The Everpresent Threat

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Jeb Stuart's Ghost

All in all, July 3 and 4 were very bloody days in America, the bloodiest days since 9/11, and much more widespread. The hardest thing for most Americans to accept was that the carnage was real and thousands of dead and wounded Americans had yet to be counted.

In a country used to getting upset about casualties in the dozens in natural disasters, this killing was of a scale that would take the people of the land a century to absorb, even in these digital nanosecond times. Damage to property was in the tens of billions. What al-Qaeda had set out to do on September 11, 2001, it was determined to finish now.

The White House, one of the most important symbols of American democracy and leadership, lay in ruins. So, too, did the Hart Senate Office Building, the Department of Labor, the Health and Human Services Building, and hundreds of other government, commercial and residential buildings.

The White House had been destroyed before -- by the British during the War of 1812. Back then, it was a simple structure meant to house the American President and his family. Now, with all the communications networks housed in the complex, it was one of the most important nerve centers of the Western world. Destroyed, it could not be rebuilt as simply as it had been the first time it was destroyed.

Numerous other federal buildings around the White House sustained tremendous damage. The Office of the US Trade Representative, located just across from the Old Executive Office Building, was an early sanctuary for some of the most heavily armed Jihadi’s.

They had set up machine gun nests in the basement windows where the alcoves made excellent defense perimeters. It was next to this building that one of the most damaging points of entry into the White House had been established.

Here, inside Liberty Plaza and in between the ice skating rink and the White House Connection restaurant, there were stairs that led to an underground switching station for the Washington Electric and Gas Utility. It was a large switching station. It also had an excellent entree into the Old Executive Office Building and the East Wing of the White House.

Abdullah’s men, many of whom had worked for the utility before the assault, knew well this connection and exploited it to the fullest within the first hour of their drive into the White House grounds.

They had hundreds of men waiting in the offices they had rented in the vicinity of the White House who, when the word was given, poured into this entrance way and shot out or overpowered the badly outnumbered and outgunned guards.

As part of their effort to disrupt the American economy by destroying the financial system of the country to complete a mission they started on 9/11, the Jihadi’s laid waste the Federal Deposit Insurance Agency (FDIC) building.

This was all part of Abdullah’s coordinated grand strategy to break American financial and military strength sufficiently in one strike that he could then negotiate his other demands very quickly.

He had been in Kuwait in 1991 when the American’s liberated the country and saw firsthand what advantage material wealth could bring to the battle when waging a war. He was determined to have that money on his side during this conflict, and thought the FDIC was where he would find it.

The debasing and destruction of the American dollar, begun under a former administration, was almost catastrophic. Given the lengths to which The Fed and that Administration had gone to destroy the nation’s currency, it was reassuring to the financial planners that must get us through the reality of financial ruin that this attack would not be as great on the nation’s finances as it had been in days, not years, as before.

What he had failed to realize was that decades ago when the federal government realized how centralized its financial operations were the decision had been made to keep backup systems on servers in abandoned mines in Pennsylvania and Utah.

Using these backup files, the FDIC made good on every promise of deposit whether from a small investor in short-term treasury bonds to large institutional investor holdings.

Enough time had passed that when Frank and his men took a survey of their surroundings with their KVH Data scope tactical navigation (TACNAV) electronic ears were giving Frank and his men their bearing, range and time readings for the begin of their assault.

As they did, it dawned on Frank that things were looking better than the massive destruction around him would lead one to believe. For as he looked through that navigational tool it struck him that the American military had gained the upper hand.

Through his TACNAV gear he could see that an American counterforce had arrived in force. All around the White House they saw units of the 82nd airborne, a marine expeditionary unit, Air Force Search and Rescue volunteers, and hundreds of the domestic law enforcement agency volunteers that inhabit the capital all pouring fire into the White House grounds.

From his Motorola Radius GP 300 he heard all 8 channels active. He heard from various conversations him that the good guys were now in control of what was left of the Renwick Gallery, the New Executive Office Building, St. John’s Episcopal Church, the Corcoran Gallery, the Office of the Trade Representative, the Blair House, and several office buildings had all been completely or partially retaken.

Frank decided it was time to strike.

From a band of Marines who were very well equipped, he replenished his and his half-platoon’s supplies. He then led them down the back stairs to the Willard Intercontinental Hotel at 15th and E. He called them around him.

“Spitball, Zinger and Superspace, we go way back. I know your wives and your children. I’m about to go beyond what we were tasked to do. You don’t have to go with me. We don’t have the element of surprise this time. I have no right to ask any of you to go with me. I’m a sniper and used to operating solo. If you go you may lose your life or be seriously wounded.”

“But you’ve seen what I’ve seen. I’m so angry right now I won’t be able to look my children in the eye if I don’t stop these assholes cold before they do any more damage. I’m tired of seeing Americans slaughtered and I know what I can do to stop it. If you want in, that’s fine. If you don’t, that’s fine too. I understand.”

Spitball, Zinger and Superspace all looked at each other and at Frank. In unison, they nodded. In that kind of feeling that can only pass between men about to go into battle with each other and as old as the human race.

They smiled in the electric bond of the brotherhood of arms and said nothing. They didn’t have to. They all knew.

Frank crouched down and zig zagged to the ice rink behind Sherman Park because the concrete walls and steps provided solid and good cover. From there it was a B-line to the white American oak trees in Sherman Park that were thick enough to allow Frank, Spitball, Zinger and Superspace camouflage and cover as they advanced toward the White House grounds.

In that way that often happens in battle, when one man takes the lead and begins to make his own way toward enemy lines, other’s follow. All the various American forces around Sherman Park began to watch and then follow Frank and his men as they began to weave from tree to tree.

They had been waiting for such leadership to begin their assault and had yet to hear it from their commanders. Now they were going to lead the generals.

As Frank crouched behind one of the last trees before getting to the White House outer gates, he looked back for his men. As he did, he saw the statue of General Sherman blown to bits behind him. General Sherman...Frank began to think of his favorite hobby, reading about the Civil War. “Who faced something like this?” he thought as he pressed close to a huge tree and tried to get his focus before the assault.

And in the middle of all this mayhem he began to remember what he knew of Jeb Stuart and the way he rode completely around General George McClellan’s Army of the Union in 1862. “He rode around. There’s something there.” He began to look at the fence no more than 15 feet away, tangled and twisted and blown to hell.

Then it dawned like an epiphany. Charge. Go around. Charge. Go around. Flanking movements. All the new concrete barriers arranged around the complex since 9/11, now scattered everywhere, made flanking movements possible by providing cover.

Frank decided the go around part would be the road that led up to the White House. Instead of charging the East Wing of the White House as he had intended he suddenly realized he could crouch behind the shrubbery along the road that led up to the back of the White House main building. He signaled his men, smiled, and began to move.

They zig zagged across the street, slid along the guard shack, ran to the shrubbery, and began to snake along to the White House. At one point when he looked back to check his rear, Frank noticed that dozens of other American’s were behind him. It felt good to have the backup for when things got hot inside.

Frank noticed that a series of bushes led to a window that had been shot out of the rose path. He ran to in until he was under a window. With his men right behind him and in a maneuver they had practices hundreds of times in their special forces training, they leapt through the window with two guns leveled in opposite directions.

Apparently the counterattack was having an impact, because they were able to get inside without being noticed.

They fanned out in a semicircle to allow other troops cover as they began to pour into the building. Right now, for all the history that had been made there, all the White House was another building that needed to be taken back from the July Fifth Strike Force.

They wove down the hall to the room with all the noise. As Frank looked inside he saw that dozens of Jihadi’s were operating the satellites, computer terminals, telex machines, and other equipment that helped broadcast their message to the outside world.

He gave the hand signal and in nanoseconds all four opened up with a fusillade that immediately cut the Jihadi’s in half and ended their broadcasts forever. In a matter of seconds their stranglehold on the international media was ended.

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