How do you deal with the Beast of Terror and Anti-Americanism?
Or can you?
Saturday--March 29, 2003—Ground Zero Plus
Iraq's Greatest Weapon of
Editor, New York City Combat Correspondent News
GROUND ZERO, New York City, Mar. 29--I'm not exactly sure what
"anti-Americanism" (A-A) is, but I'm pretty sure its lethal.
In fact, it may be Saddam Hussein's most powerful weapon of mass
Over the last two days I have engaged in
escalating battles with war protestors. The last was a
vicious assault on a close friend, in which I accused him of being
"un-American," among other indictments questioning his loyalty to
I felt the wall thicken between us,
and the chasm deepen.
deepened between us as we attempted to defend our side of the
It was as though Saddam Hussein and his two sons were watching
the battle on closed circuit satellite, cheering the fact that two
Americans were at each other's throats, attacking and defending one
another to the death. Neither loosened his grip on pro- or
anti-Americanism. Neither knew for sure what the words
meant, but hurled them regardless.
"I defy you to label me. You
have no right!" shouted my close friend as he butted himself into my
face, delivering his point ala George Bush, with the tip of his
extended forefinger jabbing at the air near my nose and mouth.
It was, perhaps, the most violent gesture I had ever seen him make,
for the tip of a finger isn't too far removed from the barrel of a
In the midst of the
confrontation I wanted him to frame-freeze for me so I could take a
picture. Here, Mr. Peace himself, with a finger jabbed in Mr.
War's face. We were two opposite peas in the same pod,
neither happy about it.
Our confrontation occurred in a
public facility, with others looking on as our Voices raised in pitch
and timber. My blood was boiling. Earlier, we
began to discuss the protest marches I had been to, specifically, the
"die in" on Fifth Avenue near Rockefeller Plaza where 150 people lay
on the street, blocking traffic, holding on their chests pictures of
Iraqi alleged innocent victims of American bombing.
The night before I had given my
friend a disc of all my protest photos so he could view them.
He marched in one of the larger events but was unable to attend
others. He is an advocate of peaceful protests.
Normally, I would have compromised my feelings rather than engage him
argument for the security of our friendship, not because I wasn't a
strong believer in my views.
My guard was
Politics and religion, as well loaning money, can rupture good
My guard was down yesterday.
I was tired. I get
about four to five hours sleep a night, and try to catch a few hours
nap during the day. I rise around 4:30 a.m. (got up at
3:50 this morning) to research and write the daily story.
Then, I try and find some event to cover. New York has a
plethora of events.
I had been covering protest marches
almost continuously for the past week. My ears were filled
with what I call "American Venom." It wasn't just
protestations I heard spewing out of people's mouths, or being
broadcast on signs, but a core sense of hatred toward American
leadership, a sense of demonization of them as evil and corrupt,
heartless killers and oil seekers caring not about whom they killed to
get to the oil and enrich their pockets and all the pockets of their
friends in Texas and other places of capitalistic greed.
venom" demonizes our leaders through insults....
Mostly, I saw young people at these protests.
They were the impressionable, the same ages of the young that Saddam
Hussein is allegedly demanding fight the war against Iraq, and whose
"recruiters" enter the home of youths and tell their parents that if
the boys don't fight, the parents will be killed.
signs that hatefully impress our children.
heard the foulest words lashing out of protest organizer's mouths.
They weren't just protestations, they were ugly, riotous comments,
designed to slur and inflame, to feed the Beast of Terror within the
protestors to a degree of absolute hatred, absolute execution of any
possible right in America's actions. The protest
speakers demanded total surrender to the fact America's leaders were
war criminals, and America was morally wrong, and its capitalistic
culture nothing but a rapist of third-world countries with a
six-gun in its hand.
I saw the Beast of Terror
taking over. I saw its shadow cast upon the young, the innocent
without any heed for the damage it was doing, teaching young children
that promoting hatred for one's country was some fundamental right,
some glorious emanation from the First Amendment. Hatred,
in any form, is a violation of human rights, but the protestors
ignored the impact their chants and jeers and signs were having on the
youth of America, the young people who looked up at their parents
carrying signs extolling their president as a "war criminal," likening
him and his staff to Hitler, promoting that his primary intent is to
kill people for oil.
I was screaming at my friend out of
I could not believe a rational human
being could defend the collective actions of protestors whose mission
wasn't to protest war but to destroy the image of the United States
and its leadership, to turn America's leaders into Saddam Hussein and
his sons--Terrorists who wantonly used the power of a great nation to
rape, pillage and plunder the land.
How could my friend tell a child it
was right to hold up a sign calling one's leader a war criminal,
demeaning him personally and all American policy as that of ravenous
bandits, looting the world for personal and corporate gain.
To me, it was nothing more than
And my friend was a victim of the
He charged that he was fully American
because he stood up and fought what was wrong. He claimed
he had the right to protest, and that his right and the demonstration
of it was as American as flag waving.
I listened, but his words fell short.
My acceptance level had expired.
use their rights and citizenship to demean American leadership
I wasn't arguing the
right to protest, or even the issue of war. I served in Vietnam.
I am as anti-war as anyone who has seen it. It is horrible,
ugly. I wish I hadn't seen what I saw, or did what I did.
But despite all the negatives about war, I cannot turn on my country
and accuse them of criminal acts. I cannot twist and pervert my
citizenship or the First Amendment into a tool of hatred, to bludgeon
and dehumanize, to Hitlerism American leadership and make them appear
as Tyrants of Terror, worse by far than Saddam Hussein, or Kim Jong
Il, or Osama bin Laden, or whomever is next on the "Genghis Khan"
When he hurled at me arguments that
American policy was corrupt, that we had supported Iraq and now was
its enemy, I asked him if he'd ever loaned any money to a bad guy, a
guy you knew would use the money to go buy drugs or booze.
I wanted to know if he was so pure that he could say he'd never made a
mistake, some bigger than others.
It was a horrible event.
We were at each other's
throats. My guts were wrenching because I didn't want to
engage my friend in the combat of anti-Americanism.
As he shoved his face and
finger into mine, virtually demanding he was as American as any flag
waving pro-administration cheerleader, I couldn't buy it.
I couldn't buy the fact that the sole and singular purpose of the
anti-war protests was to undermine American policy as corrupt, rotten,
immoral, criminal, tyrannical, oppressive, et al.
protest of America in Rockefeller Center
I had looked at virtually every one of the tens of
thousands of signs protesting the war, from the parade from Times
Square where between 150,000-200,000 marched, to the most recent
"die-in" where the protestors sprawled out like dead bodies on Fifth
I wanted to see something to mitigate
the acid in my gut, that feeling of hate oozing up, vomiting out on
the young, the innocent.
I told my friend how sad I was he
felt the way he did, for he is a wonderful human being. He is
loving and caring as a father, as a husband, as a human being.
One could not want a more concerned human as a friend.
But as a role model for
protestations, he fell through the cracks.
That saddened me.
damage of demonstrating hatred of America and its leaders
helps sow the seeds of evil
He did not see what I saw.
He didn't see the collateral damage of the hatred he issued toward our
leaders and America as issuing corrupt policies against other nations.
When he speaks of the corrupt nature of America, his words fall upon
the earth as seeds. They are picked up by the innocent,
the malleable. They are as devastating in their own
way as an errant bomb hitting civilians in Iraq.
Wars come from hatred.
Hate is the soil that feeds war.
No matter what my friend said, I knew
deep down he hated America. He refused to salute the flag.
He insisted on finding the flaws and grinding them into the ground.
It was his hatred that saddened me.
It was as though he were an abused
child, and America had wronged him somehow, and he was lashing out
against her, saying he loved her with his lips while jamming a knife
in her guts.
After our battle, I took a long walk.
I thought perhaps maybe I had been
too harsh, too quick to judge, too righteous in my attack on him.
The more I thought about it, the more tears welled in my eyes.
I began to cry on the bus I took across town. I was
mourning the sadness of America.
Years and years ago when I came back from
Vietnam and people spat upon me, I stuffed my anger and resentment
against them so I could move on with life. I wondered if
all that anger and pain was surfacing now, three and half decades
later, and I was seeing what I denied years ago repeating itself.
I was seeing a nation bent on destroying itself from within.
Vietnam brought an army of public
haters to the surface.
years after Vietnam I mourned the sadness of America
Under the flag of free speech, they attack the marrow of
America's purpose--to offer Freedom and Liberty to those who don't
have it. America makes mistakes in this role of Great
Liberator, but it has done what it was designed to do. It has
liberated many millions from tyranny and oppression.
The process of liberation may
be questioned, but not the intent.
I was saddened my close friend
denied America's intent.
If he accepted America's
intent, he would not attack her process with hatred. He
would not use blanket condemnations or criminalize America's
Then, I thought of Saddam and
his two sons, The Butcher of Baghdad and his offspring, sitting in a
some comfortable bunker as bombs blasted overhead, cheering on the
battle between my friend and I. I could hear Saddam.
glorify me by default"
See how stupid Americans are. They are turning their
President into the Butcher of Baghdad. You see,
I will go down in history as a great martyr, a man who
stood up to the criminals of America. See,
they don't even mention my name when they protest the
war. They glorify me by default. They
endorse me by attacking their own country. Ah, my
sons, there is no more better poison to drop on a nation
than self-hatred. And look, look at it spreading.
Mar. 28--Walking Among The Dead
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