Book 2 Chapter 192

Morning was tough to get started with all the time zone changes in the last few days, but morning it was. Breakfast was fried ham, eggs, coffee, and biscuits – a lot better than tea and muffins.

            My mates entertained the wives of a group of high level politicians while I was in meetings with the politicians. We had a good meeting while talking about the progress on the agreements and other things of interest.

            A committee had been formed with American businesses in the search for suitable manufacturing that could be put in place for the factories making military equipment. The goal was to increase the manufacture of products for export.

            My secret goal was to reduce our imports from China as much as I could to punish China for the arms sales to Iran. The meetings ran into lunch. Lunch was a private low key affair with me and my mates, Orbatch and his wife along with Anton and his wife.

            After lunch and plenty of private conversation, we went to the Russian air base where the teams were disassembling the final short range nuclear missiles and war heads.

            The final missile fuel tank was mounted on a stand. In front of hundreds of media from Europe and America, President Orbatch and I cut the tank in to with a big band saw.

            We then cut off two, two inch wide sections that were like a giant ring. We presented the rings to each other as souvenirs in front of the media as an end to that series of weapons and the completion to that part of the treaty.

            We each gave a short speech about the cooperation and progress of the agreements. The naysayers that said it couldn’t be done, or the treaty would not be complied with, had lost round one.

            After the press conference, I finally got my promised tour of the Kremlin by Anton and President Orbatch. I was expecting there to be some excuse.

            I was introduced to the Russian Generals who had offices neatly tucked into corners. Doors were opened and no attempts were made to cover the maps on the wall and on tables.

            They were interested in the war plan against Iran – the regional power in the Middle East – was so effective as to neutralize the million man army, how it was put together and created in such a short time.

            ”It’s simple; there was no million man army, it was an elaborate deception. If you repeat a lie long enough and loud enough with enough people wanting to believe and not question, it becomes fact. We have only captured fifty thousand soldiers while capturing two thirds of Iran’s territory,” I said.

            ”In that territory were three quarters of Iran’s military bases including several very large ones. As of yet we have not found that many bodies,” I said.

            I didn’t lie to them; I never expected that many bodies to be found. I doubted anyone was going to dig up all the known bases hit by MOABs and seismic bombs trying to find bodies. At least not anytime soon. I expected the massive depressions where they once were to filled and covered over with concrete, sealing them forever.

            The tour was interesting. I saw a lot of things that were similar to ours and I knew we did all of them better.

            The organization than ran the doomsday clock announced the minute hand had been moved back fifteen minutes for the first time in decades.

            Tonight there was a state dinner for me and my mates. It was the normal political gathering and by now I was used to it. There were plenty of Russian big business leaders there. All of them wanted to be seen with me and talk a few minutes about their business with a new interest in international trade.

            I played the game; I knew how it worked. There would always be international trade. My interest was to change the playbook away from the Chinese dominance in trade with the US.

            It was morning again and we were on our way to St. Petersburg. We toured the Catherine Palace and the reproduced Amber room. It was almost beyond belief, it was that beautiful. If the reproduction was so beautiful and crafted then the original must have been breathtaking.

            The original was disassembled by Nazi soldiers and shipped to Berlin. It has never been found. Another of the great works Hitler and his henchmen had destroyed all over Europe and Asia or looted to never be found.

            Air Force One flew east Friday evening. I pondered changing plans and going to Saudi Arabia then taking a Greyhound flight to the Thomas and to the Boxer to have a face to face talk with war command staff. Unfortunately there wasn’t time; I needed to be back in Washington.

            We had left Moscow’s international airport at 1700; we would first land at Andrews at 0900. Jet lag after this trip was going to be a bitch.

            There was one more fundraiser that had been added to the schedule at the last minute for Saturday night and the convention speech Thursday evening.

            There were things going on with the Philippines that required my involvement, according to Secretary Dean.

            I had enjoyed the whole week with my mates. Even though I had been in many meetings, we still had spent a lot of quality time together.

            I needed to spend a few minutes in the real Oval Office to catch up with the reports for the week.

            The weekend crew for the joint Chiefs brought up the reports from Iran they thought I needed to look at. There was slow progress but still progress. The IRG soldiers were putting up sporadic resistance. The resistance was being handled with plenty of bombs and rockets.

            Another fifty towns surrendered on Thursday and Friday. The noose was closing on Tehran and the other two big cities from all directions.

            While I was doing my updates, Vicky and Ching Lee were checking in with Paul Drake and Andy Reddick. The first six of the least damaged fast ships had been repaired and were back in service. Three of the fast ships were loaded on an ocean-going barge and on their way to Texas to be rebuilt by the builder.

            They were going to be expensive repairs – at least one of the engines in all three ships had been destroyed by 20mm Iranian shells. The engines were over a million each. There was other substantial damage to the ships. Three more ships had sunk in the gulf, specialized recovery ships were looking for them.

            On the other front – Africa – things there were moving forward as Jenny had found three hundred more men for the Cameroon contract. She was still six hundred men short. To temporarily fill the slots former Black Bear employees would be pulled to help them. It was getting harder and harder to fill the vacant positions. In the process we were leaving some areas of JBG security short staffed.

            It would be thirty more days before drilling was to start. As I suspected, money could fill the drilling crews and did. The holdup now was getting enough drill stem for the rig and casing for the well. Everything was to be ready to go within the thirty day wait.

            At 1600 we were back aboard Air Force One, flying to the fundraiser at Santa Fe New Mexico. It was a big stadium and was filled as I glanced around the curtain. I met and mingled with the big donors as always, only this time there were over one hundred that had pledged one million dollars and more.

            There were five that donated ten million and one that donated one hundred million. This had to be the biggest take of any of the fundraisers where I was keynote speaker.

            I spoke for an hour and thirty minutes. I pumped them up from the beginning and kept them that way. I beat up on the liberal candidate like he was a rented mule at a log pulling contest.

            He had left the debate trying to correct the poor showing by appearances – several a day – and cutting me as a nobody, a one shot wonder. Instead he was leaving more openings for me to beat him like a boxer with a bad rotator cuff with an arm that wouldn’t follow the brain commands, always coming up short. The speech that Adam and I wrote was throwing solid rights and body punches.

            Adam had added a few jabs of his own at the liberal candidate by using sly humor – Ronald Reagan style – and I delivered them perfectly. The audience loved it.

            I knew there was media set up in the corner but I didn’t know there was that many. The local media was always there. They needed something to put in the Sunday edition local paper.

            The national media was there this time – all of them. Cameras and boom mikes. The Sunday morning news shows were going to have plenty of material.

            My family joined me on stage for an energetic eight more year chant. We walked off the stage after leading the chant for five minutes.

            We were still pumped up from the adrenaline of the crowd when we reached the White House.

            Sunday was quiet with plenty of family time – at 1700 they left to go home before dark. I was alone until Wednesday evening when they were coming back.

            I went to the Oval Office and looked at some of the backed up paperwork that had been placed on my desk. It took three hours but I cleared the pile, creating a new piles with sticky notes for Connie and Troy to follow up on.

            A shower and I went to bed taking the rules book with me. I finished the chapter on Presidential campaigns before turning out the light.

            Edit by Alfmeister

            Proof read by Bob W.

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Book 2 Chapter 191

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.

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Book 2 Chapter 190

            At 0900 I was in the command center with a couple of aides who were going to take notes for the official records.

            ”Good morning Madam President, how are you doing this morning? According to the early morning media the campaign fundraiser rally last night was a gangbuster event,” General Ingram said.

            ”Yes, things went well! They were a good crowd,” I said.

            ”The commanders in the field want to begin working around the edges in the Northern sector. There are hundreds of small towns and villages that they want control of before they take on the remaining big cities.”

            ”Bringing those into the fold will eliminate the cities being able to draw reinforcements from them, cut off communications and possibly lead to a quicker end,” he said.

            ”That sounds like a good idea and there would be a much larger force to put against the cities when we decide to take them. When do you plan for them to start?” I said.

             ”As soon as I dial the phone,” he said.           

            How many prisoners have we captured so far?” I asked.

            ”A little less than fifty thousand,” he answered.

            ”Makes you wonder where the million man army went to,” I said.

            ”The prisoners are all saying the same thing – the troops sent to check known bunkers and bases collaborate that –  tens of thousands died in the deep bunkers that they thought would survive a nuclear blast. Seismic bombs did their job and collapsed the ground and rocks on top of them,” he said.

            ”It would be nice if we had solid evidence. We can get that after the war ends with investigative teams,” I said

            ”That is all I wanted; I’ll go make the calls,” General Ingram said as he closed the line.

            I had to assume – something I never liked doing – that the heavy bombing campaign had indeed killed the majority of the Republican Guard soldiers in the bunkers and other underground facilities.

            We spent the rest of Sunday sorting and packing clothes – the proper clothes in which to meet King William and tour Moscow. Moscow was already having cool fall weather. Air Force One was leaving at 0900 Monday to be on the ground in plenty of time to be able to take in some of the sights before dark. Our ambassador to UK was making the arrangements for the sightseeing trips. 

            Of course there was Presidential business to be done. Air Force One was going to land at the RAF Fairford US Air Force base.

            I was going to give the flight crews a pat on the back for the work they had done and the hours they had put in.

            At 0600 I was reading the daily updates from the CIA and joint chiefs. We were all packed. It was going to take a dozen trips to carry all the bags to Air Force One.

            I had never paid attention to the amount of luggage it took to make a visit abroad until it was stacked in the living room. We were only going to be gone five days; it looked like five months. But then there were going to be twelve of us – six ladies, the four kids and two sitters for the kids.

            Believe it or not the flight left on time. That was one thing about the White House travel office; they planned it close and expected things to be carried out.

            It was a five hour flight and I spent most of my time in the flying Oval Office.

            All of the news crew were allowed ten minutes for an interview. When I was through with them I started with the important things. The updates were on top of the pile. The troops had started, the terrain was difficult and they were meeting some resistance. A10s and helicopters were dealing with the resistance. I expected the final push to get difficult and expected the push into Tehran to be a blood bath.

            Adam sent the outline for Saturday’s fundraiser for me to review. I closed the door and used the practice teleprompter to go through it. I made some changes and additions on the paper copy and called Adam on a video call. When we were finished it looked good enough to satisfy me.

             I asked if he had received the speech I had written for the convention. It was basically an outline as I had started doing for Adam the last dozen or so speeches. Adam spiced them up and made them crowd moving.

            ”Yes I got it, doesn’t look too bad. I will work on it and send you the first draft before the end of the week. It’s a very long speech,” he said.

            ”I have a two hour block of time. I wonder if I don’t need two separate speeches to give? Maybe a break like an intermission between the two,” I said.

            ”A two hour long speech is very unusual. Most people aren’t long winded enough to give it, plus the audience will soon grow tired listening unless you are a comedian and can keep them laughing that long,” Adam said.

            ”I can understand all of that. I might be long winded at times but not that long,” I said.

            ”Adam, take a look, see what you can do with it for me,” I said.

            I went back to the presidential passenger section to be with my family. We talked a while about where they wanted to go sightseeing. There would be several hours each day that I would be in classified meetings. There was no need for them to sit around when there was so much to see.

            Ambassador Bret Davies’ many assistants were going to take my family to the most popular sightseeing while I was tied up with the Prime Minister and other meetings

            The pilot announced the seat belt light was on – we were in the landing pattern for RAF Fairford. A couple of the reasons I chose to land here was not only a short distance from London but the B52 and some B21 bomb groups were temporally stationed here.

            The third bomber squadron, second and fifth bomber wing, 420 air base group, B52s and a few B21s were here.

            The landing and roll out was smooth as usual. We had to sit a few minutes at the end of the runway while they were getting things ready at the big hangar turned into an emergency auditorium.

            We taxied up to the hangar and waited while a portable stairs was placed beside the exit door. It was a freshly rebuilt one with new white paint and red carpet.

            My family and staff went down first then me and the final Secret Service agents. At the bottom I went through the routine – a salute to the two Marines that always stood at the bottom of the stairs. Then there were handshakes and smiles for the camera for the pictures that I was sure would end up in the Air Force Gazette.

            They informed me there was several news groups – including the BBC and ZNN – who were going to air my speech along with the White House press reporters that were with us. That was more coverage than I wanted but I knew Troy was trying.

            ”I wasn’t expecting that but I will make do,” I said.

            My group was taken inside while I waited with the General for my entrance. I followed them in a few moments later and stepped up on the temporary stage for a short speech.

            ”Attention,” was called out and everyone rose to their feet.

            ”Be seated,” I said.

            ”Several emotions come to mind as I stand here. Immense pride is one them. I am looking at the men and ladies of the greatest Air Force in the world, the best trained pilots, flight crews and maintenance mechanics that can be found. I am proud,” I said.

            ”I am told that not one bomber scratched a mission in your time here. Fifty sorties a day, every day for the fifty planes. That is over one thousand missions and not one scratch. It is one more thing to be proud of because it proves the quality of our equipment and the knowledge and ability of the men and ladies responsible for it and fly it,” I said.

            ”That is a lot of MOABs and seismic bombs dropped on the enemy. It’s paying off in the low number of casualties in our ground troops,” I said.

            “Envy. I envy you for being able to carry the war to the enemy first hand. You have no idea how hard it is to have to sit behind the desk and wait for updates. I would be much happier to be flying with you or carrying a rifle with the ground troops,” I said.

            ”I know you are wanting to know how long before you can go home. I don’t know when but soon. I am guessing thirty days. Seventy five percent of our objectives have been accomplished.”

            ”The Iranian Navy and all of it facilities in the Gulf are destroyed, its submarines sunk, in the Caspian Sea bases and ships destroyed,” I said.

            ”Its Air Force and bases destroyed, reinforced hangers are destroyed,” I said.

            ”Their nuclear research centers and many of the scientist dead, the centrifuges and missile manufacturing destroyed,” I said.

            ”Radar sites, anti-aircraft missiles and anti -missile systems – all destroyed,” I said.

            ”The IRG war college, command center, weapons research and development and manufacturing, command and control centers – all destroyed,” I said.

            ”The middle and central regions are under our full control and occupation. Only the northern region is left and the Army and Marines began the assault on that region today with hundreds of A10s and ground support attack helicopters flying over them.”

            ”Those helicopters and A10s are now being flown from former IRG airfields just minutes from the troops. Supplies for the troops are being unloaded from US Air Force C17s and C5s at those airfields. Heavy equipment is being off loaded at former Iranian docks,” I said.

            ”The northern region with it big cities may be more difficult but I have no doubts that the Marines and the Army are up to the task with the help of bombers from here at RAF Fairford,” I said.

            ”I sorry I ran on so long, I know those metal seats quickly get really hard. The news from the front has been too good to not share because you made it happen, thank you for the great work. Thank you for being such an attentive audience,” I said.

            ”General Brighten, do you have anything you can add?” I said.

            ”No Ma-am, you covered everything very well,” he replied.

            I turned to walk to my group and the motorcade.

            Some in the audience yelled ”Eight more years, eight more years.”

            I turned to the audience and gave a thumbs up and fist pump and then walked off the stage.

            Edit by Alfmeister

            Proof read by Bob W.

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Book 2 Chapter 189

An hour later I was stepping off Marine One at Morton Field. The press pool had rented all the rooms at the Holiday Inn East. They had rented twenty cars from the MAAR rental counter at Morton. There was now a roped off area for the media to stand in whenever I arrived.

            They were no longer wanting me to get out of sight if they could help it. At least several of them were to follow me around. They even went as far as setting up a system to alert one another by text. It was an unusual agreement among rivals. They staked out Morton, the gym and the house.

            The media had filed several court challenges that my White House was denying reasonable and proper access to the media. There were insufficient news conferences along with insufficient access to the President. The public has a right to know – they argued in court that the freedom of the press trumps all other rights and secrecy needs of the government.

            I was left to move around from the gym to the house by the tunnel and of course, I could be carried out in one of the blacked out Suburban from the parking garage. My mates traveled around in the blacked out Suburban, usually in convoys of thee.

            We went over to the gym via the tunnel. My mates were going to work out with me before we were going to have dinner. Vicky and Marcy were going to do light doctor-approved exercises.

            Ching Lee, Jenny and Lorrie had agreed to a hard work out with me. They jokingly said my ass was getting wide from too much sitting in the padded chair.

            We had originally planned to work out for an hour. The Secret Service agents with us wanted to prove how manly they were. We worked out two hours before they decided they had enough. A hot shower and dry clothes and I still felt good – sore but good.

            We had a nice supper courtesy the Secret Service’s chef. It was easy to see why the agents that were assigned here were gaining weight. After such a workout we elected to eat light.

            My mates wanted to go back over to the offices for a private talk about things they had been working on. There we could shut out the Secret Service agents and not be bothered by others.

            I was educated for two hours on all the things they had been working on, from the Cameroon security agreement that they had signed and progress on the oil deals. The oil deal on Jeanna’s joint venture had one well pumping oil now. Ten more would be pumping before the end of the year.

            The South Africa gold and diamond mines just kept producing record amounts. They were trying their best to keep the amounts from the public eyes. Right now there was a backlog of getting the gold shipped to Morton because all the C5s were busy with military contracts and Iran.

            I suggested that rerouting a couple of the empty C5s to Polokwane on their way home might help. Marcy said it would take three to take care of the backlog.

            Damn, I thought – that was three hundred tons! I wondered how much more the basement second room would hold. It seemed like I had been away for years instead of just a few months. I was worried about that much gold being stored in Africa, considering all the things going on there now.

            Things took a different turn in the conversation – they told me what they had been doing with all the questions and research over the last few weeks. I listened while they talked. My mates brought out all kinds of research and legal documents they had prepared in case they were needed.

            As usual when they wanted to do something, they had supporting information. As usual they were right with their intuition – it was just a matter of timing and commitment to a decision after a few more things. With Iran on all burners, now wasn’t the time and they agreed to putting a temporary hold on the issue.

            We had a great evening making up for the time apart. The time together tonight was only a start; we were spending almost all next week together.

            Saturday morning we went to the gun range and were followed by the media group tagging close behind. First was the handgun range. Even though the Secret Service tried to keep them back, they were crowding while citing the court ordered access. My mates and I blasted their eardrums by running fifty rounds through our Glock.

            Then we moved up to the M16s and fired one hundred rounds each. It didn’t take long before we switched to the three shot burst. James Clown from the gun club came over and brought me one of the new dual drum one hundred round magazines to try out. It was a new and improved design that was touted as being jam proof.

            We had dozens of the older ones that always seen jam up unless you were doing the three shot burst. It was full and all that needed to be done was to snap it in the M16, cycle the action and pull the trigger. At the firing line I flipped the selector to full auto. It ran all one hundred rounds without a jam.

            ”How many did Andy order of these?” I asked.

            ”Vicky ordered two thousand for the security group,” he replied.

            ”You might want to order another thousand after you get them in inventory,” I said.

            ”Did you bring the other item I asked for?” I asked.

            ”Yes, I will drive it over to the rifle range for you. I also brought the shoulder padding and heavy vest you asked for and the mat,” he said.

            I waved the media to follow as my group walked over to the five hundred yard section of the range. I put on the padding, the heavy vest and double hearing protection.

            Then I carried the M82A2 Barrett fifty caliber sniper rifle to the mat. It had the good muzzle brake; it was an impressive looking rifle. I set it up on the tripod, removed the scope covers and inserted the filled ten round clip.

            The media crowded too close for this kind of rifle. They needed pictures of the President face down on the mat with a big gun in her hands to stir up the fringe elements.

             I practiced my breathing control as I lay on the mat and put a round in the chamber. I took a breath as I was getting the cross hairs in the right place, released half of the breath to steady my body movement and pulled the trigger.

            The media left in a hurry; they were not standing behind me for the next two shots. I left the action open as James looked at the target with the spotting scope.

            The three shots were grouped to the right and low of the bullseye. After looking at the scope sighting chart and making a couple adjustments, I fired three more rounds and James checked the target again. The changes were good so I shot the last four rounds and James went to get the target and placed another new one on the stand.

            The last seven rounds were all in the bullseye, I was happy. It had been months since I had shot the Barrett. The recoil was aggressive but manageable. I could have easily fired it without all the extra padding. But the Secret Service insisted – they didn’t want to explain a badly bruised or broken shoulder to their superiors.

            I asked if any in the media wanted to shoot it and had no takers. Several of the agents wanted to shoot it. James came prepared with several loaded clips so it worked out OK.

            I stood with my mates away from the noise along with the JBG part of my security team as the agents had their fun. I knew that the Secret Service agents were specialized in what they did. Some of them never got a chance to shoot a sniper rifle.

            Shooting the Barrett and the 308 sniper rifle was part of the JBG training for our top level agents. Every JBG security site had a designated sniper. The location determined which rifle was assigned there.

            They qualified three times a year with every weapon in our armory. It was another thing that had changed after we hired the Mossad ladies and now we also had twenty former Mossad male officers.

            From there we went to the sporting clay range. Goose season would be here soon enough and a little practice would help. I went through each position twice as did my mates.        

            I wondered if the media was happy following me around now? They had plenty of video to piss off the anti-gun crowd and they were given no ear protection. I wanted it to be realistic as possible for them.

            Air Force One carried me, my family and the White House news group to Detroit for the fund raiser. It was the same as all the rest – meet and greet all the big donors and mingle with the local politicians.

            Pictures were important now. The party had arranged for me to do several endorsements for TV ads and radio commercials. Politicians on my side were more important than ever now with Iran getting so much air time.

            Adam and I had written a barn burner of a speech for this close to the convention. I delivered – pausing at the right times, pounding the podium, raising my hands and voice at the right times. ‘Eight more years’ was shaking the building.

            I went back out for a fifteen minute encore, blasting the opposition party and their liberal insanity. I found out while I was speaking my mates had the chairman in the corner again, hitting him with questions. There was one more fund raiser, next Saturday and then the convention speech the following Thursday. We were home by 0200 Sunday night.

            I read notes during the flight home. There was only one important one that stood out. The Generals wanted a MTAC call at 0900.

Edit by Alfmeister

Proof read by Bob W.

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Book 2 Chapter 188

Friday started off with updates from General Ingram – all ground forces were preparing for a push next weekend into the northern region of Iran. There were several very large cities – including Tehran – that could be problematic. Logistics was moving men and equipment closer and building stockpiles of supplies.

            By pushing it off to next weekend the troops would have plenty of time to rest, rearm and rejuvenate. It would give the Generals more time to divide the northern region into sections and quadrants and then assign adequate troops and equipment to take control of the sector – hopefully preventing friendly fire incidents.

            There were two more airports that would be ready to accept the C17 and C5 planes.

            After the General left, the crap hit the fan. Manuel Santos – Secretary General of the UN – called and wanted another video conference. I had Troy set it up for 1100. That would give me time to check in with Victor Mason – our Ambassador – to find out if anything had been going on behind the scenes in New York.

            I found out Iran’s Ambassador to the UN Bahar Farzad had spent the last two weeks wheeling and dealing. I was pissed that Victor didn’t think it important enough to keep me informed. An email or a quick call was all it would have taken.

            At 1100 Secretary Dean of the State Department, General Ingram and my group of advisors were sitting at the fancy meeting table with me at the end with the US flag and the Presidential Flag behind me and off to the side so they would be seen on the video feed from the room.

            At 1115 – fifteen minutes late – Secretary Santos came on the screen.

            ”It’s time you stopped your military action against Iran. You have been bombing 24/7 for three weeks. Hundreds of thousands have been killed according to the information we have.”

            ”I have been working on a solution with member countries in the area. This is what we have come up with,” he said.

            ”UN peace keeping troops from Turkey, Syria, Iraq, Pakistan and Turkmenistan will take positions between the northern and Central sections of Iran. You will pull your troops back fifty miles to allow them to create a neutral zone. ”

            ”The Iranian Ambassadors from Turkey, Iraq, Syria, Pakistan, Turkmenistan and Ambassador Farzad will form a new government for Iran that will comply with all UN administrative directives.”

            ”An oversight committee formed from other Muslim countries from the North African and Middle East countries will have veto authority over the new government for five years.”

            ”Once the new government is formed and established according to these terms, you will withdraw all US troops and equipment and remove all Navy and Air Force from the region including the Indian Ocean,” he said.

            ”Same old faces, same old extremist politics, same old government policies and nothing new,” I said.

            ”I told you three weeks ago what had to be done to end the conflict and ground war. It still stands. Unconditional surrender by Iran is the only end to this conflict as you call it that I will accept.”

            ”If you send any UN peace keeping troops to Iran, make no mistake – I will send them home in body bags – all of them, no matter where they come from,” I said.

            ”I cannot make it any clearer than that.”

            ”It amazes me to think you do this without the blessing of the Security Council. Ambassador Mason will veto that proposal and any like it and I know I can count on several more council members to vote the same way,” I added.

            ”You must end this conflict. Think of the humanitarian crisis it is causing. Thousands of people are fleeing and starving,” he said.

            ”I don’t know where this humanitarian crisis is. I have seen no reports of it. Food and water deliveries are continuing at pre-war levels. Medical teams are attending the sick and injured. Utilities are operating in the central and southern regions twenty four hours a day- something that has not happened in a decade,” I said.

            ”I have no reports of any exodus of the population,” I added.

            ”You are being fed a pack of lies and misinformation. Don’t bother me again with this useless bull shit. You have the terms and conditions that I will accept. Good Day,” I said as I cut the feed.

            ”It’s time for lunch! Anyone want to join me?” I asked.

            Troy, Connie and General Ingram were the only ones that accepted. The others quickly scattered.

            As I was eating lunch I was thinking about the UN call. I wondered what the next step would be. If the Iranian Ambassador had gone to all that effort, there was more. Was this just a smoke screen, a diversion?

            “General, please send a memo to all commands for the Iranian operation. Remind them the No – Fly zone over all of Iran is to be strictly enforced including shoot down if necessary,” I said.

            ”Do you think they are going to try something?” General Ingram asked.

            ”I think we may see some shenanigans in the near future,” I said.

            I had barely settled into my chair when State Department Secretary Dean called.

            ”I just finished a call from Turkish President Cevdet. He is upset that you did not further evaluate the peace offer and wishes you to reconsider. He will call you later today,” Secretary Dean said.

            ”Let him call, it won’t do any good, I’m not changing my position. We are too close to ending this on my terms. I’m not changing directions now,” I said.

            We talked a few more minutes before I ended the call. I had more to make that were much more important and plans to solidify for next few days and next week.

            Tuesday my mates were going with me and staff to England. I needed to meet with Prime Minister Attenborough and members of his cabinet and then spend the night. The following day I was to have an audience with King William.

            From there to Moscow on Thursday. Some of the early goals had been met with the Russian agreement. President Orbatch and I were to cut the last fuel tank into pieces, rendering it useless on the last mid range missile that was part of the agreement for the cameras.

            It was one milestone of the many in the agreement. It would be an international media distraction from the war and everything else. Another thing it would do was be another sheep burr in the britches of Secretary General Santos.

            He was still miffed that the agreement was reached without him and his precious UN negotiating team and was still going strong without him.

            My mates and I were going to finally get the guided tour of Red Square in Moscow and on the second day a tour of Catherine Palace in St Petersburg. The infamous Amber room had been reconstructed there. It was to be personally guided by President Orbatch and Anton. We were staying there two nights, leaving on Saturday.

            Turkey’s President Cevdet called a few minutes later. Turkey was still a member of NATO even after many attempts to remove them. They were responsible for a lot of problems in the region.

            They believed that the resurgence and reconstruction of the Ottoman Empire was their destiny. Over the past 20 years they had involved themselves in Libya, Egypt, Syria, Greece and many other places in the region. Usually they were an instigator of political strife.

            We talked about NATO and the possible changes because of the Russia agreement. He wasn’t happy when I told him, ”We are going to collect all the US made nuclear bombs that were on lease to NATO and replace them with upgraded dial-a -yield war heads that would comply with the new agreement.”

            Even though it may have been clouded science I told him, ”The existing warheads were nearing the end of their useful life because of deterioration of the nuclear pellet and insulating plates. The insulating plates could cause an accidental explosion in a severe earthquake. Some were already forty years old,” I said.

            ”Even without the agreement they would have to be replaced within the next twelve months. An accelerated schedule is nearly complete because we have plenty of cargo planes going back to the US while empty,” I said.

            ”Why did you not accept the peace deal offered by the UN? There was a lot of work by Muslim countries familiar with the Iranian needs,” he asked.

            ”I’m winning so I don’t need to. When you are winning, one does not quit and negotiate,” I said.

            ”Surely there has been a heavy cost in soldiers’ lives. The American public has to know the numbers and be screaming,” he said.

            ”There are a lot of dead Iranian troops, very few American troops,” I said.

            ”How can that be? The IRG was one of the better trained and equipped armies in the region,” he said.

            ”I didn’t follow their war games book like they thought we would,” I said.

            ”The war will be over soon; I have enough confidence in that to do a four nation trip next week,” I said.

            ”Why did you destroy all the mosques, learning centers and shrines?” he asked.

            ”We did not destroy all of them. Those that were listed as world heritage sites were spared. Intelligence had undisputed proof that they were being turned into weapons storage. History also indicates that they are routinely used as command and control centers, sniper towers and spotting for mortar fire. I have seen that with my own eyes.”

            ”I learn from the mistakes of the past and chose not to repeat them,” I said.

            ”The Imams would not allow such activity,” he said.

            ”I believe there are several passages in the Koran that say otherwise,” I replied.     

            ”Then there is no chance of you reconsidering the peace plan then,” he said.

            ”No, none at all,” I said.

            I closed out the desk and called it a day. I was going home to be with my mates for the weekend.

            Edit by Alfmeister

            Proof read by Bob W.

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Book 2 Chapter 187

I slept soundly; it was 0600 before I went to the kitchen for breakfast and 0700 before I settled in the chair behind the oval desk.

            I breathed a sigh of relief as I looked through the reports from the Joint Chiefs’ night crew. The causality numbers were still low and holding steady. Troops and equipment were assembling to take control of the seven other major cities in central Iran. Helicopters would be making fly-overs today before sunset.

            The week was going away fast; today was Thursday and the schedule was packed. It was seventeen days to the convention – the pressure was being ramped up on all the delegates. I was to speak on Thursday. Apparently they wanted a long speech from me; I had a two hour slot in prime time.

            Troy came in and placed a dozen newspaper clippings on the desk – something that he rarely did. He knew I cared little what all the liberal papers said. The clippings were a collection of the political ads published in papers and magazines around the country from yesterday’s PR shots. A speed read of the clippings left me satisfied that it was the right thing to do.

            Today’s office work needed to end early as well. I had a live interview with the number three network today at 1700 and then an appearance on the worldwide Military News Network at 1745. It would be transmitted to all military bases and ships.

            I was waiting on the Generals for the update. They finally came in, looking reasonably relaxed.

            ”Armor covered by helicopters started into the seven remaining cities in west central Iran at daybreak. There were some holdout sections in each of the cities; we took some serious injuries and lost some equipment,” General Ingram said.

            ”Air strikes were called in and the resisting areas leveled as per your instructions. There were considerable causalities in those areas. After the initial operations the general population quickly displayed white flags and surrendered,” he said.

            ”The troops spent most of the daylight hours collecting weapons and picking up prisoners. Big Red One secured a thousand prisoners. The Eighth Army armored support division collected one hundred truckloads of munitions and weapons turned in by the civilians and the local government. The demolition guys are going to be busy for a while,” Army General Johnson said.

            ”All of central Iran will be secured by Monday and then we can prepare for the invasion of the northern sector. The State Department is asking that we help with general issues with the population before moving on the Northern sector,” General Ingram said.

            ”Assisting the State Department will allow time for more logistics to catch up and the Air Force and Navy planes can continue to work over the North sector.”

            ”There are lots of hidden military equipment and installations there. We found maps and coordinates; the planes can have a field day,” General Ingram said.

            ”Did the State Department get all of the Persian speaking JBG personnel or are there some still available? We could use a few ourselves in all the sectors,” General Johnson said.

            ”I don’t know; let’s call and ask,” I replied. I dialed Jenny’s cell number.

            ”Hi lover, how are you?” I asked.

            ”Horny while waiting for the weekend and you,” she said.

            ”Same here. Sounds good to me. I should have told you that I had you on speaker,” I said.

            ”Oops!”

            ”No harm done, just a little frisky talk among friends and lovers,” I said.

            ”How many Persian speaking security are there left after the State Department request who would want to travel to Iran for a hundred days?” I asked.

            ”The State Department requested five hundred. They are already assigned and on location or should be before the end of the day. There are seven hundred and fifty left according to the computer. You will have to check with Vicky, Ching Lee and Andy to see how many they are comfortable letting go,” Jenny said.

            ”Please add them to the call,” I said.

            ”General Johnson, how many did you want?” I asked.

            ”If the State Department felt they needed five hundred, we could take the same, splitting them between the Army and Marines units,” General Ingram answered.

            Vicky, Ching Lee and Andy came on the line.

            ”We need five hundred more of the Persian speaking security people for Iran. How many can you let go immediately?” I asked.

            ”We can do that many, but no more for a while,” Andy said.

            ”Same contract numbers as the State Department? Twelve hundred and fifty a day per man, plus they reimburse travel expenses and supply food and shelter,” Vickie said.

            ”Fair enough. When will they start arriving in Saudi Arabia?” General Ingram asked.

            ”Some will be there tomorrow. The contracts need to be signed today; they will be faxed within the hour, ” Andy said.

            I quickly ran the numbers in my head. Damn, there is going to be one hell of a Congressional investigation when all this is over! I had no idea how many flight hours was being billed for all the C5s, C130s and 747s for freight and people. That many interpreters would run up big numbers every day for one hundred days.

            Lunch ran over because of interruptions. It was 1330 before I could sit down with the makeup ladies and begin the picture sessions. I left the rule book on the desk again and went about the tasks I needed to do.

            The girls called again with a list of questions. I asked what they were for.

”We are catching up on some corporate paperwork and forms. It seems the more we do, the more we find we have to do,” Jenny said.

            I let it drop and knew there was going to be a lot more paperwork going forward with so many new contracts and expansions.

            At 1700 I was sitting in the green room with camera crew and the reporter from Americas third rated news network. They needed thirty five minutes of film for the hour show. Troy pressured them to make every question newsworthy and worthwhile because there was no time for re-shooting questions and answers.

            It was tight but I walked back to the Oval Office in time. While I was answering questions, the crew from the military network had been setting up their equipment and were ready to go live.

            Tonight’s crew was one each from the Army, Navy and Marines who immediately stood to attention and saluted as I entered. I returned the salute.

            ”At ease, as you were,” I said as I took my assigned place for the camera.

            ”We can certainly understand that you have been very busy the last few weeks. We would like to talk a little about that if we could,” Navy Lt. Fredrick said.

            ”The attack on the USS Hammann stunned America. At first it seemed like there was a lengthily delay in the response but when it came it was a blockbuster. How is the war going?”

            ”It’s going good, far better than expected. The ground troops are now at a place in two weeks where we thought it would take two months to get to,” I said.

            ”With that information, do you anticipate the war will end much sooner than anticipated?” Army Lt. Corby asked.

            ”I hate to jinx the effort, but I think the ground operations and objectives will be over in a month,” I answered.        

”I don’t anticipate leaving office in January and leaving a ground war for the next President to deal with,” I added.

            ”Always before in attacks like this, our allies stand with us in the UN and when military action has to be taken. Have any of our allies offered to help with the military campaign this time around?” Lt. Corby asked.

            ”Yes, several of our allies offered to send troops if I requested them. President Orbatch and I talk frequently and in several of those talks even he has offered to send troops to provide security for the POW camps that are being built,” I answered.

            ”I have not asked any nations for troops for several reasons. Every time you add an additional a member into the mix, you multiply the length of the decision making process many times, especially when there are political limitations involved,” I said.

            ”I had faith that our military could easily handle the challenge that the Iranian military would present. The success of the combined campaign with the Army, Navy, Marine and Coast Guard shows what they can do when you take the blinders off and throw the book of restrictions into the shredder.”

            ”I gave our military several simple orders; win the war with as few American casualties as possible, do it quickly and use every nonnuclear tool in our arsenal. There were no limits on what weapons could be used or where. The only restriction was they were not to bomb any oil facilities, wells and the electrical grid,” I said.

            ”Why did you elect not to destroy the electrical grid?”

            “When the war is over Iran will have to rebuild – electricity is the most important thing to do that, plus it’s the one thing that is the most time consuming to build back. Water, sewage and hospitals all need electricity”

            ”In the planning we tried to look past the fighting and its immediate aftermath and in to the future,” I explained.

            ”If the war was going badly then surely the electrical grid was a target. But the offensive nature of the war was going so good from the first day out that we knew we could save the grid for the rebuilding phase,” I said.

            ”You have ordered a mix of weapons used there – the curious mix was the MOABs and seismic bombs – why?” he asked.

            ”The MOABs were dropped on an installation first to totally destroy the installation and eliminate anyone in shallow bunkers or caves. The seismic bombs were to destroy all personnel bunkers – deep or shallow – and to destroy any provisions or ammo and make it unrecoverable by collapsing any access to the materials,” I said.

            ”Did your years in the Marines helped you in this crisis?” Lt. Fredrick asked.

            ”I understood all the things that could go wrong for the troops in the field and tried my best to avoid them. It was that experience that drove the heavy unrestricted bombing campaign against military targets and other high value targets before there were any troops sent there,” I answered.

            I answered a lot more questions and then there was just general talk about the future of the services as the world marched into the future.

            The hour went fast. They were packing up their equipment when General Ingram made the last pass through with the last update of the day; it was midnight in Iran.

            We had lost six Army soldiers in a rollover of the MRAP replacement. The expensive piece of equipment was not living up to its sale pitch. It was supposed to have independent suspension, self leveling to resist rollovers and computer lockout of the drive system if it entered into a potential rollover. This was the second one in ten days.

            I was not happy about two failures of the system in less than two weeks.

            ”Find out what happened to cause those accidents, is it a failure of the equipment? Are the soldiers exceeding its capabilities – are the computer control programs bad?” I instructed the General.

            We had thousands of those special vehicles but this was the first time they were used in a war-time environment. In the back of my mind I wanted to know if the DOD had been sold a lemon – again.

            The original MRAP was sold as being IED proof- they were not. It wasn’t until the third and forth revisions that they were IED resistant – not proof. An IED hit in the right location and it was an expensive coffin for many soldiers.

            I called it a day, went to the living quarters and then to the fitness center. The two Secret Service agents and my four JBG security that I liked to work out with met me there. We worked out two hours before we found the hot tub. I could use an hour on the massage table at home but that would have to wait.

            Supper was light tonight then I called my mates for an update at home. They were still working on forms and reports asking questions. I spent two hours on the video chat from the kitchen. I was going home again tomorrow night.

            Edit by Alfmeister

            Proof read by Bob W.

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Book 2 Chapter 186

Sunday morning was laid back and started slow. There were no changes in the morning update from Saturday night’s update from Iran. But I knew big decisions were on tap on Monday. My family left early Monday morning.

            I had a busy week – it was planned for me. Monday started with the generals, another hundred miles of Iranian territory had been captured over weekend. We were at a dilemma now with the offensive push.

            Hundreds of small towns had surrendered. As soon as tanks and armored troop carriers appeared, someone in the town came out with a white flag of surrender. Usually it was the town’s mayor or some other high ranking politician.

            It was a political as well as a military surrender – the two being closely tied together in Iran. In each case a specialized team came to put all the documents together and explain the terms so there could be no mistakes. The team had someone that could read and speak Persian.

            First they were told that all guns and weapons had to be turned in to the American soldiers. Then there were a lot of general instructions including all women had to have their faces exposed. They could wear a scarf to hold the hair in place but the face had to be visible at all times; no more hiding. There were a dozen more rules that had to be followed.

            Then there was a list of questions. Do you have enough fresh water? What is its source? Is the electric on in the town? If it is off, how long has it been off? Where does the food for the town come from; what is its source? Is there enough food? What do the town’s people do to live and survive? Is there petrol for the automobiles in town and from where was it supplied?

            Did the town have a doctor, health clinic or hospital?

            All these questions determined what had to be done and how soon. Food and water were immediate concerns. Electricity was the next big concern.

            No power plants or electrical sub stations had been targeted by the bombers or Navy planes. Electricity was one of the first things that was needed to return to normalcy.

            The Navy Seabees were ashore as were the construction units for the army. They had groups that could restore electricity – if it were out for minor problems.

            Several big utility contractors from the US were also on the ground. It had been an afterthought as the war and its aftermath were hashed out in meetings. I had ordered that there be military and civilian committees to prepare and plan all the various pieces that were needed after the war ended.

            It was something new that had never been done in advance before. Usually the aftermath resulted in various serious and deadly consequences for both the civilians and military.

            It was always weeks or months after the shooting stopped that actions other than mass incarceration slowly came into play. That failure led to vigilantism, the forming of unwanted and uncontrolled political groups, riots and starvation.

            The Marshall Plan to help Europe recover from WW2 was three years after the end of the war; by then communism had a strong foothold in Europe. I wanted to prevent the next ISIS or Hamas before they gained a foothold in Iran.

            I wanted all of those issues not to be part of the reconstruction process.

            The real problem was the bigger cities! So far troops had not entered them, they were on outskirts waiting for orders. Some had been approached by citizens wanting information.

            Carts and trucks bringing food and supplies were stopped and inspected for weapons. Many were completely unloaded and reloaded before allowing to continue on. Thermal imagining checked floors and other places for hidden weapons.

            We decided that on Tuesday exploratory entry into the cities would begin in earnest by the troops and armor. Attempts would be made to find out who was temporally in charge. There would be plenty of air cover if needed.

            I left it to the generals – for the time being – so that I could address other questions and events coming my way.

            All the major networks were wanting interviews after the debate. Each one was wanting to be the one with a news scoop – any news scoop. They weren’t getting it. Suddenly a lot of Congressional and Senatorial conservatives wanted access for a photo session to help their reelection campaign. It was due to my aggressive response at the debate and the ratings.           

            I knew it was normal and some of them needed all the help they could get. I also was wise enough to know control of the House and Senate was very important. It was an inconvenience but I took the time for the handshake and make believe, working to get the pictures they thought they needed for their campaign.

            The most popular one was them setting across from me at the presidential desk with the presidential flag and the US flag behind us. I took the opportunity to press them to vote in favor of bills I wanted before the session closed for the election break.

            Troy and Connie set up the desk for each photo session saying there had to be some difference for each senator or representative. They had a box of books and folders and papers for props.

The desk was set up with various themes with slight differences. I noticed there was one thing that was always somewhere on my desk in all the photos, a certain book. It some photos it was closed, in others it was open face down, in others it was open face up.

            I spent the afternoon in front of the camera. Makeup touched me and them up time and time again. Every ten minutes there was a new representative and a remake of the desk.            

            My staff was working on campaign stops for me after the convention. Carl Isham was working with them, working out the dates and places. I had to stop and think where all this extra staff came from. I hadn’t expanded any of my presidential staff.

            They were people who had worked for former President Thomas before he died. They were his political staff – a necessity in separating official work from campaign work, which otherwise could lead to conflicts of interest for using official staff for political purposes. It was the kind of thing that congress and negative media loved for grandstanding in front of the camera. Politics complicated everything in Washington.

            I hadn’t needed them before now but they were still on staff. The party and I were paying for them under the advice of Jenny and Curtis Warren. The decision allowed at least some political cover.

            Troy had setup the arrangements with Marcy footing part of the bill. Things that he thought of while I was too busy with the war to be involved in. There were other things going on as well that I would find about much later.

            It was 1800 when we called it quits for today – the PR blitz would resume tomorrow at noon. General Ingram came in with the update from Iran. He wanted to know if there were to be any changes before the armored personnel carriers, tanks and helicopter rolled into four cities tomorrow. It would be midnight here, breaking day there.

            I authorized the process to begin. If they were going to find major resistance and heavy causalities, it would begin tonight.

            He picked up the book, ”Looks like a lot of interesting reading, probably for a lawyer,” he said as he placed it back on the desk.

            I looked at the title, ”Rules and guidelines for Presidential candidates”, printed by the Federal Election Commission. It was the current issue.

No wonder everyone who went through the office today was glancing repeatedly at it – they already knew what it was and had a similar copy of their own to run for Congress. Was someone trying to send me a subtle hint? I had never seen that book before. There was a marker in it so I opened to the page, it was the section for presidential candidates, the requirements for campaigns and responsibility.

            Now I knew there was a conspiracy in my office and security group. I wondered who all was involved in it.

            I worked out in the fitness center with a couple agents close at hand. I was going to do a light workout but with a couple of competitive agents, it turned into almost three hours – the kind I liked. I was hot, sweaty and breathing hard, a worthwhile workout I seldom got here.

            I carried the book and the other reading materials I needed to review before turning in.

            It was a restless night. I woke up more than once wondering how the troops were doing with the assault on the cities. Four cities were to be invaded – for the lack of a better word – at day break, just several hours ago in Iran.

At 0400 I gave up and got up, found the first cup of coffee and then ordered breakfast. I followed that up by going to the Oval Office early.

            If someone wanted to play I could to. I placed the opened book on my desk within reach. I had moved the page marker last night when I read forty pages or so.

            At 0600 the Joint Chiefs night crew sent up the first report of the day. In an hour General Ingram and the day crew would issue a new assessment on the world threats for the day.

            Troops had entered the four cities in central Iran meeting little or no opposition. Esfahan, Najafabad, Yazd and Birjand – all major cities – were now occupied cities.

            That left seven more major cities and two of the most notorious prisons in the world in central Iran for the military to take control of. That control was from 30N to 35N; a swath through central Iran.

            Those seven cities had been and were still being heavily bombed – there were military bases and IRG controlled factories there making missile parts and anti-aircraft guns. There wasn’t much of any of it left but the bombing was destroying civilian moral. White flags were already appearing over many houses and other buildings.

            Those seven cities were for the latest arriving troops to take on. Twenty thousand were coming from South Korea. They were being flown in today, equipment and logistics had arrived on Sunday.

            Other notes followed; the State Department had contracted sale of the first oil. The first super tankers were in the stand by anchorage waiting for the loading terminals to be operating.

            The refineries were operating and the petrol was being delivered to the towns and cities that had surrendered. They weren’t too happy about the price – it was not subsidized by the government any more but there was no longer any rationing.

            The meetings lasted all morning again, before everyone was satisfied with the arrangements. More troops were being rounded up from various bases around the world. We needed more logistics and transportation as bad as we needed more foot soldiers.

            At noon the PR campaign was back on again. I needed to wrap it up earlier tonight. I placed the opened book back on the desk where it stayed the rest of the day.

            At 1700 I ate a light supper, showered and dressed in a long gown before seeing the hair dresser and a makeup trio. I must have been looking old as I now had a trio of makeup ladies attending me.

            A few minutes later wired up, I was sitting on an easy chair in the Oval Office answering questions for the number two news network. I pondered each answer carefully. I intentionally left the book on the desk through the interview.

            Aides and advisers were out of sight of the camera, just in case I needed them or something came up.

            I was glad when it was over and relieved that I had not made any gaffs or mistakes – so were the people that were off camera.

            Champagne was brought out along with a case of cold beer and deep frosted mugs. The beer was for me and the agents that normally were with me. They were as country as I was. The champagne was for those that wanted to look important and have ‘class’.

            I did an MTAC call to my mates and talked for an hour. Everything JBG was growing and busy. Lorrie was trying to get more planes – more C5s  if she could – and more of the 747s for passenger, freighter and water tanker conversion.

            Ching Lee and Vicky were trying to hire hundreds for the Cameroon and Nigeria contracts. Things were happening there faster than we expected. Andy needed men as soon as they could be rushed through the training. As it was some of those assigned to the Mexico security zone were going to be used.

            Complicating things for the security department, the State Department had requested as many Persian speaking people as we could spare to help in Iran. It would be just one more possible conflict of interest in the eyes of some.

            For Marcy, the leasing was growing as were the truck stops. Her accounting section was also growing.

            Jenny’s HR and legal was growing as well. The Horsey Building was all administrative now. I felt left out at times during the conversation. They were asking me questions about some things and I wondered why, not that it was important. They seemed trivial so I didn’t worry about it.

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Book Chapter 185

            We had a great supper together then played with the kids that I missed so much. When the kids finally wore out and went to bed it was my time to make up for lost time with my mates.

            I was up early and went to the fitness center for an hour before the kids and my mates were up. I finished in time to join them for breakfast.

            Then we began getting ready for the trip to Atlanta for the debate. First there was a side trip to Lexington Kentucky for an afternoon rally and speech.

            Andrew and I had written a barn burner of a speech. I had allowed him to leave several topics with an ending that would be open to questions. What is she saying, what is she planning? The timing was right with the debate and then just two weeks to the conservative convention. It was a great crowd – easily motivated and receptive.

            We were there all afternoon before flying on to Atlanta. I needed to spend time with Carl Isham. There were a lot of points he wanted to make me aware of before my possible fiasco on national TV. My words; not his.

            I listened to a group of experts about several topics that may come up before going to the potty and then to makeup. The final step was to be wired up for the sound system.

            The two reporter moderators came back and explained how the debate was supposed to work, according to their plans. The reporters had twenty questions that the media had put together. After that they had questions from the attending audience that they had written on note cards as they came in.

            The place was packed; the liberal candidate was to take the stage during the entrance music that was played at his rallies. It was played by a rock jazz band and was a mix for the younger liberal crowd.

            I waited until his music had stopped. I hadn’t thought about music but Troy, Carl and Marcy had. They stopped me from walking out to podium. The Georgia state University marching band marched in from the rear of the auditorium. They stopped at the stage and while they played Hail to the Chief, Troy motioned me to walk out. When they finished they played Star and Stripes Forever. I walked to the edge of the stage and gave them a thumbs up.

            They played it again as they marched to the back of the stage and left.

            Albert Finney was pissed and it didn’t take a rocket scientist to see it. His face was beet red and he had his jaw clenched so tight it was a wonder he didn’t break his teeth.

            I walked to shake his hand halfway in between the two podiums as instructed – instead he turned and walked away. His smooth demeanor was gone and his ass attitude was already showing. I was willing to bet any agreement was gone.

            The moderator Marvin Sinclair ask who wanted to go first.

            ”Let the candidate go first; he has the most to lose or gain,” I said.

            The first question was on Social Security taxes.

            Albert went into a long spiel on why Social Security withholding should be doubled for both the employee and employer, making it twenty five percent.

            The liberal plan was for all the homeless to be able to collect the max social security payment, regardless of age and amount they had contributed to the fund.

            I shot that down easily, ”Employees will not stand for a twelve percent tax for Social Security regardless of your party’s good intentions. Employers would not stand for it either. They will get out of it by reducing the number of employees or simply outsource all manufacturing. Then you end up with fewer employees paying into the fund,” I said.

            ”There is no way that the Social Security fund should be used for that even if it made sense to do it. It should be from general revenue funds,” I added.

            The next question was on income taxes.

            ”I want to raise all tax rates above fifty thousand by twenty percent with all income above a million dollars taxed at eighty percent. In addition to that I want a wealth tax of twenty percent on all individuals with a net worth over a million dollars.”

            ”I want to give all immigrants, the homeless and minorities a ten year minimum income of forty thousand dollars to give them a jump start back into the economy. With the tax increases we can do that and more,” Albert said.

            I countered with ”First off you fail to recognize that all the wealthy can and will leave the country. In the modern economy money and wealth is fluid; in a matter of hours it can be transferred out of the country, then you won’t have anything to tax. Wealth is not anchored down – stocks and bonds can be sold or transferred to holdings out of the country and property can be quickly sold.”

            ”With the tax rates you are proposing, someone working and making fifty thousand dollars is going to have less money than you are giving illegals and the homeless. How do you think that is going to work? Not for long.”

            ”You would also have to change the Constitution to make a wealth tax legal. That takes two third of the states, and sixty six votes in the Senate. That was tried before. Odds of that happening are slim to none,” I said.

            ”If you give them forty thousand a year, there is no incentive to learn or produce anything in that time. At the end of ten years they will be waiting on the next handout, thinking they are entitled and deserving,” I said.

            The next question was on defense spending.

            ”I want to cut the defense department by seventy five percent and use the money for infrastructure and social programs,” Albert said.

            ”With a seventy five percent cut, you won’t have any defense other than a few Cuban style gunboats. Practically all bases will be closed in every state. You don’t understand how our military bases and the military reserves serve the needs our country at home and on the world stage. You certainly don’t understand how many local jobs depend on every military base or how bases respond to the community in emergencies,” I said.

            ”Apparently you have no idea how many companies or how many employees work for us to have the best and most competitive military in the world. You also fail to understand just how much technology makes its way from the military R&D to the consumer market,” I said.

            ”You also have no idea just how big the weapons export business is and that is promoted by having a first rate military using the equipment,” I added.

            ”The airplane, GPS, computers, radar, the ability to put men in space and now on Mars, automotive vehicles, wireless communications, nylon and artificial rubber were all improved by or created with R&D from the military making them reliable,” I said.

            The insanity went on and on; freebies, fully open borders, free medical, free college, free housing, minimum income for anyone – citizen or not. Raise the gas tax to ten dollars a gallon. Eliminate all fossil fuel use in five years and internal combustion vehicles in five years.

            He was copying the liberal California political model – the one I had destroyed by putting the idiots in jail after the state fell apart.

            I cut apart his every answer to the bone as to why it wouldn’t work, why it would destroy various segments of the economy and why unemployment would skyrocket.          

            ”Job training would be offered for the newly unemployed,” he said.

            I countered with, ”Your job training for the unemployed is worthless when there would be no jobs for them.” I went on to explained why seniority and benefits were so important to the average worker and why the labor unions and big business spent decades building on them to retain quality employees.

            ”Just how do you justify throwing millions of employees in their late fifties and early sixties into the unemployment line when they were at the peak of their earning power and benefits? A position they would never regain in their lifetime with any new job,” I asked.

            ”They will start at the bottom of the pay and benefits slope, even if they find a job. All of this for your fantasy pipe dreams. For all of the industries you are wanting to close there will be no new jobs needing their life learned skills. The last ten years is when most employees contribute the most to retirement plans. Those retirements will be gone and their standard of living for the rest of their life will impacted,” I said.

            I gave him no room on the policies he was wanting to implement. He was getting really flustered and was impatient and argumentative by the time we came to the forty five minute break.

            And then came the open mike fiasco for him. He was so mad when he went behind the curtain – to our separate room as I did – he forgot to turn his mike off.

            ”I don’t know who the dumb son of a bitch that talked me into agreeing to this debate with that fucked up bitch was but I’m not going back out there. Tell them I’ve got a headache or sick or something.”

            ”Debating her would be a piece of cake. What a crock of shit that was. You said I overly prepared. If I was overly prepared, what was she? A fucking encyclopedia on steroids?”

            ”The mike – the mike, you still have it on!” one of his aides yelled. “Turn it off.”

            It was too late for that – every word had been blasted into the packed auditorium and on the TV. The anchors were discussing the first part of the debate live. They had plenty to talk about after that.

            There was shouting from the room as I walked back to the podium.

            At the podium I talked with the moderators while we waited. The TV people were counting down time and announced they were live. The liberal candidate had not returned.

            ”If you want to go ahead with the questions we can continue,” I said.

            ”The desk is asking if you would allow us to do just that,” he said.

            ”The war – how is the war with Iran going? There is not a lot of information coming out on the ground war,” he said.

            ”The ground war is going well with real progress every day. Causalities are remarkably low. In fact we have more deaths and injuries from accidents than enemy fire,” I said.

            ”What do you credit the low causalities to?” he asked.

            ”The Navy and Air Force bombing campaign, the selection of targets and good weather. When intelligence locates the enemy, missiles and bombs get there first before ground troops do. The ground forces have the best air support we have ever had for the troops and they are making the best of it,” I said.

            ”Madam President, you have been doing fund raisers for the party even as the Vice President. The crowds have been huge with the response very positive. You seem to enjoy being in front of the people. Have you considered running for the President?” he asked.

            ”To say the thought had not crossed my mind would be a lie. I have enjoyed meeting the people. The crowds and I both seem to feed on the energy created at the rallies. I will campaign for the nominee whoever it may be. I think when the convention is over we will have a candidate all of us can support,” I said.

            ”The network has been running a question at the bottom of the screen while we have been on the air. That question is ‘If she were to run, would you vote for President Jones in the upcoming election?”

            ”Seventy five percent of those that responded voted yes, that is a strong show of support. Another one that might interest you is the odds of you running for President by the Vegas bookies are 7 to 1 in favor. Another one from the bookies is 8 to 1 on you winning the election,” Marvin said.

            ”I think the outcome at the convention will answer all questions,” I said.

A few more words with Marvin and I thanked the crowd for coming and listening to the process. The lights went dim on the stage.

            My mates had Carl Isham cornered by the wall in conversation that went hushed as I walked to them.

            Two hours later we were back at the White House unwinding from the flight. Because I had read updates on the flight we went straight to the living quarters. It had been a good night; they were happy and I was too.

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Book 2 Chapter 184

Friday morning the office started off as a madhouse with things coming from every direction. General Ingram was in first with the logistics update. It had made big improvements in the last twenty four hours. Fifty percent of the guard units arrived this morning in dozens of C5s at the operating airfield inside Iran.

            Army and Marine units had covered every inch of the base looking for hiding Iranian soldiers and anyone else for that matter. Every trench, every bunker, every room, nook and cranny had been looked at before the planes were given clearance to land.

            The two ammo bunkers each had received several missiles and were now just massive holes in the ground. All the soldiers that had been assigned to this former military airport had scattered after the ammo bunkers were blown up. It seems the commander at the base didn’t trust his men and all weapons were in the ammo bunkers.

            With nothing but kitchen knives to defend themselves and no communications, they filled army trucks and started towards Tehran. I was sure they were some of the two hundred trucks the Navy demolished the first day.

            C5s and C17s would be hot landing all day – unloading with the engines running – for quick getaway.

            More good news from the Navy: ” The entire coast of Iran has been swept by mine sweepers and is now clear. The ports and harbors that we need to use are also clear. The Marines have cleared the town of any arms, explosives and soldiers. Army and Marine troops seized the refineries and oil fields late today. Navy Seals seized all the Iranian oil terminals in the gulf. They have been ordered to double check all the wells and equipment for possible sabotage,” Admiral Browning said.

            ”The oil field, refinery workers, and the oil terminal workers were glad to see our troops. It seems there was a shortage of food in the associated town. That problem has been solved. The workers are ready to go back to work. The oil terminal will take about a week of maintenance before it will be ready to load tankers,” he said.

            ”OK, then it’s time to put the oil on the market,” I said.

            ”I’ll call the State Department and tell them to put the process in the works,” I said.

            For the (new) Iran to sell oil on the market, the oil embargoes in place for decades by the UN and the US partners trying to stop Iran’s nuclear ambitions would have to be removed. The State Department would have to persuade the involved countries to do that.

            China was not part of that group and if it was willing to pay market price it could buy oil. China was going to buy oil anywhere it could; it just as well be Iran now.

            The money would be put into an escrow account at the Thimble Shoals National Bank. With it there neither the UN nor any of Iran’s creditors could get at it by suing in international courts, and in the process tying it up for years. Thimble Shoals simply did not play that game.

             I was sure there would be plenty of people with their hand out.

            Half the oil funds was going into rebuilding Iran. With the military gone and the government corruption gone, it would be more money into infrastructure than ever before.

            The other half would go to the US as restitution to pay all the cost of repairing the USS Hammann and this war. It would also pay for whatever troops were left there to keep the peace and see a real democratic government formed.

            The goal was to see Iran operating without the influence of the military and the religious fanatics. It was a lofty goal, but worthwhile if it would work.     

            With the ports cleared, more heavy equipment could unload faster in Iran. The heavy cargo ships were within a day’s sailing of the Iranian ports. They had been loaded out of Wilmington North Carolina, Florida, Mississippi, Baltimore and New York terminals two days after the attack.

            With the airport functioning, troops from South Korea, Okinawa and California would be on the ground before the weekend was gone. All the logistics for the National Guard would be in place to seal the deal.

            All hell was going to fall on Northern Iran starting on Monday. It would not be a good place to be if you were an Iranian soldier or resistance fighter. In the towns and villages the troops had entered, people were surrendering. They were turning in weapons by the hundreds and showing where there were stockpiles of weapons and ammo.

            Another batch of pamphlets was going to be dropped on Saturday on territories not yet occupied during daylight hours.

            The Navy and Air Force were finding plenty of new targets every day. All the carriers were involved in keeping planes over Iran. Neither the Fordson nor the Thomas had scratched a launch or recovery.

            Fleet Admiral Scott was seeing to it that all carriers were getting their fair share of action. All of the Iranian military posts on the Caspian Sea had been demolished, including sinking of Iranian Navy frigates and other small ships.

            It was going good, too good, I had expected way more causalities at this point in the war. We had lost less than a hundred soldiers and most of those by stupid accidents or carelessness. War is always conducted in a fog, I once read somewhere. A fog that caused bad judgment, creates hesitation, friendly fire incidents and causalities.

            The Navy and Air Force had its share of problems – serious mechanical failures had caused air craft losses. With the Navy it was during launch and landings. An engine problem – once the catapult trigger was pulled – was an aircraft lost.

            If the crew was able to be saved you counted your lucky stars. Usually the ejection and subsequent submersion in the water was fatal. I guessed that the ejection left the pilot injured or unconscious; a bad thing when trying to tread water in full gear.

For the Air Force it was always an equipment failure of some kind. I guessed because of the altitude and over land that survivability of the pilots was far greater.

            I was meeting in an hour with Secretary Dean of the State Department. He had been working for weeks on an outline for a post war Iran. Putting people together that could over see and implement the plans was turning out to be a monster of a task.

            One big problem was communication. After decades of messing in the Middle East, the State Department still did not have enough people who spoke Persian – the official language of Iran. Sure, there were interpreters at various intelligence agencies who fed the intelligence chain, but the numbers were very small.

            Interpreters you could trust in that part of the world were few. That one I knew from experience and it seemed like a lifetime ago. They surely couldn’t be trusted to go from town to town to develop aid and administrative policies.

            There was one ace in the hole and I hated to even bring it up because it opened more possible conflicts. JBG’s international security department required that all employees speak multiple languages, one of them preferably in the language of the areas where they wanted to be assigned.

            Africa, the Middle East and Asia were hazard pay areas plus they were income tax free after six weeks. JBG had hundreds who spoke or could read and write Persian or a Middle Eastern language that was close enough to get by. Dozens more were waiting for one of them to transfer out.

            Five hundred a day tax free plus living expenses was nothing to laugh at if you were ex-military, still wanted the thrill and could keep your head on straight.

            They were guarding embassies, ambassadors and their families, senators and high level military on fact finding junkets. If you couldn’t understand what the people around you were saying, you could quickly be dead in any of these third world countries.

            Vicky and Ching Lee couldn’t hire and train fast enough to keep up with the growing security demands of Andy. Now there was a need for a thousand more for the Cameroon oil field.

            Hopefully the State Department would solve their problem and I would not have to get involved.

            The media was angry. There were no reporters with the front line troops other than when the twelve on the carriers hitched a ride on a helicopter carrying something to the front. Sometimes they were bringing back wounded or accident injured service men and women. Sometimes they had a chance to interview a few of the troops.

            They were carried back to the carriers because each of the carriers had a dozen or more operating rooms, ICU, recovery, x-ray, MRI, blood supplies and more.

            The Army and Marines were in the process of setting up field hospitals but serious injuries went to a carrier.

            Fleet Admiral Scott had moved several of the carriers as close as safely possible for immediate care for the injured and wounded.

            All the media were on the Secretary of Defense demanding that hundreds of reporters be embedded with the front line troops. He called for advisement.

            ”No – absolutely not. At this time the field officers have enough to do without playing nursemaid to prima-donna reporters looking for their Pulitzer Award. Some whose only interest is to make everyone in the military look bad to get it,” I said.

            What should have been a two minute call turned into a thirty minute call before I told him, ”You have your orders and our conversations are not to be a debate. Tell the media the White House will not allow any media at the time. If they are not happy with that they can complain the White House thru the public relations department.”

            I was glad to hear the two helicopters landing bring my family to spend the weekend and the debate with me. The Oval Office was closed promptly and on time.

            I was glad to see my mates and the little ones! I was ready to talk about things other than Senate and House bills, military and intelligence.

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Book 2 Chapter 183

            At 0630 I was eating a light breakfast and reading the morning updates. The bombing had resumed at 0001 as I ordered. The Navy and Air Force had split up the new targets plus there were over a thousand new ones picked out by the analysts who had studied all the photographs during the heavy bombing stand down.

            Another report indicated the ground forces had gained another one hundred miles before stopping and waiting for fuel and logistics to get to them.

            There were dozens of pictures of the oil wells and refineries. Years ago the Iranian Republican Guard had stationed thousands of soldiers in the region, primarily to end union organizing and strikes for higher wages and benefits.

            Hundreds of oil field workers were summarily executed for union organizing, participation in union activities or even discussing a union. There were barracks, exercise fields, administration offices and a grave yard. When Iran began the training exercises, all the troops assigned to the oil fields were shifted to the war games. They never returned; instead they were sent to one of the growing bases near the border.

            Because we wanted to avoid a repeat of Saddam Hussein’s mass environmental destruction in the first Gulf War, we had been watching the oil fields and the refineries with satellite and spy planes since the attack on the Hammann.

            The Special Forces from USS Boxer were actually in the marshlands near the oil fields and refineries observing. Those Special Forces reported to Rear Admiral David West. Admiral West certainly had access to plenty of firepower if something looked to go wrong for those embedded forces.

            There had been no sign of any troops there. During the lull in the bombing several non-military vehicles made trips to the administration building. We were trying to decide if the buildings were to be targets for missiles or to let troops take the area. The Army and Marine units would overrun the area within hours. They were less than a day away.

            We decided to let Marine General Downs, Army General Irons and Rear Admiral West make the final decision. They were on the USS Boxer – now the command center for ground forces. They knew our concerns. The Boxer was sailing in a box in the Persian Gulf directing the ground troops.

            It was 1000 and all the phones started ringing. We had sent the activation orders to thirty eight state states by special couriers. Apparently they were now being delivered and several Governors were upset.

            The first one that passed the gauntlet to get to speak to me was the governor of New York. ”I am not going to allow the New York National Guard to be activated to go to the front. I am going to court today for an injunction,” he said.

            ”Before you do that you need to have your State Attorney look at Title 10 Presidential Reserve call-up authorizations and policies. I am not calling up National Guard front line combat troops. I am calling up Transportation units, Military Police and culinary units. ”

            ”There are a large number of Iranian military that have surrendered and need to be held in POW camps for a short period of time. We cannot tie up soldiers needed at the fast moving front. The prisoners need to be guarded and they need to be fed.”

            ”The resupply lines are getting longer daily. The transportation units being called up are for moving men and materials to that front,” I said.

            ”I hope you review Title 10 and reconsider but make no mistake – the units that been called up are going one way or the other,” I added.

            I already knew that any challenge would have to be done in Federal court. The White House and military lawyers had already double checked the Title and previous court decisions regarding challenges.

            Another ace in the hole I had was a subsection in Title 10 regarding equipment of the state’s National Guard. It belonged to the Army and had to be returned to the Army whenever it became unwanted or a Guard base closed. With a simple stroke of the pen the Secretary of the Army could have any of it recalled within hours.

            If the Governor of New York refused to activate his forces I would issue orders to General Harridan to collect all the guard equipment in New York and return it to the Army. In two days it would be in Iran used by the Army – all of it portable kitchens, bulk foods, tents and much more.

            I had to repeat the conversation with six other governors. They were easily convinced to allow the activation of their Guard units.

            The Air Force C17s were going to be busy for a few days, but it would solve a growing problem. In the first five days of the ground offensive the troops had gathered ten thousand prisoners. They were hungry, suffering from shell shock and ready to give up.

             They had not received any food or fresh water since the bombing campaign began. Supply trucks were the random trucks the Navy and Air Force had been picking off like a turkey shoot.

            The prisoners the troops were capturing were from small military outposts, highway checkpoints and the small villages that were scattered all over southern Iran.

            All the big military bases had dozens of missiles plus the MOABs dropped on them. It was still a question mark on how many Iranian soldiers had died. How many that survived was even a bigger question. Huge numbers of Iranian soldiers were not showing up on the satellite or pictures from the SR72 spy plane.

            The new SR72 spy plane could fly higher than the old SR71. It was reported – but never confirmed – it flew in excess of one hundred thousand feet and was capable in emergencies of speeds of over five thousand miles an hour. That was faster than the new Chinese hypersonic antiaircraft missiles.

            The revolutionary new cameras systems were so good that the analysts who looked at the pictures joked that they could tell what kind of nipple piercings the topless ladies on the French Riviera were displaying from fifty thousand feet.

            Always before in their bravado they boasted of a million man army. So far we had captured fifteen thousand. Either missiles or MOABs had killed a major portion of their army. My money was on the MOAB. That is why we used the MOAB immediately after the Navy air campaign – to catch them still in the bunkers and air raid shelters.

            The other possibility was there were a lot of Iranian soldiers in unknown hidden bunkers and dug out mountain hide-outs waiting to surprise us.

            Maybe the intelligence group questioning the prisoners we had might shed some light on the subject.

            At 1600 I left the Oval Office for a quick supper and an hour in the presidential fitness center. Then I studied more of the information for the debate. It was late when I turned in.

            It was early when I got up. I called my mates and family on VCATS from my bedroom. We talked until 0700; it was an informative talk. The JBG men who were killed had all been laid to rest, many with military honors.

            Tomorrow Marcy, Ching Lee, Vicky and Jenny were going to Pirates Bank at Thimble Shoals for the monthly meeting. They were carrying more diamonds and gold bars. I’m sure Marcy has a plan on how to spend it to offset it.

            I read the updates from Iran; the front line troops had a quiet night. They were waiting for logistics to catch up. That would be another day before it happened so they were in a holding pattern to rest up.

            The Generals and Admirals on the Boxer hatched a plan for those troops at the very front that had seen the most miles. Their territory gains would have made Patton proud. For the better they all got hot breakfast and not MREs. They were delivered by Navy personnel from the carriers.

            There was no shortage of big Black Hawk helicopters – many with no seats – to move cargo. The Navy cooks on all the carriers cooked huge pans of all kinds of breakfast food; eggs, sausage, bacon, pancakes, ham, toast, fruits and coffee and kept all of it hot somehow. The Black Hawks made hour and thirty minute runs to the front.

            To my dismay reporters were allowed to go but it worked out as a PR event, especially when the few prisoners still with the front line troops were given hot food and coffee.

            I spent the afternoon back on calls with governors. My staff handled most of them; a few I had to handle. The Governor of New York called to tell me they were not going to court. I knew he would come to his senses after reviewing Title 10.

            After calls to my mates I was a lot happier. They were going to start spending nights with me again. The rush of things that kept them at home had eased off. All of them had expanded their staff to ease the workload.

            I went back to the information for the debate and studied until I went to bed.

            Friday morning was a rush again – the Generals had big folders of information for me to review. The day’s break in action had allowed portable fuel tanks to be moved to the front. More armored personnel and tanks had been moved to front lines.

            The real kicker was the combat construction teams were rebuilding an Iranian airport close to the front lines with a runway that would be capable of landing a C17, C5s and C130s. Their work would be done today.

            The base there had been cleared of Iranian soldiers the day before and it was one of the airports that had been hit only with missiles, so the runways were usable.

            There were several dozen airports that the runways had been spared bomb and concrete busting missiles hits. The fuel systems were also spared. The generals had plans to utilize them as the front advanced.

            My afternoon finished out with a group of Senators and Representatives and a bill signing presser. Congress had made changes to the three bills that I wanted. The press conference would make everybody happy.

            An hour later I was back studying. Tomorrow was Friday, my mates and our kids were coming to stay the weekend and accompany me to the debate.

Edit by Alfmeister

Proof read by Bob W.

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