Article Overview:   When President George W. Bush landed in Iraq on Thanksgiving Day, was he eating with the troops or with the children of Iraq?    Was his trip there just a headline journey to get more votes and support in the United States, or was it a show of force against the Shadow of the Beast of Terror, a symbol to the children of Iraq that he is not afraid to stand up face-to-face with Terrorism?   Find out why President Bush is a Sentinel of Thanksgiving Vigilance for the children of Iraq.


Friday--November 28, 2003—Ground Zero Plus 807
President Bush:  A Sentinel of Thanksgiving Vigilance For the Children of Iraq
Cliff McKenzie
   Editor, New York City Combat Correspondent News

GROUND ZER0, New York, N.Y.--Nov. 28, 2003-- The world is full of armchair travelers.    Those of us who fit this category sit in the comfort of our homes or offices and splatter criticism against others who trudge and toil in the muck and slime far below.     

President Bush spent Thanksgiving with American and Allied troops in Iraq

     We don't get our hands dirty.   We stand afar from the bombs and bullets and offer our commentary, our criticism, our indignations over those who risk their lives so that we may enjoy the safety and security of free speech.
      Yesterday, President George W. Bush climbed aboard Air Force One in a shroud of secrecy and flew to Iraq to spend Thanksgiving with American and Allied troops.   Some people in the glass lofts constructed with beams of cynicism and wallpapered with political invectives, cried foul.   They looked at the trip as nothing more than a political trump, a way to capture headlines and to seduce the public into thinking the President of the United States was a brave warrior, willing to risk his life.   They claim his only motive was to garner a few more votes, ignoring any role he might have assumed as the Commander-in-Chief, the leader of all who risk their lives in defense of liberty and freedom under the U.S. flag.
         Then, there are those who look at the President with a little more polish to his role as a military leader than to his vote-grabbing mission as a politician.
         These people look at him as a Sentinel of Vigilance, a guy willing to put his life at risk, to walk to the edge and lean over with his troops.

Following Nine-Eleven, Bush threw out the first pitch in Yankee Stadium in the World Series

         His secret trip to Iraq this Thanksgiving wasn't his first brush with danger as President.    Following the World Trade Center attack, he made his way into Yankee Stadium during the World Series and threw out a baseball.   While some might guffaw at this display at purely political, when the smoke was still gagging residents near the holocaust, and the threat of Terrorism bouncing off the Richter Scale, he didn't shy from exposing himself to a mass of people in a public setting--a high risk for any President at any time.
         Then, there was the often-cited landing on aircraft carrier as President Bush announced the end of combat in Iraq.   A reserve pilot, President Bush donned his flight gear and put himself inside the cockpit of a jet that could have encountered a variety of dangers en route, including engine failure or a crash landing.
        Guys who are "kings" don't have to risk their lives.  They can point their fingers at others and ask them to die for their country and flag.   His critics of the aircraft carrier event forget that even if the pilot passed out, the President could have negotiated the plane.
        Now, Iraq.
        Anyone who thinks it's a simple safe thing to do to jump aboard Air Force One and fly to a Terrorist-infiltrated country without any risk to life and limb need to flip back through the pages of Terror history.
        How quickly we forget that a couple of dozen Terrorists hijacked four commercial aircraft and flew them into America's icons of security and power--the World Trade Center, the Pentagon.   Of course, the White House might have been included in those attacks had not the passengers of the flight heading in that direction given their lives to crash that plane.
         Terrorists are able to infiltrate just about all levels of intelligence.   Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden still slither about, eluding the grasp of the most powerful military and technological resources in the world.

Bush landed on the Aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln at the end of combat operations in Iraq

         To discount that the President of the United States didn't have a lump in his throat as he climbed aboard Air Force One on Thanksgiving is to ignore that Osama and Saddam are still at large.
         Courage isn't braggadocio.   Courage is about facing one's Fears and overcoming them.    Conviction is about going face-to-face with one's Intimidations and deciding that doing what is right--regardless of the risk--is more important than cowering.    And, taking the Right Actions that benefit future generations is the end result of swallowing one's Fear and Intimidation.  It is the antacid of Complacency--the desire to shun danger or involvement so the fuel that feeds the Beast of Terror--Complacency--will not fatten the Beast's resolve.
        Many people think we will solve the problem in Iraq when we chop off Saddam Hussein's head and roll it down the streets, or jam it on the end of a pointed stake and parade it through the heartland.

Many think the problem in Iraq will be over when Saddam's body or head is found

        But, there is another tactic that may be even more powerful to the Iraqi people.  That may be the one that George W. Bush employed yesterday.
         Brave, bold men who are fearless about their own lives represent a kind of leadership different from what many Americans have been used to seeing from its politicians over the past years.
        But an Iraqi who sees the President of the United States land his airplane in the heart of Terrorist-riddled attacks, and courageously walks about with his soldiers and eats with them may become more heroic to them than their deposed leader.
        Terrorism is about inflicting Fear, Intimidation and Complacency into people's minds and hearts, and into the children's.    In Iraq, the 24 million people who are citizens of that land saw the most powerful man in the world set his feet on the blood-soaked soil of their land.  They saw him take a huge risk of being shot out of the air or being assaulted by mortars or suicide bombers.
        Anyone who is familiar with Terrorism knows that a single Terrorist can slip through the most intense network of security forces and perform violent acts.    Americans know that assassinations of Presidents can occur when least expected.   
        Even though other U.S. Presidents have visited troops at war, few have entered "high-level" combat zones, the kinds ruled by Terrorists.
        Iraq is a special kind of war.  It is a war of shadows, a guerrilla war of a different ilk--more political than social.    It is a war of the Middle East, of an ancient way of life versus the modern way.    Democracy has no home in the Middle East, and, if one were to look at the enemies of Iraq, it would include all the Middle Eastern nations, including Saudi Arabia where democracy is a far distant choice for its leadership.
        The death of the President of the United States would hasten America's departure from Iraq.

The true beneficiaries of the President's trip are the children of Iraq

        But let's take one final look at the true beneficiaries of the President's trip--the children of Iraq.    There can be little question that the children of Iraq have been told many things about Americans.    Children are the future of any nation.   They may consider their former leader,  Saddam, a hero for escaping the American forces, as one might honor the person in a game of tag who cannot be tagged.
         Then, the President of the United States lands on their soil.  Children know the danger of the land.  In Vietnam, when we swept through villages, we asked the children to show us where the enemy put the booby traps.   The kids knew where all the dangers were.
         The President became something special in the eyes of the children of Iraq.   He wasn't afraid to come to visit their land, even though every child knows the target on his chest is ten-fold the size of that on Saddam's.
         He walked on their ground, breathed their air, and shook his fist into the face of the Beast of Terror.   To a child, that's the act of a Sentinel of Vigilance--a leader who may not be what others tell them he is.       

Leadership inspires children to evolve into better human beings

         In America, many parents may scoff at the President's trip in front of their children, and try and demean his actions as merely political.   The children of American, however, are fans of such things as Rescue Heroes and the Justice League.  They see these heroes walking into the face of evil, not running from it.  They see their heroes as "doers" not "talkers."
          I wonder if these children look askance at their parents and wonder why their mother and father aren't facing the Beast of Terror and only talking badly about those who do?
          I know one thing only.    For anyone to not give President Bush credit for facing the Beast of Terror only subtracts from their personal duty of being a Citizen of Vigilance in the eyes of the children of the world.  
          Leadership ultimately has one final goal--to inspire the children to evolve into better human beings.
          While many may argue the tactics of the United States in Iraq, few can wash away the strategy of providing freedom and liberty for future generations.   Children in all oppressed lands suffer the heavy hand of tyranny.   They are deprived of the gifts of evolution and civilization and the joys of a life that could be far greater than scrabbling in the dirt of systems that deny them education, health and natural rights to living a life equal to those of other more advanced civilizations surrounding them.
        The children of South Korea versus the children of North Korea exemplify this vast cavern of tyranny and oppression versus freedom and liberty.   While one group of children eats boiled grass the other group plays with computers and eats McDonalds.
        President George W. Bush's visit to Iraq was a visit not just to American troops, but a visit to the Iraqi children.  They saw a man willing to face death appear on their landscape and remind them that he is not afraid of the shadow of Saddam Hussein.
        No one will ever know the true impact of President Bush's visit upon the future of the struggle currently testing the resolve of both America and the world.    But, one thing is sure.

Those who throw rocks should be wary

      Those who throw rocks at the visit in the presence of the children should be wary.   They may find the rocks they throw are hitting the innocent who believe that actions speak louder than words, who believe heroes are those not afraid of going into the dark closet of Fear, Intimidation and Complacency and switching on the light of Courage, Conviction and Right Actions that benefit the children.
        In my book, President Bush at Thanksgiving dinner with the children of Iraq chewed on the bones of Terrorism.
        Let's hope the critics of his trip take a second look, and realize he was seeking the votes of the children of a far-off land and not just looking for tomorrow's headline.

Nov. 27---Happy Thanksgiving 2003

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