Monday, June 12, 2006

No Better Friend, No Worse Enemy

Zarqawi is dead and there are photos and articles all over the web. I recently spotted a picture of Zarqawi holding up the head of one of his victims, a beheaded hostage. I looked at the picture. The head dangles by its hair at the end of Zarqawi’s outstretched arm. Zarqawi looks empty, as always. He might as well be showing off a fish, for all he cares. I back away from the image, close my laptop and I go into the kitchen for some coffee.

For one brief moment, I convince myself that the gruesome image of Zarqawi was probably photoshopped. The photo reminds me of elaborate illustrations from old-fashion children’s books, those fantastic pictures featuring firebreathing dragons chasing screaming villagers and ugly giants clutching terrified children, blood dripping from their gigantic lips. Zarqawi and the head cannot be real.

Then, I think of other beheadings, the ongoing discoveries of Saddam Hussein’s shallow graves, children wearing suicide vests, New Yorkers jumping out of the World Trade Center and falling through the sky. And I realize that no amount of wishful thinking can change the fact that reality actually has alot in common with the old fantastic monster stories; dragons still do roam the earth ready to consume the unsuspecting and ogres still do walk among us ready to grab the unsuspecting.

And I realize, once again, that I am grateful for the United States Marine Corps.


On 6/12/06 Hot Air's Michelle Malkin interviews
2nd Lt. Ilario Pantano


From the time I was a young boy I wanted to be a Knight. And there was something about maybe growing up in Hell’s Kitchen where violence was prevalent, but the idea that there had to be order in the chaos and that even as the world around me was tough, that there would be some kind of a mitigating force for good. And chivalry kind of struck me as a code that tried to order chaos and it was something that was very appealing to me and as I grew, I looked for that in a modern day institution and that ultimately became my love for the Marine Corps.


It’s interesting that Lt. Pantano mentions chivalry and Knights when talking about the Marine Corps.

The ancient story of King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table begins in Britain at a time when Force Majeur has its hold on country – a time when “Might is Right” and when England’s vast forests are thick with bandits, dragons, and damsels in distress. Evil Black Knights roam the countryside and lob off the heads of helpless victims. Like Zarqawi, the Black Knights raise the heads high, holding them in one hand, dangling them from the hair. Buildings are burned and villagers flee on foot; others jump to their deaths from castle turrets. Britain is divided, deadly and dangerous. In short, there is chaos.

King Arthur and his Knights fight to bring order to this chaos, to rescue the oppressed and to conquer evil. King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table is the story of violence used to temper tyranny.

The Knights use their superior strength to enforce the laws of the land, to ensure justice and to build a stable and unified country. Violence is used for useful ends and law and order prevail. This great story provides the background for the emergence of Great Britain from the oppressive Middle Ages and for its transition into an Empire and a civilizing force throughout the world.

So now it’s 2006, and I’m looking at an internet photo of Zarqawi. Zarqawi and those who will follow him are as tyrannical and monstrous as any Black Night or Dragon presiding over the woods during the days of King Arthur. But, thankfully, we have the Marines willing to bring order to the chaos, soldiers willing to use their superior strength to free the oppressed and to protect the weak. Because of the United States Marine Corps, I know that tyranny will be harnessed, evil will be beaten back and freedom and justice will prevail.

Dragons, run for cover if you can. Damsels, sleep well tonight. God bless the United States Marine Corps. I extend to you my deepest thanks.

No Better Friend, No Worse Enemy.