It's 500 Days From Ground Zero.  Terrorism still rules.   What can we do?  What should we do?  Is Terror Hunting the right approach?  Are  France and Germany right in turning their backs on the U.S. goal of setting an example of why Terrorism should have no quarter in the world?  Find out in this compelling article.


Saturday--January 25, 2003—Ground Zero Plus 500
500 Days From Ground Zero

Cliff McKenzie
   Editor, New York City Combat Correspondent News

GROUND ZERO, New York City, Jan. 25--It was exactly 500 days ago from Ground Zero today.  Five hundred long days and nights of Terror Hunting, of trying to understand, cope and hunt down the Beast of Terror who still today stalks us as never before, threatening far more than the collapse of the Twin Towers or the Pentagon.

        Time has moved both rapidly and like a slug leaving a long trail of shiny slime in its path.   Our nation has elected over the past 720,000 minutes from Ground Zero Plus One to launch a War on Terrorism, to ferret out individuals and nations who seek to suffocate the world with policies of indiscriminate destruction, who harbor such anger, hate and resentment against America or their other targets of opportunity that they would offer their lives in suicide missions.  Their leaders sit in plush comfort directing their Beasts of Terror, cracking their whips of hate and animosity and feeding the Beast of Terror within their flocks with raw poisoned meat so that all they see are enemies before them, innocent people turned into bulls eyes to be shot, bombed, or bio-chemically reduced to nothingness.
        It has been 43,200,000 seconds since I looked up in the sky at the gleaming belly of the first jetliner screaming a few hundred feet overhead toward the first Twin Tower, the suicide Terror Team piloting the plane toward the heart of American security and wealth, driving it into the icons of freedom and prosperity in an act of futile defiance to all democracy.

I watched men and women leap from the burning towers

       I remember the sadness of watching human beings leaping from the burning towers, their arms and legs flailing as they chose to die rather than be burned to death or suffocated by the Flames of Hell unleashed upon the civilized world by the uncivilized whose singular goal was to remind us all that Terror haunts the halls of the human condition. No matter how evolved we think we are, its ugliness can appear at any moment, any second unless we defend ourselves from its vile and corrupt nature.
        I recall taking what I thought was my last breath 500 days ago when the first Twin Tower collapsed.    As the earth heaved and a great guttural roar ripped through the streets of Lower Manhattan, I was sure the Terrorists had mined the subterranean tunnels that make up the city's subways and sewers, and laced their explosives with bio-chemicals.    I recall grabbing the women standing next to me who were frozen in fear and shoving them against a wall to protect them from flying debris and the great roiling cloud that shoved its way like angry fist at us, bearing the bones and blood of thousands of victims as it drenched us in a pall of death, choking and gagging us so we couldn't breathe.
        I remember holding my breath as long as I possibly could, not wanting to inhale the fallout I was sure contained either radioactive waste or some deadly toxin, and then, exasperated, gulping tenuously the chalk and waiting for my body to start into seizures, hoping I would die quickly and not writhe in pain and agony.
        I recall the sobbing of the women next to me, "We're all going to die!  We're all going to die!" and saying as calmly as I could, "If we're going to die, then think of something beautiful.   Make your last thought something beautiful."
       I still don't know where those words came from.   But they ring loudly today as they did 11,520,000 breathes ago, when I sucked in the ash of destruction, when I gagged and coughed and stood blinded huddling with the women against the wall as the deafening silence of death shrouded us.
       Then I recall moving toward the epicenter of destruction, walking alone through empty streets with doors flung open and debris scattered about, as though I were the only human left on earth, alone, a single entity left unscathed while the rest of humanity evaporated.  I remember the long moments of nothingness, the void in which I staggered through the blinding haze of ashen fallout, groping to see, to find life in the wake of death.

The Ground Zero grave is being readied for new life

       Today, the ash is gone.  The stench of burning bodies has been swept to sea.  The grave of Ground Zero has been dug and filled with foundations and concrete as the new is being readied to replace the old.   Shiny new designs that spear up as Swords of Vigilance announcing to the world that destruction is only temporary fill the atrium near Ground Zero as architects vie to get their designs approved and to rebuild the brothers and sisters of the Twin Towers, to erect the Next Generation of Vigilance on the bloody soil of their brethren.
        I keep a handful of the soil that contains the spirits of the those who died that day, September 11, 2001.  My wife and I collected it when we walked down into the graveyard with the families of those who had been lost on the Second Tuesday in September.  We paid our tributes to the fallen victims, the loved ones who sacrificed their lives in that horrible act of violence that has changed the face of human evolution on his planet, and divided nations into those who will go to any lengths to hunt down and destroy Terrorism and those who would stand back and allow it to fester and foment.
        I hold that soil in trust, in a Vigilance Trust.   It is the earthly reminder to me that the Spirits of Vigilance rose from the blood-soaked soil that day and formed a Ring of Vigilance hovering over Ground Zero.   They were from all nations, not just Americans, a cosmopolitan cornucopia of human hope and ambition, finding ways to improve the lot of humanity through commerce and interface, bridging gaps of ignorance and wisdoms between nations by exchanging values and ideas so that the strong could pull the weak up, and the world could move more efficiently toward its ultimate goal of prosperity.

On the first anniversary of Nine Eleven, my wife and I paid tribute and joined the Ring of Vigilance at Ground Zero

       Oddly, the Twin Towers were symbols of what the world could be.   Nearly one-third of the victims were from all four corners of the earth, working to expand their nations' economies through trade and commerce, linking the underdeveloped with the developed so that a bridge of peaceful coexistence could blossom.   But the Terrorists attempted to cut the stalks of prosperity with the wings of their destruction, and their Dragons of Terror belched fires and flames in retaliation to the progress of humanity.
        I sometimes cry over the sadness of those men whose twisted thinking led them to believe that by killing innocent men and women, grandmothers, grandfathers, uncles, aunts, cousins, brothers and sisters that they might make a point that Terror ruled over Vigilance.  How sad.   How sickening a thought that a human mind can be so pliable as to believe the destruction of the innocent in some way appeases any God, justifies any spiritual quest.
       But the Beast of Terror perverts one's mind, twists and mangles ones thoughts so that whatever one seeks to believe about the darkest side of humanity becomes the deity of their lives, drives them to manufacture weapons of mass destruction, or hurls them into starving their people while they relish in the posh surroundings of luxury, ignoring the duty one human has to another to help lift the other to the next plane of human expansion.
        For 500 long days and nights I have sought to arm the Sentinels of Vigilance in my own mind with Tools of Vigilance--Courage, Conviction and Right Actions for the Children's Children's Children to combat the Beast of Terror's desire to drip the acid of Fear, Intimidation and Complacency on any hope the world might find ways to corral and harness the "evil" of Terrorism.
       Daily, I find the battle frustrating.
       Today, 720,000 minutes later, 11 million breaths passed, France and Germany are turning their backs on America's quest to remove Saddam Hussein's stated goal of building weapons of mass destruction, and his flagrant refusal to supply information about his weapon development.    Instead of offering such evidence, he has forced U.N. weapon inspectors into the role of detectives, ferreting out what they can find in the sands and tunnels of secret stockpiles, offering no open and willing effort to disclose what he has, and hoping that the world will turn against America's "search and destroy" mission.

      Like the rat waiting for the mousetrap to snap shut by itself, Hussein waits for time to win his argument that the world doesn't really care about stopping him, and his strategy is right.   Great former allies now turn their backs on America and refuse to shove the calendar forward, selfishly seeking their own power and refuting that of America to rid the Mid East of its greatest danger.
       The Terrorism of Complacency is as alive today as it was 500 days ago.   Instead of rallying to wipe out the great Terrorist of the Mid East, nations once supportive of protecting their lands from such madmen now refuse to participate.   As long as the Terrorists don't blow up their people or attack their children, then they feel safe in their smugness.  
       Five hundred days later, at the opposite end of the world, another Terrorist grabs his belly and laughs at the world.   Kim Jong Il, the chief of state of North Korea, defies the world by reactivating his nuclear production equipment and, within a few months using fuel rods, can have up to five nuclear bombs completed and ready to use as Terroristic bargaining chips in a world where he who has the most ugly weapons wins.
       Terror Hunting has not become popular since Nine Eleven.  Politically, the world leaders don't like the idea of ferreting our Terrorism and attacking it.  They prefer negotiating with it.
       When a rabid dog is snarling and frothing at the mouth, it seems a little odd to try and negotiate it into a state of calmness, and, if one thinks he is successful at it, the rabid nature waits until the negotiator thinks he has achieved his goal and then sinks his fangs in the vulnerable buttock exposed when the negotiator turns his back.
       The United Nations wants to negotiate with Saddam Hussein.   Terror Hunting upsets the idea of hundreds of politicians sitting around a table all trying to talk their way into Vigilance.   It preempts the idea of the whole being responsible for riding the Beast of Terror of its bite, and gives far too much power to the Terror Hunter.
       I find it confusing that 500 days later, the world is resisting making an example of a Terror Nation such as Iraq.  Or, for that matter, North Korea.

Complacent Jacques Chirac and Gerhard Schroeder are against war with Terror

       I don't feel very secure when the President of the United States announces the installation of early warning devices in major cities to alert the population of smallpox or biochemicals loose in the air, or the fact that health and emergency workers are getting smallpox vaccinations.
       It reminds me of a Nine Eleven about to happen again, only this time we all see the clock ticking before our eyes.
       America has become the world's only Terror Hunter.
       For the first time in history, one nation has stood up and said "We will not wait until our children or your children are murdered.   We will rid the land of those who plan, plot or harbor those who wish to destroy the innocent."
        Terror Hunting isn't a popular sport.
        It brings with it great criticism regarding intent.  It makes other nations who are Complacent retaliate with accusations that America is acting "out of order," that it has no right to unilaterally defend itself or other nations from the growing despotism that breeds people who climb into planes and smash themselves into buildings, or brew biochemicals or nuclear bombs to hurl about at will in acts of tyranny.
         America, one of the few nations who wins wars and doesn't colonize its victories over foreign lands, is suspect of being tyrannical against tyranny.   It's ironic that other nations don't embrace America's Terror Hunting, for if they did, the signal globally would be that Terrorism would be stomped into the ground at the first sign of its presence.  It would deter all those who tried to bully others.
         But France and Germany say "NO!"   Tens of thousands of anti-war marchers in Washington last week screamed NO!"  Even American public opinion is starting to waver, and the slow attrition of support for the war on Iraq is bringing the U.S. closer and closer to a state of Complacency.  But there is one staunch ally who supports American Vigilance in the face of Terrorism.   It is the Prime Minister of Britain, Tony Blair.   Blair separates himself from most politicians.  One, he is the youngest Prime Minister in recent English history, but more importantly, he is an active father of four children, one of whom was born during his role as leader of Great Britain.   His children are young, and his life is divided between politics and his obligations as a Father of Vigilance.   He is meeting with Bush in Washington on January 31 about Iraq.  But despite his critics in Britain, he holds fast high ground regarding the protection of the future by standing up to Terrorism.   He sees through the eyes of his children, not the myopic view to the ballot box.

Tony Blair and Bush, Fathers of Vigilance

        Global Terrorism must be stopped by example.   If it isn't, it will appear in a local neighborhood, like a rabid dog.   It will bite the children not the politicians, it will chew on the pregnant mothers, the grandmothers, the innocent because it is based on Fear, Intimidation and Complacency.
         Terrorism never seeks victory, just impact.
         Terrorism doesn't win anything except the constant reminder that no one is willing to stand up to it.
         Bullies only wish to Intimidate and strike Fear in their victims.   That's satisfying enough.
         But such bullies will run with they are chased.   They will hide when they are hunted.  And, when they are caught, they will cry and beg for mercy, for it is the nature of a bully to be inhuman, insincere, untrustworthy and morally corrupt.  
         If you let a crying bully go out of compassion, the bully will laugh at you and run to the end of the street and start bullying again.    North Korea is one example.   Iraq another.   Left alone without supervision or control, bullies revert to what they do best--bullying at everyone's expense.
         But when a fierce Terror Hunter comes on the scene and grabs the bully by the scruff of the neck and whacks his bottom and tosses him in a cell, now the bully listens.   A bully only respects those who treat him accordingly--with no trust and no compassion.
         Five hundred days later I find the Bullies of Terrorism thriving as never before.   They puff out their chest and dare the world to take them on.   They laugh.  They boast. They prepare for more Bullyism.

Saddam Hussein - a Bully of Terrorism

         We will only constrain the bully when we become Terror Hunters--true to our job--unafraid to act, nonplussed by those who would shun us. 
         And we, as individuals, must also rally.
         We need to look at Germany and France as examples of our own Complacency.
         If we haven't signed the Pledge of Vigilance, if we haven't dedicated ourselves to protecting our own children from Fear, Intimidation and Complacency, how can we ask the world to?
         Are we a Germany?  Are we a France?
         If we haven't become a Terror Hunter, if we haven't taken the Pledge of Vigilance, perhaps we are.


Jan. 24-- Bush Bashing Over The Evil Axis

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