Two fathers are fighting in Iraq. One is an Iraqi guerrilla with
five children, the other an American soldier with two children.
One is fighting for his country first, and the other for the safety
and security of all children. Which one is the true
Sentinel of Vigilance? Find out when you read this
17, 2003—Ground Zero Plus 796
Two Faces Of Vigilance--Is One More
Terroristic Than The Other?
Editor, New York City Combat Correspondent News
GROUND ZER0, New York, N.Y.--Nov. 17, 2003--
"Ahmed" is an Iraqi guerrilla sworn to kill Americans who are
occupying his country. Richard Bear is an American, sworn
to kill Iraqi Terrorists who threaten the security and safety of a
nation struggling to sink its roots in the rocky soil of freedom and
Both are fathers. Both believe they
are Fathers of Vigilance, fighting for what is right.
If they met on the battlefield, they would both
try to kill one another.
In the November 17, 2003 Time Magazine,
reporter Simon Robinson interviewed both the Iraqi Terrorist and the
American soldier to illustrate the differences/similarities that
bridge and separate them.
McKenzie, as a Warrior of Vigilance in Vietnam
Warrior of Vigilance who fought a defeating guerrilla war in Vietnam,
I am well-schooled on what drives "guerrillas" to fight and die for
their cause. I was an "invader" to the Vietnamese, a
foreigner on their soil whom they sought to eject at any price.
I understand the guerrilla mentality, the belief that anyone from the
"outside" cannot possibly understand or comprehend the "rights" or the
"destiny" of the citizens of the country.
father of five in Iraq, seeks to kill Americans as part of the
guerrilla forces seeking to drive out the USA.
At first glance, it appears as though the
balance might tip toward the guerrilla Terrorist. It might seem
his or her right to eject the "foreigner" is just, for what does a
"foreigner" know that a citizen of a country doesn't? And,
what right does an outside force have to dictate the future of a
I struggled with this dilemma as I read the
Robinson article, spelling out the backgrounds of the two warriors.
"Ahmed," not the Terrorist's real name, told the Time reporter
of his team's attacks on Americans. On the other
side of the coin, Sgt. Bear, stationed in Fallujah, 30 miles west of
Baghdad, is constantly on patrol to capture or kill Ahmed and his
Both pray before battle. Both believe
they are doing the "right thing," fighting for freedom--one from the
oppression of foreign invaders, the other to preserve and protect
freedom for foreigners.
Each of the warriors have children, but herein
lies the rub, at least, from my viewpoint.
In the Time article, both men are asked
why they fight and risk their lives.
Sgt. Bear is quoted as saying: "I
don't believe that we're part of any rogue U.S. government plan to
take all the oil. We don't want to turn this into a little
America. We just want to help people." Then his
quote goes on to express a broader vision: He is quoted as
saying he want to "make sure Iraqi kids have some of the opportunities
my kids have."
Richard Bear patrols Iraq for Terrorists with the 101st Airborne.
His mission: to provide freedom for the nation's children.
He has two of his own at home in Ft. Bragg.
He has two of them back at Ft. Bragg.
The 40-year-old Iraqi guerrilla sees the
role of Sgt. Bear and the tens of thousands of Americans in Iraq as an
attempt to subjugate Iraq. He is a father of five and says
he fights for his country first and his children second. "If I
haven't a country, how can I have children?" he asks.
The Time reporter says Ahmed remains loyal to Saddam Hussein,
who he believes will one day lead Iraq again. "so we ask,"
he says, "why send your sons to us so that we can kill them?"
That's the $87 billion question.
Why would Sgt. Bear risk his life in
the 101st Airborne for the freedom of Iraqi children? Why
would Sgt. Bear go up against the father of five, an Iraqi
Terrorist/guerrilla bent on killing him and all other Americans whose
presence in Iraq threatens the sovereignty of the nation ala Saddam
It would be easy to sweep over
the question and side with Ahmed. But, if one blinks
carefully and studies the difference between the two quotes of the two
warriors, the difference is huge.
Ahmed says he puts country
before his children. According to the Time
reporter, Ahmed believes his children are attached to his country. "If
I haven't a country, how can I have children?"
Sgt. Bear sees the future
of the children separate from the "country." His vision does not
attach the children's future to the real estate. "(I) want
to make sure Iraqi kids have some of the opportunities my kids have."
Ahmed is fighting for his
country; Sgt. Bear, for the children of Iraq.
We can become
blind to the future of the children
To qualify for a position
as a Parent of Vigilance, one must commit one's actions and deeds to
the benefit of the Children's Children's Children.
Without the ability to see past colors, religions, ethnicities,
national borders, politics and prejudices, we become blind to the
future of the children. We act out of selfish rather than
selfless motives, and find ourselves battling in a quagmire between
our own personal desires and beliefs and the future of the children's
rights to evolve without restraint.
Ahmed's position is that his
children have no future without a country. Were that
true, all the people who left their countries to come to America and
enjoy the fruits of freedom would be orphans. But, one has
only to scan the vast diversity of America's heartlands to see all
types, shapes and sizes of cultures suckling the teats of freedom and
is a far more safe and secure world for the child's rights than
Mother Liberty is a far more
safe and secure world for the child's rights than Father Oppression
And that is the Great Gap that
forms a bottomless chasm between Ahmed and Sgt. Bear.
One father is fighting for another father's children's rights while
the other father is fighting for his state's rights on the assumption
that his five children have no rights without a country.
Thomas Paine's Rights of
Man, published in 1791-1792, fifteen years following the American Revolution, makes it clear
that an individual is not a subject of any country or government, but
receives his or her citizenship directly from above, from God, or a
The "rights" of a person are
not, he claims, dictated by government. They are born with the
child, divine in nature. In a sense, Paine's point is that
of an anarchist. He refutes the right of any government to spell
out the destiny of any individual, or to limit a person's potential.
In the same light, Sgt. Bear
doesn't see the battle in Iraq as one limited by national borders.
He sees the "Rights of the Children" dominating the "Rights of the
Ahmed, however, shakes his fist
at this blindness. He sees his children shackled to the "state,"
to its rules and guidelines.
What is more interesting from
Sgt. Bear's comment isn't his pollyannaish view of what the children
of Iraq can expect in the near future. "(I) want to
make sure Iraqi kids have some of the opportunities my kids have."
This statement by Bear
makes it clear he is seeing the future in realistic terms. "some
of the opportunities" are a lot more than "none of the opportunities."
It will take time for Iraq to evolve into a modern state where a child
can enjoy the same freedoms and liberties, and with them, equal
opportunities, to those American children enjoy.
After all, it has taken more
than two centuries for American liberty to evolve to the state it is
currently at, and, there have been countless battles within the
framework of "freedom" and "liberty" to release the children's
children's rights are soaring in America
Today, children's rights are
soaring as never before in America. And with those
freedoms goes a duty to protect them both within this country and
Americans who willingly give
their lives in strange lands have more than just a vision of victory
over their enemy driving them through the dust and dirt of battle.
They, like Sgt. Bear, are fighting for a belief in the future of the
children of those lands.
I remember a young Vietnamese
named Pierre who worked in a company I was consulting with approaching
me one day after he learned I was a U.S. Marine in Vietnam.
He came up to me in the copy room and asked if he could speak to me
personally. I smiled and said "sure."
He was nineteen, a bubbling young man
in his first year of college at the University of California's Irvine
campus. First, he bowed then he saluted me and began a
short but powerful thank you for what I had done to fight for his
freedom in Vietnam.
"My family and I would not be here without
your efforts, and those of your friends," he said. "I want to
thank you for my freedom."
He saluted me again, then stuck out his
hand. I shook it earnestly.
dropped slowly down my cheek
When he left, I felt a tear forming in my
right eye. It dropped slowly down my cheek. No one had
ever thanked me for what I had done in Vietnam, not the way Pierre
did. It was more than two decades after I returned to
angry protestors and those who spat upon me and called me a
"Terrorist" and a "baby killer."
Pierre washed away all the invectives, all
the ugliness that mudslingers hurled at us returning vets, accusing us
of being tyrants, oppressors, imperialists and murderers.
I have never forgotten Pierre's comment to
me, or the healing reminder that a young man knew the benefits of
freedom and the price paid by others to secure it.
I know that Ahmed has his fans here in
America who side with the belief that America should "keep its nose
out of other people's business." I see them on television,
hurling their diatribes against the Administration and threatening
political disaster if we continue to remain in Iraq.
Four-hundred Americans have died so far in Iraq. That's less
than 13 percent of the people killed in the World Trade Center on Nine
Eleven. The British have lost 52 of their warriors,
Italy's death number 17 and Denmark, Spain, the Ukraine and Poland,
one each. Since May 1, following President Bush's announcement
of the end of major combat, 261 Americans have died defending a nation
whose population exceeds 23 million.
We are driven
to re-read Thomas Paine's message
It is easy to cringe in the shadow of the Beast
of Terror when our nation's blood begins to flow and our national
politicians cast stones at our intentions and leadership.
It drives one to re-read Thomas Paine. Paine's message is a
reminder that our mission is that of Parents of Vigilance, Citizens of
Vigilance, Sentinels of Vigilance. It reminds us we should all
be committed, as Sgt. Bear, to
the rights of the Children's Children's Children, and not to
protecting the state. The "state" is a servant to the
future of the children, a shell, like that of the turtle, providing
protection for the journey through life. When the shell
becomes the body, when one has no choice but carry the shell around
despite its tyranny or oppression, then the shell is not a protective
device, but a manacle, leg irons that hobble and fetter the
opportunity of the children to grow and prosper.
children want to live in the shadow of the Beast or in the
Sunlight of Vigilance?
It would be interesting to ask
Ahmed's five children to honestly respond to the question of what they
want for their children. Do they want to live in the
shadow of the Beast of Tyranny and Oppression, or, in the Sunlight of
Vigilance's Freedom and Opportunity?
Sgt. Bear has made his decision.
He's willing to die for the rights of Iraqi children! Even at
the expense of his own. For that reason, he is, without
question, a Sentinel of Children's Vigilance.