Part 7: The Iraq Factor
(A serial book excerpt)
After President Bush is killed when Flight 93 strikes the White House on 9/11, Vice President Cheney ascends to the throne. Things begin to change quite radically:
“Sorry Boss, but DeLay isn’t going to make it. No one wants him up close to the top. Of course the Dems don’t, but a lot of our people don’t want him either. He’s too much of a ticking time bomb. We could maybe get him in a lower position., but VP, no way!”
“Crap! Of course they don’t want him. He is the one guy I could trust to see that things get pushed through. I should have expected it.” He mused on this a while, forgetting McGurty’s presence. Finally pulling out of it, Cheney insisted “I want Rumsfeld in then. If not him then Bolten. See what you can get on that!”
“Sure thing sir!”
“Thank you McGurty. Appreciate it.”
McGurty, his head swirling with his new assignment, exited quickly.
Despite the chaos and fear around him, Cheney still managed to find the moments of quiet and repose that he needed to relax and order his thinking. Sometimes he was alone, sometimes with very special friends.
“Sir!” came the squawk from the intercom. He pushed the button wondering what now was going to impinge on his privacy. “Mr Conroy is here to see you, President Cheney.”
“Good. Send him in.”
Conroy entered, dapper as always. “Good day President Cheney” he said as he went over and sat down in in overstuffed chair as though he belonged there.
“Good day Conroy.” How are you?”
“Always fine, always fine.”
Cheney went over to the liquor cabinet. He glanced over the available poisons. He needed something hard, effective. He choose the bourbon with a dash of vodka. He offered a tumbler of the same to Conroy. “It could have been so beautiful.” said Cheney almost wistfully. “We had a great setup A President who would make a perfect cover and fall guy if need be. Me in the background, just another
Vice-President, but one with his hands on controls that no man on earth should have. We could have set ourselves up as the wealthiest, most powerful men in America. This whole 911 thing threw a monkey wrench in it all. Now we have a lot of crazed ragheads to contend with.”
Conroy was silent at this, but not thinking over what was just said. That much he knew already. His mind was in the background observing the new President, making a last minute contemplation on what he was about to say. He decided there was no reason not to. He smiled.
“There is another possibility.”
Cheney turned, surprised at the tone in his voice.
“Let’s take a look at this scenario in another light. We are now committed to a war of vengeance in Afghanistan; there are no two ways about that. The American people want blood and it looks like it will have to be Afghani. Bin Laden made the choice to put his tent up in their midst, then I guess we get to share our hospitality with them. That seems to be the road we have to take, right?”
Cheney swayed the glass in his hand. “Of course! There’s no way we can take this sitting down.”
Conroy continued. “Well then, as long as we have so much resentment going and since the average American cannot tell the difference between a Afghani Muslim and an Iraqi one, why not attack Iraq too and get a healthy claim on enough oil reserves to put us back on course for being Number One?”
Conroy stopped to see Cheney’s reaction.
The President didn’t seem surprised by his statement. He motioned again with his glass. “Go on.”
“If we were to take over one of the Mideast oil countries, we could be set for life. That would solve all our energy problems, make us rich beyond our dreams and heroes to the American public. Right now there are a whole lot of people who could use some cheap gas and who really feel that we need to kick somebodies ass somewhere so that we can feel good about ourselves again.”
Cheney just shook his head at this.
“We could attack Saudi Arabia since it was mostly their homeboys flying the planes in 911, but we don’t want to piss off the number oil producing nation in the world. Plus they are too great an ally and too important to us to do that. They need us as much as we need them. We could go after Iran, but to the world it would look like we were picking on them and that would bring a media and international backlash. Kuwait is already in our pocket since we saved their ass in the Gulf War.
Syria and the other Gulf states are too small fry to bother with. It’s just too bad Kazakhstan is so tight with Russia otherwise they would be a perfect target. So that leaves Iraq. It in its own way is a tougher call, but in another way it is perfect. We’ve already attacked them and walked all over them. A second beating wouldn’t be that much worse. Everybody knows Saddam and hates his guts including the oh-so-sensitive Europeans who critique us every time we sneeze.”
He leaned forward, his hands folded and loosely pointed towards Cheney as he spoke. “Iraq is our chance. Iraq is our cash cow. Iraq is our retirement plan on the best golf courses in America. If you can pull it off, we will be among the wealthiest men in the West.”
One could hear the gears churning in Cheney’s mind. He bowed his head in thought, his hand stroking his chin.
“This would take some doing.” he said, although the tone in his voice was interested, positive.
“But it would be worth doing!” trumped the Halliburton man.
“Let me give it some thought.” said Cheney. “There is a lot at stake in this.”
“And a lot to be gained.” said Conroy as he put on his hat and exited. “A virtual empires worth.”
“There is one thing that needs to be taken care of.” interjected Cheney.
“What is that?” asked Conroy.
“I am going to need someone else as Vice President. Hastert isn’t going to cut it. I need someone a little sharper and who gets things done.” stated Cheney bluntly.
“Who are you thinking of?”
Cheney gazed down into the depths of his drink. “DeLay. I want Tom DeLay to have the job.”
Conroy stopped and gathered himself together. This took him by surprise. “DeLay isn’t going to be the most popular of guys.”
“Yes, I know. But he will get things done, and done the way I like it. I worked with him before and know what to expect.”
“If you can get it approved by all the right people, fine. Just don’t let him start making decisions without you knowing it. If you want him, we’ll back you both up.”
Cheney eyed him directly. “Oh, don’t worry about that. I will not let him wander too far out of my sight. But he is a good, solid player. I can trust him.”
Conroy shifted his vision to the floor. “I’ll see what I can do at my end to make it go smoothly. I’ll check back in with you in a few days.” He started for the door.
“Sounds good. Have a good trip back.” said Cheney, waving a goodbye.
The big man sat down in the easy chair and swirled his brandy around, letting himself get caught up in his mind’s swirlings.
Cheney gazed out of his window to the city of Washington before him. It was an odd feeling it gave him as he realized that he, and only he, was the ruler of this land. He knew of its immenseness already from growing up in the rolling plains of desolate Wyoming and from his extensive travels around the country. But now it took on different meaning. He was the Kingpin now. He was the emperor. His decisions would be affecting everyone in this vast country. It was almost too difficult for the mind to register.
But the feeling infused him with its power. He bathed in its luxury. He knew the lust that had corroded the Caesars, the Czar’s, the Shogun’s. The Presidency seemed like a weak cousin compared to their raw might, but it too was great, just more hidden, more deceptive. Power resided there too, immensely more ingrained than any nation before it….
To be continued…..
The complete book of 9/12/2001 is available from lulu.com under that exact title for $9.00 plus shipping. – RF