Saturday, June 5, 2010
Strauss Performing Arts Center
University of Nebraska, Omaha
Omaha’s remains were now firmly in the hands of the United States but our forces in Council Bluffs, just across the Missouri, were still under sniper and mortar fire with random RPG hit and run attacks.
Since arriving in western Omaha, Third Washington had served tens of thousands of meals, filtered hundreds of thousands of gallons of water, and treated more than ten thousand combat injuries of all kinds. Along the way, we’d learned that Idaho’s Gem State Engineering Brigade had lost ‘Able’, a sister train of Third Washington’s ‘Charlie’ and ‘Dog. Idaho’s ‘Baker’ was damaged, and would be stationary north of Omaha until the brigade could be reconstituted. Idaho had lost nine hundred men in the coordinated attack on ‘Able’ as it pulled into the northern suburbs of Omaha, in areas thought to be secured. Numerous IED’s under the rails were detonated simultaneously, derailing and setting fire to many of the cars, and quickly killing a substantial number of the men aboard. The survivors were then attacked in force as they scrambled from the wreckage before friendly forces could arrive.
We were lucky, again.
University of Nebraska, Omaha presented an intact venue for a major face-to-face briefing of field commanders and support staff of all branches. Before the battle, the performance hall appeared to have been set up for a concert. Outside the building, enemy and civilian dead were lined up on the sidewalk, waiting for burial. I found myself viewing what should have been a disturbing sight as…routine.
A few blocks north of the building were two piles of wreckage that had at one time been Airbus airliners. One appeared to have been converted a cargo carrier, filled with SAM’s and RPG’s. Many had cooked off in the fire after the crash or forced landing. The second had at least a hundred people aboard. Their remains were still strapped into their seats, the top of the fuselage burned away, starboard wing sheared off. No one knew how they were brought down.
I hadn’t seen many of the men and women up on the stage of the concert hall since we’d left Spokane, seemingly another world ago. Bob Anderson noticed half of Third Washington’s senior staff, and waved us over to the stage before the briefing began.
“Good morning, General. Good to see you,” I said. “It’s been awhile.”
“Colonel Drummond, I hear good things about your unit,” he said before turning his attention to the other men, shaking their hands and then mine. “Good to see you’re representing our state well.”
“We’ve had our moments, sir. We’ve had an interesting run so far.”
“You’ll have more challenges tossed your way in the weeks to come, Rick,” he said quietly, being called to start the brief.
More than two hundred men and women were in attendance, including a fair number of Navy personnel. Other than the occasional F/A-18 and a few encounters with SEALS, we hadn’t had any contact with blue-water personnel. Marines, regular Army and Guard officers, dozens of Air Force officers, all ranks, shapes and sizes. Most of us wore dirty uniforms, coming straight from the field. The smell of burning Omaha was embedded in our clothing.
“Good morning. I’m Major General Robert Anderson, formerly of Pacific Northwest Command, of late, assigned to the Joint Chiefs. I have been assigned command of the drive to the east against the S.A. Four other field generals are under my command, including General Angela Garcia of the Texas National Guard; General Bill Monroe, regular Army; General James Wilkerson, regular Army, and an outspoken Razorback; and United States Marine General Kenneth Daily, commanding Marine Expeditionary Units now covering three states. Please be seated.” A map image of eastern Canada and the United States appeared on a screen behind the officers on the stage.
“S.A. forces are in collapse across fifteen hundred miles of battle front and are concentrating their defenses on the southern Great Lakes area, stretching from west of Rockford, Illinois to north of Indianapolis, and east to Pittsburgh,” he said as the map image showed U.S. progress over the past few weeks, a line of red moving against the ‘blue’ of the S.A. “We have no idea why they are reinforcing this line, to be frank, and further, don’t really care. The United States military, along with our Canadian troops, have now completely encircled the S.A. on all sides; with the Northeastern states now back in U.S. control. We have everything from Maine to Maryland, all of eastern New York State, parts of eastern Pennsylvania. Quebec and Montreal were sidestepped, and aren’t worth at this time, investing men and materiel in. Ottawa, everything north of this line,” he said pointing to North Bay and Sudbury, “are in U.S. control.”
“Simultaneously, we are seeing violent attacks on U.S. forces in recently taken territory. The Iraq insurgency. The Afghan firefights. The attacks on soft civilian targets carried out by Mexican agents and cartel operatives. Ruthless, ladies and gentlemen, and we’re sending all of you into territory where this is a daily or weekly occurrence. We never did find a way to defeat it in Asia within the rules of engagement we were operating under at that point in time. Those rules of engagement do not apply here. You identify a threat, you take it out. There will be no chain of command to run up, approve, and filter back down slowly, while viable targets escape. I repeat. You find a viable target, you engage and destroy.”
Anderson outlined projected paths for each of the major military groups, coordinated with Air Force and Army air support units, with the overall objectives projected on the screen. Each units designation was shown in motion, ours in support of fifty thousand troops moving east and north, followed by supply and reinforcing units. Wisely, no timelines were shown—things would happen as circumstance allowed.
The map display showed of course, a smooth, fluid motion of armed units across the fields…nothing ever, ever ran smoothly though. There would be inevitably, attacks on the rails, bridges, roads and the ever unexpected.
The briefing wrapped up in forty-five minutes, allowing us to get back about our business. Third Washington would be one of the trailing support units moving out from Omaha, allowing our depleted resources, and tired men, a slightly more leisurely pace that the frantic pace we’d had for days on end.
I had my own ride back to the command car, and the rest of the staff split up and headed to their various destinations. One of General Anderson’s men had flagged me down asked for a few minutes of my time with the General, in private. As I waited in the hallway, I helped myself to a couple of shortbread cookies and a Coke, the first I’d had in more months than I could remember. I couldn’t remember anything tasting so good.
Our logistics staff was putting together a supply plan for the residents of Omaha, after our departure, not unlike the plans we’d executed for smaller towns, but much more complex due to the damage done in the fighting and the larger population.
Medical staff—greatly supplemented by skilled civilians, doctors and nurses, flooded into the city not long after the last of the major battles ceased. Our staff was now back to a more manageable number of routine military injuries, rather than catastrophic triage, field hospital surgery, and evacuation. The survival rates of wounded were now much better than at the onset, and there were far fewer cases where nothing could be done, rather than pain management.
“Rick, c’mon in. Have a seat,” Bob Anderson said from a small office not far from the main auditorium.
“Thanks, Bob. You think the war will progress that smoothly?” I said, skeptic tone in my voice.
“Nope, but it’s good to be optimistic. We have the upper hand.”
“I didn’t hear anything about the S.A.’s ballistic capabilities. I’m hoping those are no longer an issue.”
“Can’t talk about that, sorry,” he said, saying of course that they were probably still in play. “Impressions overall. What’d you think?”
“From a civilian-as-Army-officer point of view?”
“Depending on how they consolidate their lines, and what they have behind them, you could be fighting this war for a very long time. They had time, before the war really started; they had a LOT of time to stockpile fuel, food, weapons, whatever. We don’t know what they’ve got…or, more properly, I don’t know. I don’t know what exotic hardware and weapons they might have. We’ve seen French, German, and Russian armor, and very, very capable commanders. We’ve seen a ton of Russian, Chinese and Egyptian SAM’s, and some stuff that my Intel guy can’t identify. We had a thousand mortar rounds fired at us in seventy-two hours. They have deep pockets,” I said. General Anderson nodded, leaning back in his chairs, fingers interlaced above his chest.
“Go on,” he said. There didn’t seem to be any new information that he was hearing, nor should there have been, I hoped.
“To look at the S.A. moving into the future, they cannot ever overcome the stigma of what they have done to the people in their paths, unless they are absolutely confident of complete victory and complete control of all people, media, education…essentially having to re-write the history of the war, and kill anyone who posits a different story. Stalin revisited. For them to continue along the process of war fighting they have used to date, that has to be their ultimate end, there is no other possible goal that makes sense. That brings two possibilities to light, for me. First, they still have some unknown and devastating capability that they will use on the United States to destroy us; or second, this is the only thing they know, and even as they collapse, they continue this process because there is no alternative. The latter is more ultimately more dangerous.” Bob leaned forward on the desk toward me
“Hmmm. Why do you think that—that some massive attack will be actually less devastating than the continued scorched-Earth strategy?”
“Not more devastating—more dangerous,” I said, correcting him. “If they had the ability to attack us in a decapitating manner, they would have done so by now. Maybe that missile attack back at the beginning of the month was their last big shot, I don’t know. Now though, we, the United States, is mobilized fully. I don’t know their numbers. For that matter, I’m not sure I know ours. But if feels like the math is on our side, and math always wins,” I said. “I believe that the ‘fight-as-we-die’ approach is far less predictable and more dangerous in terms of threats to our, well, our freedom. The true believers strike at any target, viable or not. As things collapse, they spread out through the lines, blend into far-flung society, and become centers of terrorist attacks far and wide. Then they start indoctrinating the ‘disenfranchised’ and a hundred years from now, here we are again.”
“Fair enough. Now, take a few minutes to read this,” Anderson said as he slid a file across the desk to me. “I’ll be back in about ten minutes. You’ll have the gist of it by the time I get back,” he said as he stood, and I stood as he did per protocol.
I opened the folder, and found a partially destroyed report, from the State of America. Many pages and halves of pages were missing, some burned, the rest of the document water damaged and unreadable. What remained was still quite enlightening. The heavy hardback cover was embossed in gold. The total report was perhaps three-eighths of an inch thick in the original form. I had perhaps ten to twenty percent of the total report in my hands.
State of America Report on Progressive Element Actions, Midway through the Twenty Year Plan
Three or four pages at the start of the report were missing, with the text beginning I guessed, in mid-chapter or mid-section.
Currency actions throughout the history of the Movement have always been directed toward the singular goal of gaining initial, and then complete control through individual monetary systems. With dramatic cascade-like action initiated by the Movement over the past decade, including the engineered destruction of three major currencies, the Movement was perhaps a year away from global financial domination. The Caliphate aberration has slowed this progress, but alternative actions are being initiated to overcome this delay. Once that level of control is achieved, Movement authorities have complete control of all meaningful economic transactions and therefore, complete control of all elements of society. The Movement can then continue unabated to shape the future of society as necessary.
Five more pages were missing from the report, printed on a fine linen-style paper with exceptionally good graphic design and layout. I noted in an odd way, the beautifully designed report was in perfect contrast to the words printed therein.
I moved on to another partial paragraph, part of a page clipped into the document, with notes from an Intel analyst on its probable location within the whole and overall context.
Successful influence by the Movement on Western ratings agencies throughout European and American investment industry resulted in the aggregation of power to eventually control the global finance system and achieve the goals set by our predecessors. With the ratings agencies cooperation, major investment houses fell into Movement influence, and then control, quickly allowing universal control of the financial system………
Another ten pages torn out. It was frustrating to see bits and pieces of this report, stating some of the deepest conspiratorial theories as fact, and yet not having a full picture.
Re-direction of technological advancements through means of government regulation has been successful in restraining advancements that might otherwise negatively influence Movement progress. Control of many industries in the developed world, Pre-War, was firmly under covert Movement control. Losses through the Third World War and the current American operations have regrettably resulted in the loss of Movement control systems, and post War, we project a period of innovation that the Movement must gain control over. Movement representatives within industry have been responsible for monitoring, redirect, and acquisition; and as often, for control of advancement until managed release benefits Movement goals and objectives. Where these operatives have been lost, new Movement influences must be put in place immediately to quickly regain control and re-establish determined paths to the future……….
The governmental collapse in Europe and the dramatic spread of the radically fundamentalist Caliphate has forced relocation of key parties in the Movement to the United Kingdom, Canada and the State of America. After the defeat of the United States, it is projected that within five years, an invasion of the Continent will consolidate Movement objectives within the State of America, Europe, and the former Soviet Union. Progressive elements at this time are active in China and are aggressively organizing the people into the Progressive Movement system, rapidly identifying candidates for Organization and consolidation of surviving key industries. Further infiltration into Chinese held corporations abroad is also a stated goal, but resources have not been allocated to pursue this objective.
Destruction of information systems that did not directly benefit the Movement, has largely been through acquisition of competing media outlets, then consolidation and elimination, and resulted naturally in managed output of information.
Control of commercial broadcast frequencies, and the planned elimination of all but digital radio and television broadcasts, was partially complete by the onset of the Third World War. Movement operatives are systematically addressing remaining analog broadcast transmission equipment, with the obvious goal of meeting the Movement’s requirement. Amateur equipment presents a larger challenge that will be addressed in the field by operatives on a case-by-case basis.
Having had some direct experience in Spokane County with sniper attacks on our television and radio transmitters, it was chilling to see how the S.A. would pursue our future, given the option.
There was little in the report that held as much gravity as the limited bits of text related to health care.
Central planning and management of medical care Pre-War, began to achieve the stated goal of providing staged care to designated patients who had become vested in society; who had remaining years or decades of productive contribution; who exhibited superior traits identified by the Movement, etc. Conversely, those who had not achieved full productive vestment in society (fetuses, children up to the age of 18, or those identified with physical, genetic or mental abnormalities) were provided alternate management, naturally resulting in separation from what was internally identified as Prime Care Management. The alternative, widely publicized and implemented in the former United States, was called Natural Care Management, and was successfully marketed and implemented across the lower-tier of the population, with beginning results illustrated in a dramatic “savings” in terms of gross costs. Projected implementation rates over a twenty-five year look ahead would have reduced the lower tier population by up to seventy percent across the United States, similar to performance in other Movement nations over the past ten years.
I closed the report, not reading it completely, but thinking about what I’d just read, and took a sip of the Coke on the desk. Bob Anderson came back into the office, and I stood by reflex.
“Still think that there’s an ‘either or’ in terms of threat?”
“No sir, I don’t believe that I do.”
“Good try, though. The point I need you to understand Colonel, is that the people that wrote that report are not all that different than a whole lot of other people now in the United States. When the FBI analyzed the S.A. leadership and structure, and then put together the connections between the S.A. and surviving United States leadership, well, let’s say the white board was a mess of connections. There’s a generation and a half, maybe two generations of people that have this type of acceptance of Government Being In Control ingrained in them so deeply that it may well be two generations to get some balance back in the system. Central command economy. That whole health care debacle. The financial control and the destruction of what the Founders defined as ‘money,’” he said. “No, this war won’t end at when the S.A. is defeated. It will end when the people are educated, and not until then. You won’t be a soldier forever. You’re one of a handful of people that seem to have a perspective that goes beyond rank. Start thinking about what you’re going to do after the War. We’re probably a couple months away from the end of it.”
“Bob, what are you suggesting? I can be thick when it comes to taking advice.”
“Once you wrap things up with your Brigade, I think you should consider running for office in your state. You have a lot of what this country needs, and you’re young enough to make a difference.”
“General, I’ve been drafted twice in the past year. First to help run Spokane County, and then by Dave Hall for Third Washington. I can’t say that I would have chosen either, had I the choice.”
“Sometimes, Colonel Drummond, things happen not of our choosing that are exactly right, but cannot be seen as exactly right, until they are viewed from many years distant. Think about it.”