Article Overview:   A Vigilant Voice In The Wilderness Of Complacency.  Is it a scream or a whimper?  How does the Beast of Terror squash a Voice when no seems to listen, or is the Voice supposed to scream even when muffled?


Saturday--March 15, 2003—Ground Zero Plus 549
A Not-So-Vigilant Voice In The Wilderness of Complacency

Cliff McKenzie
   Editor, New York City Combat Correspondent News

GROUND ZERO, New York City, Mar. 15--I was troubled when I awoke this morning.  I want to be troubled.  I will probably be troubled all day because I feel the horror of Complacency settling over the world and view myself as impotent to halt its descent.

The Bile of Terrorism perforating America

        When I was at Ground Zero on September 11, 2001, a great cloud of ashen destruction roiled out of the bowels of the World Trade Center.   It was as though the entire earth had belched out the Bile of Terrorism.   I inhaled mortality, thinking I was sucking in some biochemical poison that would snuff out my life, but instead, swallowed the thick chalk of a pulverized building that had just buried nearly 3,000 people and struck a blow to the ideal of security.
        Post Nine Eleven, every nation in the world stands vulnerable to the long arm of Terrorism.   If a small band of Terrorists could wreak havoc and spew the venom of destruction upon the United States with such ease and alacrity, then why not any other nation?
        Suddenly, not just the U.S., but Paris, Munich, Singapore, Beijing, Moscow, London, and yes, even Bali, were red dots on a Terrorist's planning wall, all subject to unleashing everything from suicide bombs to killer viruses and biochemicals designed to inflict Fear, Intimidation and Complacency upon the civilized societies of the world.

The Beast of Terror is stomping on the message of Vigilance

       I was sure on that day that I had something to offer the world to stave off the Beast of Terror, in whose face I stared so clearly on the Second Tuesday of September, 2001.   I launched the VigilanceVoice, pounding out formulas, Pledges of Vigilance, and massing an arsenal of Vigilance Tools I was sure the world would embrace as a means to stop Terrorism in its tracks.
       But along the way I have failed miserably in getting my message across.  
      The response to my site has been more than dismal.   It is as though the Beast of Terror himself has a foot on my computer and smashes it daily as soon as I publish.   There are no responses to what I write, and those that have come have been forced by me.  One reader stumbled upon the site by accident when looking up the name "vigilance" in an internet search.
       It makes a grown man want to cry.
       I can fault no one but myself.   I don't run around with placards or set up tables on corners signing people up as Sentinels of Vigilance, which I should be doing.  I don't seek the lens of the television camera so I might negotiate my way to the Today Show or onto Oprah's lap.   I don't pump out press releases or organize Vigilance rallies that mass thousands to protest Complacency--all of which I should.
        I sit in dumbfounded disbelief that the world does not beat its path to my doorstep, for I do believe I have the "better mousetrap."
        Unfortunately, there is no solace in having solutions without beating the drums, shaking the monkeys out of the trees, or standing on soap boxes shouting out--"The Sky Is Falling, Follow Me To The Vigilance Shelter."
        People would, you know.  A certain percentage will follow any noisemaker.
        Instead, I wallow in Complacency.

I feel empty at the almost 'no response' to the VigilanceVoice

        It suffocates me.  It strangles me.   It bubbles and oozes around me as I sink lower and lower into a well of ancient Voices who cry in the wilderness but never make it to Main Street where they can be heard.    The trees and squirrels don't care much about Vigilance.  They are far too busy hustling nuts and dropping acorns.
         So it was another slap in the face this morning when I read the Christian Science Monitor's article, "If Not War, Then What?" by Kim Campbell.          (link--
         In it, the reporter parades a host of semi-solutions to war, each a spear-tipped reminder to me that the VigilanceVoice is a eunuch, a non-invasive spattering of words that achieve no target and raise not a single eyebrow or crinkle a media brow.
        The piece, which I urge all to read  (all of none), cites the frustration of peace movements and anti-war efforts, for none of these offer solutions.  All offer opinion, but what value does opinion have unless it backed by some element of action?
        Here is the essence of the article:

 From the Christian Science Monitor:   Link To Story: 

      "A lot of folks are saying, 'You know, isn't it time to find other, perhaps more constructive or creative ways to deal with problems between people? Do we always have to rely on military, and therefore violent, solutions?' " says Leslie Cagan, a veteran organizer and co chair of United for Peace and Justice, a four-month-old coalition.

It's often easier for people to agree on what they don't want - in this case an invasion of Iraq - than it is to reach a consensus on a trickier issue: If not war, then what? Still, interviews with prominent antiwar thinkers and activists indicate a sincere wrestling within the movement over what the nonwar solutions to the Iraq conflict might be.

"How we respond to this threat will shape the kind of people we're going to be. And that's the moral question. How do you not become something terrible in your response to something terrible?" asks Jim Wallis, cofounder of Sojourners, a Christian ministry that focuses on justice and peace.

        The article lists a number of anti-war organizations, some of which have amassed up to 1.5 million followers in less than four months.   To appreciate the impact these groups have had in stirring the interest of Americans and world, one needs to read the Monitor story, for paraphrasing it here would do the piece disservice.   It is complete in its emptiness.   That is, the story ends without an ending.   Across the board, there is a sense of futility that peace movements, or anti-war sentiment, is fundamentally flawed in the absence of any solution to replace war.  I suppose that frustrates me more than anything.

Vigilance is the solution

       Vigilance is the solution.  I know it.   History knows it.  Mothers and Fathers know it.  Grandparents know it.  
         But Vigilance must be compressed into some ironclad clothing so it can be worn by people, and not remain as some cloud of thought that is gaseous, unable to be nailed to the wall or placed on the mantle.  It must take some form for it to be viable as tool.  
          I thought initially the Pledge of Vigilance, the Parents of Vigilance Clubs, the Global Council on Vigilance manned by Parents, Grandparents and Citizens of Vigilance--might be form enough to inspire others to take the Principles of Vigilance and hammer them into weapons against Terrorism.    I thought I would dig deep into the psyche of human conflict and mine the ore necessary to produce Swords and Shields of Vigilance so that the innocent might be protected from the Fear, Intimidation and Complacency that the Beast of Terror issues with each exhalation.


      Certainly, there is a market for solutions these days that doesn't involve launching wars.  And, there is an even bigger market in the future for dealing with the next disaster of human interaction so that it also won't lead to war.   The size of the market is detailed (on the right) in the Monitor's TIPP Poll you'll find when you read the article.    It illustrates the huge amount of people, the largest in U.S. history according to the Monitor, who oppose war before it has been launched.
          But then, who would not oppose war per se?  Even the glory-hungry generals who thrive on blood and conflict prefer not to go to war, for if they are good generals, they are pained at every death of one of their soldiers, and they grieve over any and all "collateral" deaths--i.e., the innocent who get caught in cross fires.
         My confusion is my own intent.   What is the goal of the VigilanceVoice?  What is the mission of Vigilance?
         At first I thought it was prima facia.   I was assured in my mind that the average person would recognize the simplicity of becoming a Citizen or Parent of Vigilance, and rush to the fax machine or their computer to email the message to hundreds of others.  Thus, the viral nature of an "information tree" would cast its seeds upon the earth, and in a swell of support, the VigilanceVoice's sounds would rattle throughout the heads of hundreds, then thousands and finally millions.    The fuel for such expansion would be the love parents had for their children, and their hunger for solutions that don't appear to exist for the average man and woman who feel as I do, totally emasculated by events, totally powerless in the face of great powers and forces that abdicate and then often pervert, the will of the people.
         Certainly the will of the people is not war, but instead peace.  But given only two options, war or peace, the reasonable citizen or parent is forced to lean toward war, for however ugly and horrid it is, it is at least a step toward stomping out Terrorism.

In the final analysis Peace = Complacency

       Peace, on the other hand, is diaphanous.   It is amorphic.   It is hermaphroditic.  
        It sounds lovely, it rings in one's ear with beatific notes, but what does it mean?   It means Complacency in the final analysis.  It means we pull back 250,000 troops surrounding the Terror of Baghdad and wait for the sky to fall.
         We wait for someone to step up to the plate and say:  "I'm doing something."
         But who will that be, and what will they be doing it for?
         I suppose my angst all goes to the purpose of any action.   If we are going to war in Iraq, why can't we go to war for the children?  Why can't the Parents of Vigilance demand America issue a Statement of Vigilance and proclaim our actions are to the ultimate benefit of the Children's Children's Children, and demand that each warrior sign a Pledge of Vigilance so that he or she knows the battle in Iraq is not for the military but for the children, and that when they fight, they fight singularly to free the children from the oppression of Fear, Intimidation and Complacency?
         Why not force the United States to issue Vigilance Proclamations, drafted under the watchful eye of the Principles of Vigilance in which all decisions regarding the post-war in Iraq and our entire foreign policy is based on benefiting the Children's Children's Children, and when that is not achieved, to hold those in charge feet to the fire to insure that they shift back to the main target?

We need to remove the "War and Peace" agenda

        I am convinced in the 21st Century we need to remove the "war and peace" agenda from our thinking and deal not with the poles that separate and cleave us into warring camps for and against, but encompass us all into one body, regardless of political, social, economic, cultural or religious variance.
        We can at least agree on Vigilance, and the Principles of Vigilance, however crudely carved out by the VigilanceVoice, as our starting blocks.
        At least then, we wouldn't have to face a headline, "If Not War, Then What?"
        But that sounds like sour grapes.
        Again, it makes me think I have some right to tell the world why I am right and the world is wrong.   There must be something dramatically wrong with my tenants, for if they were valid then others would be singing the same song, and reading from the same page.   But no one is, or appears to be, but those I can count on my fingers of one hand, if even that many.
         As you will find by reading the Monitor article, Link To Story:  there are millions aligning themselves with countless movements.  Why them?  Why not the Vigilance movement?
         Of course, I know the answer.
         I have to bang garbage cans together.  I have to make noise.
         But am I willing to do that?
         I don't know.  I just don't know.


Mar. 14--Task Force Tarawa: U.S. Marines Preparing To Die

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