Saturday, June 7, 2014

An Alternate History Tale

To get in the proper frame of mind for this story, watch this short video first.

Washington, D.C., May 15th, 2014: “What the HELL is going on?” roars POTUS as he storms into the Oval Office, holding a bourbon from his interrupted dinner. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel and two intelligence officers have their faces in their hands. Army Chief of Staff General Raymond T. Odierno inhales and stands to face the leader of the free world.

“Sir, we have a situation.”

“Sit down, Ray,” the president responds, putting his drink on his desk and grabbing the brief from his secretary. “The question is how did you idiots let it get this far? I said ‘Look into it.’ Not ‘finish negotiations.’”

Over the course of the next hour, the president learns his hunch was correct. Bowe Berghdal is exactly the piece of shit he’s always been and the Taliban are being predictably extremist in their negotiations. They are at an impasse and it’s five Taliban prisoners or nothing. “Well, the answer’s no,” the president replies, after all his worst fears are confirmed.

Sweat goes down the brow of John Brennan, the head of the CIA. “Sir,” he begins while clearing his throat, “It’s gone beyond that. We have no choice but to move forward.”

Obama whips his bourbon at the wall and the Waterford crystal shatters into 17 trillion pieces. “I told you not to make a move without my OK!” he hollers, his face changing color. One officer considers saying, “It got away from us,” but thinks better. The National Security Advisor is more impulsive and stands up for her men.
“The president inhales before bellowing, ‘WAR IS A FUCKING DEATH PANEL!’”

“Sir, with all due respect,” Susan Rice boldly states, “you did say no soldier left behind.”

Obama closes his eyes with regret. Why did he appoint this publicist to such a high office? “What was I thinking?” he says to himself. Then he gives her a look that almost sets her weave on fire.

She stares back at him, defenseless. She decides to double down. “It’s not up to us to decide which soldier lives or dies. This isn’t a death panel.”

The president looks pensively out the window. He would love to strangle her because she talks like the enemy, but he’s not on the battlefield anymore. He’s in the highest office in the land and he has to use his mind, not his immense physical strength and seemingly limitless tactical training.

“Susan” he says calmly, “Every life lost is the result of myriad complex calculations. Of course I wanted to negotiate this man’s release. So did most Republicans. The fact that we are at the point where we may have to give five prisoners for one deserter is a bad calculation. It’s also a very dangerous one. This will be a net loss for American lives.” The president’s voice has been getting incrementally louder and Rice is visibly shaken. “When the war is over—and believe me, this war will end—we will negotiate the release of all our prisoners. However, the war is NOT over. And do you know what war is, ambassador?”
The president inhales before bellowing, “WAR IS A FUCKING DEATH PANEL!”

Susan Rice bursts into tears and runs out of the Oval Office sobbing. She won’t be back. Barack Obama is instantly composed and continues the discussion with his advisors. “If,” he says, with one finger in the air, “If we are beyond the point of no return and we must give five prisoners for this, this, ass-clown, let’s do it with as little fanfare as possible. I want the exchange to go down under the wire and I don’t want to hear about it ever again. When Bowe—” The president pauses to shake his head. “Who spells Beau b-o-w-e anyhow?” he asks.

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