The headlines this morning talk about the sanctioning of killing Yasir
Arafat. Should we support the execution of a known
Terrorist? Will the killing of Arafat, Saddam
Hussein or Osama bin Laden decrease Terrorism or expand it? What
will it do to us who support revenge? Will embracing the
death of another be a positive or negative impact on our children?
15, 2003—Ground Zero Plus 733
"To Kill Or Not Kill Yasir Arafat,
That Is The Question"
Editor, New York City Combat Correspondent News
GROUND ZER0, New York, N.Y.--Sep 15, 2003-- I get a
bit nervous when the world juggles the right to kill in the court of
This morning I was hit in the face with a NY
SHARON AIDE SAYS ISRAEL IS
CONSIDERING KILLING ARAFAT
The Times' story told about how 2,000 loyal
supports of Arafat danced and sang in his battered compound where he
has been held hostage for the past year and a half as Israel seeks to
limit the Palestinian leader's power.
He exists in his own Death Row, with
Israeli guns aimed at him 24 hours a day.
The United States is opposed to the
proposed execution of Arafat.
Israel's moral decision justifying
killing Arafat is equal to their retaliation policy against suicide
bombers. The Jewish state quickly strikes, and often
kills, leaders who order attacks.
vice prime minister of Israel sees Arafat's killing no different
than the killing of any Terrorist
"In my eyes, from a
moral point of view, this is no different than the eliminations of
others who were involved in activating acts of terror, vice prime
minister Ehud Olmert told Israel radio.
Besides the threat of death, exile is
another option. Either removing Arafat from his compound
to exile or cutting off all communications to his West Bank office are
options on the table.
In a telephone interview from Baghdad
with Fox News, Secretary of State Colin Powell said: "The Untied
States does not support the elimination of him or the exile of Mr.
At the same time, the U.S. had
"Dead or Alive" posters plastered throughout the world for the heads
of Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden.
Assassination of leaders
who support Terrorism seems to be the current issue. If we
oppose "eliminating" Arafat, how can we support "eliminating" Saddam
To Americans who fear the
threat of future Terrorism, or, who seek revenge against those who
have issued violence or supported it against the U.S., "eliminating"
such Beasts of Terror seems to be acceptable. But
Arafat is different.
There is no direct link
to Palestine's acts of violence against Israel and any direct threat
by him to the United States.
doesn't fit in our moral locker since he's targeting people from
another country, not our own.
If we could or did link
his power to acts of Terror in the United States, would we be so quick
to deny Israel the right to eliminate him?
One side of
the moral issue believes in an eye-for-an eye.........
The moral issue is a hot potato for sure. On one side
stands the eye-for-the-eye group, and the other side houses the
forgiveness group who decry violence to resolve violence.
I'm more concerned about
how to explain the public decision to kill or not kill Arafat to my
grandchildren, or, to any child.
The Beast of Terror grows
stronger each time we warp life's values. Killing others,
except in self-defense, opens the door to the "right to kill."
other side believes in forgiveness and non-violence
In my own case, I am a "trained killer." When I joined the
U.S. Marine Corps, I elected to learn to kill others. Killing
became my primary mission. My specific job as a U.S.
Marine Combat Correspondent was shadowed by the primary
job--"killing." All Marines, even clerks and cooks,
are first rifleman who chose to kill first and then cook or type.
Even the Chaplin's assistant is "locked and loaded."
Part of me has a total
understanding of the "right to kill." Part of me
wouldn't blink an eye were Arafat to be suddenly eliminated from the
face of the earth. I have no question in my mind he has
and probably still does, direct the Terror war against Israel.
Similarly, I have no
doubt Saddam Hussein was a cog in the wheel of the Terrorist attack
against the U.S. In law, being part of a conspiracy
puts you in the guilty box even if your finger wasn't on the trigger.
But, there is
another part of me that recoils from the sanctioning of executions.
Even the death warrants issued against Saddam and Osama bother me.
I find it impossible to look my grandchildren in the eye and tell them
it is right to kill someone because they killed someone.
That tells my
grandchildren that if someone is "mean" or "cruel" to them, they have
the right to be "mean" and "cruel" back. It fosters
Terrorism to battle Terrorism. It dilutes Vigilance.
I was a
trained killer in Vietnam
As a "trained killer" I find it hard sometimes to stop and think
through acts of violence that seem like a sudden cure to the ills of
humanity. Parading Saddam's head through the streets of
Baghdad might signal a moment of victory, but after the sun sets and
the world of revenge tries to digest the blood of the victim, it finds
no nutrients in its feast.
retribution have no end.
Killing one enemy
creates only another, or a nest of others, all seeking revenge to
avenge the killing.
In the movie
series, Godfather, the Sicilian town of Vito Corleone is bare of young
men. They have been mostly all killed through the
vendetta, the sons of the fathers, and grandsons of the fathers, and
great grandsons of the fathers, killing in hopes to erase the source
If violence in the
Mid-East could be assured to end with the death of Arafat, I would be
among the first to volunteer to take one life so that many others
could be saved.
But, I know the killing of
Arafat will not reduce bloodshed but only increase it.
Behind every Beast of Terror
stands another Beast, and another and another.
Starving the Beast is a much
better strategy than thinking he can be killed.
Revenge and retribution feed
will only increase bloodshed
(Arafat in his compound in Ramallah)
Terrorism, composed of Fear, Intimidation and Complacency, grows
stronger when we react to its elements. Killing Arafat is
nothing more than stirring the cauldron of Fear, Intimidation and
Complacency. It doesn't illuminate the Principles of
Vigilance--Courage, Conviction and, most importantly, Right Actions
that benefit the Children's Children's Children.
When I place a measuring stick
up to the "elimination" of Arafat, I find myself impotent to justify
his death as a Right Action That Benefits The Children's Children's
I choke trying to imagine
answering my grandchildren's question: "G-Pa, why did they kill
The easy answer:
"Because he was a very bad man who supported killing others."
"Hmmmm, does that mean if
someone is mean or hurts us, we can be mean and hurt them to make
ourselves feel better, G-Pa?"
I see nothing
healthy in justifying murder, execution or torture of those who
subscribe to the Beast of Terror's constitution of violence.
imprisonment, however, seems palatable. For every action
one takes there is a price. Violence against others can
only result in some debt that must be paid in some format.
Even righteous violence has a price. I live with the faces
of all those dead bodies from Vietnam--the innocent ones caught in the
crossfire's of war as well as the enemy who had the same mission as I:
"kill or be killed."
But I have a
knowledge of the Beast of Terror not everyone understands.
I've been in his
belly. I've been swallowed into his guts, chewed upon by his
fangs, ripped by his claws. I understand how easy it is to
pull the trigger and kill without remorse, to feel the deadening of
the soul, to sense the loss of my humanity, the evaporation of my
To take the
innocence from my grandchildren by justifying the killing of another
would be, for me, an act of Terrorism. To endorse the
"elimination" of Arafat, or Saddam or Osama because they were "bad
men" who hurt others and "deserved to die" would underscore to my
grandchildren the "right to kill."
It would promote
revenge. It would broadcast to my offspring's offspring they had
the right to feed the Beast of Terror. And, if I allowed them to
think that, I would endanger them, for feeding the Beast of Terror is
nothing more than putting one in a position to be eaten by that which
Instead, I must
stand on higher ground than the Beast.
I have the
right to carry and use the Sword of Vigilance when The Beast
threatens the life and security of my children and grandchildren
I am forced to oppose the execution of Arafat, Saddam, Osama and all
the Beasts of Terror who roam the world. But I maintain
the right to self-defense. I have the duty to protect my
children and their children from harm. I have the right to carry
the Sword of Vigilance and to use it when necessary to cripple or
destroy the Beast when he threatens the life and security of my
And that's the rub.
There are those who see
Arafat with a time bomb in his hands, handing those bombs to the
suicide bombers, snipers and other militant extremists who consider
their acts of violence not Terrorism, but acts of war.
But unless I see Arafat
with a weapon in his hand, aimed at some innocent, I cannot endorse
hanging him in the public square, or sending in a squad of
executioners with sniper rifles to fill his body full of holes.
In life, I've sought
revenge in many ways for the sufferings I believe were issued upon me
by others. Most of those acts of revenge were delivered in the
form of resentments, retaliatory statements that hoped to make others
feel bad for my belief they had harmed me emotionally by failing to
meet my expectations, or for not supporting me in my hours of need.
In each and every case
where I have let my hatred, my anger, my resentments rule my life, I
have suffered. My life has diminished. I have
pulled the shadow of the Beast over my head, and lived in the darkness
of my own Fear, Intimidation and Complacency.
Today, I struggle not to
victimize myself by feeding my sense of personal violation.
Emotional Terrorists exist around us all--from the boss who doesn't
pay us our worth, or the spouse who doesn't understand us as we think
we should be understood, to the jerk who steals our parking place we
have been diligently waiting for.
All my angst, my ranting
and raving, my chewing nails, my shouting, my silent screams, only
bleed my Vigilance, drain me of the Courage to face my Fears, dilute
my Conviction to deal with my Intimidation, and divert my attention
from taking the Right Actions for future generations to wallowing in
the Complacency that I am once more hung on the Cross to dry.
I have to STOP
THOUGHT and not feed the Beast
I have to STOP THOUGHT such reactions to life, and seek solutions to
my issues that don't feed the Beast.
Justifying killing Arafat
would only be one more nail in my coffin as a human being. It
would mean I would be tacitly justifying killing to my grandchildren.
It would mean I would be endorsing not Vigilance but Terrorism,
however legitimate it might appear on the surface.
The world today sits in a
dangerous seat. It has death warrants around the globe, with
rewards in the millions of dollars, for the heads of certain
I can't endorse those
But I can Pledge my
Vigilance to stand up to the Beast of Terror.
I can regurgitate my
desire to seek revenge, to expunge all threats to the world by the
"bad" and sit back with my conscience and feel proud I am standing up
to my own Beast.
I can share
with my grandchildren the importance of Vigilance
Then, I can share with my grandchildren the importance not of killing
or seeking revenge, but the importance of Vigilance, of building one's
Courage, Conviction and Right Actions so that Beasts of Terror cannot
cripple one into acts of violence as tools of revenge or retribution.
To do this, I need to
reread my Pledge of Vigilance, and remember my duty to future
Perhaps one day, the
headlines in the NY Times will read: "World Leaders Sign Pledge Of
Vigilance As Tool To Fight Terrorism."
Maybe then, the Beast
will be afraid.
But today, the Beast
dances in glee. He loves headlines that promote what he stands