Is Henry Kissinger The Right Guy To Protect Our Kids From Terrorism?
William Safire claims Kissinger is the best man for the job of sharpening America's future anti-Terrorism strategy because Kissinger has something to prove to the world--that he's not what history says he is.  I'm not so sure.   But I have an open mind.   My question is, Will Henry Kissinger really seek to protect Americans from Terrorism by insisting they police it, or will he continue to believe anti-Terrorism is government's job, and seek the approval of his peers not his public?  You be the judge.


Monday--December 2, 2002—Ground Zero Plus 446
A Second Look At Kissinger's Role In Revamping America's Terror Hunters

Cliff McKenzie
   Editor, New York City Combat Correspondent News

       GROUND ZERO, New York City, Dec. 2 --Terror hunting is an art.   It takes a Terrorist to find a Terrorist.  It takes the hunted to hunt the hunter.

      An old friend of mine taught me a few lessons when we went boar hunting on Catalina Island one stormy year.   It was the worst storm in decades along the West Coast.  Rain pounded so hard you could barely see the tip of  your rifle barrel.  Each time you peered through the scope the lens fogged, blurring the outline of the prized Russian Boars we stalked on the pristine island of Catalina, a limited hunting refuge twenty-six miles west of Los Angeles.  Phil Randazzo, a native of Rochester, New York, myself and a hulking bear of a man who hunted Grizzly's with bow and arrow and owned a taxidermy business, had been granted rights to hunt for boar.   We didn't know the worst storm in recent history was going to be our partner, or that it would challenge all our hunting skills.
       "Think like the hunted," Phil whispered to me in the pelting rain.  "Think like the hunted."

         Phil was a great hunter. He was short and burly, a street-smart Italian boy who used to carry a loaded .38 caliber to equalize his enemies who were larger and more threatening.   He was driven to succeed in spite of himself, and used everything he had learned growing up in the rough-and-tumble neighborhoods of Rochester to burrow his way up the ladder of success.  But first and foremost, he was a hunter.
          His home looked like a section of the New York Historical Museum.  Trophies lined the walls and each carried a story of how Phil braved the elements and thought like that which he stalked to hunt it down.  I was a novice compared to his expertise, and my ears scooped up his advice.   I got my boar, took it home and butchered it on the kitchen table, reminding my children we hunt to eat.  
         In business, Phil was a hunter too.  Profits were his prey.   He sought them with stalking precision.   He built from scratch one of the largest hair care franchise systems in Southern California and became a millionaire before he was forty, a goal he had that burned its way into his soul.
         While hunting was his most macho passion, his true thirst was Big Game fishing.   Like Zane Grey who said he wrote books to afford to fish the seas, Phil loved to travel the world in search of Black Marlin or swordfish, and was able to catch all nine of the elusive billfish in one year, a record few have achieved.  And to top it off, he caught all nine in one year twice, just for insurance.

Zane Gray in Cabo San Lucas 1925

      When it came to running a business, he beat the brush of business with the alacrity of a big game hunter.   Early in his foray into business ownership, he was struggling to understand the retail hair care business.  He was franchising the stores he built, so he hired a old friend to help him manage the stores he owned.  He caught the friend stealing from the register, skimming off the top.  Phil's wife, Mary, insisted Phil fire him.  But Phil, the forever hunter, said no.  Instead, he studied the thief's techniques.  Once he figured out the thief's system, he confronted him and told him not to steal anymore.   He would be watching.
        Then he put into place security measures to alter any of his other store managers from stealing, and designed security systems for his franchisees to assure all the money that came in the door stayed in the till. He kept the thief close to him, using the thief to help figure out who the next thief might be and how to stop him or her before they could get their fingers in the till.
        "Think like the hunted, not the hunter."

William Safire, columnist

          I thought of Phil this morning when I read William Safire's editorial in the New York Times about why Henry Kissinger was a great pick by President Bush to head up the Nine-Eleven investigation on why the government failed to anticipate and avert the events of September 11, 2001.   Kissinger was like Phil's friend who got his hand caught in the till.    He was the hunted, now turned hunter--Terror Hunter.
       The other day I railed on Henry Kissinger with unjustified righteousness.  I am still angry at our politicians for the way they handled the disgrace of Vietnam.   I can still see the faces of my dead buddies staring at me as their blood gushed out their jugulars, and feel their fingers grasping my blood-soaked fatigues as their last words gurgled: "Why me?  Why not you?"
       I'm stuck in that resentful quagmire of memories when our nation's leaders turned their backs on the warriors and made us "contain" rather "assault" the enemy, and politics rather than war tore our country apart.   Kissinger was one of my voodoo dolls I stuck pins in.   McNamara was another.   I always felt they sacrificed the brave and loyal for glory without guts.   They were the hunters then, unable to think like the hunted, riding in shiny limos thousands of miles from battlefields, intellectualizing the art of killing and trying to wash their hands of the blood stains of two million Vietnamese and over 50,000 Americans.    When I was spat upon after my return from Vietnam, I always consider the spittle to come from Kissinger's mouth, and McNamara's, and the other tyros of Terror who soiled the pages of American statesmanship.
       So it wasn't easy for me to take a second look at the role Kissinger is slated to play regarding his selection as the Terror Hunter.
       I have to credit Safire for opening my eyes.  My heart is still in jury deliberation, however, because a few well chosen words aren't sufficient to crack the walls of my thick resentment.  But, I am open to what Safire said in his column.
      If I can be presumptuous to boil down my opinion of what Safire said, his thrust was that Kissinger, once the hunted, has now become the hunter.   Having been a man of nefarious tactics to achieve what he wanted to glorify himself, now, in the final moments of his life, he has the wisdom of a "thief" to be able to catch other "thieves" in the act. 

Kissinger:   Can his Eye of the Hunted become the Eye of the Hunter?

     Safire claims that Kissinger is now working on his "historic reputation."  At 79, the former Secretary of State (1973-1977) and Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs (1969-1975), is reconstructing himself as a statesman--one who is more concerned with the future of the world than his own aggrandizement.   That, I have yet to see.
       Safire suggests that Kissinger has shifted his emphasis from realpolitiking (expansion of national interests at the expense of global one) to an awareness of Wilsonian idealism.   Wilsonian idealism emerged as a distinct policy philosophy at the end of the First World War.  One of the central concerns at the time was how to avoid war and conflict in general.  The crucial priority was the need to establish people-oriented internal and international democratic institutions that would act as the custodians of democracy and human rights as conceptualized within the general rubric of self-determination.   Wilson promoted the formation of the League of Nations to spread the seeds of democracy and human rights around the world.  
       Historically, the Cold War with Russia drove America away from Wilsonian idealism into realpolitiking--positioning the interests of the United States above all other nations in the struggle to be the singular super power over Russia and to prove it was the Sentinel of Vigilance of democracy.   National versus global interests drove political decisions both at home and abroad.
       Kissinger was at the vortex of realpolitiking.
       His German accent didn't help me think more highly of his self-serving behaviors, or the idea that a few non combatants hiding in bunkers back in Washington would sacrifice their men on the front lines without a blink.
       Safire is giving Kissinger the benefit of the doubt.
       He's suggesting that maybe, just maybe, Kissinger's spots have changed.  Or, if not changed, been rearranged.

Can Leopards really change their spots?

     As the head of the commission investigating the Nine Eleven debacle in American preparedness, Safire suggests Kissinger's real power isn't going to be castigating those who made strategic errors in leaving our borders open to assault by Terrorism, but in designing systems to close such gaps in the future.
       Safire is suggesting the scars on Kissinger's back give him credence to hunt down the Terror pitfalls of the future, to drive wedges in the holes in America's security dike, and to use his power as an intellectual and politician to strengthen America's overall ability to fight Terrorism down the line.
       Basically, he's betting Kissinger will take the "Big Leap."
       Safire cited the example of President Franklin D. Roosevelt appointing Joseph P. Kennedy as first chairman of the Securities Exchange Commission because the "predator knew all the manipulative tricks."   Safire says Bush selected Kissinger because "the old operator can see through the secret obfuscations he mastered long ago."
       I hope so.
       I'm not big on Safire's use of the analogy of the S.E.C. appointment of John Kennedy's father to head it up, for "Old Joe" might have seeded back then the genes of negligent management which have just recently proved rotten roots in an old structure.   I'm not one to promote that resurrected people are the best examples of leadership into the future, for despite any "purifications" they may have undergone, their roots still carry the fungi of the past.
       But that doesn't mean that Kissinger is not a good choice from my viewpoint.
       At least I know what he is and isn't.
      My friend Phil Randazzo reminded me its better to know you have a thief at the cash register than to think you have a saint.   That way, you won't be surprised if the saint fails to be perfect.  
       In that sense, I like Kissinger at the helm.   I can view him from what he was to what is and judge what he is going to do with a clearer view.   Hopefully, the Bush Administration is viewing his actions the same way.
       I'm also becoming convinced it takes a Terrorist like Kissinger to hunt down Terrorism.  
       My credentials as a Terror Hunter are solely based on my own experience of both being Terrorized and being a Terrorist.    I know what it's like to bomb, maim, pillage and plunder the innocent under a flag of glory that ends up dripping the guts of the dead on your head.  As a child, I know what it's like to hide under my covers as the violence between my mother and father raged just outside the door.  I also know what it's like to chase power, for I climbed to the top of my profession, earning over $300,000 a year in the 80's, and then fell flat on my face wishing only death because I was abysmal failure.
       I also know resurrection.


        On September 11, 2001, as I sat in the rubble of the World Trade Center holocaust, I pounded the keys of my laptop, capturing the moment in words and images.  I saw the swirling spirits of the Sentinels of Vigilance rising out of the ash, and wrote about them forming a Circle of Vigilance, their primary mission to protect the future of the children's children's children from both physical and emotional Terror.
      I also saw the Beast of Terror that day.  I saw his face and eyes and fangs and vowed to myself to hunt him down and constrain him by exposing him for what he is--Fear, Intimidation and Complacency.
      Since that day, I have written over one million words on the Hunt For The Beast Of Terror, and each day I have strengthened my resolve that one day we will stop looking outside our borders for him, and see him in the mirror, and know he is within us.
       Henry Kissinger has a good a chance to look in the mirror and see his Beast of Terror as anyone on the planet.   If Kissinger has the Courage, Conviction and takes the Right Actions as a Sentinel of Vigilance, he will incorporate both realpolitiks and Wilsonian idealism and fold them into a State of Vigilance where national and international interests can blend as one with the ultimate goal being the protection of the future generations, and not some expedient political whitewash that drives America's attention back to the flaws of our past but rather fortifies our future.
       That would be a feat indeed.
       If Safire isn't just "stroking" Kissinger's fur because of their past associations, and really sees something I'm blind to, then Kissinger might be America's best Terror Hunter.   If he is, he'll want to take the Pledge of Vigilance and want all of his staff to take it.   He'll want them to answer this simple but profound question:  "What measures must we take to protect the children and the children's children's children from Terrorism both from foreign and domestic sources?"
        If Kissinger is a real "resurrectionist" as Safire infers, he will recognize that Terror begins with individual Complacency, individual Fear, and individual Intimidation.   He won't focus his attention at finger-pointing at American government, but rather challenge the society of America to stand up and take command of Terror Hunting in their own lives, to protect their children from Fear, Intimidation and Complacency at the doorsteps of America's 100 million households.
        Then he will move up the Chain of Vigilance, from the parents and citizens, to the neighborhoods, cities, states, nation and finally the world.

Challenging the Hydra of Terrorism

       Since Terrorism is a hydra-headed beast, Kissinger cannot put on of them on a silver platter and deliver it with a bow and then wash his hands.   He has a lot of heads to cut off to keep the Beast of Terror at bay, and countless silver platters necessary to serve them upon.
        If he is "reborn" in principle and dedication, he will not be afraid to reach into the guts of Terrorism and yank out its bowels for the world to see.   Neither will he be wary of presenting the Pledge of Vigilance or the Principles of Vigilance as the tools for a world to use to turn the tide of Terrorism.    He will not, if he is a true Sentinel of Vigilance, as "governments" to perform the act of protecting their people from Terrorism, for that would be the worst kind of Terrorism possible.
        It is not government that can control and manage Terrorism.  It is the people, the Mothers and Fathers of Vigilance, the Grandparents of Vigilance, the Uncles and Aunts of Vigilance, the Cousins and Loved Ones of Vigilance, the Brothers and Sisters of Vigilance--only they, committed to ridding the Beast of Terror a lair in their minds and hearts--will be the true stopgaps of future Terrorism.
       Will Kissinger be able to lower his sights from the power of government to administer the safety of the future generations to the power of the people to do it?  
       My guts tell me no.
       I fear deep down that Kissinger is a old political animal seeking glorification in the waning light of his career--but not from the public, but rather from his "good-old-boy" peers.   I don't see him kneeling down next to a child and asking the child, "Tell me you fears, child?  Tell me what intimidates you?  Tell me your complacencies?   Tell me what you would like me to do to keep the Beast of Terror locked up so he doesn't haunt you?"

       I don't think Kissinger sees that the next Terrorist is being born as these words are written, or that it is how the child grows up that creates the Terrorism or Vigilance of the future.   Instead, I see Kissinger polling his peers, and listening to the choir sing the same tiring song about our "duty to protect the people."   Seeking that tune will not shine the stained pages of his history.
        But I could be wrong.
        Safire could be right.
        After all, who am I?

Dec. 1--The Immorality of Teaching Children Morality

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