vigilance

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