We made it to London in time to check in at the accommodations supplied by the government for VIPs. It was a Five Star + accommodations. I showered as did the rest of my family and put on a fancy evening gown by a world famous designer.
My family and I were going to be treated to a state dinner by Prime Minister Attenborough – another strictly political affair. In the UK – as elsewhere – the political standing pecking order determined who was invited.
You gained supporters in high places for crucial policies by helping them gain influence and power. State dinners and these kinds of events were stepping stones to that power. It was paramount to be seen with the right people and the right places. Top members from the Liberal Party, Conservative Party, Labor Party and several Muslims making their way up the political chain were introduced. One was the mayor of London.
It was three hours of prime bullshit foreign politicking. I don’t think I had ever had my picture taken with so many fake people. I wasn’t sure if the meal was worth the slime, but the meal was great.
I was scolded many times for my approach to the Iran war, with the Muslim mayor of London and several others nearly screaming at me. They were forcibly removed by security.
After a dozen rounds toasted with champagne that was awful by my standards, I was more than ready to go to the guest house. It took another half hour to get to the limos to carry us there.
My staff who were behind the scenes were waiting with today’s updates – and there were a lot of them, both military and political. We were five time zones closer to Iran, not that that changed anything. A moment in history was the same no matter what time the clock said.
Dozens of small towns and villages had been captured or surrendered today. At this rate it would take two weeks before the cities would be invaded.
The most important thing was that our causalities were few and theirs were many. The operational orders for the final stages of the war were the only prisoners they were to take were those who had surrendered. If they resisted and fought, the troops were to use an abundance of overwhelming force to kill them. They would be nothing but trouble in the POW camps.
I was not going to trade the lives of our soldiers in stupid battlefield tactics with enemy combatants. They could surrender quickly or die.
The political news was another thing. The BBC, ZNN and the White House press corps had – in one form or another – reported my whole speech. I expected it to cause turmoil in Congress and with the liberal stations.
While some Congressional members were vocal in opposition, many praised the speed of the offense.
Herman Payne, my Secretary of Defense, released the numbers that had died since the beginning of the operations. More had died in accidents than due to enemy action but the gap was closing. There had now been twenty rollovers with the new MRAP alone.
The Navy and Marines had lost twenty pilots and planes due to various causes. There had been two midair collisions involving attack helicopters.
Secretary Payne stated in the news conference he gave that I was furious about the rollovers with the MRAP and had ordered that a special investigative team investigate them immediately. I had also ordered that both the Marines and Army halt all deliveries of them until the investigation was complete and corrective actions taken if it was an equipment problem.
”Oshkosh General Industries – the combined builder of the MRAP – was in deep six trouble as far as the President is concerned,” the SOD said.
The early reports indicated that multiple torsion bars were breaking under certain conditions causing the rollovers. I wanted the facts. If the torsion bar was the culprit, that meant that the problem was with every unit we owned and with those sold to our allies.
The US Army and Marines had thousands scattered around the world at various bases. The manufacturer had sold twenty five billion dollars worth of them and billions worth more were on order. Halting deliveries would force them to quickly come up with a corrective actions.
As it was an all-terrain assault transport vehicle, it was now a limited terrain vehicle. The heavy terrain work would have to be done with helicopters, A10s and foot soldiers, effectively slowing the operations.
Morning came and I was glad that the White House cooks came along. I didn’t think I could get by on tea and English muffins.
My mates and I separated shortly before nine. They and Ambassador Davies were off to see the sights. I asked my mates to pick up some souvenirs they thought I would like and some for my two secretaries.
My meeting with Prime Minister Attenborough started at 0900. I listened while his staff did what my staff did every morning – a security briefing both world and domestic. I listened to a detailed briefing on the Irish Republican Army. It seems they were dissatisfied again and planning disturbances.
I listened to the British view of world problems and their suggested remedies. It was a totally different view than I had.
Eventually they came to the Iran war. Their Chief of General Staff was critical of the bombing campaign and said that too many soldiers that could have surrendered and civilians were being killed, causing unnecessary collateral damage.
”The Iranian’s have caused collateral damage all over the world for decades and celebrated each one, payback can be hell. Dead soldiers do not come back to fight another day, prisoners of war in that part of the world always do,” I said.
The conversation came around to the Russian agreement and what the effects would be on the foreign military bases.
”If the Russians continue to comply – and all indications are that they will – there will be a realignment of US bases not only domestically but foreign as well. We would strive to keep bomber bases like RAF Fairford. I think what would happen would be to combine bomber and fighter bases, closing the fighter bases.”
”Doing so would show savings to the bean counters yet still keep an effective fighting unit together,” I said.
”I do know DOD is doing preliminary work on a base reduction plan for the US that I am sure no one will like. It will be a political football. I don’t expect any final decisions for a couple years,” I said.
I met my family and together we went to one of those world class five star restaurants for lunch. The Secret Service and M6 provided security. The food was good, but I was smart and didn’t over eat. After lunch I was carried to the Parliament to give an address and my family went on more sightseeing.
At Parliament I talked for sixty minutes about the long standing cooperation between our two countries and continued cooperation in the future. I ventured into the many possible changes that would come with the future for the twenty first century.
Those changes reflected my opinion on smaller and smarter armies with newer, more powerful and accurate weapons. Drones, robots, remote controlled bombers and fighter planes would be the norm. Technology will be the driving force in the future. There may well be a war fought with no human soldiers on the front lines, just robots. The human controllers could be thousands of miles away looking at a flat screen.
I ended the day at the US embassy on MTAC with the generals and admirals. I listened as they told a tale of increasing resistance, none of which was unexpected as the troops closed in on Tehran.
The result was a new bombing and missile campaign, picking more targets from the restricted list and bombing some of the earlier targets again – based on photos.
While some were the same targets, by moving the GPS pin a few hundred yards in one direction or the other to expand the blast area would achieve the desired effect.
Wednesday morning we dressed extra carefully. There was a special dress code we needed to abide by to see King William. The palace was very picky about it after there had been several embarrassing situations happen to the King in his early appearances as king.
The choreographed event went well and the media on both sides of the Atlantic had plenty of material to talk about. There would be some interesting conversations about my family for a time.
The King and I had a wonderful conversation in our private talks. He was a graduate of the Royal Air Force College and had spent his time in a helicopter search and rescue unit. We had a good conversation about RAF Fairford, his time in the RAF and my time in the Marines. There was even a short conversation about being CIC of the military that we once served in.
Two hours later we were on Air Force One headed to Moscow. There was a state dinner for us tonight and meetings started tomorrow with President Orbatch.
The welcome started at the international airport of Moscow; the streets were filled with well wishers as I rode towards Red Square for the state dinner. They were waving US and Russian flags – one in each hand – and cheering.
I was riding with President Orbatch in the Russian version of the Beast. It had the big sunroof that we could stand partially out of and wave.
For the last two miles – by agreement with the Secret Service and the KGB – we stood through the hole in the roof with Secret Service agents and President Orbatch’s personal KGB guard detail walking along side the car and waved to the crowds.
The White House media, Pravda – the Russian media outlet – along with the BBC and ZNN were following along and ahead of us. The crowds lining the street – both young and old – were enthusiastic.
At the Kremlin the red carpet was rolled all the way to the car doors where it stopped. Both of us gave a short speech. I did mine twice; once in Russian and then in English.
I guarded my words carefully to make sure there were no double meanings or openings to false impressions.
There were a lot more possible worldwide implications than the Russian people. I learned a few days later the Chinese, along with their other objections, were furious! Chinese leaders had been to the Kremlin in the past and never gotten the red carpet treatment that I received.
There were several other countries getting very interested and others disheartened by improving relations between Russia and the US. Also there were those equally pleased at China’s discomfort.
Several of those were in the Pacific Island groups with had been bullied for years by China laying claim to wide swaths of the East China Sea. The biggest ones were the Philippines and Viet Nam.
While I was speaking to the Russian people in front of the Kremlin, the Philippine ambassador to the US was in deep talks with Secretary Dean, trying to set up a face to face meeting with me and Philippine President Ramos as soon as we could meet.
The State dinner was first class! They even served Angus steaks cooked the way I liked them. Anton even brought a tub of iced Budweiser – my favorite beer- he had remembered from our first meeting in Uganda.
The meal was great and conversation afterword was informative and left little doubt the Russians were committed to the reduction and limitations we had signed in Washington. My mates and the little ones had a great time. We called it an evening.
The rooms had been checked by the Secret Service for bugs and cameras several times. They checked them again as we getting things ready for bed. They also left equipment that would automatically ring an alarm if it detected any spy attempts during the night.
Edit by Alfmeister
Proof read by Bob W.