Who are the real peace protestors? Are they the people walking
down the safe streets of America, protected by the Constitution and
police, people risk free from harm? Or, are they the
troops in Iraq, risking their lives to free a people so they can live
by choice rather than under the shadow of tyranny and oppression?
Make a decision after you read this "Letter To The Real Peace
Protestors--The Warriors Of Vigilance In Iraq!"
24, 2003—Ground Zero Plus 558
Letter To The Real Peace Protestors--The Warriors Of Vigilance In Iraq
Editor, New York City Combat Correspondent News
GROUND ZERO, New York City, Mar. 24-- A Letter To The Real Peace
Dear Warriors of Vigilance,
I salute you in your battle with the Beast of Terror.
My name is Cliff McKenzie. I
am a TerrorHunter.
I fought the Beast of Terror in
Vietnam as you are fighting it now in Iraq. I understand the
Beast knows no borders.
I was a U.S. Marine Corps Combat Correspondent
with 1st Marine Division. My primary field unit was the 2nd
Battalion, 7th Marines My job was
to fight first and then record the legacy of the warriors, like you,
who offered their lives 24/7 to free a land from tyranny and
oppression. Even though I was in the Marine Corps for only three
years, I have never forgotten my role as a TerrorHunter.
I was also at Ground Zero when the Terrorists attacked
on Nine Eleven. I witnessed the horror as thousands
of innocent people were crushed to their deaths, the first
attack on American soil since the War of 1812.
On that day, I donned my "combat correspondent"
helmet and have daily published articles against the Beast
of Terror on my websites--
and on the VigilanceVoice, my daily
publication against Terrorism located at
Unlike civilian news reporters
embedded with U.S. troops in Iraq, I carried a weapon in Vietnam.
As a U.S. Marine, my first
mission was to neutralize the enemy. When the smoke cleared from
battle, I recorded the heroism of my fellow Marines--both those who lived and those who sacrificed their lives for the
future freedom of the children of a far and distant land. I was
a warrior-poet, capturing for history's sake the bravery and courage
of those who faced death so others could be free.
I often moved from one unit to another, racking up nearly 100
combat operations. My search for heroism took me on patrols and ambushes
around our perimeter near Chu Lai. I engaged the enemy in
numerous battles and was part of the first amphibious
landing in since the Korean War. I dug foxholes, swatted mosquitoes,
drank water from rice paddies,
helped drag my wounded fellow Marines from cross fires when we were
ambushed, and rocked the dying in my arms.
Like you, I left my loved ones in America. I
was engaged to be married. But I had another love. It was
the love of duty to my country, and a deep love for the Principles of
Freedom which had been passed on to me from generations before.
I joined the Marine Corps
just prior to the onset of the Vietnam War as part of my belief I owed my
country a debt—a repayment for the great freedoms I had been given.
Such freedoms included the right to Voice my opinion on anything I wanted
without fear of reprisal.
I landed in Vietnam with the 1st Marine
Division eager to fight the Beast of
Terror. Terrorism, I believed then and now, is a disease.
It breeds in its victims Fear, Intimidation and Complacency. It
is delivered usually by tyrants and dictators who have little respect
for human rights. But it can also creep inside one's mind and
infect one's sense of Vigilance. The termites of Fear,
Intimidation and Complacency can gnaw at one's Courage, Conviction and
Right Actions in behalf of the Children's Children's Children.
It's intent is always to cripple one's resolve, to weaken the
foundations of patriotism, and to foul one's mind in a quagmire of
doubt so that hesitation and reservation replaces instinct and action.
Thirty-eight years ago I believed that the
war in Vietnam was all about freeing the people from the thumb of
Terrorism. I believed our mission was to replace Fear with the
Courage, to extract the walls of Intimidation that choked one's
Convictions, and to exile the oppression of Complacency so that the
people felt secure in exercising their duty to take Right Actions that
would preserve the security of their children, and their Children's
Children's Children. I still believe that. And I believe
it is the same primary mission you face in Iraq.
I keep one memory burning
brightly in my mind to reinforce that belief. It was the
day we defended a small village called Mo Duc during the first
democratic election held in Vietnam.
The Viet Cong threatened to
kill any villager who cast a vote. Our unit set up
blocking forces to protect the people from being assassinated if they
attempted to vote. Other units did the same throughout the country.
We came under heavy attack the night before the elections and lost a
number of Marines, one of whom died in my arms. I remember
waiting anxiously as the sun rose. I concernedly peered down Highway One, straining to see if the villagers would risk their lives to
vote. The dried blood of my fellow Marine still clung to my
As the sun began to rise, my heart
raced. Highway One was empty. The Southeast Asian
sun climbed higher. I worried that all our efforts to liberate
the people would be for naught. I prayed they wouldn't be.
How could they not, I thought, exercise the right of freedom?
Slowly, they began to appear.
One by one, Vietnamese
farmers in black pajamas slipped out of the jungle. At first
they formed small black dots in distance. The dots grew larger in number as the sun rose.
Soon, the road was swollen with barefoot people moving fearlessly toward
the village where a ballot box awaited. They were on an
historic journey to cast their first vote for freedom. We began
When I returned from Vietnam,
protestors spat upon me. Many called me a “baby killer.”
Others screamed, ranted and jeered at me. I gritted my
teeth, and have ever since. But I never lowered my head.
Instead, I squared my shoulders and walked proudly.
What the protestors didn’t
understand or comprehend was a place called Mo Duc. They were
incapable of fathoming that American Warriors of Vigilance were in
Vietnam for one overriding reason-- so that a Vietnamese could cast a
fair democratic vote. Over the ensuing nearly four
decades, I have heard many criticisms of the war in Vietnam, some
vehemently shot at me like canons, others tossed like hand grenades at
my feet and still others set in my path like
booby traps. Mo Duc has been my flack jacket.
vitriolic accusations, I knew in my heart why I had fought and why my friends had died.
In such moments I
replayed the elation of the villagers when they cast their votes in Mo
Duc. I recalled their bravery in the face of death threats to
put their mark on a ballot--their way, I believe, of insuring their
children's future freedom. I witnessed the citizens of Vietnam
exercise what we take for granted—the freedom to chose one’s destiny
rather than to have it stuffed down our throat.
Vigilance bleeding for Freedom
I believe each drop of American blood that soaked into
Vietnamese soil fertilized the growth of Freedom. Even though that
war ended without a victory, the victory came. It came to me via
a young man about a decade ago.
I was working with a
franchise company helping establish new businesses in America and the
free world. The word franchising means to be "free
from servitude." I had been drawn to that industry after the war
because it was an ultimate example of freedom. A person could
start a business and build it into a success overnight, a feat almost
impossible any place else in the world. He or she could be his
or her own boss, serving no one but the customer and principles of
A young Vietnamese
American youth happened to be working in our mail room while he
attended college. The incident occurred when he found out I had been in Vietnam.
if he could talk to me.
I put my pencil aside as
he stood before me in my office. I asked him to sit down and be
comfortable but he said he would rather
stand. As he spoke, he took the position of attention. “I want to
thank you for risking your life for me and my family. I owe my
freedom to you and your friends. And, I’ve never done this. But I
want to salute you.”
I rose slowly from my desk. The young man raised his hand to
his brow, saluting me with tears in his eyes. I stiffened and
returned his salute. He then bowed at the waist, and said “Thank you
from all my people.” He turned and left my office.
I stood for a long,
reflective moment. Over the past twenty-eight years, there had been much pain on my
soul, placed there by a society bent on desecrating the actions of
America and issuing indictments of warmongering and crimes against
those who fought in Vietnam. There were times when I staggered
under their weight. No one had ever thanked me for my service.
The young man's words
of gratitude washed away all the doubts that might have crept into my
thoughts over the past years. I recalled the faces of the
villagers of Mo Duc and my countless fellow Warriors of Vigilance who
had sacrificed their lives to give this young man and his parents--who
had escaped Vietnam-- the
rights of Liberty. I thought about all the Americans in the past
who had done the same so that my children, and my Children's
Children's Children could enjoy them. I stood taller than I had
ever stood that day. The Beast of Terror, the one who was
doing battle inside my mind, had been mortally wounded.
Today, you may
face the wounds of war in your mind. Every Warrior of Vigilance
faces moments of doubt, moments of concern about what he or she is
doing is "right," is "just," is "necessary."
I can only speak from one
man's point of view, but I assure you what your are doing is "right,"
is "just" and is "necessary."
I can also
attest that part of your our battle is against the Beast of Terror
that stalks your mind. That Beast
of Terror isn’t just Saddam Hussein or the tyranny and oppression his
regime wreaks on his people. Certainly, Saddam Hussein
represents the epitome of the Beast, but the Beast has many heads.
the Beast's many heads can tunnel its way into the pores of our minds.
Insidiously, like any virus, it can try to rip and claw away at our resolve
that we are fighting a just war for a just reason. It can
attempt to bring upon us shadows of doubt, seeking to make us hedge in
our beliefs we are doing the right things for the right reasons.
This is especially true when a large numbers of people around the
world shout and flog us with invectives and call us names that are
better not to repeat.
As the war in Iraq
thickens and the bullets zing closer, as the news from the home front
bombards you with pictures and words of protests, the virus of doubt
can be sparked. The seed of the Beast of Terror can be
fertilized, and we can begin to question our own intentions.
remember the pain of hearing my countrymen and countrywomen screaming
at me thousands of miles away, telling me that fighting for people’s
freedom in a foreign land was somehow a crime, implying by default
that I was a criminal.
It hurt to think some Americans
and many around the world would be so selfish as to
deny the children of another land their fair and just right to live
under the flag of freedom rather than sleep in the shadow of oppression and
At the same time, I realized that
true Liberty included the right to dissent. And even if
that dissent was ill-informed, ill-conceived, ill-delivered I knew
that Freedom carries with it the sounds of many Voices, some that are
sweet, others that are sour.
The other day, for example, I took my camera and reporting
tools and covered the New York City Peace March that launched from
Times Square at 42nd Street and flowed down to Washington Square. A crowd estimated by police to be
125,000 (protest organizers claimed it was 250,000), took
three-and-a-half hours to jeer their way down more than forty blocks.
Sign that should have been held up at protests
Thousands of signs
protested war. The vast majority lambasted America's role in
Iraq and cruelly attacked its leadership. Many likened our President
to Adolph Hitler. It sickened me that there weren’t signs protesting
Saddam Hussein, or his historic tyranny or oppression of Iraqi people.
I didn’t see a single sign mentioning that Saddam killed two of his
grandchildren’s fathers and dragged their bodies through the streets
of Baghdad. There was nothing about the fact he had gassed thousands of
Kurdish women and children who
rose up against his policies, or that he executed his dissenters, or
placed them in prisons, or raped their mothers and wives as punishment
At the end of the
march, a group of demonstrators in Washington Square attacked
the police with pepper spray. They sent nearly a dozen officers to the
hospital. Ninety-one protestors were arrested.
I found it
ironic that most the protestors will receive a hand slap and be sent
home to protest another day and to brag about their defiance of civil
authority. In Iraq, had they rallied against Saddam,
they would have been unquestionably beaten, tortured and dragged through Baghdad, as
Saddam did his grandchildren’s fathers.
I also thought about
the protestor's lack of sacrifice.
little, if any, for protestors in America, or in other nations that
respect individual freedom..
wondered how many protestors would have taken to the
streets if they knew that when they got to Washington Square Park they
would be met with a ring of snipers, randomly shooting one out of ten
of them I wondered how many protestors would be willing to
sacrifice their lives for their belief in peace if their lives
depended on their beliefs. I concluded the
streets of New York would have been bare.
In contrast, you, the Warriors of Vigilance,
have chosen to take such a risk. When you enlisted in the Armed
Services, you agreed to defend Liberty and Freedom with your lives, as
I did many years ago. You offered your lives as a testimony of
your belief in the virtues of democracy, to defend your nation against
the forces of Terrorism.
That makes you
the true Protestors of Peace, not those who walked down the streets of
New York, or San Francisco, or Chicago, or anywhere else in the world
demeaning you and your country..
Someone once said that ultimate measure of one’s faith is
his or her willingness to die for it.
When I went to Vietnam, I had an undying faith in Liberty
and Freedom. I believed then, as I do now, that unless one is ready,
willing and able to put his or her life on the line for the security
of others, one’s beliefs in peace and prosperity are simply fodder,
mere wisps of wind, simple
In Vietnam, one of my closest friends
attested to this. He was a Catholic priest. His name was
Lieutenant Vincent Capadonno. Unlike most chaplains who
avoided the combat zone, Father "Cap" went
with us deep into enemy territory. He didn’t sit in his armchair,
safe from harm’s way. He didn't pray in the security of a chapel
far from the enemy's sights. He walked with us through the
snipers, the booby traps, the ambushes, the battles. He
comforted us, reminded us that we were Warriors of Vigilance, prayed
over us, and offered ecumenical services so we might all know we were
fighting for something much larger than ourselves or our country.
Armed only with his
faith, Father Cap crawled from one Marine to
another during firefights, reassuring the frightened, patching the
wounded, praying over the dead.
I have never known a braver man.
When I rotated from Vietnam, I asked Vince if he would marry
my wife and me when he returned in a few months. He agreed. But he
never made it back alive. In a fierce battle following my departure, he continually
dragged wounded Marines to safety. Despite being wounded several
times, he continued until he was finally killed. He received the
Congressional Medal of Honor for his acts of bravery.
Vince knew about Freedom and Liberty.
He knew the
price it took to preserve it. In his case, it was his life.
As a fellow Warrior of Vigilance, I want you to know that those Voices screaming out
dissent should encourage not discourage you. As much as I abhor and
detest the words they say and how they say them, I am proud our
country and other nations that respect individual rights allows
dissenting Voices to cry out without fear of suffocation.
If you hear the
protestor's screams in your ears, don’t let them become the growls of
the Beast of Terror. Don't let the seeds of Terrorism--its Fear,
Intimidation or Complacency--take root inside your mind. Unless
you are Vigilant in your thinking, as Vigilant as you would be on
patrol in enemy territory, the Beast of Dissent will infiltrate.
He is skilled at his craft. He is a wolf in sheep's clothing.
I know. I've been attacked by him countless times.
Vigilance, consider the Vigilance Formula. It is: Courage minus Fear Plus
Conviction minus Intimidation Plus Right Actions For The Children's
Children's Children minus Complacency Equals Vigilance.
(Courage - Fear + Conviction -
Intimidation + Right Actions - Complacency = Vigilance)
It is a formula that has
worked for me and many others.
It will help you when the
Beast of Dissent infiltrates your mind.
the Beast of Fear
When, and if, you feel
the creeping hand of Fear clutching you, call upon the Sentinels of
Courage. Ask for at least one percent more Courage than
Fear to battle with the Beast. Think of the 1.7 million
Americans who have been killed or wounded fighting in foreign lands
since World War I, each offering his or her life for people outside
the U.S. borders.
Remember that America--in
all the wars it has ever fought for others--has never conquered any
nation it is has liberated.
All of Europe, once a prisoner of
Hitler's Beast of Terror, was freed by America's Courage to face off
the Beast of Terror. Even though Europe today may lambaste
America, their right of dissent is a gift our nation helped preserve
and with no strings attached.
Japan is another reminder
of Vigilance over Terrorism. America overcame the Beast of
Terror's Intimidation, and stood with Conviction against it.
Today, Japan is a thriving economic giant, enjoying freedoms
unequalled in Asia. We did not conquer Japan, we liberated it.
South Korea is yet
another example. It would have been easy to fall victim to
Complacency after fighting World War II. America could have
hidden in its shell of comfort and Complacency and let the Beast of
Terror take over yet another land. But we fought Complacency
with Right Actions. We stood firm on our belief that the freedom
of the children of South Korea, and their Children's Children's
Children were far more important than our own safety. South
Korea's democratic strength today, versus the tyranny and oppression
that exists in North Korea, stand as testimony to the power of
Vigilance to preserve peace.
And, even though we did not
complete our mission in Vietnam, I know that the symbol of Mo Duc
stands in the minds of those who were there that day. I know its
spark will never die. One day, Vietnam will be a free nation,
for freedom is the right of all, regardless of all politics. One
day there will be a monument built in Mo Duc. There is one in my
You are the
real Protestors for Peace
Finally, there was the fall of
the communism, symbolized by the crumbling of the Berlin Wall.
Today, Russians enjoy the right to enjoy their own destiny rather than
have it dictated. Freedom rules when we, Warriors of
Vigilance, stand up for it despite all who criticize us.
Terrorism can only be
defeated when we attack it not only in our minds but physically as well.
When we summon one percent more Courage than Fear, and boost our
Convictions one click above our Intimidation, and remember that
Complacency can only be replaced by Right Actions that benefit the
future security of the children, and their Children's Children's
Children--only then will we truly defeat the Beast of Terror.
You are the real Protestors for
Peace. You are risking your lives so that an Iraqi citizen
might cast a vote one day for his or her Freedom and Liberty, as the
villagers of Mo Duc did.
Beware the Beast of Terror, for
he will do his best to weaken you. Be a Warrior of
Vigilance and one day the citizens of Iraq will salute you. And
if they don't today, their children will tomorrow.
Mar. 23--Anti-War Protest Turns
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