What is the price of Vigilance?  Can it be purchased?  Would the world pay $200 million to talk to North Korea's leader about peace?   South Korea thought so, and is accused of paying North Korea to sit down at a summit two and a half years ago.   Did they buy peace or prove once more the Beast of Terror will take your money and run?   Find out.


Tuesday--February 4, 2003—Ground Zero Plus 510
 The Price of Vigilance: Is The Beast of Terror Worth $200 Million

Cliff McKenzie
   Editor, New York City Combat Correspondent News

GROUND ZERO, New York City, Feb. 4--What would the American public think if President Bush paid Saddam Hussein $200 million to sit down for three days at an U.S.-Iraqi summit to discuss peace and prosperity?
         Would the payment be embraced or opposed?   Would it be considered a justifiable expenditure toward peace, or a way of further funding Saddam Hussein's thirst to build weapons and expand his military?
          What if such a summit was held and a few months later President Bush was awarded the Nobel Prize, in large part for meeting face-to-face with his biggest adversary?   Would the award be tainted because he "bought" the summit, or applauded because no matter how one lures the Beast of Terror to the table, such a feat is worthy of the highest accolades?
           And, what if President Bush arranged the meeting by paying Saddam Hussein $200 million but paid him off secretly, funneling tax money through a loan to a major oil company, say Shell Oil, and kept the payment from the eyes of the American public?   Would that still be ethical?  Would by "hook or crook" the attempt to open negotiations be looked upon as statesmanship of the most commercial type, or, viewed critically as an attempt to get votes by an unsuspecting public and an act of fraud against the American political system?
          In summary, would the price of Vigilance be worth the $200 million, no matter what?
          Would the end justify the means?
          To avoid war, many might nod that such a payment was well worth it since the price of deploying troops in and around Iraq is upwards of $1 billion a week, and, the price of war itself cannot ultimately be fathomed.   Some might agree that $200 million slipped into Saddam's Swiss Bank Account might be spit in the wind compared with the ultimate and devastating cost of no attempt to bridge the chasm dug so deep between the U.S. and Iraq that few believe anything but blood will resolve the stand-off.
         It would only cost each American citizen 0.66 cents, a meager price in relation to the cost of war.
         But the other side of the coin might argue that paying Saddam Hussein is like paying an informant in a trial, alleging that the informant will say whatever the prosecutor wants him or her to say because it's all about "money" and not about "truth."
         These opponents to "paying for peace" might have their point.   If the motive to talk is money, then like money the discussions can go bankrupt.  When the money is spent, the "deals made" can disappear, and the "words" of the summit become nothing but loose change left on the bargaining table.

        A couple of years ago, on June 7, 2000, North Korea's leader Kim Jong Il and South Korea's leader, President Kim Dae-Jung met face-to-face for three days in an historic summit between the two nations that led to a Nobel Peace prize for President Kim and a victory in the South Korean elections that followed.
          But then the footsteps of the Beast of Terror were found leading to the summit table.  They have mired the glory of the first such face-to-face meeting of leaders of the divided countries since the Korean War (1950-1953).
          South Korean prosecutors have been investigating claims that the government transferred $200 million to North Korea a week before the landmark meeting as payment to Kim Jong Il for attending.   The funds allegedly were transferred by the multinational conglomerate Hyundai and came from a state-controlled bank in the form of a loan.  
          President Kim has resolutely denied any knowledge of the payment until just recently when the Supreme Public Prosecutors Office decided to drop the investigation yesterday "for the sake of the national interest and in consideration of the negative diplomatic impact."
          The Grand National Party, however, wants resolution.   "The only way of cleansing the sin of deceiving the people is to confess frankly and apologize sincerely, said Part Hee-tae, acting chief of the opposition.
          But the looming shadow of North Korea's Beast of Terror casts doubt on any immediate solution to the "scandal."  Kin Jong Il's reopening of North Korea's nuclear processing plants and his retreat from the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty has damaged the "sunshine policies" of South Korean leaders.  The sunshine policy seeks to unify the two halves of Korea with economic and political openness.

           North Korea's flagrant transfer of fuel rods to process into plutonium for use in nuclear weapons sparked warring signals around the world.  In response, U.S. military forces are being strengthened in the Far East.   Heavy bombers have been dispatched to Guam by the United States to verify it will not be Intimidated by North Korea's aggressive actions, and, to remind Kim Jong Il that despite the impending war in Iraq, the U.S. will stand strong in the Far East.  Over 37,000 U.S. troops are stationed in South Korea.

B-52's in Guam

           But the big issue is, "Can Terrorism be bought off?"
           Diplomacy, ultimately, is about paying the opposition through concessions--primarily economic--to put down their swords and pick up their ploughshares.  
           Communism fell in Russia because the cost of investing in war crippled the nation.   Capitalism ultimately won, not political ideology.   When the Berlin Wall crumbled, it allowed a flood of economic benefits to rush into the former communist state that operated by central control.   Instead of trying to mandate equality, equality became the quest of each individual, not the purpose of the state.
           The $200 million paid to Kim Jong Il might have been justified if it had found its way to the North Korean people.  Few believe payments to despots and dictators go far from the lining of their own pockets, or are used for any purpose other than to expand their power as the "ruler" over the masses.
            At eight hours a day, for three days, Kim Jong Il was paid $8.33 million dollars an hour for sitting at a negotiating table while, some suspect, he was earmarking the money to help fund the building of more weapons of mass destruction.
            In criminal law, few prosecutors seek to negotiate with the criminal to get his or her agreement to not "go forth and commit crime again."   There is a reason.  Criminals like crime.   They don't have to answer for their acts before they commit them.  If they are hungry, they stick a gun in someone's face and take their food.  If they need money, they hold a knife to someone's throat and demand payment.  If they want power, they bring in their gang of thugs and take over your house, and perhaps kidnap your wife and children as part of the deal.  Then they sit with loaded weapons and dare anyone to try and put them in jail.  Possession, they claim, is 9/10ths of the Law.
           South Korea has dropped its hot political potato.   The investigation has been put on ice as North Korea starts the process of turning fuel rods into plutonium that experts claim can be used to manufacture at least one nuclear weapon a month.   The $200 million and Nobel Peace Prize don't seem to have enjoyed any lasting punch in turning Kin Jong Il's head away from despotic to capitalistic rule.   The sunshine policy has some clouds hanging over everyone's head.
          It comes down to understanding Vigilance.
          Can one buy Vigilance?
          Will a Terrorist change once you open the gates to economic rewards?
          Most nations agree that Terrorism is a non-negotiable item.   When Terrorists take hostages and demand payment or concessions in return for peace, top-level Terrorist negotiators know the agenda of the Terrorist is about power.   They refuse payment in such situations, knowing that appeasement is feeding the alligator in hopes it will eat you last.
          There are those that suggest President Kim knew the only way to lure North Korea to the table was hard currency, and that whatever was agreed upon at the table was only for show and not for go.   It helped his party win an election and he a Nobel Peace Prize.   Were both motives--North and South Korea's--Terroristic?
           History will ultimately write out that answer.
           But one thing is sure.   The secreting of public money to North Korea for a sit-down took the edge off any true Vigilant Principles of reconciliation.
            Vigilance finds its truth in protecting the future of the children and the Children's Children's Children.
           When one negotiates from a state of Vigilance, it has but one ultimate endpoint--the security of future generations.   Negotiators in such a game must bring that issue to the forefront of all negotiations, and publish tem as the key to all their motives, for if they don't, they can be sucked into the desire to gain awards for the immediate solution rather than the long-range one.
           While I support President Bush and the Administration for standing up to Saddam Hussein, I worry that the intentions of America's stance is being misunderstood by the world.
          In my heart, I don't believe the crass criticism that President Bush is after oil.   Certainly, oil has some measure in the equation, but I can't imagine the United States colonizing Iraq and taking control of the oil with the same force that a tyrant would.

         I believe, based on the history of the United States to impose the "rights of Freedom" in all the lands it has liberated from despots, that it is banking on the belief that the citizens of oppression, once freed, will chose the best decisions for their future.   If the people are allowed a Voice in the destiny of their country, and their Voice rings louder than any leader's, then they will seek Vigilance rather than Terrorism, they will depose those who threaten their children's future and install a representative government not just of the people, but of the children and their Children's Children's Children.
          But I yearn to hear our Administration speak in terms of  the war with Iraq in generational terms.   I yearn to hear them pound into the minds of the world that America is fighting for the Children's Children's Children, and to employ our legacy of providing future generations the right decide their destiny rather than defending the acts of impending war on simply "illegal" grounds, or invoking the "evil axis" justification that hides the real motives of America.
          Our true motivation to issue the blood of our children on foreign soil, I believe, comes from our own experience with Freedom.   We learned a couple of hundred years ago that if we allow our children the right to grow and prosper, without limiting their potential, they can become the leaders of the world despite their heritage or cultural backgrounds, despite their social status, despite their religious preferences.

         Kalpana Chawla, the Indian-American astronaut who died aboard the Columbia, serves as a fine example.   She grew up in India, a nation where few women are granted the right to achieve as men are.  She fought the cultural and sexual barriers thrust before her to rise above the salt.  She immigrated to the United States and became a citizen, using the tools of Freedom to find unlimited opportunity that matched her dreams and ambitions.
          She didn't buy her right to Freedom, she earned it.
          Her death occurred at the peak of her achievements.  K.C., as she was called, climbed the highest mountain of her dreams.  She rode among the stars.  As a young girl in India, she slept at night on her porch, looking up at the stars and dreaming about one day reaching out from a space ship and "touching the face of God."
          America offered her the path to reach her stars of destiny.
          In comparing King Jong Il's and Saddam Hussein's thirst for power versus President Bush's, the separating difference I believe is Vigilance versus Terrorism.
         President Bush...I believe, I want to acting in behalf of the Children's Children's Children.  He doesn't say those words--"Children's Children's Children"--enough for me.  Still, I believe he assumes them. I believe they are part of the fabric of all Americans.
         Saddam and Kim, however, clearly are not making decisions for the Children's Children's Children.   Were either of them on such as course, both would step down and insist on a democratic system so their children could rise to the highest level of their dreams.
         They would not take money to negotiate peace.  Money would be the least of considerations, freedom for their people would be the foremost.

        Instead of paying Saddam Hussein to sit down and negotiate, perhaps the President of the United States and his staff can call upon Saddam Hussein to sit down with the children of Iraq and ask them what they want the most.
        If they say, "the right to dream, and to make dreams come true," then what K.C. died for, and all Americans who have ever lost their lives in the pursuit of Freedom, will be the greatest currency ever designed for peace.  It will be the currency of Vigilance.

Feb 3.--The Calculus Of Terrorism

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