| Article Overview:
In a Conversation With God, Cliff poses some hard questions to
the Almighty about Saddam Hussein. He asks him about Saddam
Hussein--will he escape? He asks about a friend of his
daughter's named Kathy who is a human shield in Iraq. He
asks about why God lets war happens. And he cracks peanuts with
9, 2003—Ground Zero Plus 543
Conversation With God: How Will Saddam Escape Iraq?
Editor, New York City Combat Correspondent News
GROUND ZERO, New York City, Mar. 9--The following
is a VigilanceVoice Conversation With God. Occasionally, God
will pluck me from earth and sit me down in his giant oak chair to
provide answers to perplexing issues rattling about in my mind.
My most recent one is: Will Saddam escape Iraq if we attack it?
God found this question fascinating. He swept me up from Union
Square in Manhattan on the wings of one of his swift transport angels
to enlighten me once more with His wisdom, power and humor. Here
is my report of our conversation. God's conversation will be in
boldface and mine in
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
* * * * * *
exerting exact pressure
"So, you are
wondering about the body doubles?"
God was cracking salted shelled peanuts -
one of his most favorite pastimes. He leaned back and
studied the seam of the shell, carefully pressing his great thumb
exactly in the middle of it, grimacing slightly as he applied steady
pressure until it cracked.
sinning, Adam and Eve were like two perfectly innocent nuts in a
"You must be
careful not to put too much pressure on the shell. You can crush not crack it if you do,"
said, surgically peeling back the husk and exposing the two exposed
peanuts within. "They remind me of Adam and Eve.
Two perfectly innocent nuts in a peaceful husk. Then Temptation
comes along and smashes away their protection, thrusting them
into the wilderness. That's why I'm very careful when I
crack open a peanut, Cliff. Far too much crushing of
shells these days." He shook the two peanuts into the palm
of His hand, tossed back His head and threw them into His gaping
mouth. He chewed slowly, studying me as my mouth gaped open,
awed by the fact that God would one, be eating peanuts, and two, liken
them to Adam and Eve.
"Care for some?"
He proffered me the clear plastic bag brimming with peanuts. At
earlier visits I learned quickly not to refuse His hospitality for it
seemed to irritate Him. I reached in and took two nuts.
God held the empty shell
between his thumb and forefinger. One of the Sentinel
Angels roosting in a circle around his throne and my chair swooped
down and plucked it from his fingers. "Don't want to make
a mess," God said smiling. He leaned forward, glanced over his
shoulder at the Sentinel Angels pretending not to watch His every
move, and whispered to me: "They like to keep me tidy.
Order, they say, is a virtue. Empty peanut shells hurt
God leaned back and split open
another husk, taking one nut out and slowly placing it in his mouth,
and then the other. I struggled to not crush the husk of
mine. It seemed so uncomfortable to be sitting before God
and cracking peanuts. No one would believe me if I told them,
but then I never told anyone about my Conversations With God.
Who would believe me?
"That's it," God urged,
fingernails. Easy. Easy. Yes!"
Sweat beaded on my forehead as the
nut shell cracked open enough so I could pry the two halves apart.
I felt as though I had a gun to my head cracking the nut, and if I had
crushed it instead of cracked it, that maybe God would think I had
smashed Adam and Eve with my thumbs and, as any angry parent, lashed
out at me. I elected to not try the other nut I had,
and slipped it into the palm of my hand.
slip through the cracks like Bin Laden
"So, you don't want Saddam Hussein killed,
is that why you're here?"
I jerked my attention away from hiding the
nut to God's eyes. They were always intense, filled with a
blend of Love and Admonition that made me comfortably uneasy in his
presence. The huge oak chair that swallowed me didn't
help. Neither did the worn chair handles where others like
myself had sat and gripped the arms with such ferocity as to create
grooves. I always wondered who had come before, how many
had sat before God and tried not to feel Intimidated in His presence.
Then there were the Angels, his "watchdogs with feathers" who never
seemed to look directly at you, but you knew they were counting the
blinks of your eyelids and measuring the pounding beats of your heart.
"Well, in a way. I'm concerned
about a lot of people dying in the war. And, of course,
whether Saddam will slip through the cracks like Osama."
"He's got the instincts of a sewer rat, you
know, Cliff. He can scurry through the bowels of Baghdad in his
maze of tunnels and pop up about anywhere he wants.
He knows more about exit strategies than anyone alive on earth.
Maybe more than Michael Jackson. Look how many traps he's
escaped so far. The Gulf War. Suicide attempts by his son
in laws. Now, the U.N. debacle. I can't keep up with
his zig-zagging. That's why he sleeps in a different bed
each night, you know. He's a master gamesman, a Dungeon and
Dragon master. His body doubles take his place so often
you're never quite sure who is smoking the cigar."
laughed and cracked another nut. "If he spent as much time
trying to get along as he does trying to not get along, he could enjoy
a good night's rest."
Saddam has a
multitude of body doubles
I gripped the chair. "Could you
tell me, sir, what is going to happen? Will he escape?
Will there be much death and destruction of the innocent?"
God put the crinkly bag of nuts into his
lap. and brushed his hands together to rid them of shrapnel from the
dimpled shell husks he had been continuously cracking.
"You don't have to call me, sir, Cliff.
Call me Father today. That's what you want anyway, isn't it,
some Fatherly wisdom?"
I tried not to twitch. I was
never sure what to call God, for on other visits He had often asked me
to call him by a variety of names, to make me more comfortable I
think, to relax the tension between the mortal and immortal nature of
"O.K., Father. Yes. I
need some wisdom on the whole issue. I feel like I'm about
to witness another slaughter of human life. I've seen more
than my share already, and the older I get, the more I am troubled by
God leaned back and let his eyes
pierce mine. For a moment I felt as though I were a gnat on His
arm about to be swatted, then His eye softened into a warmth that
edged away the chill I felt.
"You think you've seen
slaughter? Oh, Cliff. I've cried so many tears
over the wanton destruction of human life. How would you
like to look down and see your children killing one another eon after
eon, century after century, day after day. Some days I
don't want to look down because the pain grows. It
started with Caine and Able and hasn't stopped. If only I
hadn't given you all egos and made you feel you had the right to
kill...." He paused. I saw the fluid in his eyes
well, misting his gaze. His face looked old, ancient.
The wrinkles became leathery, worn as though each drop of blood of all
those who had died senseless deaths had battered themselves against
his face, pocking it as a drop of water pounds a hole in the granite
rock over thousands of years.
"Do we have a right to kill
Do we have the
right to kill Saddam?
The question flew off my lips.
As it crossed the space between my mouth and God's ears, I gripped the
chair. I had just put God in a box, a place neither
mortals nor immortals like to be.
"Right to kill....!"
God's Voice boomed. The angels fluttered. I
heard a crack of thunder overhead, as though the stomach of Heaven was
upset at my question.
That's an unfair question. It assumes you had something to do
with it all. I know that's true."
stroked His beard and crossed his legs. The flowing white robe
He wore slipped smoothly with his movement.
"Unfortunately, I did," He said. "Giving you all choices and
egos. And that damn thumb. See, Cliff, if it weren't for
the thumb you guys couldn't make tools. That was a huge mistake.
You could grasp things with it and become dexterous, and soon you were
whittling clubs and spears, and then hammering out iron and then steel
into swords and shields, and then manufacturing guns and canons, and
now....now you've gone over the line and created these monster weapons
of mass destruction that the wind can carry to anywhere they blow and
seed the earth with horrible effects. Sometimes I
get so angry at myself...all over that thumb."
As he spoke, God
held up his thumb and seemed to be talking to it, not me.
It was an odd scene, God's lips moving, His eyes nearly crossed as he
focused on curve of His thumb.
"And this right to
kill crap," He said, wringing his hands as though to force his
attention from his thumb and back to me. "That's your
invention, not mine. I have to suffer through it, not
condone or endorse it. Sure, Saddam is what you call
evil in his ways, but evil is not a just reason for death.
Killing evil is impossible. If killing evil were a
solution then each time an evil person died, so would all evil be
buried with him or her. It would have died with Hitler, or
Jack the Ripper were it a perishable commodity. But evil
is a virus, not a
thing. It floats around looking for a host, and when one host
dies, another is born. Killing evil only feeds the
evil, for it presumes evil can be eradicated. It can't. It
can only be contained, separated from the good, as you expound on each
day with your Beast of Terror and Vigilance Formula.
Killing is stupid, Cliff. It always has been and always will
"So, you think Saddam
God clenched his
teeth. I wished I didn't ask, but I wanted to know.
I wanted to know if God knew something I didn't about the end of all
this madness. I knew there was a thirst to feel we had
eliminated evil, a hunger to bring Saddam's head to the table to show
the world the price of evil was death.
Saddam is an errant child with horrific toys at his disposal to bully
others. How can one escape from his own skin?"
"Okay, let me ask this.
We have a friend over in Iraq. She's a peace activist. Her
Baghdad demonstrating for Peace
interrupted me. "Of course I know who she is. She's your
daughter's friend in the Catholic Worker. She went to Iraq
right after the first of the year with a non-violent group called the
"Voices in the Wilderness." She's holding
up peace signs and is part of the human shield around Baghdad. I
know her, of course I know her. I know all my children."
"What about her and the others?
Will they be killed?"
God clenched his fist and set
his jaw. "Are you putting me on trial, Cliff?"
"No, sir...I mean, Father.
I woke up early this morning and felt this horrible sense of despair.
I dreamt last night of those faces from my own war, the little
children in Vietnam all splayed out with holes in their bodies, and
that glazed lifeless stare. I see them frequently these
days. I don't know who to ask, or where to turn.
I guess I'm sick of death." I tried to shrink into
the grain of
the oak chair, wondering why my tongue felt like brass knuckles.
softened as the clouds parted and the sun shone through
"You're sick of it!"
God grabbed the bag of peanuts, extracted a husk and crushed it so
hard the shell burst into ragged pieces. "See what you made me
do!" He threw the peanut and shell down.
hit the fluffy clouds upon which we sat, an angel swooped down,
netting the fragments with the tip of her wing.
God relaxed his brow, the furrows softening as
the clouds do when the sun leaks through the storm, mollifying
Nature's wrathful moments. "Maybe I'm like you...just
tired of it all...tired of the flow of human blood in the name of
justice. Why, Saddam's elder
son, Uday, started up his newspaper a couple of days ago."
God chuckled. "He calls it
The Babil Newspaper, as in Babel, as in Tower of Babel.
It's full of Babel news."
shifted from the powerful thunder-bolted Herculean magistrate of
Heaven, to a little child giggling over a private joke. I
smiled. He switched back to His serious nature.
Uday, Saddam's elder son started
up and ran The Babil Newspaper
"Whenever he mentions his
father's name he prints--'Saddam Hussein, may God protect him,'--kind
of makes you wonder if he's worried about his father's future.
And then, when the West is mentioned, the paper says, 'May God Damn
Them.' I don't like that. Too many people
might think I'm on his side or against the other side.
I'm only on one side--the Children's side. Inside
Saddam is a little boy, not a monster. The same exists in George
Bush, in everyone. Nobody needs to kill anyone, but they
do. It's all about the thumb, Cliff. Making
weapons. The Thumb of Destruction."
Kathy, Father? What about the innocent."
you wanted to know about Saddam. Now we're focused on
"Yes. What about her?"
"I'm going to pray for her."
"I'm going to pray for her, for Saddam, for George Bush. For France,
Germany, North Korea. I'm going to pray for everyone, Cliff."
A mural of
Saddam praying to Allah
"But aren't you just praying to yourself then?"
"Absolutely not. I'm praying that you all will stop letting the
Beast of Terror rule your lives. You keep letting evil
grow. You turn your heads to it like gardeners who take long
siestas and let the weeds grow. Negligence, Complacency,
Politics all keep you from putting your foot down on Terrorism.
Now, its popped out of the dark. And you're all scrambling
at the last minute, the last hour, to try and stop it. You
wait until the boil gets all pusticular before you pop it and it
explodes all over, infecting everything. You don't
stop it before it starts. Vigilance is eternal, Cliff.
It's not about waging war at the last minute. So, I'm
going to pray you might learn some lessons this time. You
might get sick and tired of the blood."
"You're not going to do anything?"
Evil...... Saddam is Evil
"I did it. I gave you all the choice a long time ago to be
Vigilant. Not just some of you. All of you. Evil is
evil. Good is good. But you all want to shade the
two. Good guys call bad guys bad, and bad guys call good
guys bad, and each thinks the other is evil. Look at Uday's Babel News...it's full of the words 'evil.' Your
president calls them 'evil.' They aren't evil. They
are hosts for evil. All humans are. It's all about
percentages. How much good over evil is there in each
human, how much choice is there to choose what is right for all
children? That's the question. You call it the
Pledge of Vigilance. I call it human kindness. In
either case, it comes down to whom respects the children's future more.
Whoever that is, is on the right track. Politicians
don't care. They care only about power. Only
parents really care. Only when the Parents of Vigilance,
as you call them, rise up in each and every nation of the world, will
humanity find solutions to the blood of war."
"Does that mean you're
going to let Kathy and Saddam escape?"
"That's not my job,
Cliff. My job is to pray for your enlightenment. What my
children do is their business. I offer you solutions.
But if you ignore them, and continue letting the Beast of Terror grow
into cancer, then you have to cut it out or it will infect everyone.
Unfortunately, the cost of the operation is the death of the innocent
and the guilty. Bombs and bullets have no
conscience, and neither does a germ or virus."
Angel carried me on her back through the stars
"So what should I
Cliff. Keep believing that one day people will crack
peanuts with care, cautious not to break the husk and smash the
precious children within."
Sentinel Angel swooped down and lifted me on her back. In
a blink I was in the sky, flying through the stars.
I saw God's receding figure stand and wave.
"Don't stop seeing
the faces of the children," he shouted. "Don't stop
believing the blood will one stop flowing."
Women Against the War when Saddam was a little boy
Then I was deposited back at Union Square.
Women Against the War were protesting. They carried
banners and shouted into microphones.
I wondered where they were when Saddam was a little boy.
Mar. 8--The Intelligence Community--Our
Sentinels Of World Vigilance
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