Article Overview:  What is "pure love?"  On Valentine's Day, it's a good time to examine "love."   While each of us has his or her definition, what if there was only one definition?  What if it was all about sacrifice for the Children's Children's Children?   What if it meant sending a Valentine of Vigilance to the Beast of Terror, to let him know "pure love" was on its way?


Friday--February 14, 2003—Ground Zero Plus 520
A Valentine Of Vigilance
For The Children Of Europe

Cliff McKenzie
   Editor, New York City Combat Correspondent News

GROUND ZERO, New York City, Feb. 14--It's Valentines Day today.  It's supposed to be a day of love and not war, of happiness not sadness for that elusive but powerful word called "love."
        It's time for us all to give a "Valentine of Vigilance" to those we care about the most--a symbol of our belief that no matter what the present state of the world may be, that Vigilance will ultimately win over Terrorism.
Love is a peculiar creature.  It often cannot be defined by the intellect, for it comes from the heart.   And there are many kinds of love--the love one has for another human being, the love for one's country, for his or her parents, for life and the love one has for the future of the world.
       Love, some say, is nothing more than One Percent more Hope than Dismay, One Percent more Belief than Doubt, One Percent more Faith than Fear.

       Others say that trying to define "love" is like trying to nail Jell-O to the wall--it just can't be done.
       Love, others say, is blind.    It exists despite all the evidence that suggests it shouldn't--the mother who loves the serial killer, the wife who loves the abusive husband, the child who loves his or her dreams even though he or she may be eating plaster off the walls or lying in a cancer ward with a death sentence hanging over his or her head.
       Humans have tried to define love since the dawn of time when the ugliest of all men on earth became the axis of the most beautiful woman in the world's attention.
       There are those who proudly proclaim they "love their country right or wrong," and those who love freedom so much they are willing to run into Tiananmen Square in China and stand in front of a tank threatening to run them over.
       There are also those who "love war," as exampled by the fictional colonel in the movie Apocalypse Now who took a deep breath and sighed delightedly as villages burned around him and said:  "God, I love the smell of napalm."
       There are those who love life so much that they violently oppose war and are willing to go to jail in protest of it.

       On Nine Eleven we saw hundreds of firemen, police and emergency workers rush into burning buildings and risk life and limb because of their "love of duty," and many gave their lives that day in pursuit of the love they had to serve others selflessly in the face of danger and death.
       My friend Vince Capadonno, a Maryknoll priest in Vietnam when I was there, crawled out into hails of bullets to drag wounded Marines to safety.  He was wounded numerous times pulling the young Marines out of harm's way and was finally cut down.  He was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for his bravery in expressing his "love" of others despite the fact he was a non-combatant, a Catholic priest trying to salve the souls of the humans engaged in a deadly combat.
        I am sure there are countless thousands of citizens in Iraq who love their country no matter who is the current ruler and will fight to the death against anyone who invades it for they "love" their right to chose their own leaders, whether they be despots or icons of greatness.
        There are those also who "love" power and authority over others, and treat with such respect and kindness that they will blind themselves to the inhumanity of their actions or the casualties created to hoist that love above all others--including human life, even their own.
        There are those also who "love to hate," and seek to feed off prejudice and bigotry against others, to disenfranchise them from the human race so they can abuse them with moral impunity, for their thirst to "love to hate" twists and perverts their thinking to include themselves as a hammer and all others as a nail.

Uncle Sam avows his love for the United States

         I'm sure if you were to ask Saddam Hussein what he loved the most, he would spout his love for Iraq, and for its role as a leader of nations in the Middle East.  
         Osama bin Laden would equally talk about his love of Islam, and extol its virtues to the point where he justified all actions, however cruel and unjust to others, to validate his love through martyrdom.  He would encourage others to show their love also by blowing themselves up for a cause that would reward the Terrorist in the afterlife with lavish gifts in Paradise.
        I'm equally sure that North Korea's leader,  Kim Jong Il loves his nation as a power broker would an arsenal of assets.   He loves the idea that with enough nuclear muscle he can bully any other nation within  striking distance to accede to his nation's will and be as strong and defiant as other nations who enjoy such power.
        Love becomes clay in the hands of the lover.   The lover of love can mould it into whatever shape, size or configuration befits his or her belief in love.
        Fat people, for example, love eating.   They live to eat.  They love the feeling food gives them.  Some claim that food replaces a human in their lives, and serves as a surrogate to flesh and blood love.  But some fat people boast that it is the "taste" they love, and will eat and eat and eat until they explode.
        Critics of love, myself included, find love to be a shapeless as a wisp of steam on a cold day.  We critics of love find it so indefinable that it has no body, no shape, no lexicon because it means one thing to one person and another thing to another such that no two people can agree on it.  
        In battles over love one can say, "You don't love me."  The other can say, "But I do love you."   "No, you can't love me, for if you did you would...." argues the other.    "But I do love you, in my own way...maybe not your way..." comes the reply.   "Then that's not love...."

To some love can be nebulous

        Love is the perception of the lover, not its definition.  Because of that, I shy from attaching the word love to most things, knowing full well that anyone can argue against my use of love from their perspective. 
        If Osama bin Laden were to say, "I love Islam so much I am willing to kill all the infidels to protect it," the moralists would march out in legions to destroy his definition of love.
        If a mother says she loves her child so much she spanks it to make it mind, another group would march upon her and tell her that issuing corporal punishment on a child is not an act of love, but one of abuse, and perhaps have her jailed for striking her child.
        Love is nebulous when examined by others.  It filters through " perception lens"  of what it means, and, if it doesn't fit the listener's paradigm, it is marginalized, discounted, tossed aside in righteous judgment of what it is not despite the fact the owner of the word may have meant it from his or her own vista.
        One could eventually go berserk trying to define love to fit the multitudes, each of whom cherish their own definition..
        Thus, I'm not going to attempt to appease all.
        But I do hold one belief about love.
        I hold fast to the belief that love, as I understand it, is ultimately  one's willingness to sacrifice personal desires for the ultimate benefit of others.
       The mother or father who goes hungry so his or her children can eat is one  example.
       Another is the courageous who offer their lives to protect the innocent. The Space Shuttle astronauts fall into this category I believe, because they were willing to risk everything to carve a path into the future for generations to come.
       I think of all the Sentinels of Vigilance who died to protect the children of the world--countless men and women of all shapes and sizes, kinds and colors, who threw themselves into the jaws of the Beast of Terror so that their children, and their Children's Children's Children might have the opportunity to live life free of the Beast of Terror one day--yes, they are without doubt "issuers of love."
        My friend, Vince Capodanno, was one such Sentinel of Vigilance.  Without a gun or weapon, he walked into the midst of the war zone of Vietnam, willing to sacrifice his safety and security as a human being for his love of others.   I often think of him as representing "pure love," for he would tell me how afraid he was in battle, as afraid as any and all of us, but he put that Fear in the back seat when the bullets flew.  
        Love to me is all about Courage.   It is about standing up to one's Fears, one's Intimidations, one's Complacencies and taking the Right Actions in spite of the Fear, Intimidation and Complacency that benefit the Children's Children's Children.
        And I don't mean just a select few children.  That would be selfish.

 An expression of 'conditional love' or 'pure love'

      Those who strap bombs to their chest and kill innocent people to seek martyrdom are not selfless creatures expressing pure love.  They are expressing "conditional love," limited to only those who conform to their way of life, their thinking, their beliefs.
         The pure love I speak to is the willingness of an adult to give his or her life for what is right for all the Children, not just the few.  It is the fuel of the Servants of Vigilance, who daily fight the battle of taking more than their fair share to be victorious in "giving more than their fair share."
        To be truly Vigilant, one must consider his or her actions in light of the ultimate goal of protecting the future generations from Fear, Intimidation and Complacency.   To do this, one must be willing to sacrifice his or her own selfish desires to protect the children's rights.
        This means one must commit to the love of Courage over Fear, the love of Conviction in the face of Intimidation, and the ability to displace Complacency (inaction) with Right Actions that serve the benefit of the Children's Children's Children.
        If I am pro-America, if I love America, if I am a great flag waver and believe in my country "right or wrong" I am forced to stop and ask:  "Is the impending war in Iraq to the benefit of the Children's Children's Children?   Will such a war today preserve and protect the rights of all children in the future?"
        If I answer that yes, I march to war.
        If I answer that no, I march in protest to war.
        But I do not waffle.  I do not sit on the sidelines and pick my nose.  I don't bury my head in the sand in hopes the issue will blow away.

Pro-war or anti-war we see children as a body of innocence to be protected

        If I happen to be anti-American and despise the fact that America's bellicose attitude toward Iraq makes me shudder because I don't think any nation has the right to self-appoint itself as a policeman of other nations and I tend to think the war is all about oil and power for America, I must stop and think:  "Is America's actions in Iraq ultimately, three generations from now, going to benefit the children of the world, all children by removing a despotic leader who has a record of killing his own people or will America's actions hurt the children of the future?"
         The Vigilance Formula forces us to examine our prejudices and bigotries, our politics and religious beliefs, in a neutral zone before we answer the question.   It forces us to see the children as a body of innocence, and ask if what we are doing today will either benefit by at least One Percent more, or depreciate by at least One Percent more the rights of the children of the future to be free from the Terror of Fear, Intimidation and Complacency.   If the three Triads of Terrorism are diminished by any action, then such action is Vigilant.  If the Triads of Terrorism are increased by such an action, then such action is just another form of Terrorism.

We must learn how to express 'pure love' for our children

       For one to put his or her personal prejudices to the side and become a Sentinel of Vigilance is not easy.  It means one has to learn how to express "pure love" for the future of the children.  To express "pure love" for the children, one has to not be contaminated by opinions and beliefs about the present.
       Personally, I don't think George Bush is much of a politician or diplomat.   He's not conceding to the will of other nations.   He's not kowtowing to the United Nations, or seeking the approval of the world before he acts.  He's not allowing his position against Iraq as a Terrorist Regime to be watered down by all the critics who sling arrows at him and his Administration and rail upon America as an imperialistic hector, imposing its power upon the world without the world's consent.
      However, I do believe that at some place in time one nation needs to rise above the cacophony of Complacency and attack the roots of Terrorism.  One nation needs to show the world that despite all the discussions the United Nations has engaged in over tyrants and Terrorists, it is time to make a sacrifice for what's right for the children.
      The willingness of America to spill its blood in Iraq is a symbol--however disguised it might be by political flack and anti-American prejudice--of America's love for the security and safety of the children's rights.
      Not too long ago the children of Europe would dare speak out against their governments.  Just a few generations ago Europe was ruled by kings and queens, by lords of governments that imposed their will on the people.  If one were to dissent against that government a heavy price was paid, including death.
      America proved to the world that being "ruled" by tyrants and Terrorists wasn't necessary.  It proved the people of a nation could rise up and take command of their future, and Europe followed America's lead.
      Today, the Children's Children's Children of Europe decry the right of America to dethrone a tyrant-Terrorist.   They refute the right of America to impose its will on other nations as a violation of world consensus.   They say that only when the United Nations authorizes such an action should such an action be just.
       But they forget that the duty of a Parent of Vigilance is not to wait until all the parents agree what  is right for the children.     A Parent of Vigilance walking by a child being abused by an adult cannot run to a committee and ask permission to stop the adult from abusing the child.   

Vigilant Love should encircle all the children of the world

       Saddam Hussein has abused his children.   He will abuse them again and again and again.
       The issue of weapons of mass destruction is only an excuse for action, not its core.   The core issue is will Saddam Hussein, left to his own devices, once again abuse his nation's children if they oppose him as the Kurds did?
       If the answer to that question is yes, then America is right on target with Saddam Hussein.
      Perhaps America loves children more than the world can imagine.   Perhaps the true reasons America is standing up in the face of all global and domestic flack over Iraq isn't just about oil or enhancing America's power over others.
      Perhaps America is expressing "pure love" for the Children's Children's Children of Iraq, and it is sacrificing its image as "go-along-with-everyone-else-and-do-nothing" state into a Vigilant Action State.

 Will the world send a Valentine of Vigilance to the Beast of Terror?

     Just maybe America is giving the world a Valentine of Vigilance by attacking Iraq, or threatening to do so in spite of all the criticism.   Just maybe the regime change in Iraq will free the children in that nation to one day protest, as European children are today, the right of America to be a Parent of Vigilance.
       Maybe pure love is not letting the protests of your children defer you from doing what is right for other children.
       Just maybe, the louder the protestations from Europe, the more fuel is fired that America is right on target, for not too long ago, Europe was gagged, and its children silent.
      Maybe, the Valentine of Vigilance Europe received many years ago needs to be reopened, and its contents sent to the children of Iraq.
      Sending it would be an act of "pure love."

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