The VigilanceVoice
Saturday-- March 16, 2002—Ground Zero Plus 186

Osama bin Laden's "Last Stand!"
Cliff McKenzie
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 today.  
        Osama's "Last 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 a "lightweight."
       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 one man?"
       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.  
      Terrorism 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, the marginalized.
      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 to death.

 Go To Mar. 15--Avoid Eye Contact--The Terrorism Of It!

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