May 21, 2002—Ground
Zero Plus 252
Stop Pointing The Finger Of Terrorism At Government
& Look Where It Really Points!
Editor, New York City Combat Correspondent News
GROUND ZERO, New York City, May 21--
America is cannibalizing its energy, seeking to lay blame on
the President, the FBI, the CIA, and anyone it can tag who should
have known, might have known, or could have known about the
September 11th Terrorist attacks.
The energy going
into the hindsight investigation is exactly what the Terrorists
want--they want to create confusion and turmoil in the head
of American government, twisting the energy of Vigilance from
a straight line into a pretzel. And, they are succeeding.
on America's political system is a great diversion.
It puts the government on a defensive rather than offensive
state of readiness, forcing its forward momentum to stop and
tie its shoes rather than run headlong toward defending the
nation from future attacks.
of Complacency--i.e.., that the government knew about the impending
attacks and let them slip by--fuel the Terrorist's fires.
Such sniping at the credibility of authority weakens the confidence
of the people. It implies their leaders are not Vigilant,
and erodes confidence that America is ready for the next attack.
goes back to the "Phoenix Memorandum," a document
issued by an FBI agent alerting those who read it that terrorists
might be training in flight schools. The document
was sent up the FBI terrorism chain in July, 2001, two months
prior to the attack.
are arguing that the suggestion alleged Terrorists were undergoing
flight training somehow is directly linked to knowledge of the
September 11 attacks, and had America acted on that information,
the disaster could have been avoided.
The political carping
is exactly what Terrorists want. They want the Democrats
and Republicans to sling mud at each other, accusing and finger
pointing at one another so that the true work of Terrorism--Fear,
Intimidation and Complacency--can grip American society.
Each headline and
newscast on the issue attacks the foundations of America's leadership
authority. Recently, Vice President Dick Cheney
issued a vague public warning about the likelihood
of new terrorist strikes, saying that another attack by Al Qaeda
was "almost certain" but that it could happen "tomorrow
or next week or next year."
The lack of definition
in the warning makes his words hollow--"could happen tomorrow,
next week, or next year," is like saying, "the sky
will fall...perhaps tomorrow or next year."
It makes the government look foolish, and its prediction appear
as an attempt to cover all bases in case of an attack.
Once stated, the government can use its soft-shelled statement
to tell the world it warned others such an event "might
happen," thus protecting itself from criticism.
As I watched the infighting
on television and read about it in newspapers and magazines,
I was struck by the waste of effort and energy we, as Americans,
employ to make someone else liable, someone else wrong for tragic
May 27 Special Edition focuses the entire magazine on the issue
of finger pointing.
Article by article, the U.S. security systems and leadership
is put to question, striking among its readers a sense of helplessness
from the top down.
As a journalist, I understand
the importance of the press to act as the Fourth Estate, bringing
to question the effectiveness of government, and to dig up secrets
that need to be aired so a society can be open to the Truth.
However, I see another
role, much more important than muckraking, that the media could
and should assume--and that is as a Sentinel of Vigilance.
I don't believe the United States
government should be held responsible for the security of a
nation. I believe the individuals within it should
be the first line of resistance, not the last.
A Terrorism War is fought with
guerrilla tactics. In the recent HBO three-hour
show, Paths To War, we see the "behind-the-scenes"
troubles of President Lyndon B. Johnson being pulled into
the quagmire of the Vietnam War. His major critic
of expanding the war, George Bundy, is constantly telling the
President that it requires a minimum of 10 to one Americans
versus guerrillas. If there are 50,000 guerillas (Viet
Cong), America will need 500,000 fighting men to counter them.
The reason, they do not fight a conventional war.
They hit and run. He tells the President over and
over we cannot win the war, for like a Celtic Knot, there is
no beginning or end to the enemy.
Terrorism is like Vietnam.
There is no beginning or end to them. They hit and
run. They are willing to blow themselves up for
their cause, and their children, and have no "Rules Of
Engagement" other than to invoke Terror into a society
in hopes it will finally crumble under its own Fear, Intimidation
That's why Americans
who are seeking to lay blame on government are playing into
the Terrorists' hands. Somewhere in a dark cavern,
Osama bin Laden is laughing. He is enjoying the fallout
of Terror that is ripping through the halls of Washington as
Democrats seek to turn the War On Terrorism into a War On Authority,
a War For A Vote, a War Against George Bush.
In the beginning,
there was a pact of solidarity formed between the two opposing
parties against Terrorism. Now, the sides have been cleaved
by politics, and the chasm between them has widened as blame
is being used to corrupt our political, military, intelligence
and leadership systems.
new hero of Terrorism is FBI agent Kenneth Williams (see
below) who wrote a memo in July of last year
that Osama bin Laden's foot soldiers might be training in American
flight schools. There was little comment made about
the hundreds of other memos written by hundreds of other counterintelligence
agents in the various intelligence communities pouring into
FBI, CIA, NSA and other data collecting agencies.
One might be led to believe that one memo versus hundreds should
have stood out of the crowd, should have filtered upward to
the President's eyes, and every foreign national in flight training
be put under 24-hour watch.
I am frustrated that
the real message isn't being told. And that message
is that we, the citizens of America, are the real intelligence
gatherers, that we are the true Sentinels of Vigilance.
I believe that when
America embraces the concept and supports the responsibility
to become a grass roots nation of Vigilance, we will build the
defenses necessary to ward off Terrorism at all levels.
When each American
takes the Pledge of Vigilance, on that day, America will signal
current and future Terrorist that the tactic of Fear, Intimidation
and Complacency will not work.
When Time Magazine
and other news agencies promote Vigilance among the citizenry,
rather than trying to heap all the responsibility for it on
government, then and only then will we be truly protected from
The reason I believe
this is because Terrorism is aimed not at governments but at
the people who comprise those governments. The targets
are not military or government institutions, but public targets--innocent
women and children. Terrorism is not an attempt
to sterilize a government, but rather an effort to shock and
frighten a population by making them fell impotent in the presence
of Terrorism. When a nation expects its government
to protect it from Terrorism, then Terrorism wins.
Governments are at the bottom of the Terrorism feeding chain,
civilians are at the bottom. Civilians are eaten first,
That's why the government
and press are fighting in the wrong arena. Instead of
seeking political blame for the flaws in protecting the population,
America should be inspiring its citizens to take the Pledge
of Vigilance, to assume the responsibility to stand tall in
the face of Terrorism.
We are fighting ants
Our enemies are Fear, Intimidation
and Complacency, not suicide bombers. And instead of whisking
these enemies away, we fuel and feed them with backbiting and
finger pointing, rather than rallying the citizens of America
to defend America at the community level where Terrorism fights
its greatest and most productive battles.
should look at the way they point a finger at others.
Pointing one finger at someone requires that that three fingers
point back to the source--to the self.
Take a look at yourself
after pointing fingers at others. Who can really
stop Terrorism? Is it the government or the citizens?
To answer this question,
I look in the mirror. Do you?
TO: May 20--Dogs Of Vigilance--Therapy Dogs