| Article Overview:
When the Screaming Eagles landed in Kuwait on February 28th, someone
asked them if they knew why they were there. They replied:
"To kill." But there is another answer they may not have
articulated as gracefully as they might have. They are there to
die for the right of the Children's Children's Children to be safe
from Terrorism. They are there to depose Saddam Hussein as a
symbol to all Terrorists that at least one nation's children is
willing to die for all other nation's children.
4, 2003—Ground Zero Plus 538
Screaming Eagles of Vigilance Land
To Fight For the Children's
Editor, New York City Combat Correspondent News
GROUND ZERO, New York City, Mar. 4--The 101st
Airborne Division, known as the "Screaming Eagles," landed in Camp New
Jersey, Kuwait at 11:48 p.m., February 28th. The 19,000
soldiers are preparing for a major battle to topple Saddam Hussein in
the expected fierce battle for Baghdad.
What will they be fighting for?
Patch of the
Screaming Eagles with genuine model
Strategists expect that Saddam will not
chose to fight American and British forces in the desert where he
suffered devastating losses during the Gulf War. Most
tacticians expect him to ring the city of Baghdad with his elite
Special Republican Guard, forcing the American-led invasion to engage
in house-to-house, close combat. The 101st will be there, a key
driving force toward toppling the Butcher of Baghdad.
And that may be what
Saddam is hoping for. Pundits are betting Saddam wants a siege
on his city. He is hoping the world will view the siege of
Baghdad as an act of oppression, and before he is toppled, global
anti-war forces and the Arabic nations will rally to his support as
the hand-to-hand combat turns bloody and legions of civilians are used
That's the Big Picture.
But what about the Little Picture.
What does all this mean to a Screaming Eagle who has a picture of a
wife, girlfriend, boyfriend or his or her (assuming women soldiers
will be in the front lines) family tucked in some safe
Soon to be in
a battle for survival
The battle will be for both the
Screaming Eagles and Special Republican Guard about surviving.
For the Iraqis, it will be to guard their leader and their land from
the infidels. For the Screaming Eagles it will be to insure that
the round-trip ticket from Baghdad back to the United States or
England will be used for a live body, and not for a coffin.
After reading today's New York
Times story by Jim Dwyer who flew with the Screaming Eagles' on a
7,000 mile journey from Kentucky to Kuwait, I was reminded of my own
8,100-mile trip to Vietnam over three decades ago.
I was part of the first wave of
20,000 U.S. troops sent to Vietnam in 1965. We spearheaded a
massive build up that eventually cost over 50,000 American and
an estimated 2 million Vietnamese lives in the longest war in American
Vietnam are trained to fight to the death
the Screaming Eagles standing on the tarmac of Fort Campbell,
Kentucky, a few days ago, we were the elite troops--U.S. Marines
trained to fight to the death. We were all volunteers, as the
Screaming Eagles. Like the Eagles, we were to be the first in
and last out. In parallel, we were trained to rid the embattled
country of its Terrorists--in my case, the communists and their Viet
Cong forces seeking to oppress the people-- in the Screaming Eagle's, to depose Saddam Hussein.
amphibious assault in 1966
We didn't fly to Vietnam aboard
commercial jets leased to the military as the 101st did a few days
ago. Instead, we climbed into the stinky belly of a troop ship,
the U.S.S. Paul Revere, and sloshed our way over heaving seas for 18
sweltering days to Okinawa where we staged for a few months, then
climbed on another ship for the final trip to Chu Lai, headquarters
for the First Marine Division.
Like the Eagles, we were eager for
war. In the Times story, Dwyer captured the response of
the troops when they were asked by a military briefer in Kuwait :
"Did anyone tell you why you are here?"
One of the soldiers shouted:
"To kill!" Another interjected, "War!"
Dwyer reports the briefer answered
the question politically rather than tactically: "Force
The brief answer meant nothing,
I'm sure, to the men of the 101st. It would be like
telling U.S. Marines landing in Vietnam they were there to defend the
world against communism, when every Marine knew he was trained to
"kill the enemy," and after "killing," the enemy, his job was
finished. What the politicians did afterwards was their
business. Warriors aren't trained to think, or ponder, or
question. They are trained to follow orders--specifically to
I doubt if a great football
coach tells a linebacker his job is to win the game. Instead, he
grabs the 285 pound monster's face mask, twists his thick head down so
he can glare into the brute's face, and spits as he shouts:
"Your job is to smash the offense into the ground, to take him out, to
make him fear you so he flinches. Don't worry about winning the
game, just obliterate the body in front of you. That will win the
game, for the game is one yard forward at a time."
Wars are won by body count.
The more of "them" you kill, the closer you approach victory.
It's been that way since the dawn of time, and will remain that way
until the final sun sets.
This same axiom is true
Saddam Hussein follows
this axiom as any warrior-leader.
He's hand picked six
divisions of his Special Republican Guard to form a wall between his
throne of power and the invading forces. The Special
Republican Guard (SRG) is different from the Republican Guard.
Each of the 25,000 men representing four brigades of the SRG
have had their loyalties tested and assured they will die to the
last man to defend his Palace from being toppled.
According to the International
Institute for Strategic Studies, the current strength of the
Republican Guard is about 375,000. It represents 17 divisions.
While the Republican Guard are crack troops, under pressure of massive
allied forces, they may crumble as they did during the Gulf War.
Facing over 200,000 American and British troops, backed by massive
air, artillery and naval bombardment may prove insurmountable odds and
render them ineffective to hold back the assault on Iraq's borders..
Saddam has planned to send the
majority of the Republican Guard to fight the perimeter of the
country. He's keeping his elite forces, the Special Republican
Guard, close to home to wage the final battle on his turf--in Baghdad.
Prior to the Gulf War, the Republican
Guard boasted 955,000 troops. Nearly two thirds were destroyed
or surrendered during the 1991 conflict..
Eagle Warriors Ready For Battle Against Saddam
Saddam also has a large potential
militia at his disposal Potentially, he has 5.9 million
human warriors between the ages of 15 and 49 that could fight.
But estimates of those fit for military service range around 3.3
million. Few believe the majority of these potential "warriors"
will fight, but they remain a large possible "guerrilla force."
The bulk of fierce fighting is expected to
come from the Republican Guard, and the most intense, from the Special
Republican Guard ringing Baghdad.
These "Saddam Linebackers" will be
the ones the 101st will mostly likely tackle. It will be
"gladiator against gladiator."
Fortunately, the ranks of the Special
Republican Guard have been heavily thinned by former U.S. aggression.
In 1991, they were twice as large, representing some 150,000.
But their motivation will be intense. Unlike the 101st, the
Special Republican Forces will be fighting in part for their dead
comrades, seeking revenge for their deaths. Americans were
virtually unscathed in the Gulf War.
I respect the Special Republican Guard.
In Vietnam we faced a similar well-trained,
dedicated enemy. In that war, we faced two types of combatants.
First, the Viet Cong. They were mainly jungle fighters, set up
in cells and designed to attack and disperse, to constantly snipe and
harass, to ambush, to suicide bomb our positions.
Then there were the regular North
Vietnamese warriors. They were professionally trained killers,
strict militarists with advanced weapons and a brazen desire to
obliterate us. They fought to win, to overpower, to rush
with bayonets fixed, screaming as wildly as we did.
When we went up against the North
Vietnamese Regulars, we sharpened our bayonets and said our prayers
Perhaps that's why the 101st solider
yelled in response to the question: "Why are you here?" their
fundamental answer, "To Kill!"
Unfortunately, Saddam's policy is the
same, especially with the Special Republican Guard.
Everyone is geared to fight to the death.
includes Saddam's last-stand strategy
Gordon Thomas wrote a book
including Saddam's last-stand strategy titled, "Seeds of Fire."
Thomas claims that Saddam has 200 Kamikaze planes ready to attack
American naval ships and key allied positions. There
is, of course, the strong possibility that if the assault on Baghdad
turns sour for Saddam, he will unleash biochemical weapons as his
final act of defiance.
There is little doubt the 101st deployment
signals America is going to war no matter what the U.N. says or
does. President Bush has ignited the fires of war; few
believe they can be extinguished. To back down would be
like pulling the #1 favored team out of the Super Bowl before the
There is a point of no return for everyone in any conflict. The
Screaming Eagle's presence in Kuwait is evidence we have crossed that line.
Even with Turkey voting against our
war needs, or the fact that Saddam has destroyed about fifteen
Al Samoud 2 missiles, suggests little can stop the machine of war from
advancing. If Bush pulls out now, Kim Jong Il and all the
Terrorists waiting for America to weaken will cheer. They
will roam the Super Bowl of Terrorism without challenge until they
unleash their weapons of mass destruction, or sell them to those who
It makes my skin crawl to think
America and Britain are shouldering the duty of standing up to the
Beast of Terrorism alone.
Even the British public is against the war, and Tony Blair is a straw
in the wind despite public opinion. That leaves only America
with both military and public conviction favoring removing Saddam by force.
It also means those members of the
armed services who have committed their lives to unseat Saddam Hussein
certainly aren't doing it to achieve accolades from the world.
Quite the opposite is the case; the world is
spitting at them, as they spat on me when I returned to Vietnam.
Vietnam War was first
greeted by applause but later shifted to revulsion
not a nice feeling to know you are willing to die for people in far off lands,
and then have friends and neighbors turn their backs on
you and call you terrible names, haunting you with invectives that
torture your sense of patriotism and cause you to turn inward, trying
your best not to hate those who hate you.
In Vietnam, we started the war with
applause and support. That support quickly shifted to ugly
debate and radical revulsion..
At least the 101st Airborne, and the sailors, soldiers, airmen, and
Marines who will fight in Iraq, know going in they are being spat upon,
and not by dissident Americans alone, but by nations of the world for
whom many thousands of Americans shed their blood in the past so their
children could be free..
What then drives the Warriors of
are massing around Iraq to stand up to Terrorism while the world is
giving them the "thumbs down?" Could it be they have a vision of future peace and prosperity that
few can imagine? Could it be that only those willing to give their
lives for others can see the Beast of Terror stalking the world, can
smell his fetid breath?
Eagles can see the Beast of Terror through any of his disguises
believe the Screaming Eagles see the Beast of Terror as few others
have the Courage, Conviction or Fortitude to focus on his true intent,
his true countenance. They see his fangs of Fear, his jaws of Complacency,
his angry eyes of Intimidation trying to bully the world. They
know he is like the serpent slithering in jungle, waiting for the
opportune moment to attack those who try to dance around him, those who
think they can outsmart him, those who think they can negotiate with him,
those who falsely believe he can be lulled away from
biting the innocent. Warriors are trained to see through
evil's nefarious disguises. Their very lives depend on it.
intent is contagious. It spreads insidiously when the Beast of Terror
thinks he is able to act without penalty, as he does now with the U.N.
favoring his heel dragging over weapons destruction. He
uses time to grind old sores anew between former allies, and waits for
the cleavage between the egos to widen so he can slip through the
cracks and slither back into the sand where he digs in for the next
Just the other day the Beast of North
Korean Terror sent fighter jets to intimidate a U.S. reconnaissance
plane flying in international air space. The North Koreans
targeting lasers to the plane, a sign they were about to fire, a hair
breadth from an act of war.
The North Koreans are bullying the
United States and the Complacent world into allowing them freedom to manufacture nuclear
bombs despite the world's demand that nuclear weapons be limited,
contained.. Their nuclear reactors hum as this is written, and the
fuel rods they have stored are being turned into bomb-grade plutonium,
capable of creating a bomb every two weeks.
If America flinches against Saddam,
what will Kim Jong Il think? Or does he think it now?
Have we forgotten the children are
the victims of our Complacency to stand up to the Bullies of
Children expect Parents of
Vigilance to protect them from harm. We hold children's hands when we
cross the street, we lock our doors at night. We watch them
carefully at playgrounds so that "evil forces" do not harm them.
Our laws of child abuse prosecute those are derelict in their duties
to protect a child from harm. What difference is there from a
child being allowed to cross a busy street without supervision and
allowing a known Terrorist to build weapons of mass destruction that
can one day be used to maim or destroy the little ones?
Eagles know they are fighting for the protection of all children
not just their own
Terrorism, a highly
importable "evil force," doesn't just exist within the borders of Iraq or North Korea.
Nine Eleven reminded America and the world that Terrorism is
exportable from Terror Nations to anywhere in the world. It
can be unleashed on the innocent without a blink by the Terrorists who
use it to impose Fear, Intimidation and Complacency on any society it
selects as a "target of oppression." Kim Jong Il
recently issued such a threat if America were to use force to stop his
production of Terror weapons.
When we attack Iraq, we
will be sending a huge message to all Terrorists that our children,
and the Children's Children's Children have at least two major
nations willing to die for their protection. We will foil their
current glee that they have the upper hand--a hand raised like a club
threatening to smash down on those who might stand up to them.
I'd like to believe all those
Screaming Eagles have taken pictures of their children, their
nieces and nephews, their cousins, their Loved Ones with them to the
Middle East. I'd like to believe they will look at
those pictures and know they are fighting for the protection of all
the children when they move against the Beast of Terror.
The Swords and
Shields of Vigilance
I'm going to call them the Screaming Eagles of Vigilance,
for they are, in my book, the Swords and Shields of Vigilance.
When the rubber hits the road, they are willing to die
for no greater reason than to make the world a little
safer for the future.
You can support
the Screaming Eagles of Vigilance and all the military
preparing for war. You can show you support by taking
the Pledge of Vigilance.
They've signed theirs with their blood, the blood they're
willing to offer to defend the Children.
Mar. 3--A Lesson From Ben Hur About
Fighting For Vigilance
- 2004, VigilanceVoice.com, All rights reserved -