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The four-star general momentarily opened his bloodshot eyes, looked at the five others in the secure conference room as they prepared coffees or grabbed bottled water or soda, and just as quickly closed them. During his thirty-two year career wearing the uniform of the United States Army, he could not remember a time when his eyelids were so heavy, nor his mind so troubled. Everything had gone so tragically bad so quickly that assigning blame was now a useless exercise to be carried out by future historians. Survival was all that mattered.
The general had never considered himself a political animal. He was a professional soldier whose only job was to safeguard the sovereignty of the United States and the welfare of her people. With each passing day, that sacred responsibility slipped further from his control as predicted, but mostly ignored forces, now unleashed their evil upon the homeland.
Being more pragmatic than political, the general paid very close attention when, back in 2007, Senator Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut had stressed that the 2008 presidential election was “the most important of my lifetime.” The senator articulated that opinion for one reason and one reason only: terrorism.
The general respected Lieberman. He felt the senator truly did seem to be a politician willing to put country before party. And for that, the general knew, Lieberman had paid a heavy political price as the far-left of the democrat party savaged him. They savaged him when he supported the war in Iraq and they especially savaged him when he endorsed Republican Senator John McCain over liberal Barack Obama.
As a war-fighter and a career military officer, the general knew that sometimes things were as simple and as straightforward as they seemed. Experience did matter in the world and lessons ignored were often pain revisited.
When the former Democrat and now independent senator outlined his most crucial reason for supporting McCain over Obama, the general found himself in complete agreement. Said the senator at the time, “…We’re a nation facing great challenges in the world, most immediately from Islamist extremism and the expression of force from Al Qaida and the terrorist groups in Iran. John McCain understands that and is ready to approach that problem with the combination of strength and building alliances…He’s also ready to be president as we face another chapter in our relations with the rest of the world, and that is the rise of great powers that we want to have peace with, but we will only really have peace with if we’re strong. I’m talking about Russia and China, particularly…We’ve got to put the national interest ahead of partisan interest…So I think this is going to be a very important election…the most important in my lifetime…When you vote for president, you vote for the person. And I think, toe to toe, experience to experience, national interest above all else, the guts to take on people in his own party if he disagrees with them, John McCain can and should win this election.”
With his eyes still closed, and as his colleagues took their places around the conference table, the general massaged his temples with his fingertips and mentally repeated Lieberman’s words: “John McCain can and should win this election.” And yet…he didn’t. Not by a long-shot.
It was because McCain had lost an election that he deserved to win and that the country desperately needed him to win, that the general had called this meeting. Sometimes things were as simple and as straightforward as they appeared. In direct contrast to the false “moderate” image the candidate and many of his enablers in the mainstream media had crafted to get him elected, minutes after taking the oath of office on January 20, 2009, now President Barack Obama, did what came naturally. He tacked as far left as possible, and in the process, opened a Pandora’s box that was bringing the United States to its knees.
Almost two years into the Obama administration and the nation had been hit multiple times by terrorist attacks. The first since September 11, 2001.
While conservative in his beliefs, the general tended to keep all politicians at arms length. Republicans included. That said, he and his colleagues at the Pentagon did have an appreciation for the mindset of former President George W. Bush when it came to terrorists, their foreign sanctuaries, and the best method for dealing with them. The Bush doctrine was to crush them where they ate, where they slept, and where they planned.
Soon after taking office, President Obama not only worked with the Democrat majority in Congress to rescind all aspects of the Patriot Act, but during his first national press conference, declared that the Bush doctrine of destroying terrorists bent on the eradication of the United States from the face of the earth was, “immoral, obscene and criminal,” and that “charges would be filed against those in our military and intelligence services who carried out these crimes against humanity.”
“Humanity,” snorted the general as he opened his eyes, took out a pen, and prepared to start a meeting that some in the media and the Obama White House would most assuredly label “traitorous” in nature had they been privy to its location and subject matter.
The “humans” that President Obama sought to treat as criminals instead of terrorists -- including and especially those he had released from Guantanamo -- quickly and lethally reconstituted themselves once the new president outlawed the harsh measures employed by the previous administration. Once rebuilt, rearmed, re-teamed, and refunded, the terrorists logically began to strike out at their most despised enemy: The United States.
With a massive explosion in the Galleria section of Houston, two corporate jets being flown into the Sears Tower in Chicago, ten bombs simultaneously detonated at various popular and packed movie houses in New York City, and seven suicide bombings in some of Washington, DC’s most well known restaurants and hotels, the terrorists announced that they were once again, a fanatical force to be dealt with. A force, that had not only just killed over four-thousand Americans, but in conjunction with the Obama tax increases, Jimmy Carter-like interest rates, and growing unemployment, had crippled the U.S. economy.
Joining the general at the highly secret meeting taking place at the Fort Myer Military Community in Arlington, Virginia, were one admiral, an air force general, and three high-level officials from the FBI, Homeland Security, and the CIA. As things in the nation continued to spiral out of control, these six individuals -- who independently controlled or exercised tremendous sway over essential parts of the government -- decided it was imperative that they start meeting as a group to honestly asses the damage being done to the republic and to weigh their options. When they first began, they were gathering once a month. Current events had them accelerate that schedule to once a week.
Before being called upon by the four-star army general, the assistant director of the Office of Counterterrorism at the FBI spoke up. “We have essentially lost control over our Southwest border. I know we have a lot on the agenda today, but I think it’s important to make that point. What was once sovereign is now either in the hands of ultra-violent Mexican drug cartels with high-grade military ordinance, or being crossed daily by elements of Hezbollah and Al Qaida.”
The admiral, who brought his own list of emergencies -- which kept his mind off the now sieve-like U.S.-Mexican border -- responded first. “Hezbollah? Actual Hezbollah fighters are crossing into our nation from Mexico?”
“Yes, admiral.” Nodded the FBI agent. “It was Hezbollah fighters who carried out the bombings of the movie theaters in New York. Some went to the East coast. Some the West coast. Our intelligence traffic has picked up again. Just as it did before New York was hit. I suspect these guys are about to target Los Angeles, San Francisco, or both.”
“Well if you know that,” said the admiral in a rising tone. “Why don’t you just stop them. The last time I checked, that was your job.”
“John,” said the army general as he put his hand on the admiral’s forearm. “Let’s not forget we’re all on the same team here and that everyone is doing the best they can under impossible circumstances.”
Before the admiral could respond, the FBI agent continued. “That’s okay, general. I know the admiral is a little stressed. We all are.”
The agent then turned in his chair to better face the navy man “Sir, I understand that your fleet has all it can handle trying to detect and stop the submarines being sent into our waters by rogue nations. Not the least of which, those being sent in by Hugo Chavez. And it’s Chavez, that I’d like to focus on for a minute.”
The agent took a long sip of his still steaming black coffee before continuing.
“A few years ago, the House Committee on Homeland Security -- Subcommittee on Investigations -- released a chilling report titled “Line in the Sand: Confronting the Threat at the Southwest Border.” As expected, the vast majority of the mainstream media ignored it or labeled it xenophobic. Furthermore, many politicians either ignored it or attacked it in a shameful attempt to get Hispanic-American votes. Well, watch out what you wish for. Since the current administration has torn down the limited amount of border fence that was built with precious taxpayer money, the number of illegal aliens streaming into our country is now approaching one-million per year. Among those numbers are hundreds -- and most likely thousands -- of Islamic fighters.”
“Thousands,” whispered the incredulous admiral.
“Yes, sir. In that House Committee report that was assailed by the liberal democrats and their servants in the media, it was detailed back then -- we are talking almost five years ago -- that Venezuela was the hub of terrorism in the Western Hemisphere and that Hugo Chavez was the ring-leader. The same Chavez who recently spent billions buying Russian submarines which he is now using to target our coasts and harass your fleet…”
The admiral took a quick look at the agent and the others in the conference room before answering. “Don’t I know it. Under the current rules of engagement issued by the White House, I’m not allowed to respond to his constant and escalating provocations.”
“Sadly,” responded the agent. “It’s not hard to figure out why. Naively and irresponsibly, President Obama and his sycophants thought that once George W. Bush was out of power, Chavez and the terrorists would embrace the United States and all would be forgiven. It’s a cliché, but it’s true. Those who forget history are doomed to repeat it. President Obama forgot very recent history and we are all paying an extreme price for his faulty memory or partisan agenda.”
Knowing the answer, the general still asked. “What did he forget, Tom?”
The FBI agent compressed his lips and shook his head before answering. “President Obama forgot that the World Trade Center in New York was first hit after Bill Clinton became president. He forgot that while September 11th happened on the watch of George W. Bush, it was conceived, planned, and financed while Bill Clinton was still president. He forgot that many of the hijackers lived in the United States. That they were raising their families here. That they could see beyond a shadow of a doubt that all of the indoctrination they received from the Wahhabi sect was a pack of lies and yet, they still flew those planes into those buildings. He forgot that we are dealing with insane people like Chavez and the Jihadists. People who don’t care if the President of the United States is a liberal or a conservative, a Republican or a Democrat. He forgot that the minds of these people are so twisted with hate, that you can’t meet with them, you can’t be their buddy, and you can’t reason with them. He forgot that if you don’t kill them first, they will kill you and in the process, destroy all you believe in. His ideology and the ideology of those he surrounds himself with, prevented him from seeing, or at least acknowledging the obvious. Simply put, the president forgot or ignored the truth.”
The agent took another sip of coffee and cleared his throat. “To get back to your question, Admiral. Domestically, we have killed tens of these Islamic fighters and captured hundreds. We just can’t keep up their numbers as they infiltrate the United States. Worse, because three Supreme Court Justices immediately announced their retirement upon the swearing in of President Obama so he could tilt the Court liberal, we have trouble even keeping some of these murderers locked-up. To wrap up my unscheduled filibuster, should President Obama need further clarification as to the intentions of Hugo Chavez, he merely needs to ask the NSC for a copy of Chavez’s latest interview with Al Jazeera television. During the interview, which took place in Iran where Chavez was solidifying his own nuclear program, the dictator spelled it out all very clearly when he said, ‘I am on the offensive because attack is the best form of defense. We are waging an offensive battle against evil.’ Now, as much as it may hurt the feelings of the President to learn that, in spite of his appeasement campaign, terrorists and thug leaders still don’t like him and even consider him ‘evil,’ that’s the reality he’s inherited and the national disaster he’s handed to all of us in this room.”
“Thank you, Tom,” said the general as he tapped the highly polished conference table with his pen. “As four other people still need to report on their corners of gloom and doom, why don’t we get on with it. Admiral?”
A little more than two hundred and twenty-five miles to the Northeast, a middle-aged man wearing gray slacks, a blue blazer, and a tie-less light blue dress shirt, sat alone at a green wooden table in Bryant Park and quietly wept.
As his mood could not have been more somber, he deliberately picked a corner of the park still bathed in the late morning sunlight. As the park was located behind the New York public library on 5th Avenue, and surrounded by the skyscrapers of 6th Avenue and the cross streets, he knew his time in the warm sunshine would be limited. That was okay by him. He just needed it to last long enough to make one phone call.
In the middle of the third ring, his call was answered. “Hello.”
“Hi, dad,” said the man in a halting voice.
“What’s wrong, son?” Asked the father from his home in Hershey, Pennsylvania.
The man let out a small laugh as he wiped away a tear with the sleeve of his sport-coat. “You mean since we talked last night? Well, aside from the fact that I’m still a mental wreck and can’t imagine living in a world without Susan, I just quit the paper. I want to come home.”
The father tried to keep his voice as neutral as possible. “You just quit your job at The New York Times.”
“Yes, dad,” answered the man as he automatically crouched down while watching a large white truck pass by on 6th Avenue. “I had to. It’s what I started to tell you last night. No matter how many ways I look at it, if I want to be honest with myself, then I have to admit that my paper with its monolithic liberal mindset, bears some responsibility for this new wave of terrorist attacks.”
“Son. These terrorists have sick minds…”
Before he could continue, his son angrily cut him off. “So what. If you enable a sick or murderous mind, aren’t you just as guilty? Dad, my wife was killed in one of those movie house explosions over six weeks ago. This is not some liberal academic exercise. My life as I know it has been destroyed. What role did my paper play in letting the terrorists reconstitute themselves and enter our country. What role…what role…did I play?”
“Oh, son,” said the father as he tried to comfort his only child. “Don’t be ridiculous.”
“It’s anything but ridiculous, dad.” Said the son as he held the cell phone tighter to his left ear. “I’ve been with this paper for over ten years. I’ve been here as we only reported the negative from Iraq and none of the positive. I’ve been here the whole time this paper led a non-stop campaign against the Patriot Act. I’ve been here as this paper deliberately chose to publish national secrets. Stories that aided and abetted the enemy. The enemy, dad. Terrorists. The New York Times -- because of their blind hatred of George W. Bush -- published stories that alerted the terrorists to our methods for tracking them and gathering intelligence regarding their next attacks.”
“But that was the paper, son. You didn’t write those stories.”
“Oh please, dad. We both know better than that. I know the people responsible. I socialized with them. I worked with them. I knew it was wrong and never said a word. I never quit in protest. I never did anything until it was too late.”
“You’re still in shock. You are being way too hard on yourself. Come home for a few days and…”
The man jumped from his chair and yelled back into the phone. “That’s bull, dad. I’m not being hard enough on myself. What’s the true definition of traitorous behavior? Huh? What’s the true definition? What do you call it when, for night after night, the liberal networks and cable networks air that grotesque montage of U.S. military vehicle after U.S. military vehicle being blown to pieces in Iraq? Who do you think shot that footage, dad? It was the very terrorists who just killed and maimed those brave U.S. troops. That’s who filmed it. The networks knew that and still eagerly aired a snuff film shot by terrorists. Define traitorous, dad, because…”
Just then, there was a deafening explosion that rocked the city and came from the direction of Time Square.
With his ears still ringing from the blast, the man could hear his father screaming into the phone, “What was that?”
As the now former reporter for the New York Times watched his fellow park visitors cry, embrace each other, or flee in all directions, he answered his father in the clearest voice he’d had in months.
“The liberal media’s legacy, dad. The liberal media’s legacy. I pray I see you soon.”
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