Article Overview:   When you multiply 250,000 American troops in Iraq times all the people they know in America, you come up with 62 million "friends of the Warriors of Vigilance."   Americans and the world can view the war in Iraq with one eye or both eyes open.   If they open both, they realize the war is being decided by the warriors and not the leaders.  They realize it is being fought by friends and neighbors, not by criminals and warmongers.  Using binocular rather than monocular vision requires the viewer to look in the mirror and decide whether he or she supports or denies their friends, and their moral constitutionality.


Tuesday--March 25, 2003—Ground Zero Plus 559
 250,000 x's 250 = 62 Million Friends Of American Warriors
Cliff McKenzie
   Editor, New York City Combat Correspondent News

GROUND ZERO, New York City, Mar. 25-- There is a rule of friendship.  It follows a natural order.  The rule of friendship states that each person knows about 250 people.   For example, if one is inviting people to a wedding, taxing the imagination and memory results in a list of about 250.   Another benchmark is funerals.   When a person dies, about 250 show up to pay their respects.
To test this theory, one needs only to imagine oneself being visited by the President of the United States, and being told to make a list of 250 people they know who would also like to attend the meeting.   See how quickly the list would develop.

Everyone has 250 names listed

       Or, if you're not into politics, consider this.  You have been granted $1 million tax free with one catch.  You must produce a list of 250 names of people you know, with addresses or phone numbers, old or new, who will attest they know you or knew you.
       Suddenly, the idea of knowing so many people doesn't seem so far out of reach.
       Practically, it isn't.   But we don't often think of how many others we know until we are faced with a reason to reach back in our memory and extract what some might call "rolodex facts."
       Today, however, there is reason to pull out one's rolodex.
       In a far distant land called Iraq, 250,000 Americans are putting their lives on the line for an elusive and often criticized concept called Liberty.

Marines in Nasiriya

      Despite all the protests hurled at the United States for waging war on Saddam Hussein's regime of tyranny and oppression, when the smoke clears there is one clear and concise reason.  It is to remove the tyranny and oppression we saw when Iraqi television broadcast brutal pictures of American dead and wounded prisoners.
        For the armchair critics, it is easy to shout down the idea of war.   War, of course, is an ugly scene.   Its nature is death.   It brings out the worst in human beings, and the best.
        But fighting for Freedom and Liberty for those under the thumbscrews of tyranny and oppression is not such a bad idea.
        Again, the televised scenes of American prisoners serve as examples of what American soldiers, Marines, airmen, and naval personnel are facing.   They are fighting the Beast of Terror.   They are not seeking conquest over the land.  There is no desire for America to colonize Iraq, or to annex it as the 51st State of the Union.
        When all is said and done, there is only one goal--to free the people from a dictatorship that denies them fundamental human rights.    The most basic of these is the right to elect their own leadership, and the right eject that leadership democratically if it is not meeting the expectations of the citizens.
         Neither of those principles exist today in Iraq.   Nor does the right of dissent.
         When looking at the war in Iraq, the viewer has two choices.   He or she can see one entity fighting it--America vs. the world.   Under this monocular view, there is one person in charge--President Bush and the U.S. Administration.   This tends to be the view of protestors who indict our Commander-in-Chief for conducting an "illegal war."   It also tends to be the view of nations like France and Germany who defy America's right to unilaterally fight Terrorism.
          But there is another view, far more important than the monocular.  It involves depth and depth perception.  It is the binocular view.  It is seeing both sides as well as the middle.
          Viewing with binoculars, one sees the war being fought not by the President of the United States, but by 250,000 Americans--the men and women next door.  There are also the nearly 50,000 British warriors, as well as the 2,000 Australians in support of ridding Iraq of Saddam's Terrorism.

The binocular view

          The public forgets wars aren't fought by generals or presidents or prime ministers.  They may push the buttons that start wars, but they do not fight them.
           The average American, Brit or Aussie fights wars.  
           The average individual decides whether a war is just or unjust, for if he or she believed that what his or her country was doing was in violation of personal beliefs, the warrior would revolt.
           He or she would turn on his or her leaders by either shooting them or throwing down their weapons and refusing to fight.
           The ultimate Commander-in-Chief of any war is the private or sergeant lying in the sand, peering down the sights of his or her rifle, loading an artillery shell, maintaining a jet aircraft, driving a tank, or hauling supplies to support the front-line troops.
            The rank-and-file of American, British and Australian warriors comprise the body of government in any war.   It is their moral constitution that decides the conduct of war, for all warriors are authorized to defy any illegal order, and they know it.
            This puts the moral and ethical responsibility for war, once it is launched, not on the shoulders of the President or Administration, but on the individuals who conduct the war on the front lines, along the supply lines, and in the operational headquarters where decisions are formed and forwarded.

The decision of kill or not to kill

           In Vietnam I had the choice to either pull the trigger or not.   There was no one standing behind me shouting, "Shoot, Cliff!  Shoot!"
           I decided who lived and died.  I decided who was the enemy and who wasn't.
           Some believe that a warrior becomes twisted in combat, and loses all sense of morality, that he or she turns into a sheer killing machine, void of any compassion for human life.
           Nothing could be more untrue.
           Ironically, morality is heightened in war.
           The difference between right and wrong becomes startlingly clear.  In a strange but realistic way, the warrior becomes the arbitrator of life over death.   He or she assumes the power of a "god" when faced with the decision to kill or not kill, to torture or not torture, to seek revenge or not against an enemy who has killed, wounded and maimed your fellow countrymen.
           In my own case, there were times when I chose not to shoot at an "enemy."   In one instance he was swimming madly across a river.  I chose not to shoot.  In another instance I held back my fire by instinct, when by every rule of war I could have emptied my magazine into the target.   It turned out to be a woman with her children.
           I have also stopped other warriors from hurting civilians when they thought they were being poisoned, for often war brings some to a breaking point where they see everyone as an enemy, even the innocent.   This happens in normal society as well as in war when a person breaks and goes on a killing rampage because he is fired, or his wife divorced him, or he feels the world has turned against him.
           When people ask me, "How many people did you kill in war?," I return my standard answer.  "You should ask me, how many people did I choose not to kill!"
           There is this false assumption that war is all about killing.
           If that were the case America would have leveled every city in Iraq on its march to Baghdad.  It would not care about the lives of the civilians.
           Historically, conquering nations lay waste to the land, to create Fear, Intimidation and Complacency in the population so they do not resist.   If the conquerors kill women and children indiscriminately, then they would kill anyone who defied them once they took control.
          America has avoided such tactics as often as possible, for it has no desire to conquer nations.   In Vietnam, it never leveled Hanoi.  Had it destroyed the capital, it might have shifted the tides of war.

     History suggests a moral decision was made to drop the A-bomb

  When the decision to drop the A-Bomb on Japan was made, it was weighed against the loss of millions of lives if the U.S. invaded Japan.   All data indicated the loss of life would be reduced ten fold or more by the use of the bomb.  Was that a moral decision?  A humanitarian one?   History has suggested it was, for Japan stands today as a great nation, symbolic of how it rose out of the ashes of Terrorism into a Vigilant country, one whose Constitution includes denying war.
            It is the individual in war that decides its outcome.   When the resolve of the individual wanes, so does the willingness to bring the war to an end.   Americans have always held that Freedom and Liberty for others is worth not only dying for, but to continue to die for.   Wave after wave after wave of American warriors have died in strange places as proof of this commitment to bringing the gift of Liberty to the oppressed.
           This brings us to the 250,000 Americans in Iraq.  Each one has at least 250 people who know them well enough to attend their wedding, or funeral.   That's more than 62 million people who know the Warriors of Vigilance in Iraq.
           It represents about a quarter of the U.S. population.
           Are these immoral people?  Are these men and women who seek to dominate others, who have a history of tyranny and oppression?   Are these child abusers? 
          Or, are they average Americans, average moral neighbors who are in Iraq for one reason, to offer the people of that country the same rights we as Americans enjoy--the freedom to decide our own destiny, and the right to speak our minds without fear of retaliation?
          My moral measurement of America's involvement in Iraq is not gauged by any other barometer than the chemistry of the 250,000 troops fighting for the liberation of the Iraqi people.
          This position flies in the face of protestors and critics of American policy.   It tells me that the average American in Iraq is representing the morality of 62 million Americans, those who comprise his or her "circle of friends."
          We are the sum of our environment.   Our friends reflect who we are, for they tend to mirror our beliefs, our principles, our moral sinew.

Friendship is the most precious commodity a human being has to offer another

          While we may not agree with everything a friend believes, we tend to believe in the marrow of that person, that he or she is far more good than bad, that he or she is far more worthy than unworthy as a human being.  Otherwise, we would deny friendship, for friendship is the most precious commodity a human being has to offer another.
          It makes me wonder why those who protest the war so vehemently don't stop and think about the impact they are having on their friends who are fighting it.   If they were to use binoculars instead of monoculars to view their acts, they might balance their vehemence and soften the invectives they unleash against America's role in Iraq.   They might stop likening our presence in Iraq to those of Hitler, and stop demeaning our actions as criminal.
         The 250,000 Americans times 250 friends is a large chunk of humanity.  
         It provokes the question:  "Are my friends fighting for oil or liberty?"
         Under the monocular vision, one sees America as an oil hungry nation, ruled by business greed, seeking to suck the black gold out of the Iraqi soil to turn its engines of capitalism at the expense of the Iraqi people.  Or, the monocular view makes America look like a belligerent bully unilaterally showing the world it is the "king of the hill" and using Iraq as a nail to prove to the world the USA is a hammer to be feared.
         The binocular view, however, simplifies the narrowness.  It shows 250,000 Americans, each with the choice of firing their weapons or not, choosing to fight for the Freedom of the Iraqi people at the expense of their own lives.

The monocular view

       Unfortunately, the binocular view doesn't incite riots, or draw television cameras.  To some, it is "bland patriotism."   They tend to scoff at the idea of Liberty and Freedom as the reasons for Americans to fight and die in a foreign land.  They find it easier to hang an American death on the "war for oil" banner, or the "America As An Empire" placard.
        They forget the triggers of each weapon in Iraq are squeezed or not squeezed by their neighbors, their sons, daughters, grandchildren, brothers, sisters, cousins, nephews, schoolmates, workmates, neighbors, the former grocery store clerk, their children's schoolteacher's husband, or her brother, or first cousin.
          Binocular vision is hard to see for it requires us to look in the mirror and see the war not as a reflection of a few errant leaders we may politically oppose, but rather members of our family, members of our community, members of our church or social and civic groups.
          One of the people I know well here in the East Village is a major war protestor.  Her name is Jane.  She lives a life of constant protest, not necessarily singling out war, but protests against all varied forms of violence.   She has a grand nephew who is a Marine sniper in Iraq.  She shared her pain with me that she was connected to someone who chooses to fight with violence while she fights with non-violence.
         It was a reminder to me of how small our worlds really are, and that those who attack America are attacking the family of America, not just the institution of it.

      My job as a TerrorHunter is not to bring Terror upon those who often Terrorize America's role in Iraq.  It is, hopefully, to help those who see with monocular vision, use binoculars.    When attacks seem to be leveled at one target, and focus on one subject, I get suspicious.  I ask only that those who blind one eye to the truth of who is fighting the war in Iraq realize it is their neighbors, their relatives, their family.
         At the least, that amounts to more than 62 million family members directly related to the Warriors of Vigilance in Iraq.   If one were to trace the roots to all relations, jumping from first to second to third cousins, and friends of friends of friends, the number would be all encompassing.
        The same holds true for the Iraqi people.
        A vast majority of them seek Freedom and Liberty, the same kind  Americans, the British and Australians enjoy who are fighting for the removal of tyranny and oppression.  While on the surface it may appear there is a high degree of resistance to being liberated by "Western forces," the fundamentals of Liberty and Freedom prevail.
        Mothers and fathers want their children to have the best possible rights to live their lives without the dangers dictators impose on societies.   In the final moments, when all the smoke clears and Saddam Hussein's Beast of Terror lies bloated in the battlefield, the Iraqi people will hail Liberty and Freedom.
        It is their right.   It is their children's right.  And their Children's Children's Children's right.
        The 25 million citizens of Iraq do not support Saddam.  Most of them tolerate his rule, for they have little choice in the matter.   When the fully realize they have a choice, I have little doubt they will seize that right as fervently as Japan did, or Europe did following World War II, or the South Koreans have, or the Russians have after the fall of communism.
        Freedom is one neighborhood.   Liberty is one land.   Even though some nations carve up territory and claim sovereignty, there is no validity to sovereignty when it is dictated to the people by leadership that rules by Terror.
       Sovereignty only belongs to the individuals of a nation.  It is the sum of their opinions that form the state of any nation and true conscience of any country.
       The United Nations has attempted to negotiate not with the people of nations, but with leaders who rule those nations.   The result has been Complacency.   America's unilateral drive to free Iraq is not truly unilateral.
       America is only exercising the rights of the people to live free of tyranny, and to elect leadership and unelect them that reflect the people's goals, not the leader's.

Americans are linked to the families of Iraq

       Americans are connected by the "global family" to all the families of Iraq.  In the final analysis, we are all related, all brothers and sisters, all mothers and fathers, all cousins, nephews, nieces, grandparents, and uncles and aunts of Vigilance for the Children.
       We are custodians of their future.
      We are all Sentinels of Vigilance.
      So as we view the war in Iraq, we face two choices.
     We can look at it with a blind eye and see all the reasons why we shouldn't be there.
     Or, we can look at it with binocular vision, and see all the reasons why if we weren't there, we would be sacrificing the rights of our neighbors, our friends, our relatives to live as we live--if they so chose to do so.
      If you are looking at Iraq with a blind eye, take it down.
      Look with both eyes.  See the depth of purpose.  And remember that the true leaders of the war are the men and women on the front lines, willing to die to bring to the Iraqi people what they so deeply cherish--Freedom and Liberty for the Children's Children's Children.


Mar. 24--Warriors Of Vigilance, the Real War Protestors

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