Cul-de-Sac Warriors


Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has come under heavy criticism lately for reportedly creating his own secret army to fight terrorism. Concern was raised about an unelected official directing a lethal military unit - without congressional oversight - against a foreign enemy of his choosing. But then, these critics probably never had a secret army of their own. So they’re just jealous.

Speaking as one who did have a secret army as a child, I can understand this jealousy. There is a tremendous sense of power one gets when commanding loyal troops willing to go into battle with a single command or, in my case, with me standing outside the neighbor kid’s home and yelling "Ee-ah-kee!" (That was a rural Missouri technique used to avoid contact with adults in the house who, without fail, opened the door when you knocked on it. Better to scream like an idiot on the driveway than risk scrutiny from grown-ups asking a lot of questions about your secret army.)

It was a good-sized army; it included every able-bodied boy in my neighborhood. Unfortunately, it also included Bobby’s little brother, whose mom said we had to let him play with us. Which was a real pain, except when he was acting as the liaison between our secret army and his mother’s homemade popsicles.

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Sojourners Magazine April 2005
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