It was 0200 when Air Force One touched down at Andrews. My phone had not stopped ringing. My staff phones had not stopped ringing, in fact all my mates’ phones had not stopped ringing either. Each of them has a notepad, writing down the calls and information from them.
There were friends and family promising help and donations along with business partners and clients wishing to help and offering congratulations.
Keeping Thomas’s political staff was now going to be a God send. They knew the movers and shakers in every state. People we could trust with a state campaign and those we could not.
Before we left Atlanta arrangements had been made to pick up pieces from the campaigns of the other candidates. Combined they had offices or people in thousands of cities, towns and counties that we could step into.
Ad campaigns would start immediately. There was more than enough film to paste and clip to put together a quick TV ad campaign.
Ads would start tomorrow on the national channels. As much as I hated face talk and twitter, official sites would be started on them tomorrow. People who could run a national campaign would be on the way to Washington tomorrow, Carl promised.
All that posed a set of problems on its own – campaign headquarters – where and how big? How many people would it take? Did it need to be near Washington or could it be on the Eastern Shore?
The shore made sense in a way. All the overnight freight companies had terminals at Morton. Posters, handouts, printed material and things to set up offices could be on their way across the nation in minutes.
In the meantime I had other problems to deal with, a new government for Iran to work on, a problem with the Philippines to deal with. They were just a few of the issues on my plate.
Everybody was on an adrenaline high on the flight home. Champagne and beer was flowing like water. The White House press pool was tying up all the communication lines assigned to them on Air Force One. All of them wanted the first interview.
There was an energy all over Air Force One; I could just feel it in the air.
When I stepped off Air Force One there was a crowd of Air Force personnel. I didn’t know that many people worked this part of the base at night. They didn’t; it was everybody that that had access to Andrews. Someone had ordered that the Washington press be allowed on base in a roped off area near where the plane stopped. The tower had been giving reports of our return progress.
This was breaking every rule in the book; the President is not supposed to campaign on military bases.
”I want to thank everyone for coming out and for your support. I want to thank all the men and women of the armed services for the victory over Iran. I want to thank the American people for coming together to support our military service personnel and their families while they have been separated.”
”There is still a lot more to do in Iran, there is still a lot to do here at home.”
”You all know by now that I have been thrown into the ring. I intend to put up one hell of a fight to win. That fight starts tomorrow but tonight my family and I are going to have a few quiet minutes together and then a little celebration. Thank you so much for coming out tonight,” I said.
At the bottom of the stairs while surrounded by Secret Service, I shook a few hands and said a few words of thanks and encouragement.
It was a short night; I might have gotten two hours of sleep. I walked into the Oval Office at 0800. I had talked with my mates for an hour. I learned a hundred things were taking place today at their direction.
Dozens of people at the JBG offices had been promoted in the last few weeks, picking up more of the workload from my mates. They were dead serious about winning.
They had made this decision weeks ago for me. They knew what I wanted in my heart without asking. I would have been happy either way.
They knew I would have come home on January twentieth and not said anything. Yet I still may get to come home on January twentieth. Elections in the last few years had become unpredictable affairs.
I didn’t have time to worry about any of that today. The Joint Chiefs were the first in with the copies of the surrender documents. The originals would arrive tomorrow. There were five sets of original articles of surrender- signed by the parties in the Mayor’s house.
One for my Presidential files, one for the Joint Chiefs, one for the State Department , one for the Smithsonian and one for the National Archives.
Certified copies would be sent to the Speaker of the House and one to the President of the Senate / Vice President.
Today we worked with copies, reading each line to make sure there were no side notes added that changed the meaning of a line or a paragraph at the signing. There were none. Our discussions were interrupted by another call from UN Secretary General Santos.
”The UN is sending war crimes investigators to Iran to investigate reports of possible war crimes by US soldiers against the citizens of Iran,” he said.
”If there are any complaints against any individual soldiers – and I seriously doubt there are – we will investigate them ourselves. As I have told you before, the UN has no part in the proceedings in Iran. Any attempt by any nation or anyone will be considered hostile activity and be handled as such,” I said.
”You cannot stop the International community from investigating those complaints. The Geneva War Crimes Commissions, the World Court and the UN’s International Crimes Commission will be charged to investigate,” he said.
”I will remind you that Iran is under total lockdown and will be for the foreseeable future. Only authorized flights will be allowed into Iran, shoot down orders apply to all others. Only authorized vehicle traffic will be allowed; all others are subject to target practice,” I said.
”Surely you cannot mean that. If there have been no crimes that fall under war crimes, how can you object to an investigation?” he said.
”The simple statement that there is an investigation of potential war crimes will be distorted to imply there were war crimes that will play on the front pages for months. When the investigation determines there were none, it will be buried by the media because it will no longer be a hot button issue, ” I said.
”Muslim aligned countries will use such a statement to fire up more radicals and marches in the streets, leading to more terrorism in general and international terrorism putting the entire world at risk. I don’t think you want blood on your hands and that will be the result,” I said.
”If you take the time to look at the foreign news services, all is quiet in the Middle East and Northern Africa Muslim countries. Even the Golan Heights areas are quiet. There are no riots and demonstrations. It needs to stay that way.”
”The very people that are leading the charges intend to spread misinformation and act as couriers for those that stand to profit from such allegations. The very people you would have investigate are biased and untrustworthy,” I said.
”Many expelled dissidents are looking to come back to Iran seeking a fast track to positions of influence and power. I have turned down many requests by them to return. They offer no new ideas except a gradual return to the old ways,” I said.
”No investigations and there will be none of that. The best thing that the UN can do is to deny there have been any reports of any war crimes,” I said.
”You could be right with some of your positions. But you cannot keep Iran locked down for very long,” he said.
”I can keep it locked down long enough to get it started in the right direction, then open it up gradually,” I said.
I called King El Damon Elaud – we talked for an hour. He was willing to supply fuel to the fleet for another two weeks. That suited the timeline that General Ingram and I talked about for moving them out.
The Marine, Army units and the Air Force could cover the troops if there were any outbreaks of fighting.
The entire fleet was going to do a swing through the East China Sea. It was going to show the force off South Korea and North Korea for a few days to send notice to North Korea that I was unhappy with their alliance with Iran. The B52s would fly over the area and return to the Russian base.
Then the fleet was going to do a swing around the disputed islands area near the Philippines and do air operations for a few days just to let China know the South China Sea was still international waters. Then the USS Reagan’s task force would return to the Russian temporary base.
The USS Roosevelt and its task force would return to Japan. The west coast carriers would return to assigned fleet duties or return to their home ports. The east coast assigned carriers would return to the Persian Gulf and Indian Ocean for another couple weeks before continuing on their routine fleet assignments. Some of the fleet would return to their assigned ports of call.
The assault landing ships would begin recovering their equipment and troops to return home. The generals and I would decide in four weeks how many troops would stay for an extended period. I was going to err on the side of more than enough instead of just enough.
I closed the Oval Office at 1600 to work on the campaign. My mates had just landed in the helicopter; I was sure they had plenty of information.
Edit by Alfmeister
Proof read by Bob W.