What do Mo Duc, Vietnam and Baghdad and Pennsylvania Avenue have in
common? How can domestic and foreign policies combine to
protect the rights of citizens around the world to be free? And
what positive impact does the War On Terrorism have upon our domestic
economy? Find out.
January 21, 2004—Ground Zero Plus 861
From Mo Duc To Baghdad To Pennsylvania Avenue
GROUND ZER0, New York, N.Y.--Jan.
21, 2004 --
listening to the State of the Union Speech by President George Bush as
I write this. It is 9:15 p.m. As the President speaks about Iraq
and Terrorism, and preserving freedom around the world, my mind races
back to a place called Mo Duc, Vietnam over three decades past.
village of Mo Duc was
like Baghdad today
Duc was like Baghdad today. Americans were fighting and dying for
the right of the people of a tyrannized nation to guide their own
destiny, to be free from the draconic oppression of Communism's
central control and command of an individual's life.
It was 1966 and the North Vietnamese were hell-bent to cripple
the right of the South Vietnamese to dictate their own future. The
first democratic elections were slated. In retaliation, the North
Vietnamese threatened to kill anyone who voted. Our job was to allow
that right to vote for freedom, to defend it with our lives.
The mission of
us U.S. Marines was to safeguard the right of the villagers to
the Beasts of Terrorism today the V.C. employed Fear and Intimidation
to create Complacency. Our mission, as U.S. Marines, was to counter
Fear with Courage, to smash Intimidation with Conviction, and to quash
Complacency with the freedom to take the Right Actions that would
benefit future generations.
We were there to safeguard the right of the villagers to
Our units set up blocking forces around key polling areas. We
were armed to the teeth, geared to battle the North Vietnamese who
were massing to thwart our attempts to perform our roles as Sentinels
of Vigilance for the citizens of Vietnam.
The enemy mined the roads leading to Mo Duc and blew up
bridges, attempting to demoralize our mission. We took sniper fire as
we wended our way over potholes where our engineers had blown up mines
waiting to rip us into various bloody parts.
doubted any of the citizens of Mo Duc would risk their lives to
vote that day
Duc was a small village community, serving the farming countryside.
The citizens worked in rice paddies, wore black pajamas and lived in
thatched huts with no electricity or modern conveniences.
For a betting person, it was doubtful that any sane villagers
would risk their lives to vote that day. With a death warrant issued
automatically for all who did, it seemed suicidal a mother, father,
grandfather, uncle or aunt would venture out of the jungle and cast a
vote for freedom, for self-government, for self-determination. It
appeared we were destined to fight and die for no good reason that
As expected, the enemy attacked our blocking positions. A
number of my fellow Marines died in my arms that night, but we held
the V.C. back. The next morning, with the blood still damp from the
fight the night before, the odds of seeing Vietnamese farmers flowing
down Highway One to vote grew slimmer. I wondered why we were
fighting and dying for a people who had little chance to enjoy the
fruits of freedom.
To the critics
of the war in Vietnam, I wave the banner of MoDuc
Then they came.
At first, only a few black dots straggled down Highway One, the lonely
road that ran the course of the Vietnam coastline from north to
south. From the hilltop where I was positioned looking down on the
road, I saw them growing in number. The black pajamas walking down
the dirty highway appeared like a troop of ants feeling their way
toward a feast. By the mid morning Highway One was crowded with
black-pajama dressed villagers, each risking his or her life to cast
the first vote for freedom.
The blood of my comrades was well spent that day.
To the critics of the war in Vietnam, I always wave the banner
of Mo Duc. For those who want us to exit Iraq and leave the land to
the iron-grip of the Beast of Terror, I wave the same flag of Mo Duc.
I know, as such critics against our presence in Iraq don't, as
they can never fathom, that freedom has bloody roots. I know that
while we may have lost the war in Vietnam, we haven't lost the battle
for a free and democratic society in that land, one that offers the
Vietnamese children the rights to aspire to the highest levels of
their imagination. The battle for freedom continues even today in
Vietnam to unfold itself into the free world. When one day it does,
all the blood that was let in a war that has cast shame on countless
millions will be redeemed. I will probably be long dead when that
happens, but I know it will eventually happen. Freedom has no
Today, the situation in Baghdad is not unlike Mo Duc.
The Terrorism that daily threatens and takes life through
snipers and bombs is an attack on all our freedom, not just
America’s. The Terrorism in Iraq is an ugly attempt to smear shame
on the fight to preserve freedom for Iraqis. It is an attempt to
strip from the children and unborn their natural rights as human being
to grow up free of oppression and tyranny.
President speaks, there are those who attack his policy in Iraq
As the President of the United States speaks, there are those who
attack his policy of U.S. intervention in Iraq. They seek to have
the United States retreat, as we did in Vietnam, and leave freedom to
flounder and perish under the boot heel of new tyrants and despots who
will rise out of the ashes of Saddam Hussein. These new despots
believe the people of Iraq need to be told what to think, what to
believe, and when to think and believe. They will use the same
Terrorism against their own as they attempt to use to drive America
and its allies from the land.
In his State of the Union Speech, the President is talking about
America's role as a blocking force to Terrorism. He is telling the
world he is fighting the War on Terrorism abroad, so that America may
be safe within.
I wonder if anyone really hears what he is saying. I wonder if
they truly understand that our economy is directly linked to the
success of freedom in Iraq.
America's economic strength has always been hinged on its
military power. To defend freedom throughout the world is to grease
the chutes for world security, and the more secure the world is from
tyranny and oppression, the greater the flow of commerce between
The more troubled the world, the more intimidated it is by
Terror threats, the more unstable its engines of commerce. Europe,
for example, was a group of nations battling one another in countless
wars. Each was the other’s Terrorist. Now, it is bound in an
economic union. The once diverse European nations have codified
their disinterests because the flow of commerce rather than the flow
of blood benefits rather than robs each family of greater wealth and
greater opportunity for themselves and their children and their
Children's Children's Children.
security is linked to our national and international security
Domestic economic security is manacled to a vibrant world economy.
The rights of the people in Iraq to be free to build their nation
democratically, is the right of all people to enjoy the fruits of
commerce without fear of war, without the threat of political
tyranny. The war in Iraq is not just about liberation of an oppressed
people; it is about the free flow of commerce. It is about insuring
our domestic economic power by unleashing the power in people who have
been abused by leaders who deny them the right to evolve.
Like Mo Duc, the future of Iraq will depend upon our ability to
see through the critics who seek to cloud our purpose in the Middle
East as “imperialistic” or “intrusionary” and call for our retreat.
They want us to lick our financial wounds and spend money on our
domestic economy, ignoring the fact that global Terrorism undermines
the world’s economy.
They refuse to see or admit our presence in Iraq is, ultimately,
a step toward the maximization of our domestic economy. They are
Complacent to proffer that a freer the world is to grow and prosper by
individual effort, (the fruits of democracy) the richer will be those
nations who share in the mutual commerce that ensues.
As the President talks about foreign and domestic issues, he is
really talking about one issue--the right of the individual to "be his
or her own boss." He speaks of the right of people in all lands to
enjoy the treasures of freedom, and extols the willingness of America
to stand as a Sentinel of Vigilance to insure those rights are not
ripped from the citizens hands. His war on Terrorism protects our
domestic economy, for our nation is linked like the Internet to all
Despite the President’s words, I am saddened by the thought that
people in powerful political positions are so narrow minded as to
promote America's role as selfish rather than selfless. It strikes
me as selfish when such people advocate the primary mission of America
is to preserve its own domestic freedom and ignore the global rights
of others to have what we so dearly enjoy.
legacy for freedom flows from Mo Duc to Baghdad
preserves her own blood by spilling its own so that others may not
What is true about America is not its selfishness, but instead its
selflessness. By giving away our freedom to lands that seek it, even
if that means spilling our blood so that others may not spill theirs,
we preserve our own.
Our rich economy thrives because the world is freer today than
ever before in history. The free nations have modeled themselves
after our success. They look to America's wealth as a symbol of what
they want for their own people. And while this may emote jealousy and
resentment from some, it remains a truth few can deny except those
within our nation who run for high political office and cast rocks
from the glass house and Terrorists who seek to destroy America’s
right to serve as the Global Sentinel of Freedom and Liberty.
Our legacy for freedom flows from many places, many of which are
unsung. One of those unsung places includes a little known
Vietnamese village called Mo Duc.
Another, more prominent one, is Baghdad.
Both impact our way of life, domestically and internationally.
Both cry for America's Sentinel of Vigilance mission.
Let's not turn our backs on Baghdad as we did Mo Duc.
Let's be Sentinels of Global Vigilance, not handlers for the
Beast of Terror.
Jan 20--Attack Dog
Politics Turn & Bite Dr. Dean