Zero Plus 383
The Cain & Able Of Iraq
Editor, New York City Combat Correspondent News
GROUND ZERO, New York
City, September 30--Terrorism begins in a house divided.
Its most insidious wormhole is created when brothers smote brothers, sisters
call each other "whores," or when the blood of the family turns
vinegar in all its members' veins.
Some call this the Cain & Able
Syndrome. It's as ancient as time itself.
Any "house divided" cannibalizes
itself. It sucks its own marrow. It eats its own
children, or, at least their hope for peace and harmony from within.
I found myself thinking about
Cain and Able this morning as I scanned through the world's headlines.
In American newspapers, the big story is about Democratic leaders in Iraq
challenging President Bush's foreign policy. One Republican Senator
called the comments from American lawmakers visiting Baghdad, "spokesmen
for Iraq." He attacked the visiting Democrats on the grounds they are opposing President Bush's
foreign policy, which is to pressure Iraq into buckling to U.S. terms of
unlimited arms inspection.
However, in Pravda, the Russian
newspaper reports the big news is about life-size cardboard policemen and police
cars placed in strategic locations to scare off
criminals or lawbreakers who might think the replicas are real.
anti-war with Iraq rally in Hyde Park
the newspapers are talking about how American politicians are
"politicizing" the "war on Iraq" in an attempt to garner votes.
The cleave driven between the two camps is "patriotism," with the
Republicans questioning the "loyalty" of those who oppose President Bush's
narrow policy of "unlimited arms inspection or else," and those who seek a
"kinder, gentler, softer way of resolving the matter without bloodshed."
No matter how you carve it, the rift
between the "brothers and sisters" of the American political house is
growing. Two camps are being formed--those pro war, those
Democratic congressman Jim McDermott
of Washington State, one of the three Democrats visiting Iraq, accused
President Bush of being willing to "mislead the American people" about
whether the war was needed. He and Democratic congressman
David E Bonior of Michigan are promoting a policy that would fall short of
President Bush's "all-inclusive" inspection of Iraq.
McDermott in Iraq
President Bush is seeking
a full "strip-down, body cavity" search of Iraq's ability to manufacture
"weapons of mass destruction." Opponents to his
"coercive approach," including Iraq, are seeking a more diplomatic
agreement, one that would be conducted with respect to Iraq's sovereignty
and dignity as a state.
The conflict within the "house divided" is
that one camp is siding with Iraq's demands to use diplomacy versus the
Executive Branch's demands to use "threat of force" if Iraq does not
Twisted in the middle of this sandwich of
policy opposition are the up-and-coming elections.
Democrats want to weaken the "war platform" of the Administration, and
focus on domestic issues. The Democrats feel they have a much
better chance to win the mid-term elections if the U.S. public stops
thinking about Iraq and turns its sights on the flailing economy, and the
need for more social programs at home.
But the name calling seems to be more
important than what is right for America and the world. No one
is arguing what is right for the children, or the children's children's
What appears to be the issue on the
table is who will win the most votes in the impending elections.
I thought of a child
looking at our Congress and seeing countless factions calling each other
names. I thought about how a child might take see his or her
parents arguing, name calling, demanding apologies, snubbing one
another--and, how safe that child would feel about his or her parents
protecting the house when all their attention was dedicated to
Democracy has been called the "best
of the worst forms of government," and while I grimace at that idea, I am
left with the Complacency that it might be true. However, my
belief in Vigilance Rescue Heroes me.
I believe that if the members of
Congress and the Administration were to ask the common, non-political
question--"What's right for the children's children's children?"--that the
battle between Cain and Able would be thrown outside the immediate,
selfish battles over the next vote.
As a child, I
grew up in a "house divided." My parents fought constantly.
My grandparents fought. Walking into the house was like
walking into a minefield--at any moment one of the emotional booby traps
might go off. Eating dinner was like watching a tennis match
played with hand grenades. Looming over all the name calling and
bickering was the dark threat of violence--of my father hitting my mother,
of my mother egging on a fight, and then the horrible aftermath--the
sickening sobs of the pained and anguished who saw their home broken one
I see the battle in
America today with the same kind of horror I witnessed my parents fighting
as a child. I see the selfishness of two parties so engaged in
their righteousness that the real issue of the children sitting at the
table witnessing the name calling is forgotten, neglected.
But children see. Children hear. Children know.
And, most important, children feel.
Leadership in a family or a nation
requires respect for the children of that family or nation.
As an adult, I vowed to not repeat
the horrors of my own childhood. My wife and I agreed to
disagree in civil and mature ways. We talked long and hard
about the importance of showing our children a unified front, even though
we might disagree on tactics, we agreed on strategy--the family came
While we weren't perfect in our
approach, we avoided the kind of childish, immature and Terrorizing antics
being portrayed by our nation's political leaders in one of the most
critical times in American history.
America is changing its role as a
world leader from that as an economic giant, to that of a giant policeman.
The world is watching us.
We are telling the
world that someone needs to take the role of world disciplinarian, and
President Bush has elected to strap on the six guns and pin the star of
World Sheriff on America's chest.
It's not unlike what Mayor Bloomberg
has done in New York City.
Crime and violence
in New York City schools has become untenable. Bullies and
Terrorists rule. Recently, he took control of the Board of
Education, stripping it of its former political powers and putting it
directly under his control. The school system is in a
crisis, especially schools in marginalized neighborhoods.
New York City has School Police who
are supposed to maintain order in the school systems, but Mayor Bloomberg
has gone a step further, and added "criminal" police support.
He's going to clean up the Terrorists who are infecting the future of the
children. He's going to make the schools "safe" for the future with
No one is criticizing what
he is doing who really understands the problem. A child who is
raped in the hallways of a school, or beaten, or shot, provides prima facia
evidence of the need to attack Terror with equal force.
Parents whose children go to school with bullet proof vests and cell
phones locked on 911 are eager for their children's safety.
I find it difficult to believe the
politicians of the 21st Century can't see the need for Terrorism to be
treated the same way school Terrorists are being treated in New York City.
If someone doesn't clean up the halls of the world's Terrorists, then we
I would have preferred that President
Bush not question the loyalty of the Democrats to the national security of
the United States. That's way too big a vision for anyone to
comprehend because we aren't quite sure what it means. But had he
questioned the loyalty of certain Democrats to the safety and security of
the children of America, and to the world, his critics would have found it
hard to lash back at him, for they would have been forced to ask the
question: "Who's going to keep the world safe for our children, and
all the children's children's?"
The United Nations isn't the source. One of
its resolutions disallows "regime changes." And, no matter
what language is used, the world knows the goal of an assault on Iraq is
to remove Saddam Hussein from control of his country. That
leaves America virtually standing alone, with a few allies hesitating in
I would prefer the UN to take a more
generational view of protecting a nation's sovereignty than putting up a
shield around its leader. Some parents are outright
Terrorists. Some would build a weapons manufacturing plant
under a school or hospital, and use its citizens as shields against
attack. Some would even gas its dissidents, killing tens of
thousands to settle disputes, as Hussein did against the Kurds.
"Cain and Abel"
There is little
question as the credentials of "fathership" that Saddam Hussein offers the
world, and, frankly, that's not the real issue. The real issue
is how we, Americans, deal with our own home. Do we
fight at our kitchen table in front of our children? Do we
sling mud at each other and call each other names in hopes of creating
Fear, Intimidation and Complacency in the weaker of the two?
Are we the Cain and Able teaching our
children how to divide their house when they grow older?
Perhaps if my parents had taken the
Pledge of Vigilance, and subscribed to its principle, my home would not
have been one of division and derision.
I do believe we need a world Sheriff.
But I think the first priority is a appointing ourselves as the Sheriff of
Vigilance, not the Sheriff of Cain and Able.
Perhaps its time for the Democrats
and Republicans to take Pledge of Vigilance, and then decide how they are
going to make the world safer by building Courage instead of Fear,
replacing Intimidation with Conviction, and taking Right Actions rather
than the slinging Complacent name calling at one another.
And maybe even the
Pledge of Allegiance should be revised:
"I Pledge Allegiance
to the Children's Children's Children of America, and to the
Principles of Courage, Conviction and Right Action for which
they stand--one nation, Under Vigilance, with liberty and justice
If this were the case,
national disloyalty would be obvious rather than mud slinging
politics. And, the Congressmen in Iraq would not have
visited the leaders of the nation, but would have spent all
their time with the children there, and the children's parents
before making comments that may ultimately haunt them.
To Sep 29--"Let's Roll!"--A Battle
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