Marine Corp Stories: Altering Minds
General Misha Wainwright makes a decision.
“Your deal, Mish’. You’ve got the most stars in this room as a general. Either we broker a deal at this table or capitulate to Iran at a round of negotiations,” Admiral Danford said.
Misha looked around the table. Faces said, “ooh, not me” and “appease, appease.” She noted the twitches around the mouth and lowered eyes. All of this spelled out one thing: that she must change the course of this ocean liner of a room. She stood up from her chair and walked around the table. She remained the only woman there and the only African American woman at that. She inhaled deeply and said, “We use MARSOC on this one. We have some of the best trained snipers to carry out justice against this evil regime. With Zeeshan eliminated, we can begin the process of altering minds. For that is the root of all of this. The willingness to go against thought has brought us to this lowly stage. But without a supreme leader, we have a chance at keeping America safe.”
“Will you sign the document? It’s about three hundred pages––” Lieutenant General Koch started.
“Yes. And we’re going to chop that down to about one page. It will be a direct order to accomplish the destruction of a dictator.”
“But what about the series of diplomats that can step in to discuss the matter without using force?” Air Force Brigadier General Leary Murphy said.
Misha looked at him square in the eye. “Do you want to see Americans continued to be slaughtered? Do you want to see our buildings toppled and blood streaking the streets in the United States and our interests around the globe?”
“Well, no….” Murphy said. “But I think that we should wait for further fights. Like letting Iran be sanctioned out of existence.”
Misha cleared her throat. “That is but one measure. The cessation of any aid or trade within that region ought to prove to be a boon to the U.S. But it is not enough. Military action ought to be taken and done swiftly.”
“You’re not afraid of the people who once supported Zeeshan and held some notion of agreement with America?” Murphy asked.
“I’m concerned only about the self-interest of this nation. That includes smattering any sovereignty that has attacked or will threaten to attack America. It’s the only selfish way to be.”
The room became warm again. The top leaders took more sips of water. Misha, however, did not drink. She remained focused on this order. Half of the admirals and generals backed her decision making. A quarter seemed quietly indignant at her proposal. And the other quarter appeared to be on the fence. Misha rebuked that fence. She pushed forward with this idea to maintain a sense of authority in Iran. The digital screen illuminated. Misha looked at all of the various entanglements which could arise in the wake of this action. She took the digital pen in her hand.
“I’m not signing this off for all of you. I’m signing this off for me,” she said. “While we may be the c-suite of the Armed Forces, it is up to us to secure the safety and well-being of our troops and American civilians.”
She held the pen steady and placed her signature at the bottom of the screen.
“So there it is,” Misha said. “What this will do is terminate a threat that has long been festering within the soul of our country.”
“This is crazy,” Murphy said.
“What’s that?” Misha asked.
“This whole thing. Don’t send that letter to Washington. The secretary of defense and the president are going to laugh us out of our scrambled egg covers. Please don’t send it, Mish’. I’m not above begging.”
Misha looked at Murphy. He displayed reddish-brown hair and a regulation mustache. She simply said, “I’ve already sent it and it’s been approved.”
Murphy raised from his chair and burst out of the meeting.
“If you can’t handle the fire….” Koch said, grinning at Misha.
She finally took a sip of water.