March 16, 2002—Ground
Zero Plus 186
Osama bin Laden's "Last Stand!"
Editor, New York City Combat Correspondent News
GROUND ZERO, New York City, Mar. 16--I saw Osama bin
Laden's head hanging off the front bumper of a panel truck parked
on 7th Avenue in New York City yesterday.
For the past
six months, President Bush and millions of American's have waited
for the day when bin Laden's head--or, at the least, his DNA--would
be served up on a silver platter. Then, for many,
Terrorism would be over. The thirst for revenge would
be sated. We could go back to "normal life!"
Today is the world famous New York City St. Patrick's Day Parade.
I imagined at the head of the procession, a big shaft with bin
Laden's head on it, avidly waved by the political, fire, police
and some religious authorities as punctuation that our world
was now rid of one of the great heinous monsters who ranked
with Hitler or Genghis Khan.
But the glory of
that event would not happen. At least, not
Stand" unfortunately happened to be on the streets of New
York City, not in some underground fortress in the Middle East.
It was hanging off the
front of a Reem Contracting Co. panel truck--an inane symbol
of the futility the world's largest superpower has trying to
rid the world of a member of one of the poorest and most underdeveloped
nations of the world.
Just before I took
the picture I had been reading a superb article in the New
York Times Magazine about a Terrorist leader in Indonesia
who considers bin Laden an "amateur" by his standards,
and, in the interview with Andrew Marshall, called bin Laden
Touted as one of the world's
most potential threats as a radical Islamic leader with a firm
foothold in his country, Jaffar Umar Thalib, commands the Laskar
Jihad with an estimated 3,000-10,000 passionate followers.
Jaffar fought against the Russians in Afghanistan and met bin
Laden there. Like bin Laden, he views America not as a
"superpower" but as a thorn in the Muslim's side.
In the article printed in the March 10th edition of the Times
Magazine, Marshall quoted Jaffar as commenting about the
attack of September 11th: "When we see the global
impact of the attack, of course we support it." Then,
Marshall says, Jaffar chuckled to himself.
Jaffar's principle point
in the article is that the superpowers have no discipline--their
morals have been corrupted, their democratization of people
has scattered loyalty to the winds. As a result,
a bin Laden and a tiny force of radicals can bring any great
nation to its knees, erasing the idea of a "superpower"
into nothing more than a sniveling "superwimp."
When pinned to the wall with questions about killing "innocent
women and children" in Terrorist attacks, he claimed that
anyone who stands under the flag of democracy and lives under
the protection of a superpower such as America is an "enemy."
He regretted the fact, however, that an estimated 800 Muslims
died in the World Trade Center attack.
His motivation to boast
about the power of his Laskar Jihad group is based in part on
he lack of Goliath defeating David. His implication is:
"if you're so big, why aren't you good enough to catch
That's why I stopped and
took the pictures of bin Laden's head on the Reem Contracting
panel truck. It was the only head I had seen being
paraded around the city. It was the only symbol of what
I believe America and the civilized world wants to see--an eye
for an eye, a head for a head.
The ironic part of the Times
story was that according to Marshall's article, Jaffar
wasn't even on the Washington D.C. radar prior to September
11th as a "major Terrorist threat." He
came to the forefront once American intelligence started to
scour the earth in search of roosting spots for Al Qaeda Terrorists
who might have scattered and regrouped with allies.
While Jaffar denies supporting
bin Laden, reports suggest Al Qaeda members have integrated
into his troops and may be hiding behind his leadership where
he provides radical Islamic Terrorism primarily for Indonesia,
but has aspirations to move outward to a more global posture,
filling the vacuum bin Laden has left.
I found the tribute to
bin Laden's head on the bumper of the Reem Contracting truck
a symbol of the "king is dead, long live the king."
It reminds me once again the
threat of Terrorism will not sleep, even if the Grand Marshall
of the St. Patrick's Day Parade were to present to the world
bin Laden's real
head. I wondered how many more Jaffars there were
in the world?
Would there be another to replace
him, and another to replace him, ad infinitum?
If that were the case, then the
front bumper of the Reem Contracting truck would be filled with
human heads--effigies of all the Terrorists and potential Terrorists
laying in wait, gestating in hidden, primal nests plotting how
to overthrow the infidels with Fear, Intimidation and Complacency.
Terrorists of the radical Islamic
type have taken George Bush's early statement of fighting a
"crusade" to mean that Christians and Jews are bent
on the destruction of their fundamentalism. Jaffar,
as all Terrorist leaders, schools children in his Laskar Jihad
camps on how they must fight to the death against those who
threaten their way of life.
It reminded me of the villages deep
inside enemy terrorist lines in Vietnam. When we
swept through them, the school buildings that taught the children
would often be painted with pictures of American tanks running
over women and children, and planes dropping bombs on innocent
villagers. It was a frightening scene to imagine
young people being schooled in how to hate, and worse, stimulating
their thirst to kill.
feeds on Fear. It is it's most delicious staple,
for it makes civilized words shudder thinking their security
is at risk. And the Terrorists use Complacency as
their most vital weapon. They realize that civilized,
advanced technologies rich in "creature comforts"
have made the citizens of those nations "fat," "dumb"
and "happy," about the leisure's of life. The
arrogance of a "superpower" to assume it is "indestructible"
leads the Terrorist back to the David and Goliath story--makes
them excited that a single "dirty bomb" or a jetliner
smashing into a World Trade Center can bring a Goliath to its
knees, trembling, waving flags in desperation, and giving parades
while the Terrorists prepare their next blow, sharpen the edges
of the next stone they will throw from their David's sling.
I personally don't see
the hanging of heads on bumpers, or the deliverance of bin Laden's
head as any sign of victory over Terrorism. I just don't
believe we can "kill" Terrorism, as our bombs and
bullets are attempting to do.
I think you fight fire with fire--only
the fire I believe is necessary to quench the horror of Terrorism
is Vigilance. While Terrorism thrives on Fear, Intimidation
and Complacency, its counter-Terrorism must be Vigilance and
its components--Courage, Conviction and Action.
Islamic radicals pledge themselves
to rid the world of infidels. Their pledge,
however, is made in blood--the blood of the innocent.
Those who elect to fight fire with
fire are offered the Pledge of Vigilance--a pledge taken not
in the blood of others, but in the commitment to strengthen
the fiber of a nation's children--to teach them the depth of
Courage, the resources of Conviction and the duty one must accept
to take Action against injustice to the innocent, the helpless,
Terrorists like bin Laden and
Jaffar assume the Complacency of a civilization more bent on
accumulating wealth and comfort will override its responsibility
to teach its youth, its children, fundamentals of human strength.
They assume mothers and fathers and grandparents and cousins
and uncles and aunts are far too busy trying to "pay their
bills" and live in the "now" than to shape, mold
and develop in a child Shields of Vigilance to protect them
from Terrorism's many forms of attack.
If these Islamic fundamentalists
are right, then there aren't enough bumpers in the world to
hang the heads of the bin Laden's of the globe.
But, if the Pledge of Vigilance
is correct, if we individually and collectively commit to the
eradication of Fear, Intimidation and Complacency, then Terrorism
will have no place on which to feast, and will starve
Go To Mar. 15--Avoid Eye Contact--The
Terrorism Of It!