Book 2 Chapter 170

Monday was long, all morning was with the joint chiefs and updates – one right after the other. The Secretary of the Navy and the representative from Newport News Shipbuilding came with a positive attitude for the first time in months. Usually they acted like I was the dentist.
The Fordson was back at the dock and engineers had solutions to many of the problems. It was going to take weeks to complete all the fixes and another shakedown cruise. They also had an update on the Stennis post repair shakedown.
The Stennis would need two, possibly three weeks to complete final repairs. Most of it was minor checklist items. They wanted to shift employees back to the three new carriers.
”The timetables you have given me I view as firm deadlines, as you progress towards completion on the Fordson and Stennis you can shift employees back to the new USS Kennedy and the new USS Thomas.” The Secretary had approved the name change on the third Fordson class. The forth ship was canceled.
The Navy had finally decided that more of the smaller carriers and lots more of the improved destroyers were the future of the Navy after the agreement with Russia. Newport News Shipbuilding was already designing the new ships with the Navy engineers, based on the proven Burke design.
The Kennedy was sixty percent complete and the Thomas was 45 percent complete. Both were too far along to cancel; to do so would be throwing away fifteen billion dollars. The fourth ship in the class was just modules and a keel laid out so it was canceled The Thomas would be the last Super carrier ever built.
Monday and Wednesday I did more fundraisers with my family; I was glad to see them and the boys.
All the listening posts that JBG, the CIA, and Army intelligence had were recording every peep that was coming out of the Middle East and Africa. So far there was nothing happening out of the ordinary in Nigeria or Cameroon.
General Bashir – by all appearances – was doing as I suspected. He was double checking his troops, issuing orders for more fitness training at the forward sites. Hard fitness training was a double edge sword; it kept morale up along with rumors of impending action.
Nothing was harder on soldiers that sitting around in sweltering heat with nothing to do. They may gripe about it but they wouldn’t be fighting each other by being bored.
Along with training, he was using them to build up material at the storage and ammo dumps. To our advantage, satellites were finding underground bunkers we did not know about.
We were now at the twentieth of June; still no evidence of events in Africa. Troop movements in Iran were picking up.
I ordered Andy to step up actions near the invisible border in the strait that Iran claimed. By the end of the week he was to destroy all the mines they had placed in the channel.
On the twenty fifth the Navy announced that destroyer USS Hammann would do a ‘show the flag’ port visit at AD DAMMAM Saudi Arabia on July the fourth in celebration of our country’s birthday. It was well above the no foreign Navies line that Iran said existed.
I read and reread all the information I had collected about General Bashir. I began to think I knew more about him than I did my brother. Israel had sent me two books he had written on tactics and field operations. Both were used in officer classes he taught at the Iranian war college and at the Iranian Republican Guard military academy.
I learned some new things about him. Some of them I already knew – he had a short fuse and was easily sent over the edge. When he went over the edge, his thinking became irrational and emotion driven.
He sent a whole battalion to their deaths in the Iran Iraq war by refusing to believe reports that Iraq was anticipating his movements and was waiting with chemical and gas weapons. Those reports were from a junior officer who was executed after the battle for poor performance.
He was deep into planning – very detailed and anything that upset his planning infuriated him. As a result junior officers never crossed him even when they thought other things were better. Once his mind was made up, that was the plan.
I talked several times a week with President Orbatch. Things were going well with the agreements. Dozens of missiles had already been disassembled. Lots of grain had already been unloaded at Russian ports. China was still yelling but satellites showed them moving troops from the area and Russia had finally been paid for months of gas that had been turned back on.
The joint basing was still working better than everyone expected. The admirals and generals had met for working dinners several times.
The Senate had ratified the Arctic treaty, the Russian missile agreements, and the food and grain aid. On the other side of the hall the House was calling for hearings, declaring that there had been too much secrecy in the Arctic Circle treaty and the agreements with Russia.
As usual they wanted hearings with all the various agencies and individuals involved in the negotiations. The White House legal team could handle that with ease; that was what they had done for previous presidents.
On June thirtieth Pakistan Ambassador Fazel AL Farsi was in the lobby waiting to see me.
”We meet again Ambassador- how have you been?” I asked as I stood to shake his hand.
”I have been good. I see you have been working with President Orbatch on many things; most of them have been good. I will tell you some countries in our area are worried about any expansion of agreements between Russia and the US.”
”Are they worried about the de-escalation of tensions between us or are they worried that they won’t be able to play us against each other for foreign aid or military equipment?” I asked.
”I will only say there are concerns,” he said.
”I can assure you that our foreign aid programs are going to be looked at much closer than ever before. Congress and I both anticipate cuts in the programs and long term savings in our military budgets. We will still maintain a reasonable military, but smarter, more efficient, faster and more mobile,” I said.
”I have been asked to deliver a letter again. They are expecting an answer back soon,” he said as he handed it to me.
”It will have to go through the process, then I will read it and do a reply. Then I call you,” I said.
I called the resident FBI agent to take the letter to the Congressional post office to check it for possible poisons and other harmful contaminants. The letter came back in a plastic bag with a report of their findings.
I had Ziva read it to me after I ran it through the translator. Both said the same thing, but the translator lacked the dicey wording that Ziva was able to point out.
I had tripped a nerve – the letter was on General Bashir’s IRG official stationery. He was terribly upset that I had plans to send a US Navy war ship across their ‘Neutral Line’ in the Persian Gulf. That line was from the HASA National Park across the northern tip of Bahrain and east to Bandar-lengeh.
”Such actions will lead to a continuing escalation of hostilities between the two countries including the risk of war. This proposed action clearly violates an agreement between the Carter administration and the Iranian government. It is not acceptable, it will not be tolerated,” he said.
The letter went on with several pages of demands that they had repeated for the last decade.
I wrote a one half page response. ”I can find no such agreement with the Carter administration – or any administration for that matter – on any neutral area in the Persian Gulf. I can find no information for any UN actions or on any agreement,” I said.
”Troy, do we have a trusted cartoonist? I want to add a couple of illustrations to the bottom of the letter,” I said.
”I am sure I can find one,” he replied.
An hour later I was explaining what I wanted to a twenty something administrative clerk from the executive office building named Tammy Bottoms. As I was explaining what I wanted, her eyes kept getting bigger and bigger.
”Tammy, are you sure you can do this?” I asked.
”I’m sure that I can do it, I just can’t picture it in my head. I have to think about it for a minute,” Tammy said.
”Do you need me to model it for you to get the vision you want?” I asked.
”No, no I think I can get it but I might have to research it on the net,” she said as the blush rose from her neck and to her face.
”We don’t have time for a lot of delays,” I said.
”Why don’t you draw a test one for me to look at first, then I can suggest changes,” I said.
Edit by Alfmeister
Proof read by Bob W.

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