Article Overview:   Can American troops fighting in Iraq be likened to Santa Claus bringing gifts to the Iraqi children?  Or, are they mere ugly Beasts of Terror roaming the land to pillage and plunder it?    Maybe the movie, Elf, can help us see how American troops are the hands that rock the Cradle of Vigilance.


Sunday--November 23, 2003—Ground Zero Plus 802
Rocking the Cradle Of Vigilance
Cliff McKenzie
   Editor, New York City Combat Correspondent News

GROUND ZER0, New York, N.Y.--Nov. 23, 2003-- Yesterday, I wrote a story about Saluting Dead Presidents.   In it, I spoke of the "Cradle of Vigilance."
       Today, I want to rock that cradle.

A giant Elf helped the world regain the "spirit of belief"

      My wife, daughter, son-in-law and three grandchildren just returned from seeing the movie, "Elf."   It was about a nation of Complacency, a world that had forgotten how to believe in its future and to pass that future belief down to the children.
       It seems Santa's sleigh was running out of gas--spiritual gas.   It was the "spirit of belief" that fueled Santa's sleigh, and, over a number of years, the belief in the "spirit of Christmas" had dropped so dramatically that Santa needed  a jet engine to power his sleigh filled with toys and gifts to the children of the world.
       But, alas, the engine wasn't working well.
       Wrapped around the failing jet engine and decline of Christmas Spirit was the story of a giant Elf played by Will Ferrell of Saturday Night Live fame.   He was trying to fit into a human world after spending thirty years trying to fit in as one of Santa's elves.
       Like all good holiday films aimed at the hearts of parents and children, the story unveiled the journey of a man of belief into a world dominated by disbelief.  It was the world of the child versus the world of the adult, of the world of innocence juxtaposed to the world of human stain, of good versus evil, or selflessness vs. selfishness.
       In the end, of course, Christmas survived.    As we're hanging by fingernails on the ledge of Christmas lost, a single Voice begins to sing, rallying the world to harmonize its belief in Santa.   The sleigh flies solely on the "spirit of belief" without the aid of the jet engine.
       The film is about rocking the "cradle of Vigilance."   It's about standing up for what is right in the face of all the things that are wrong.   It's also about Complacency, and how Fear and Intimidation worm their respective ways into the minds of adults, depreciating the value of Christmas.       

James Caan, who plays the Elf's father, learns the hard way about the need to love his children

       Christmas is not a holiday as many would think, but rather a simple reminder of our obligation to treasure the gift of the children over all others.    James Caan, who plays the Elf's father in the movie, learns the hard way about the need to love his children more than any other single thing in the world.
         His Beast of Terror put money and success ahead of love, but, in the end, that all changed.  At least, in the movie.
         America faces the same lackluster spirit as Santa did in the Elf  movie.    There are countless Americans who are not interested in rocking the cradle of Vigilance in Iraq.    Or, for that matter, in any other nation in the world.
        The "Spirit of Democracy" has ebbed, just as the "spirit of Christmas" leaked slowly from the veins of American citizens.
        Critiques may argue that there is a huge gap between the "spirit of Christmas" and the "spirit of War," because what they see is only the carnage of war and the commercialism of Christmas.   In each case, their eyes focus on the immediate rather than the future--Christmas is about ringing cash registers and bleeding money out of people's wallets and purses; war is about dropping bombs and killing innocent people who bleed until they die.
       Rocking the cradle is not an issue.

The "Spirit of Democracy" today and the "Sprit of Christmas" in the movie have ebbed

      If one looks at Christmas, or any holiday designed to bring happiness to others, it's not about the event itself or who started it.  It's about the result.   It's about the children feeling good, feeling happy, feeling loved and cared for by their families, by society as a whole.  It's about protecting them from Fear, Intimidation and Complacency that haunts life, that makes the "grind" of daily living sometimes unbearable because of the struggle one has endure to make ends meet.   Then, on one day, or, in some holiday formats, a week or so, the world stops.   The pressure chambers are opened so that everyone can enjoy the spirit of love without the arrows and bullets of reality making them duck and weave.
      They chose to rock the cradle--to bring a moment or a day or a week of joy and happiness to the doorstep and within.     

The role of America in Iraq is like a giant hand rocking a cradle

     If we look at the role of America in Iraq, and its allies, we find a giant hand rocking a cradle.   We see people reaching across the seas and trying to give to the children of other lands a precious present called freedom and liberty, a gift that can last many many lifetimes if it is allowed to prosper.
      But the spirit of Freedom and the spirit of Liberty can die slow, agonizing deaths, just as the spirit of Christmas undergoes in the movie Elf.    When adults forget that their beliefs in the future dictate the present of the children, they become servants of the Beast of Terror's will.   Their Complacency allows the Beast to roam free, as the allegory of Christmas Complacency threatened in the early moments of the movie Elf to endanger Santa's visit to the children of the world.
       It may be hard for people to imagine a military person armed with deadly weapons in Iraq as Santa Claus, there to bring joy and happiness to the children of the land.    But, if the mission of such people is to deliver to the children the gift of "liberty" over "tyranny," of "freedom" in place of "oppression," then what real difference is there in a jolly white-haired old fat man leaving a shiny toy to a poverty-stricken child in America who suffers the verbal and physical abuse of parents who seem not to care whether the child lives or dies?
      If "liberty" and "freedom" can enjoy even a moment of life in an otherwise dreary life of suffering, isn't that moment worthy of salute?   If a hand rocks a cradle with nothing more than "hope" isn't that "hope" the first step toward achieving the belief in struggling to obtain more of it?
      Many people in Iraq have "hope" that liberty and freedom will become gifts for their children, and their children's children's children.    But, many may not yet believe it is possible, simply because it has not yet occurred.   In the Arab world, democracy and freedom as it is known in the West does not exist.    But, the hand is on the cradle.   

We, the citizens, comprise the hand that rocks the cradle of freedom and liberty

      The "spirit of freedom" is being rocked.  The "spirit of liberty" is being cooed.
       And, who is the rocker?
       The great arm of Belief in the future of the world's children does not belong to the government of any nation.   It belongs to its citizens.   We who enjoy the fruits of the finest liberty and freedom in the world comprise the arm attached to the hand that rocks the cradle of freedom and liberty in all lands.  It is either our support that keeps the cradle rocking or our Complacency that causes it to be still.
        If we peer over the edge of the cradles in other lands we see the innocence of a child's eyes peering back at us.  In the movie, Elf, Buddy, the main character, starts out in an orphanage.  He is unloved and unwanted until the long arm of Destiny rocks his cradle.
        For you who are against the war in Iraq, or any war America wages upon the precept of freedom and liberty, go see the movie Elf.   As you view it, think about how America's spirit to sustain fights in other lands that ultimately free the children can be won or lost by the spirit of those at home.
        If we give up on Iraq now, will Terrorism return as bad weeds do once the gardener stops patrolling the lawn?   If we give up on giving to others our gifts of liberty, how long will it take for our own liberty to become choked by the weeds of our own Complacency?
        Maybe you are incapable of seeing the parallels between the movie Elf and what is happening in America today.    Maybe you will be unable to connect the relationship between Christmas and War because on the surface they look so diverse, so polarized.  But, if the end result of both--Christmas and War--is that the children of the land enjoy a new freedom, a new liberty through the selfless giving of gifts that signal to them they are cared for by others, then aren't they both the same ultimately?

Americans are dying in Iraq because they volunteered to die
(Two US Soldiers were killed today while stopped in traffic)

     Americans are dying in Iraq because they volunteered to die.   There is no draft in America.   Each person who goes to Iraq with the U.S. military made a vow to die for their country, and for the pursuit of freedom and liberty.    The most selfless gift a child in Iraq gets today is that tens of thousands of Americans are willing to die for them, and for their children, and their children's children's children.
       In a way, all the Americans in Iraq are like the Elf in the movie.  They all came to "give" and not to "take."
       They are the hands that rock the cradle of liberty and freedom.
       If we keep believing in them, and the value of their mission--to free future generations--then we will keep the "Spirit of Vigilance" alive and well.    

Keep the Spirit of Vigilance alive like the Elf

       But, if we become Complacent, and believe the Beast of Terror's invectives, we will all drop our eyes and jerk our hands away from the cradles of the children of Iraq and let the sleigh fall from the sky.
       Santa will be dead.  And so will hope and the future of belief if that happens.
       Keep the Spirit of Vigilance alive.   Take the Pledge of Vigilance today, and be a hand that rocks the cradle of the world.


Nov. 22--Saluting Dead Presidents--Vigilance Not Patriotism

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