Zero Plus 349
To Attack Or Not To Attack?
That Is The
Editor, New York City Combat Correspondent News
GROUND ZERO, New York
City, August 27--As the eve of the first anniversary of the
Terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon approaches, the
halls of Washington D.C. echo with a Shakespearian chant: "To Attack Or
Not To Attack? That Is The Question!"
The issue of our right to attack Iraq and
obliterate Baghdad and Saddam Hussein's "Hitlarian" dictatorship is being
bantered around by America's war lords like a 100mph tennis
ball in the final match of the U.S. Open. If one listens
closely, one can hear the snapping of necks switching left to right, and
right to left as America waffles over whether "to attack or not to
Vice President Dick Cheney tossed out a giant boogeyman today
during a speech in Nashville, Tenn., to a convention of Veterans of
Foreign Wars. He warned that Saddam Hussein would "fairly soon" have
In addition to accusations that Iraq is supplying
al-Qaeda Terrorist groups safe harbor and information and resources on how
to make and use chemical and biological warfare, the U.S. Government is
now tossing nuclear threat in to sweeten the "attack pot."
What nation would argue with America protecting the world from "Hitler"
having nuclear power at his disposal, goes the thinking and the attendant
PR. Hopefully, the Administration is betting the idea of Saddam
trigging nukes in the Middle East, or using them to threaten the West,
will shove the "no attack" fence riders onto the U.S.'s side.
But the Administration isn't just counting on its bully
pulpit to send out the message that Saddam is "evil incarnate," and needs
to be disposed of immediately. The State Department is currently
training 17 Iraqi expatriates in publicizing the brutality of Mr.
Additionally, the White House claims it has the
legal right to unilaterally decide to attack Iraq without Congress'
approval. It's "legal right," the Administration says, comes from
the authorization given by Congress to seek and destroy the Terrorists
responsible for the September 11 attack on the World Trade Center and
Pentagon, which killed upwards of 3,000. Also, there is a
host of other Executive Branch loopholes the White House is using to be
able to act without the public's consent to rid the world of Saddam
I wonder what Harry S. Truman would think
about all the public banter regarding whether to go to "war" with Iraq or
not. Truman, who became the 33rd President on April 12, 1945,
following the death of Franklin D. Roosevelt, immediately faced a critical
decision--whether to use the atomic bomb against Japan or not. Prior
to his elevation from vice president to president, he had no knowledge of
He made the decision quietly, quickly.
And, he didn't seek world approval. In his day, (and mine),
the "surprise attack strategy" was most vital. The idea of a good
strategy is to never let the enemy know what you're thinking or planning.
Eisenhower, as Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces in Europe, put
General George S. Patton in charge of an army of papermachie planes and
tanks to fool the Germans into thinking he was going to lead an attack on
some place other than Normandy.
Truman used silence to his advantage.
On August 6, 1945, the bomb was dropped on Hiroshima. It
surprised everyone in the world, especially the Japanese.
It seems doubtful that Harry Truman back in 1945
would have received a unanimous endorsement from either Congress or the
American public were he to issue a proffer for
dropping two nuclear bombs on innocent civilians in the heart of Japan.
Had he tried to promote the killing of hundreds of thousands of men,
women, children, grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins--the vast majority
of whom were unarmed, non-combatants--it seems unlikely the U.S., no
matter how much they might detest the enemy, would endorse the wholesale
destruction of the innocent to punish the guilty.
Our current policy of seeking
permission in the World Opinion Court prior to attacking Iraq seems to me
like a child going to his mother or father and asking permission to bash
the neighbor kid's head into a bloody pulp of oozing brain mush while the
parents stand by and watch.
The more one seeks permission to kill others, the
less forgiveness wafts in the wind.
To many American and nations around the world, war itself is a crime,
no matter how just the cause.
Asking for an endorsement from nations to sanction a war on Iraq is a
vainglorious attempt to make them an accomplice in whatever happens. They
become part of a conspiracy against another that has not been tried and convicted by
. Now, Cheney is throwing out the "nuclear
threat," attempting to justify an attack on the grounds we are trying to
dethrone Saddam Hussein because of the "global threat" he presents not
just to us, but to the world.
While all this bickering
over the "right to wage war" in the public court is underfoot, Mr. Hussein
has been rallying his forces to defend against a "not-so-surprise" attack.
In a recent interview, he said he is
marshalling all his forces to defend Baghdad, so that any fight to usurp
his power will turn into a street brawl, involving hand-to-hand combat
from house to house. Of course there is another alternative-- blow
Baghdad off the face of the earth, as we did Hiroshima and Nagasaki 57
Unfortunately, on the Iraq issue, America is
"walking loudly and carrying a small stick."
Our nation's youngest President, Teddy Roosevelt,
who gained office before he was 43 following the assassination of
President McKinnely, was noted for his policy of
maintaining world order by employing the creed, "Walk softly and carry a big stick."
But it seems President Bush is employing a far more dangerous one--"Walk
loudly and carry a global public opinion poll."
U.S. foreign policy, under this creed, has shifted from
Vigilance to Terrorism. Rather than sending in teams to seek
concessions from nations, we're sending in air and land strikes, bombing
our way through lands in an attempt to exercise control over those we
single out at "threats" to our security. While Saddam Hussein may
well be the next "Hitler," he deserves his day in court.
America and the world deserve to see the "evidence" that he is worthy of
risking our reputation as a land of democracy, for if we act out of
vengeance, prejudice and bigotry, we may be viewed no less than Hussein.
Our threats and "rights of power"
over other sovereign nations are being questioned by the world.
It appears America's might is being both challenged and castrated in the
courts of world opinion. Our recent attempts to get the
International Criminal Court (ICC) to provide immunity for U.S. troops from "war crime
prosecution" is failing. Instead, the ICC is polarizing, refusing to sanction U.S. actions from global
liability if we act outside the parameters the ICC has
established. U.S. officials are afraid the court might render
indictments against the U.S. out of jealousy or prejudice, subverting our
citizen's Constitutional Rights. They too, our leaders, could be
indicted, as we indict Saddam Hussein. It's something about:
"What's good for the goose is good for the gander."
Nations who generally fall behind the marching
orders of U.S. military policy are shying away from endorsing an attack on
Iraq. Britain, our closest ally in Middle East military
assaults, is back peddling from joining the U.S. in waging war on Iraq.
U.S. pro-war officials
stuff press packets with stories about how Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein are part of a common plot to
subvert and Terrorize the United States, yet evidence to that fact wanes. Employing
the tools of Terrorism--Fear, Intimidation and Complacency--the U.S.
alleges that Iraq is supplying Terrorists with access to chemical and
biological weapons, as well as providing sanctuary to them and al-Qaeda
members. While the Bush Administration is tossing out bits and
pieces of circumstantial evidence to garner both public and global support
for an all-out war, U.S. Senators such as Republican Chuck Hagel, a Foreign Relations Committee member insists, "Saddam is not in
league with al-Qaeda." He opposes a preemptive strike against
Hagel campaigning for Senate 2002
It seems to me that our efforts to
justify a war with Iraq is more political than military at this point.
That makes such an attack one of potential political Terrorism rather than
The world, apparently, feels the same.
Globally, nations are demanding the U.S. to: "better ask for permission rather than
forgiveness, because forgiveness may not follow unilateral action against
But then there's September 11. The
first anniversary of the only foreign attack against American soil since
the War of 1812 is rapidly approaching. On September 12,
President Bush is slated to speak to the United Nations General Assembly.
Many wonder whether he'll be asking them for permission or forgiveness.
The flames of war being fed by the
Administration's "war-advocates" make me wonder if the White House is planning a special anniversary present for
September 11--a-not-so-secret attack on
Saddam Hussein as payback for our failed attempt to find Osama bin Laden.
After all, someone has to pay, right?
are up 3,000, and America is blanked. Nearly a year after the
Terrorist attacks, no one has paid. We have one suspect locked
up whom we allege was one of the henchmen who should have been aboard the
planes that broke America's security heart. However, he's like the
guy passing dope in a drug deal; he's not the source. His conviction--if
that ever happens--is only a finger on the hand of Terrorism, and there
are nine others plus an entire body still at large. And then there's John
Walker, our "disturbed Jane Fonda" of Afghanistan. He doesn't
even rattle the Richter Scale of Revenge.
Attacking Iraq on September 11 would give
the Administration some chest-puffing time, and, it would key in on the
up-and-coming elections to bolster Republican control of the Senate and
House--or would it?
Times have changed. The
Terrorist attack upon America shattered the world's illusion of our
invincibility. It did mine, and most of the 285 other Americans
in this country. It became the Kryptonite that drove Super
America to her knees, and cause her brow to sweat profusely under the
weight of an enemy who cannot be found, but whose shadow looms like a
mushroom cloud over our political leaders.
Judging by the snarls from the White
House against Iraq, the "blood-for-blood" thirst to revenge September 11
must be quenched. Anyone with a listening ear knows Washington
has its finger on the button, ready to push us into an all-out war in the
blink of an eye.
As a citizen and former combat. Marine,
I don't like the idea of America being seen as "weak" in the eyes of
the world. But I also don't like us being viewed as a
"capitalistic Terrorist" either. The belief that we can bully
the world to our will was shattered by the events of September 11.
On that day we became "just another nation," subject to the same fault
lines as all other nations. Killing Hussein might sate the Sword of
Justice, but it degrades the Sword of Vigilance. It makes the
Sentinels of Vigilance who died on September 11 cringe, not jump for joy.
I don't believe acts of Terrorism against the Terrorists
is the key to winning the war on Terrorism.
But I do believe there are powerful tools of Vigilance we can employ that
the entire world will embrace.
The most critical of those tools is the
Pledge of Vigilance. (see Pledge below)
Instead of bombing Iraq with weapons of
destruction, we should send planes
over Baghdad dropping Pledges of Vigilance. Instead of trying
to "kill Hussein," we should try to convert him from being a Father of
Terror into a Father of Vigilance.
If the world stands up to Terrorism by employing
its opposite--Vigilance--then bullies have few to Intimidate.
I believe our nation's leaders are using Fear and
Intimidation to drive the public and world into a state of Complacency so
they can act freely--without permission. Bullies threaten the
weak, and that seems what we're doing. And we're not just
threatening Saddam Hussein, but our allies and the world who views our
actions and intents with jaundice. We are becoming the beast
we seek." We are trying to seek "forgiveness before we act," a
position of impossibility, and one that will only haunt us if we do strike
We're also siding with other bullies to gain
support. The US recently put a Chinese Terrorist group on its "hit
list," much to the glee of Chinese leaders. Some believe it
was gesture by America to endorse the right of the Chinese government--as
thought they needed it--to Terrorize the Terrorists. Bullies
buddy up with bullies.
But there are alternatives
to bullying the world out of Terrorism and into Vigilance.
Prior to the dropping of the A Bomb in
1945, President Truman was given a suggestion to drop leaflets telling the
citizens of Japan what we intended to do. It would have given them a
chance to force change in their country. There was a belief if the
people realized what was going to happen to them, they would have demanded
their government's surrender.
Regretfully, such flyers were not dropped.
Surprise was the key to that attack. History will always wonder
whether there could have been another way.
A half a century later, we still have an
option to rally the people of a nation to take control of their destiny
over their leaders.. We can drop Pledges of Vigilance,
millions upon millions of them to the people of Iraq.
When the mothers, fathers, grandparents,
cousins, uncles, brothers, sisters, aunts read the Pledge, they can
elect whether to fight for the security of the children's children's
children, or, to back a leader who puts all their children before the
barrel of a gun. Then, if we had crystal clear proof the world
would accept, we could indict and sentence Saddam Hussein if the people
I'd be most proud of America were it
to drop the Pledges of Vigilance over Iraq. I can't say I'll
feel that way if and when we attack Iraq without giving the citizens, not
the leaders, the Right to Vigilance.
I think it's time to drop Pledges of Vigilance,
To Aug 26--Whose To Say--"That's So Bad!"
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