Short story from Doug Hawley

War

President Jenkins – Ladies and gentlemen, we have bad news.  The government of the caliphate of Isis has just executed five Christians in what used to be Northern Iraq.  Name me possible responses.

Chief Of Staff Brooks –Madame President, after Viet Nam and Iraq, war is a very hard sell.

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Of Staff Adams – As you know Madame President, the military has been severely handicapped by the squeezed budget for the last generation.  On the other hand, based on the time since the last major military operations initiated by Presidents Bush, we have quite an arsenal of older weapons.  I hope that the ISIS fighters are ill prepared for battle, given that they have not done any fighting since they secured their present borders fifteen years ago.

I would never admit saying this, but the troops are getting fat and bored when we have not had any major conflicts for 17 years.  Officers can’t get promoted for sitting on their asses.

Secretary of The Treasury Adkins – Madame President, the unemployment is creeping up towards 8% again and productivity is sagging.  I think that an increased military would absorb some of the unemployment and have a positive effect on the economy.

Jenkins – If there is any way we could justify putting those murderous bastards from ISIS in their place, I would be a happy woman.  Unfortunately, many in the public remember “Weapons of Mass Destruction” and some of the really old remember “Bay Of Tonkin”.  There is a huge anti-war presence out there, even beyond the usual peaceniks and pacifists.  How can we get around that?

Press Secretary Simpson – This may sound perverse, but could we drop anonymous hints to our enemies in the press that this administration is soft on ISIS?  That might get a lot of people behind an invasion.

Jenkins – Sneaky, but I like it.

National Security Council Chief Rosten – I think that several of the countries around the Middle East would support us.  Even the Sunni governments in places like Saudi Arabia think that ISIS is a bunch of crazies that threaten their governments.  Iran would love to chase those guys out of power.  I know that we still don’t like Iran or their various proxies much, but you know “The enemy of my enemy”.  I don’t know if the public would know or care about us switching sides yet again, or understand the distinctions between the different brands of Islam or even that Arab doesn’t equal Islam.

Attorney General Flanders – At this point it seems that ISIS has no terrorist plans beyond the Middle East, but we are keeping our eyes on them.

Secretary Of State Lincoln – Madame President, I have several private communiqués from several Mid Eastern states implying that they would at a minimum not get involved and perhaps would openly support an invasion.  They would even tolerate Israel coming on board.  The Kurds hate ISIS.

Jenkins – Mr. Adams, what kind of damage are we looking at?

Adams – We think ISIS has only 5,000 committed, trained fighters.  The rest are just wannabees who will quit as soon as they face a major enemy.  To be safe, let us say 10,000 US troops and just a few billion dollars.  Rounding error.

Jenkins – I think that what we really need is a little more outrage amongst the populace.  As you say, we can’t try anything like “Bay Of Tonkin” or “Weapons Of Mass Destruction” again.  There are too many people who won’t fall for it, even though they should not have bought those frauds the first time around.  We certainly can’t claim they will be dancing in the streets upon our arrival in Iraq like Dick Cheney said.

Anybody?  Anything?  Ok, we will meet back here in a week to see what we can come up with.

A week later. 

Jenkins  – As you must all know by now we received a gift this last week.  ISIS plotted major disasters in twenty different cities.  I give them points for imagination and vision.  Poisoning the water supply for Chicago.   Blowing up the Boeing plant in Seattle.  Destroying Boulder dam.  Undermining the levies around New Orleans.   We’ve got a hero in the FBI, Special Agent Manson, who was able to unwind the whole thing before it got serious.  Frankly, I doubt that they have been able to pull it off, put all we needed was proof that they would try.

Flanders, can you swear that this was not a put up job?

Flanders – Absolutely.  Everything is on the up and up.  Our fingerprints aren’t on it, and to our benefit the bad guys want to admit that they are behind it for their personal glory.  They will proudly be punished to the maximum extent of the law.

Jenkins – OK, now what would really help is to get something out of the United Nations.  Crant?

Delegate to the UN Crant – I’m on it Madame President.

A month later.

Jenkins – We’ve got some support from the UN, but I can’t call it complete buy in, but good enough.

Mr. Lincoln, is our coalition together?

Lincoln – Yes, but I can’t say it amounts to much.  At least we can say that it is an international force.

Jenkins – Mr. Adams, is the military ready?

Adams – Yes, we wish we had a bigger slice of the budget over the last twenty years, but yes.

Jenkins – This is not the time for politicking, yes or no.

Adams – Yes, Madame President.

Jenkins – How does Congress look to you Ms. Brooks?  You still have a lot of pull there since you were a senator.

Brooks – Even though our citizens hate ISIS, they had hated war even more and Congress didn’t want to wade into that hornets’ nest, but with this huge terror plot, I think that we can easily pass a resolution.

A month later.

Jenkins – We have all of the loose ends tied up.  ISIS has a month to disarm and dissolve or face military action.  Since they won’t accede to these demands, we can assume thar we invade in a month.  I want to hear anyone who is not onboard, and reasons why.

Silence.

Headlines over the next year:

Coalition Forces Surprised By Poison Gas

Thousands Suffer From Impaired Lung Function

Costs And Casualties Mount As Invasion Drags On

Coalition Members Face Rebellion At Home – Troops Withdraw

Gas Price UP 50% As ISIS Threatens Supply

Jenkins Rating 34% Favorable And Dropping Fast

Special Agent Manson Admits Organizing Plot That He “Discovered”

Manson Says His Name Held Him Back – Wanted To Be A Hero

Jenkins Will Not Run For Reelection

Appeared in Down In The Dirt and the defunct Subtopian