Wednesday, October 27, 2021

The Reckoning

El Tres de Mayo
Francisco de Goya

The former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, an Army four star, had seen better days. His uniform was filthy and he needed a shave. The consequences of having been imprisoned for a long period of time with limited means of washing or getting clean clothes. Colonel Jeff Tanaka was somewhat appalled at the sight of the man he had once looked up to, he took SFC Levine off to the side.

"Joe, what the Hell?"

"He did it to himself, Sir. He's been refusing to eat, shave, or change his clothes for at least a week now. Apparently he's protesting what he calls his 'unlawful imprisonment.'"

"How are the other prisoners behaving?" Tanaka was a little concerned with General Mileris' condition, but if he had done this to himself, that was different.

"They're behaving. I think most of them understand why they're being held, they're not happy, far from it, but I guess they realize that committing treason was probably a bad idea from the get-go." SFC Levine answered the colonel's question, but the look on his face showed that he was having second thoughts about the proceedings.

"Look Joe, we've had a ruling from the lawyers on whether or not these people committed treason. They all gave aid and comfort to enemies of the United States ..." before Tanaka could complete the sentence, Levine chimed in.

"Sir, we're not at war, are we? Doesn't Congress have to declare war?"

Tanaka thought for a moment, then said, "Again, our lawyers say that we are in fact, at war with the People's Republic of China. They invaded the United States under a false flag, claiming to be UN peacekeepers on the one hand, and on the other, they actually landed troops on the coast of California. Just because Congress refused to consider a declaration of war, doesn't mean that we're not at war. These assholes assisted the Chinese to do these things, if that's not treason, I don't know what is."

SFC Levine had been in the United States Army for seventeen years, had been in combat, two tours, one in Afghanistan, one in Ukraine, and had been decorated. It used to be enough to trust that the officers over him, and the government, had the best interests of the people of the United States at heart. He'd learned, much to his sorrow, that that hadn't been the case in recent years.

"Okay Sir, I'm good with that."

"What the f**k is that?" Jack Bishop brought his rifle to his shoulder as a small group of people came out into the street about a hundred yards down the street.

"Look like gangbangers to me." Billy Kasparian blurted out.

This earned him an angry look from Sgt. Heather Jefferson, "Why, because they're not white?"

Billy turned beet red, "No, it's the way they're dressed, I mean come on, they're all wearing those damned hoody things."

"Damn, you need to get out more Mr. Kasparian, that's just how kids dress, besides which, it's still kinda cold, a hoody keeps your head and neck warm. Hell, your parka has a hood, are you a gangbanger? Besides which, look again, those aren't kids." Jefferson glanced over at Ida, Billy's wife, who rolled her eyes.

Before Billy could utter another word, Ida said, "Put the shovel down Billy, the hole's deep enough." She then spoke to Jefferson, "My husband is rather clueless when it comes to modern things in the cities and suburbs and what the kids are doing these days. We are kinda isolated out where we live."

"Sorry Sarge. But it does look, I don't know, kinda suspicious."

Jefferson nodded and said, "It's okay, Mr. Kasparian, none of us have had enough sleep and I'm kinda cranky right now."

Bishop was still watching the people walking towards them, they were oblivious to the presence of other people until one of them noticed the MRAP. At first one, then the others, all raised their hands in the air to show that they weren't armed, at least not obviously armed.

"Sarge, you want to handle this?" Bishop asked Jefferson.

"Nah, you go ahead Sir, I mean you were in the Army and you sure as Hell outranked me."

Bishop called out, "Okay you folks, that's close enough. Who are you and where are you going?"

General Martin Mileris stood calmly as he was tied to a makeshift post in the Pentagon courtyard. He thought back over his career, he'd made sure that he had had the right assignments, he had made sure that he'd spent time in combat zones, he had all the right checks in the right boxes and he had been promoted for that.

He looked across the yard at the men and women who had volunteered for the firing party, they looked no different from the thousands of soldiers he'd served with over the years. He didn't feel guilty about what he had done to get to his station in life, it was only when the temptations of power and money had been dangled before him that he'd gone off track. He didn't think that he was an evil man, just greedy. He looked to his right as a colonel came up to him.

"Would you like a blindfold, General?"

"Who are you?" Mileris asked gruffly.

"The man commanding your firing squad, why?"

Mileris studied the man's uniform, pretty standard stuff - jump wings, Ranger tab - he had those himself, but there was one thing on the other man's uniform that he didn't have, a Combat Infantryman's Badge. Odd to see that stuff on a Marine uniform, guy must have served a joint tour, probably more than one.

"What's your name soldier?" Mileris asked, "I guess I should know the name of the man who's having me shot."

"Jeffrey Y. Tanaka, Colonel, United States Marine Corps, and I'm not the one having you shot, your actions are the reason you're being shot. Do you want a blindfold?"

"No, not necessary. The sun's coming up, I want to see that."

"Very well."

The Senate Majority Leader jumped when he heard a loud bang just down the hallway. Jesus, he thought to himself, that sounded like a gunshot. He heard footsteps coming down the hallway, then a set of keys rattled, then a door being opened. He heard the voice of the House Majority Leader quite clearly.

"By whose authority are you doing this?" he demanded, loudly.

"Stand up," was the only answer he received.

"How dare ..."

Another loud bang, the Senate Majority Leader suddenly realized that someone was apparently executing the Congressional leadership. The rebels had locked them up three days ago in separate offices, he was in an office next to where the House Majority Leader had been locked up. He heard the footsteps again, he heard the keys, he heard the door being unlocked to the office he was in. He wet himself.

The people in the street were locals, they had seen the uniforms of U.S. soldiers and had been overjoyed. After listening to the Guardsmen tell them the news of the outside, they related their own harrowing tales.

"At first the gangs ran wild, the police refused to do anything, the mayor said on the television that the folks doing the rioting, looting, and shooting had been oppressed for years, now it was their turn. Pretty soon the thugs grew tired, there wasn't much to loot after a while, so they all headed south, to the city. Well, most of 'em anyway." The speaker, an older black man, nodded to his compatriot, a Latino man in his '30s.

"What Bobby says pretty much sums it up, these bastards were trashing our neighborhoods, not the places where the mayor and city council folks lived. So we took up arms and defended ourselves, Mr. Kim here told us about L.A. back in '92. How his folks and their neighbors took to the rooftops to defend their shops and homes from the rioters. Damn if it didn't work here. Right Mr. Kim?"

Teddy Kim had been born and raised in California, both of his parents had been born in Korea. He'd been a little kid in 1992 during the Rodney King incident and its aftermath. He remembered the stories his Dad and his uncles had told him.

"Didn't take much to get these folks to defend their homes, especially when the cops were looking the other way. Well, not all of 'em, but enough to make us fear for our lives. Couldn't have done it though without Bobby and Pablo, these are some badass dudes right here!"

Pablo Mendoza laughed then asked Jefferson, "So where's the rest of the Army?"

"For now, we're it, the rest of my unit is patrolling back home to make sure the Chinese don't come back." Jefferson answered.

"Where's home, Sarge?" Bobby Washington asked. When Jefferson told him he whistled and said, "Hey guys, these troopers are the real badasses, they chased the Commies out of New York! Damned fine work Sarge, I'll bet your Momma and Dad are real proud of you."

Heather Jefferson was a little embarrassed but she confessed that her Dad had convinced her to join the Army. He was a veteran of the Second Gulf War, and proud of that fact. "Thanks Sir, they are, but it's gonna be dark soon, you got a place to hole up for the night? I feel kinda exposed out here."

"Sure do, it's right over there in that cluster of buildings in the park. Good lines of sight and the 'bangers know better than to come anywhere near us."

For the moment the trip to Albany was looking promising.

Jeff Tanaka had wanted to get drunk, very drunk, but how would that look to the troops? He felt sullied after the execution of Mileris. He had to give the man credit, he may have been a greedy traitor, but he died well.

But still and all, Colonel Tanaka bemoaned the fact that he had ordered the execution of a general in his own military.

"Colonel, it was necessary, I hope you don't mind me saying that Sir." MACS Sorge came into Tanaka's office unannounced and uninvited, she brought freshly brewed coffee though, which Tanaka was grateful for.

"Thanks Senior Chief, it's been a long night and yeah, it was necessary. Any news of what's happening over at the Capitol?" Tanaka took a sip of coffee, damn it was strong. What they said about coffee from the goat locker¹ was true.

"I talked to Captain Pearson about an hour ago, the assignments were carried out, the Senate president pro tempore, the Senate Majority Leader, the Speaker of the House, and the House Majority Leader were all executed in the rooms where they were being held. Word got to the rest of the Congress critters in the Rotunda and you wouldn't believe how quick those spineless bastards caved and started pointing fingers at each other."

"How's the Captain and the men he selected taking it?"

"Sir, he did the deed himself, said it was only right, he said something about a guy named Ned Stark. You know him?"

"He's a character in a book, and a TV series, 'He who passes the sentence should swing the sword.' Game of Thrones, you familiar with it, Senior Chief?"

"Negative Sir, but that's a good quote, is that why ..."

"I commanded the firing squad, gave the late general the coup de grâce²? Yup, seemed fitting. But now, what about tomorrow? I think we've cleaned house, time to put things back together I suppose." As Tanaka said that, Harry Fairchild came into the room with a grim look on his face.

"What's up Harry?"

"We've lost a boat in the Pacific, USS Gudgeon, SSN 815, Virginia-class, she hasn't reported in in over two weeks. Pearl has reported her lost, presumed sunk."

"What the Hell? Accident? Do we have any information?" Tanaka got up from behind his desk and walked to the maps on the wall.

Fairchild walked over and pointed out the last known position of Gudgeon.

"Damn, that's within spitting distance of Vladivostok. Do you think ...?"

"I do Jeff, I suspect the Russians are jumping in." Fairchild guessed.

"Goddamn it!"

Notes on Treason from the Constitution:
Article I, Section 6, Clause 1
The Senators and Representatives shall receive a Compensation for their Services, to be ascertained by Law, and paid out of the Treasury of the United States. They shall in all Cases, except Treason, Felony and Breach of the Peace, be privileged from Arrest during their Attendance at the Session of their respective Houses, and in going to and returning from the same; and for any Speech or Debate in either House, they shall not be questioned in any other Place.

Article III, Section 3, Clause 1
Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.

¹ Tanaka knew the term from an assignment to a Joint Staff billet in Hawaii, where he had served mostly with sailors.
² a final blow or shot given to kill a wounded person or animal.


  1. Well now, something needs to be done about certain civilian business "leaders". And the dead need to be buried at sea. Good post Sarge.

    1. Now there's an idea, the rebellion has already claimed two of them.

  2. The Russkies are such opportunistic bastards; we saw that in the latter stages of WWII as the West got tired of the slaughter. Now I'm first getting interested; the Colonel's got a minefield on the West and on the East. I wonder just how far the Chinese will trust the Russians. Looks like I'll have a lot of good reading material over the next few years. TNX.

    1. During the latter stages of WWII was COMMUNISTS, not merely Russkies. Quite frankly current Russia and its leadership are far better than most of what is across the West today, with few exceptions. Of course, if those funding Navalny succeed in putting him where they want him, all bets are off!!!

    2. boron - Aye on the minefields, don't be too sure about the Russians, we know very little at this point, just the boat's last reported position.

    3. Mark - Better for the Russians perhaps, definitely more decisive looking than most Western leaders.

  3. Replies
    1. Argh, he is. I fixed that. (Just like me having an Army captain flying F-15s the other day.)

  4. Something Russian snuck up on a VIRGINIA? Toshiba's gift keeps on giving.

    1. Assuming facts not in evidence, wait for it ...

  5. Videos of Schumer being shot would probably sell well. A truly evil man.

  6. Not just a Reckoning, but the End of the Beginning. I'm with the Badger, I'd hang that picture on the wall.

    1. I don't celebrate the death of any man, not saying it wouldn't give me a sense of grim satisfaction though.

    2. You, sir, are a scholar and a gentleman. I, on the other hand....

    3. Yes, they would and No, you're not.

  7. See a photo ... anything could be faked. Not seeing their evilness continue, that would suffice, after a while. Rooftop Koreans, there was mention of them here in Minnesnowota recently.

    1. With today's technology even a video could be faked!

  8. A very interesting conundrum Sarge, that "are we at war" scenario. Does a declaration of war declare a war or simple invasion (I find myself on that latter side, as apparently the lawyers did as well). Odd, that such things are as much arbitrated by lawyers as anything else. I think you would be more than correct in that, especially given the nature of coup; that said, most revolutions do not seem that picky in terms of legalities.

    One of the things I am becoming more conscious of as life rolls on is the fact that we are not as conscious as we should be when we are young about how certain choices and events play into our lives. At some level, I think we all want to look back on our lives and feel we made the correct choices, yet (at least for myself) I find that some of those choices are not ones that reflect well over time. It seems it is only by being hypervigilant about such things that one could avoid the more egregious (and even then I trow, we will still make them).

    It would be a hard thing to realize - at the end - that the compromises and adjustments one made to get to where one was in the name of "succeeding" or "doing good" were really just justifications for our own aggrandizement or to feed our our own passions.

    1. What you said, TB, is the evil behind dredging up old social media. People can change, often softening their outlook and politics as they age. What is said as a stupid high school or college-age student should not be dredged up to kill a career of someone who's changed.

      But it is happening. And only to one side of the spectrum, mostly. Guerilla warfare amongst the electrons, so to speak.

      Dang, if there were recordings of some of the stupid stuff I said as an idiot, or if things I've said were taken out of the context of what they were said in, there'd be pitchforks and torches at my door.

    2. There is very good reason that I do not do social media. I gave up trying to please other people outside my family long ago. Even most family members, too. Strive to please God, not people.

    3. Beans and Sarge - You are not the only one to have that particular relief!

      Beans - Agreed, and that was not the point of my comment (at least in my mind). It was much more addressing the fact that even with the things that no-one else knows, there comes a regret in having made the lesser choice. Something I find I am dealing with quite often.

    4. An honest person will do that.

  9. Milerus...cannot possibly be a reflection of Milley. That bitch would die grovelling and whining.

    USS Gudgeon...I'm not jumping to any conclusions. Go deep, go We've got nothin' but time...Good things come to he who waits! Somebody has to mind the back door, and keep an eye out for Russian intrigue.

    Executing the Congress Critters outright, in the offices where they were being held, without even the formality of a proper firing squad, was a display of complete contempt. It showed an absolute disregard for their being deserving of any kind of human decency. Interestingly enough, it was also a sort of mirror image of how they regard(ed) everyone else but themselves. What beautifully poetic justice your muse is capable of, Sarge!

    Not at all familiar with Game of Thrones, but 'He who passes the sentence should swing the sword.' really is a good policy. I think it would give any reasonable human being pause, knowing that some lackey wasn't going to do the dirty work for them, and that they would have to face the subject of that sentence in those final moments. Could I do it? I would have to be really, really sure that it was thoroughly deserved, and in the best interest of humanity.

    1. I wanted to make Mileris the better man, barely.

      I do like the idea of making the person who passes judgement actually carry it out, makes you think real hard.

    2. Sometimes even weak and useless people find a spine in the end. Oftentimes they don't.

  10. The Game a Thrones was a good reference.

  11. It is best to have executions in public, with plenty of whatever media is available, in order to get the message out as truthfully as possible. Summary executions also have a way of biting the executor in the arse, though not having the time to have a trial is understandable.

    Thanks for clarifying the California Invasion. Bet the scum in Sacramento were split between wishing they hadn't chased so many gun-owners away and wishing they had been able to chase, imprison more and seize more guns. Bastides.

    As to the Gudgeon, glad to hear a boat named in the old ways. There's plenty enough fish in the sea, no reason not to name boats after them. I hope they didn't have an accident, would be horrible to be lost with nobody able to pay attention.

    As to the Russkies getting frisky? Though the current leadership seems to be good, what happens when Putin leaves or dies and the competent leaders of today also are gone? Will Mother Russia descend into it's normal piss-poor leadership history or actually stay well-led? Time will only tell. And politics in Russia are as murky as the Black Sea.

    1. Apparently, beginning with SSN-804, the Virginia-class boats will return to the earlier (WWII) naming convention. I also noted with pleasure that SSN-803 will be named "Arizona."

  12. Whiplash! That last twist and turn was a doozie. Dang Rooskies.

  13. I'm not so sure the Gudegeon is missing. If I wasn't sure my communications or location were secure staying down for two weeks isn't a big deal. We may come to PD to pick up the latest radio traffic/satellite fix but we would NEVER broadcast when on station.

    During the summer and fall of 1980 I was on the USS Omaha and we were out for 10 weeks patrolling the Indian Ocean. We were well off station before we broke radio silence.

    If the G is being tracked from above or below her CO is focusing on getting clear. Hitting PD or even trailing the VLF wire antenna would expose her to ASW.

    It is my thought that submarine COs are the last real Masters of their ships, they can't be easily micromanaged like a ground commander or aircraft flight that are in constant communication with higher.

    1. Submarine commanders harken back to the old sailing days where commuications could take months.

    2. We learned from the German's mistakes in WWII: stay deep, stay silent, listen but NEVER talk back....

      Admiral Dönitz' desire for control and to move his wolfpacks around the Atlantic meant our code breakers could read his instructions AND ships at sea could use radio direction finding to find the U-boats while they were still on the surface. That plus surface search radar meant the U-boats couldn't fully surface day or night to charge their batteries and get fresh air.

      A nuclear submarine's submerged endurance is limited by food stores, and maybe paper for logs..

    3. True indeed, there a reason it's called the Silent Service!

    4. (Don McCollor)...Yes. At first shore Huff Duff (high frequency direction finding) ringed the Atlantic, showing roughly where U-boats were but the Allies could not do much but reroute convoys to avoid the areas. Things got more sophisticated later. Able to tell if a U-boat had just surfaced from the transmission and to identify individual subs (not by name) by the radio operator's "fist" on the transmission key. Then came ship and aircraft Huff Duff with surface hunter-killer carrier groups and very long range B24 patrols and the game was over...

    5. The U-Boat service suffered 75% losses of personnel, that's dead, lost at sea. Pretty high casualties!

  14. I'm curious to see how this ends without Captain Pearson and Colonel Tanaka also being tied to a post and shot. They may have to be in order to re-establish the principle of the military being subordinate to the civilian leadership.

    1. Not out of the realm of possibility, I think Tanaka feels that on some level.

  15. "Enemies both foreign and domestic" I fear those in charge have forgotten that little tidbit. What's more, I fear it's too late for them to be reminded. Even more than that, I fear We the People have forgotten whose DUTY it is to impart that lesson when the powers that be refuse to honor their oath. God help them all because my meager sense of mercy and humanity has evaporated at their hand. Bet my all on it that I ain't alone...


Just be polite... that's all I ask. (For Buck)
Can't be nice, go somewhere else...

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