Article Overview:   When is Glory fleeting and when is it stable?   Is America on a crusade, alone in a world, acting as a gladiator of liberty, or, is it protecting the children of the world from the Beast of Terror.  Find out if you think Glory is fleeting or secure as a result of winning the war in Iraq.


Friday--May 2, 2003—Ground Zero Plus 597
 President Bush Beware:  "All Glory Is Fleeting!"
Cliff McKenzie
   Editor, New York City Combat Correspondent News

GROUND ZER0, NEW YORK, NY--Flocks of doves flew into a brick wall yesterday, wings flapping wildly, feathers flying furiously as they spiraled down into a heap of frustration.   They were scattered by the jet wash of President Bush's fighter plane landing on the deck of the U.S. Abraham Lincoln, a bleary-eyed sight for anyone who claims peace is more important than war in politics.

George Bush is the first U.S. commander-in-chief to land aboard a carrier in a jet aircraft

         Not since President Teddy Roosevelt strapped on his pistols to review American troops has a modern president donned a military uniform and presented himself to the world a walking, talking military symbol of might and power, but that's exactly what President George W. Bush did yesterday.
        A former jet pilot with the Texas Air National Guard during the Vietnam War, President Bush was the first U.S. commander-in-chief to land aboard a carrier in a jet aircraft.  He rode in the co-pilot seat of a Viking Jet, capable of delivering nearly 4,000 pounds of bombs upon enemy forces.
       Prior to his flight, the President practiced underwater escape techniques in the White House swimming pool to refresh his skills in case the plane had to ditch at sea.

Bush landed in  an S-3B Viking on the Carrier Abraham Lincoln

           More than half of the 5,500 sailors and Marines aboard the carrier were on the flight deck to welcome their Commander-in-chief, one of the few Presidents ever to have "won a war."  Not since World War II has the U.S. decisively defeated an enemy.  In Korea, the war ended in a stalemate with North and South Korea divided.   In Vietnam, the U.S. withdrew its forces.   And the Gulf War ended abruptly by driving back Iraqi forces from their invasion of Kuwait.


Over 2,000 sailors and Marines welcomed their Commander-in-Chief

       Victory was claimed in both Japan and Europe by U.S. occupations of both nations, similar to the current status in Iraq.
       However, "legally," the war has not been declared over.   As President Bush spoke, a giant "Mission Accomplished" banner flew in the background, suggesting victory.   Politically, the United States is cautious in declaring the war finis because the Geneva Convention requires the return of all prisoners-of-war and the cessation of hunting down specific enemy targets such as Saddam Hussein and his generals and Osama bin Laden.
       To evade the legal issue of declaring the war over, President Bush said, "The battle in Iraq is one victory in the war on terror that began on September 11, 2001, and still goes on.  The war on terror is not over, yet it is not endless.  We do not know the day of final victory, but we have seen the turning of the tide."

       Critics of the President's show of military countenance claim he is positioning himself as a "war lord" leader, bolstering his political chips in the "combat category" for his up-and-coming re-election campaign.   They worry he is going to pit the Democratic rivals as doves, and stretch the War on Terrorism as the dominate U.S. issue, overshadowing the economy and social service needs domestically.

Bush:Pilot of F-102

        His Vigilance, they claim, is limited to guns not butter, to bloodshed and malevolence rather than revitalization of America as a nation of benevolence.   "He wants the world to shudder for fear it will attack."
       But the lesson being heralded by the seemingly triumphant landing of President Bush aboard the U.S.S. Lincoln has limitations.  They go back to two great warrior images--one, General George S. Patton, and to the Roman conquerors.

The Bush Administration ripped a page from General George Patton's tactical book

      In fighting the war in Iraq, the Bush Administration ripped a page from General Patton's tactical book.   Patton skirted towns and chose not to engage the enemy at every fortress of defense.  Instead, to hasten his victories, he sidestepped certain entrenchments and focused on the main ones, believing he could cut off support to outlaying positions by cutting out the heart of the enemy.
       American troops followed that tactic, charging forward to Baghdad and leaving a number of its flanks exposed.   The plan worked.  By crushing Baghdad, the rest of the country quickly fell.
       Roman armies use another tactic to win wars and intimidate enemies.   They burned all their bridges as they marched from one town to another.   Legions, six-thousand strong, upon crossing a bridge would watch their commanders torch it, removing from the soldiers any chance of retreat.   Roman soldiers had only once choice, to be victorious since any route of escape from battle had been expunged.  
       In a parallel with Rome, President Bush has burned the bridges between the U.S. and the United Nations.  By taking unilateral action despite the restraints attempted by the U.N. Security Council, America has removed any hedges that may have been imposed by International forces.

Bush's speech included a subtle warning to Korea's Kim Il Jong

       To some, that leaves America naked, standing alone in a world with few allies but with a handful of massive weapons and the most surgical and powerful military the world has ever seen.   During President Bush's speech aboard the U.S.S. Lincoln, he described how effective the U.S. had been in limiting civilian casualties, and how adroit America was in targeting enemy leadership with its weapons, a subtle warning to rogue leaders such as North Korea's Kim Jong Il of America's ability to sweep into any nation and take out its leadership in a blitzkrieg where leadership is the primary target.

       And while all the Hawks of War soar in delight, the doves cry.  
       They cry out a warning.
       The warning is best expressed by the final scene in the Academy Awarded movie, Patton, when at the end of the film the audience sees a gray-haired George C. Scott, who plays Patton, walking his dog into the sunset after a vendor cart nearly ran him over.
       In a brilliant soliloquy defining the hubris of all warriors, Patton is thinking aloud as he walks toward the glowing horizon.  His thoughts rush back to Roman times, when great generals and emperors returned from war, victorious.
       The city of Rome pressed along the cobblestone streets to catch a glimpse of the victor passing by, not unlike the crowd aboard the U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln who assembled to hail their commander-in-chief yesterday.
        George C. Scott, in his centric, gravelling rendition of General Patton, tells the audience a story that serves as an epilogue to the Iraqi War, and to all wars that have ever been fought and won by warriors.  It goes something like this:
        "In ancient Rome, when a great victory was achieved, the warrior chief was given a triumphant parade into the city.   He rode in white chariot, pulled by the finest stallions.   Ahead of the victor marched prisoners, now slaves, carrying the tribute of victory, the gold and silver and jewels.   Beside the victor, on trace horses, rode his children, their faces gleaming as thousands cheered their father.   Amidst the din of cheers, a slave stood behind the victor, holding a gold crown of triumph over the leader's head, and whispering softly so that only he could hear--All Glory Is Fleeting.  All Glory is Fleeting."

"All Glory is Fleeting.  All Glory is Fleeting."

      As I watched President Bush exit the Viking Jet and swagger triumphant across the deck with his flight helmet tucked under his left arm, returning salutes from the legions waiting to pay him tribute, I thought about Roman conquerors and the message delivered by George C. Scott in Patton.
       I couldn't help but see a slave walking behind President Bush, holding a crown over his head, whispering in his ear:  "All Glory Is Fleeting.  All Glory is Fleeting."
       I also could see smoke on the horizon.  It was the burning of bridges, black bilious columns rising up from former allies who have been converted not to enemies, but to recalcitrant, former friends who refused to come to America's side when America had come to theirs in almost every instance of threats to their security.
       I thought of the Romans burning their bridges, and the symbol of the U.S. floating on an aircraft carrier in the middle of the sea, without any allies present--no sign of the British who helped us in Iraq, or the Australians--symbolizing the unilateral image of America as the world's hawk and everyone else a dove of various degrees.

President Bush welcomed aboard the aircraft carrier

      As much as I wanted to jump up and down and cheer on President Bush and to clutch the American Flag and wave it, I slumped back in my chair and gave the scene some great thought.  
      Vigilance was the issue.
      My question was:  "Was the glory of victory in Iraq a sign of Vigilance, or a fleeting example of war's glory?"

I questioned whether the glory of victory in Iraq was a sign of Vigilance, or a fleeting example of war's glory.

     There is no question that a part of me wanted to cheer that America's Sword of Vigilance had chopped off at least one head of the Beast of Terror, and, that our actions unquestionably have driven Terrorism into hiding--at least for the moment.
       What bothered me was the danger of presumption.
       And, the burning of bridges.
       First, the presumption.
       I found it presumptuous of America to tackle the Battle of Terrorism single handedly.   By doing so, the assumption is that America is the only nation capable of delivering deadly blows to the Beast of Terror.  It also suggests that violence is the only cure to ridding Terrorism, and that America is the only nation capable of delivering such violence.
       As a warrior, I know the horrors of war more personally than any war protestor, or any flock of doves.  I carry the blood of thousands on my hands, blood that can never be washed away.
       I know that war is the result of people's Complacency, the sum of their surrender to politics that prey on a public that refuses to take charge of themselves, and refuses to be responsible for the security of their own lives, and their children's lives.
       I would have liked to have heard President Bush call upon the nations of the world to fight Terrorism, and to have heard him say the words, "All glory is fleeting, and we must call upon all nations to become Nations of Vigilance, and all citizens to become Citizens of Vigilance to fight Terrorism's Fear, Intimidation and Complacency so that future Iraqs cannot be created, so that future despots and tyrants cannot become Beasts of Terror using the forces of Fear, Intimidation and Complacency to rule their people and threaten others."
       But those words were not heard.   President Bush elected to ride in the victory's chariot.   I wondered if George S. Patton was watching and scowling.
       Next, is the burning of bridges.

Has America burned her bridges?

      America's unilateralism may have damaged its opportunity to enfold other nations in support of the War on Terrorism.   By alienating many nations, especially by not enjoining an allied presence aboard the U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln, there was a vision that America has no allies, that it fought the war in Iraq single-handedly.
        The battle for Vigilance is a global battle, against a Beast of Terror who knows no national borders.    We often forget that more than one-third of those who died on September 11 at the World Trade Center were from nations other than the United States.  Terrorism respects only death and is indiscriminate in its victimization.  Since it's goals are Fear, Intimidation and Complacency, it will assault blindly anything that moves.

         I would have been happier had the President called upon a Global Sentinel of Vigilance Corps, a plea for the Citizens of Vigilance in all nations to take up the Sword of Vigilance and prepare themselves to fight not for themselves or their countries, but to fight Terrorism for the future of the children, and their Children's Children's Children.  I believe this would have rebuilt burned bridges, and given America not the appearance of a Roman conquering hero storming into Rome in a chariot, but the presence of a father concerned about his children, and grandchildren, and great grandchildren.
        I was also concerned a little about May 1 being proclaimed "Loyalty Day."    In his 2002 Proclamation for Loyalty Day, President Bush quoted Woodrow Wilson, famous for promoting America's foreign policy to democratizing the world.  In the proclamation, President Bush stated:   President Woodrow Wilson said, "Loyalty means nothing unless it has at its heart the absolute principle of self-sacrifice."

Did President Bush hear the words "All Glory is Fleeting?"

        Self sacrifice, I believe, is not acting in our own behalf, but for the future security of the Children and their Children's Children's Children.   It is also not about acting alone.  It is about acting as a world body toward a common goal, not a singularly national one.
        Vigilance is a goal that belongs to the world, not to any particular nation.
        While I am proud America stood up to the Beast of Terror in Iraq, and I'm glad we set an example to the world that action speaks louder than words, I am not necessarily eager to promote America as the single source of Vigilance.   By doing this, we presume other nations are not as equipped as we to fight Terrorism.

        That isn't true.   Every human being, regardless of his or her national penchant, has Courage to overcome Fear, Conviction to fight Intimidation, and can take Right Actions for future generations rather than fall Complacent to the status quo.   Each citizen in the world can be a Sentinel of Vigilance, not just Americans.
        For these reasons I wonder if President Bush heard the words of the slave standing behind him holding the crown over his head as he marched from the Viking Jet.
       I wonder if he heard:  "All Glory Is Fleeting?"

May 1--Acclivity of Vigilance & Declivity of Terrorism

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