|In this Conversation
with God, Cliff asks about Iraq and why God allows war to brew. He
finds the answer to the question in the question, and God's response
issued in his own words, the words of Vigilance over Terrorism.
30, 2003—Ground Zero Plus 505
A Conversation With God On Why We Should Attack Iraq
Editor, New York City Combat Correspondent News
GROUND ZERO, New York City, Jan. 30: I
am walking up Broadway, near 5th Avenue and 14th Street when I hear
the hissing of the Angel's wings slice through the air. My body
is lifted as though I were feather and not 279 pounds attached to a
6-foot, 4-inch frame. The Angel says nothing as it wings
upward to and into Heaven, depositing me in the big oak chair. I am
dwarfed in it. I grab at its worn arms where others who have sat
before God gripped it out of Fear and Intimidation as I do now.
I blink as a fierce rush of air drives me against the high back of the
chair. A splinter on the seat jabs at my buttock. I feel
finite, vulnerable and wonder why I was summoned to another
Conversation with God.
"So, back again, huh, Cliff?
"Yes...yes, sir?" I don't
question Him. I don't tell Him I didn't want to come here, that
I was abducted by the Angel.
"Come on, son.
Don't be obsequious with me. Call me Joe today. Joe.
Yes. Joe. That's a good buddy-to-buddy name."
I try not squirm. I've
sat before God a number of times since September 11, but never at my
request. Who would want to be facing the the Almighty, the
Guy who knows everything about everything, who can spin your deepest
darkest moral secret before you like a toy top.
The Throne of
God is huge. He
fills the throne like a Kodiak bear sitting on a tiny stump. His
flowing white robe billows over the sides. Wiry strands of his
salt-and-peppered beard show the wear of eons of mortal time.
His face is craggy, furrowed as though He has spent too long looking
down at us, scrunching His face over humanity's ignorance and sloth,
frustrated over His children's will to defy their Father's roadmap,
refuting His wisdoms.
"Care for some caramel popcorn?
I have some left over from Christmas." He shoves the large
colorful tin canister toward me. It is divided by three
cardboard slots that once housed different flavors.. Only the
caramel is left.
"No thank you...." I
pause, remembering how angry He gets when I revert to the "sir"
salutation. "...No thank you, Joe."
"Hard, isn't it?"
I stare at God. His
jaws grind up and down as He gnaws on a handful of gleaming
popcorn kernels drenched in the amber of caramel.
"...Hard to refuse God.
I mean, how many people would reject God's offer of popcorn?
Think about it, Cliff. Either you've got a lot on your mind, or
you're not very bright." God leans forward as He chews.
His thick nose looms like a battering ram near my face. I clutch
the oak arms of my chair. His eyes are as blue as the summer's
sky. They spear deep into my soul, looking past my brain, my
heart, my gut, burrowing into the dark corners, shining their
brightness on the shadows I brought with me, illuminating every twist
and cranny where I hide things even from myself. I am soul-naked
before Him. My inner self is unzipped, my moral viscera
splayed out for His inspection. As though I had any
secrets, I think. As though I had any secrets.
"I meant no offense.
I'm just not hungry. I'm trying to diet."
I have no idea where
those words came from. Silly thoughts and silly words
escape in times of critical mass.
God roars. He
laughs hard and slaps His knees. The Angels of Vigilance
roosting on their perches alongside Him wildly flap their wings.
Their eyes flick at and over me, measuring, evaluating, assuring
themselves I am no threat.
"That Atkins crap," God
bellows, leaning back. "You go on it and off it.
You're a yo-yo boy, gaining and losing, gaining and losing.
Three balanced squares. Push the plate away. Exercise.
That's the only way, son. Eternally proven. No
matter how advanced your society becomes, there's no magic way to be a
glutton and a hunk at the same time."
He laughs loudly
again. The clouds shake. Angel feathers fly up from
the soft fluffy crevices of the clouds, suspended for an instant in
the stillness, hanging about like quill pens poised to scribe the
future of the world on my forehead. I try not to sneeze as one
drifts past my face, skidding over my nose as it parachutes into
the white fluffy floor, swallowed out of sight as dust finds a home in
the loose weave of a carpet.
"You want to know about
attacking Iraq don't you? You want justification for another
God puts the popcorn can
down. He leans back, arms resting on the gleaming gold arms of
the throne, his right index finger tapping out a steady tattoo that
shatters the white noise of the Heaven's stillness.
"I'm not sure, sir...er...Joe.
I'm sorry. I'm nervous. I'm always nervous with you."
God leans forward and
places the thick hide of His hand on my knee. He slaps it
lightly as a grandfather might a child who is shocked by the old man
wrinkles of the grandfather's face and shoots of gray hair sprouting
from his ears.
. "Cliff...Cliff...come on now, be
honest. You're afraid, you're intimidated....I scare you."
I see caramel kernels in
His teeth as He talks.
frighten me. But....only at first."
"And you and your friends
frighten me, son. Oh yes. God gets afraid. I
look down and grab my head sometimes in utter fear of what you are all
thinking and doing. My great fear is that you will never
learn. I fear you will always be stuck in that primordial
ooze I wish I hadn't created. It's turned out to be
one of my great errors...I thought I could raise you up out of it.
But you retreat to it when things get tough. You wallow in all
those Seven Deadly Sins you all talk about--Pride, Anger, Lust, Envy,
Greed, Gluttony, Sloth--and then you top it off it with war, violence.
You abuse one another senselessly."
God grabs his temples between
His palms. "I get one of those...what do you call them...Ah, yes...one
of those Excedrin headaches....you know, Cliff, the ones your
television commercials show where the hammer smashes against the
anvil...and lightening bolts thunder in the sky..."
As He says the words
"lightening bolts" a great clap of thunder shakes Heaven.
Instantly, the sky turns black as white flashes fill the sky. An
icy chill rushes through the stillness, puckering my pores.
I grip the chair.
"Drama, drama, drama..."
God waves His hand. The air is warm again. Stillness
prevails. The black is gone. The sun shines.
One of God's
"It always comes down to
war, Cliff. One group of you holds up one flag, the other
group another. No compromise. Just accusations flung
across lines in the sand. Then you attack one another.
You resolve your angst with blood. I haven't figured out
how I went so wrong in that arena. Conflict yes, that's
okay in the scope of Free Will, but senseless violence, killing one
another in droves....and all the innocent along with the
combatants...I never wanted that."
I am no longer
afraid. Fear has exhausted itself. God leans back in His
throne, slumping slightly as a grandfather might over the news of His
grandson's death. I feel an urge to reach out and touch
Him, comfort Him, but I catch the Angels' eyes watching me hawkishly.
I retreat to the back of my chair.
"I'm sorry about that too," I
"You know what I mean, Cliff.
You've seen the dead children, the dead mothers and fathers of war.
You've seen their blank death stares, the emptiness in their eyes as
they lay in the hot sun, bodies cold, flies drinking the blue-back
coagulated blood. It's utterly senseless, this war thing,
this death and destruction of life because two sides cannot agree."
"I've always wondered why
you don't stop it. Just stop it!"
I clutch the chair.
My Voice is harsh, the timbre on the last "just stop it!" ringing with
an anger I regret once it escaped.
God sits up. He
glares at me as though I caught Him catnapping on duty. "I would
if I could," He replies with non-retaliatory kindness. I
know I am out of of line. I have no right to imply He
allows or condones war. I know better. But I cannot stuff the
you? Why can't you intervene?"
down and stuffs His hand in the popcorn can, shoving a handful in His
mouth. He studies me as he chews.
you many times before I gave humans Free Will. My mistake,
but it's done. I can't reverse the right you have to
choose over right and wrong, good and bad. If I
reverse myself, which I can't--remember, I lock myself out so I can't
be running back every five minutes changing my mind--if I reverse
myself and take away Free Will, well, then, I'd have to erase all human
beings from earth. They'd just be in the way of the ants and
trees and birds and bears and things that serve to balance nature.
You human beings have little value except the hope you will evolve
above the primordial ooze. I thought you'd be
farther along by now, but you seem to be stuck on killing each other
over and over and over."
Hope for the Children's Children's Children
Frustrated, yes. Bitter, no. I still have Hope, Cliff.
The word you use is Faith. But the waiting period is like
a boil on my butt. It hurts even when I stand."
sir...er...excuse me, Joe. We're on the edge of not just war,
but a battle between Good and Bad, Right and Wrong.
Terrorism is about the primordial ooze. It's about how we
think, how we remain in the jungle, how we twist our thoughts around
so Fear, Intimidation and Complacency overpower our Courage,
Conviction and Right Actions."
reading my book."
"You mean the
"No. That was
written by your ancestors...humans trying to define Me.
Trying to put a face to the name, a culture to the omnipotent, to
divide up territory of righteousness so that one deification system
could have more power over another. Look at the
world, Cliff. Its all carved up into religious
indignation. It's as though I had been butchered by My children
and quartered into all different pieces so that one nation could
elevate me above another and then use that righteousness to kill under
the color of My flag. Your President invokes my name
at the end of his speeches and says, 'God Bless America,' and Saddam
Hussein calls on 'Allah' to drive off the infidels, and Israel claims
real estate privilege in My name while Palestine claims their holy war
is justified because I granted them the land long before anyone else
laid claim to it. I'm tried of being used in a taffy
pull of righteous indignations that end up as excuses for the killing,
maiming and slaughter of innocent children. Bibles,
Korans, Torahs, Books of Ifa, Adinkra scripture, Mudu Netche... are
all feeble attempts to gain dominion over Me by sects, groups, and
nations...each fumbling dogma to justify acts of violence invoked by
My mouth slackened.
I felt my heart pound fiercely. Spittle flew out of God's mouth
as He shouted His distaste triggered by the word Bible. An angel
fluttered down and wiped His lips delicately with the tip of her wing,
then returned to her pedestal, her eyes watery as she watched God rub
his forehead slowly, slumping slightly as though His anger pained him,
reminding Him of visions of humanity's waste, of bodies stacked in the
carnage of history, so many they reached to infinity.
"I'm sorry, Cliff.
I've been watching what is going on down below. I have
such sorrow. I should not take it out of its proper place and
reveal it so openly."
"Perhaps it's your primordial
ooze?" I said it as a knee jerk response. I didn't think
before I opened my mouth. It just seemed God was as much a
victim of Terrorism's biting truths as humans with all their frailties.
"I stepped out of it long ago."
He righted himself, dusting off the popcorn kernels in his lap with a
long sweep of his hand. Then he looked at me and gave a
wink. "At least, I think I did."
"Maybe," I said, feeling braver
by the minute, "...maybe Terrorism exists as our reminder to believe
in You. Maybe you hard-wired it into us so we could climb out of
"What do you mean?"
"I'm not a rocket scientist as
you know God, and I haven't been to Harvard and I'm not a chief of any
state, so I'm not qualified to be the master of knowledge.
But, what if back when you were Creating things, you built in
Terrorism--the Fear, Intimidation and Complacency--to give you life.
Maybe the spore of all human differences isn't Free Will, but
"You're losing me.
I shifted toward the edge
of the chair. I felt the adrenalin surging. "What if Free
Choice was all about the ability to move from Terrorism to Vigilance,
and you designed human evolution to be motivated by Fear, Intimidation
and Complacency. What if you planned Terrorism to be the
springboard to Vigilance, and what is going on right now in the world
is the crossing point, the intersection between our recognition that
we must stand up globally to Terrorism in all its forms and shapes,
and not just wait until it turns into an Iraq or a North Korea or an
Iran or Sri Lanka."
God sat back and studied me inquisitively.
Vigilance flows Conviction
"Let's say human
beings never attacked Terrorism head on. Let's say they danced
around the maypole so to speak, but didn't hit it on the head.
What if the first flash of Fear was the first signal a human had to
muster Courage, and the first time one shirked from another in
Intimidation was his or her coming of age of Conviction.
say that when one fell into the bed of Complacency and just froze in
the nothingness it was so startlingly like death he or she rose up and
committed to Right Actions, not just out of selfish desires, but for
the future of the Children's Children's Children. What if
the Vigilance Formula was like E equal M C squared. What if the
battle going on below between nations was the final shroud that was
being pulled away from our eyes so we could see Terrorism for what it
is, the key to our evolution, the fuel that drives us all out of the
primordial ooze, but not so far as to make us forget that if we aren't
Vigilant, if we don't keep our eye on the future of the Children's
Children's Children we will slip and slide back, be sucked down into
Terrorism's quagmire and flail about like blind rats in a maze,
unaware that Vigilance is the endpoint of Terrorism."
a mouthful, Cliff. You really think I created Terrorism to
bring Peace and Harmony to the world?"
I felt the
adrenalin leak from my veins. A cold sweat formed on my brow as
I realized God was now cocking one eye, looking at me with a jaundiced
eye. I began to feel like the bug under a microscope. My
Voice quavered as I spoke.
"I don't think you
intended Terrorism as a means of destruction. I believe it was a
tool for construction, to build humans above the Beasts, a ladder to
climb upwards toward the Heavens, away from the bestial nature where
one abuses another without conscience, without remorse or regret.
I believe humans have hidden behind their ignorance for far too long.
They've lowered themselves by cowering to Fear and Intimidation and
Complacency. The mother who denies her children love from
her heart, or the father who stands aloof from his children, creates
as much Terrorism in the child's mind that the child isn't loved and
cared for as Saddam Hussein or Kim Jong Il does neighboring nations
that he might attack them with deadly weapons of mass destruction.
I think the pain of parental neglect to their children's dreams and
ambitions, the denial of access to their inner selves, is far more
Terroristic than a plane crashing into the World Trade Center killing
thousands. It is emotional genocide. It kills
one's belief in himself or herself, as surely as a land mine blows off
a child's leg, or anthrax chokes the life out of its victim.
Human parental terrorism is the worst of crimes on earth."
"You've done your
homework it appears."
I was quite
"I believe this is
the Age of Vigilance, God. May I call you God? Joe is so
uncomfortable for me."
If it makes it easier for you, go ahead."
"God, I believe
when you created human beings, you set into motion the right for
Vigilance to be recognized as the missing link everyone hunts for that
bridges the gap between the Beasts and humans. Today, we
are on the cusp of a World of Vigilance, a world where Terrorism is
defined not by Saddam Husseins, or Osama bin Ladens, or Adolph
Hitlers, or Kim Jong Ils, but by parents who Terrorize their
children by not teaching them the Principles of Vigilance, by parents
who give their children the emotional cold shoulder and don't take
upon their shoulders the duty of Vigilance, to train their children to
turn Fear into Courage, Intimidation into Conviction, and Complacency
into Right Actions for the benefit of the Children's Children's
Children. I believe this is a joyous time, God.
I believe it is the crossing point, the intersection where all your
hard work will pay off. It is the point where the world will
face its Global Parent of Vigilance Duty, and stop Terrorism first at
home, and then resolve the Terrorism that exists abroad."
into his popcorn can. He fingered a piece and then chewed on it.
what is happening is the beginning of the end of Terrorism?"
It's the end of Ignorant Terrorism. It's the end of unjustified
Terrorism. It's the end of putting Terrorism at arm's length and
the beginning of the time we embrace Terrorism as a tool to achieve
Vigilance. It's the time we agree to neutralize Terrorism
with acts of Vigilance for a goal far greater than ourselves--for our
children and their Children's Children."
mean I'm out of a job?" God smiled.
Absolutely not. It means your job is just beginning.
You know how thankful the world will be to you when they finally come
to understand you aren't all those parts they think you are--when you
become one whole body? The children know who you
are, but they are trained to believe in something else by their
parents. When they are born, they know you are the
wonderment of what can be, the magic of imagination, the beauty of
infinity. Why, you can make cows jump over the moon, and
dishes run away with spoons.
will survive through Vigilance
You can fire their imaginations far
beyond this universe, until, that is, their parents stomp on it, abuse
it, neglect it, corral it, feed it bigotry and hatred, soil it with
prejudice and cultural rifts that cannot be gapped because of Fear,
Intimidation and Complacency. But those old ideas will
evaporate as Vigilance grows in the face of Terrorism's threat.
Human faith will rise in inverse proportion to Terrorism's threat. I
am convinced of that."
think I designed all that long, long ago?"
you did, yes sir, I believe you did."
"And do you
think I have forgotten I did, if did?"
You are omnipotent. You know everything. Whether you
recall everything or not, well, that I don't know."
began to laugh heartily. He laughed so hard the Angels flew from
their perches because they shook thunderously.
salesman you are, Cliff. You're good. Very good.
But, you came here to ask me about Iraq. Do you want to
stone faced. God's blue eyes drilled me.
sir," I said slowly. "That's your business. My business is
want me to stop what's happening in Iraq?"
it means the end of human beings. No, that would be too large a
price to pay."
are we done for the day, Cliff?"
Vigilantes", said God and I felt his comfort and support
"For the day," I said, smiling and standing.
The Angels flew quickly to the ready position. I
turned red, remembering that I should show God the respect
of not standing before He did.
"That's all right, Cliff. I understand.
You've got Pledges of Vigilance to sell, and wheelbarrows
full of Courage, Conviction and Right Actions to pass
out. I'll let you go to work."
He stood and waved his hand. An angel swooped down
and cradled me in her arms, lifting me up so I could see
"Semper Vigilantes," He said, and the angel
took off. I felt myself passing through
the stars, downward toward the earth.
I was deposited back in Union Square. A war
protest rally was under way. People were arguing,
sirens screamed up the streets. In a playground
near the statue of Abraham Lincoln two children's playgrounds
teemed with young ones and their parents playing, laughing,
oblivious to the protestors, the sirens, the cacophony
29--State of Vigilant Union Address
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