2007

Episode 7
Senator Winnie Scott
 

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Previously in "Saecula:” An elite Republican cabal conspires to fix the 
2008 presidential election, but its plans to embezzle money from the RNC 
are uncovered and lead to murder.  Democratic congressman Jack Stibik
and his mentor, Professor Gar Reynolds, reunite. Martys, Jack's twin brother
and Delta Force veteran, visits Annapolis. Congressional hearings begin on
the disasterous Islamic war.

Today’s star witness was L. Robert Perkins, the pretentious, insufferable Secretary of State. When Colin Powell left 
the administration to cleanse his soul following the 2004 elections, the White House determined it wanted no more 
“loose cannons” in Foggy Bottom. Powell had stuck a stick in the spokes of its plans to invade Iraq when he insisted 
on taking the proposition to the U.N. The Secretary of Defense and the Vice President were apoplectic. Friction 
between State and Defense was legendary going back to Thomas Jefferson and Henry Knox fighting over Indian treaties.
In this case, the animosity was palpable.

Perkins was the third Secretary in as many years. The first died of heart failure after just a month in office. Wags claimed it 
resulted from his learning of the real reasons the administration took the country to war in the first place. The second resigned 
after refusing to accede to the President’s decision to increase the number of troops in Iraq from 140,000 to 250,000, as a 
result of the actions of the democratically elected Sadr government. The Secretary argued the U.S. had gotten exactly what 
it set out to accomplish. Iraq was a stable, democratic nation, whose policies it could best defuse by reducing its detested 
presence there and throughout the Middle East. More troops would further aggravate the situation. Perkins, on the other 
hand, whose moods ranged from oblivious to indifferent, could care less if the United States invaded Canada, as long as 
he had the title and perqs to go with the office.

After the Republicans lobbed several softballs for Perkins to belt out of the ballpark, it was Winnie Scott’s turn. Following 
several preliminary questions, she went to town.

“Mr. Secretary, the United States has now been fighting in the Middle East and throughout South Asia and North Africa 
against Islamic Jihadists since 2001. First, we invaded Afghanistan to dislodge the Taliban and destroy al-Qaida. We entered 
Iraq the following year to overthrow Saddam Hussein and find his fictitious weapons of mass destruction. Let me review for 
you just what has been accomplished in those six years.

“Instead of creating the beacon of democracy for its neighbors that administration officials claimed would result, the incredibly 
inept handling of the post-war Iraqi reconstruction, AKA occupation, created the only aspect of the administration’s case for 
war that came true. Iraq provided sanctuary for terrorists. Of course, they weren’t there until the U.S. removed the person 
who was responsible for keeping them out, Saddam Hussein.

“Jihadists have convinced governments in Egypt, Jordan, Yemen, Malaysia and Pakistan, among others, to ‘reexamine’ their arrangements with the West. Afghanistan, surrounded by fundamentalist-led nations -- Iran on the west and Turkmenistan, 
Uzbekistan and Pakistan on the north and east -- has, for all intents and purposes, disappeared as a country. It is essentially 
shrunk to the besieged capital of Kabul, with the countryside controlled by remnants of the Taliban and regional warlords 
who have reestablished Afghanistan’s preeminence as the world’s leading poppy producer.

“In southeast Asia, Indonesia is teetering. In non-Muslim nations, groups loosely aligned with al-Qaida, such as Jemaah 
Islamiyah in Thailand’s Narathiwat peninsula and Abu Sayyaf in the Philippines’ southern Mindanao region led revolts to 
establish breakaway Islamic states. Even in totalitarian China, Uighurs in the northwest Muslim province of Xinjiang, at the 
eastern end of the ancient Silk Road trade route linking China to Central Asia and ultimately Europe, demonstrated the 
breadth of Islamic reach in successfully revolting against Beijing.

“On the horn of Africa, Djibouti, home to the small CIA counterterrorism task force headquarters, was overrun by
neighboring Somali tribesmen. Together with the newly hostile governments of Yemen, across the Gulf of Aden, and Egypt, 
they have essentially eliminated Red Sea ports for American naval ships and oil tankers.

“After six years of shedding American blood, we’re barely managing to cling to Kabul, Basra and Jakarta. The only major 
Muslim country still intact and considered safely on the side of the West is Turkey. Although its government under Recep 
Tayip Erdogan is despotic and corrupt, at least he’s our despot. We have 150,000 troops stationed in eastern Saudi Arabia 
to protect what oil fields are left. Nearly 250,000 more troops are in the Philippines, Indonesia, Turkey, Kurdistan and 
Oman to stabilize those governments and battle insurgents. And, we’ve been abandoned by every traditional ally except 
Great Britain and Israel.

“This committee has heard testimony and intelligence analysis over the last three weeks that lead me to conclude from every 
indication that we are losing this war. How can that be, Mr. Secretary? We clearly have superior force; we control the skies
and the sea lanes with massive airpower and naval forces for which American taxpayers have been paying for years. I ask you, 
how can that be?”

Perkins responded with all the predictable nonsense the administration had been dishing out since 9/11. The Jihadists are 
resentful of America’s democratic values and its affluence. (Although, there was less and less affluence for them to resent.) 
Their state-controlled media distorts American intentions, which are only to punish those who would do harm to this country 
and to support democracy for the benefit of Afghanistan and Iraq. America will not permit rogue states to open their borders as breeding grounds for terrorists. It’s not the United States that seeks conflict. It has no choice but to protect itself and its friends.

It was exactly the response Winnie had expected and was waiting for to nail this pompous charlatan. “Mr. Secretary, isn’t it 
true the administration has been approached by an intermediary with an offer of a truce? That if we were to halt hostilities 
and develop a plan to withdraw our forces, there would be no further threats against the United States?”

The hearing room erupted. This was the first anyone had heard of such a deal in the works. The array of photographers seated 
on the floor in front of the committee table began snapping pictures of the telltale mixture of shock and venom on Perkins’ face. Reporters paged their newsrooms using the acknowledged code to hold space for a major breaking story. But it wasn’t the first 
time a ceasefire had been proffered and ignored. In a taped message on Al-Jazeera television before his death, bin Laden 
promised to “leave alone those countries that do not carry out an onslaught against Muslims or interfere in their affairs.” 
That was when war fever in America was still raging, and the public offer was quickly rejected and forgotten.

“Senator Scott, I am unaware of any such proposal. And, even if one were to be proffered, what faith could the United States 
put in the words of terrorists and killers? What is to prevent them from exploiting a truce as a pretext to regroup and strike our homeland as soon as our troops are withdrawn? Besides, as you well know, there is no central command. Even if one faction 
were to accede to something like this, what assurances would we have that others would abide by any agreement? I’m afraid 
Madam Chairwoman, it’s pure poppycock!”

The senior senator from Vermont was not about to be deterred by this bag of wind. When Winnie had learned about the deal 
three weeks ago through back channels, she was annoyed that State hadn’t briefed the Senate Foreign Relations Committee 
chair and ranking member, as they were required to do. But, it turned out to her benefit. If she had been briefed, she would
be prevented from disclosing her knowledge publicly. Since she had received the information independently from a source in 
the Canadian Foreign Service, who worked in the office of the intermediary, she could use it to her advantage. She knew. 
And now Perkins knew she knew.

“Mr. Secretary, let me help refresh your memory. A top representative of an allied nation met with you, the Vice President and 
the Secretary of Defense on Tuesday, September 18th to bring you this proposal from the Joint Islamic Command. Yes or no?”

It was clear Scott was onto this. The administration had immediately rejected the proposal, and in fact had intensified attacks
in Arabia and southern Iraq to demonstrate its disdain for the offer. It was well aware of the growing public disenchantment 
over the war and the nearly 10,000 American deaths. If even a hint of the truce proposal got out, support for continued 
fighting would drop even lower.

Perkins did a quick Washington two-step, called plausible deniability, admitting to the meeting which probably could be 
confirmed by the media with a little digging, but denying its content that couldn’t. There was a leak somewhere. He just 
couldn’t imagine where. The three principals involved knew full well the implications of disclosure, and had agreed to not 
share it even with their top lieutenants. They didn’t tell the President, knowing his response would have been the same 
as theirs, to protect him from culpability if word of the offer ever got out.

Scott continued to push Perkins about the meeting and its agenda, but without disclosing her source, which she had promised 
not to do, she was unable to break his story. Instead, she went after Perkins’ second point over the lack of credible assurances, referencing the separate agreements the European Union and Russia had reached with the JIC. The coalition of Muslim 
governments, Afghan, Philippine, Indonesian and other nationalist insurgents, and Jihadist freedom fighters had interceded and negotiated a truce in the 18 year-old Russia-Chechnya War. The agreement allowed Russia to claim the establishment of a face-saving “federation of brotherhood” with its former Islamic province, but in essence created an independent nation.

The European Union, minus Britain, but including former Iraqi war partners -- Spain, Poland and Italy -- that had refused to 
join the U.S. when it reinvaded Iraq, had not seen a terror incident since signing a peace accord with the JIC over 20 months ago. 
As part of the settlements, European and Russian negotiators were required to acknowledge and accept responsibility for the 
history of western imperialism and commercial exploitation their countries had imposed upon the Muslim third world going 
back two millennia. That didn’t sit well with the xenophobic American right wing that continued to believe America was 
God’s creation on earth and could do no wrong.

However, the stipulation the administration refused to discuss, but if truth be told, the one they really feared, was Europe’s, 
and to a lesser extent, Russia’s accession to fair and just trade parameters with Muslim countries. The United States had no
problem participating in pseudo-independent arrangements such as the North American Free Trade Agreement, or the 
World Bank, where it got to set the rules. But, the administration and its multinational corporate partners were not about to 
commit to a treaty that would ensure a fair shake for the populations of third world countries.

The deal was to be overseen by an autonomous International Court of Trade. The Court’s job would be first to serve as a 
forum of last resort to equitably settle trade disputes between western and Muslim nations, and second to ensure that proceeds, especially oil revenues, were reasonably distributed to citizens throughout the recipient nations. That stipulation essentially made superfluous the international oil cartel’s 90 years of wining, dining and bribing Middle Eastern royalty. It would dilute the vast 
fortunes the ruling families had accumulated over nearly a century of corruption, torture, murder and pilfering their countries’ resources. The problem of disparity between oil rich and dirt poor Muslim countries remained a sticking point, but Jihadist 
leaders were determined to never again permit the accumulation of massive fortunes and imposition of absolute power by 
a few at the expense of their people.

After all, it was ultimately “the oil, stupid.” If Kuwait had been producing olive oil instead of crude oil, does anyone sincerely 
believe the Gulf War would have been fought? The West had grown fat exploiting the resources and labor of Latin America, 
Asia, Africa and especially the Middle East. American patronage and weapons had secured the thrones of the Pahlavis in Iran, 
the Sauds in Arabia, the Husseins in Jordan and the countless emirs in the Peninsula’s minor sheikdoms. Along with tyrants 
such as Turkey’s Erdogan, Egypt’s Mubarak and Pakistan’s Musharraf, corporate largesse and Swiss accounts recompensed 
for the sweetheart deals for cheap Arabian oil and big buck construction, technology and agriculture contracts.

The Gulf War, at least in Osama bin Laden’s mind, had desecrated Muslim sacred land. In turn, it precipitated his fatwa 
against the United States, igniting 15 years of terrorist activity, including the 1993 and 2001 Trade Center attacks, the 
‘96 Khobar Tower and ‘98 African embassy bombings, the 2000 attack on the USS Cole, and the 2006 boarding and 
massacre on the Queen Elizabeth II.

Perkins toed the administration line in use since the Madrid commuter train bombings in 2004. Spanish voters tossed out 
the pro-war party of Jose Maria Aznar who had joined the American coalition in Iraq in favor of the socialist candidate, 
Jose Luis Zapatero, who had run on a platform of withdrawing Spanish troops. Voters were vehemently opposed to their government’s participation in the coalition in the first place, and took the opportunity to exercise their democratic franchise
-- the same right America was presumably attempting to instill in Iraqis. Predictably, the administration argued that it was 
a “cut and run” policy that would only lead to more terrorism. Even though Russia and Europe had experienced no terrorist 
attacks or even thwarted attacks since signing the accords, the 35 percent of the American public that will go to its graves 
still believing Saddam had weapons of mass destruction and was implicated in 9/11, considered them cowards and fools 
for trusting the Jihadists.

*****

By the time Scott finished with Perkins, it was nearing lunch recess. Following the break, it would be Jack’s turn at the 
Secretary. Whatever he had to say would be overshadowed on the evening news shows and tomorrow’s papers by Scott’s assertions anyway. He was as surprised -- and to tell the truth, somewhat irked -- at the disclosure as anyone in the hearing
room. He had a special relationship with Winnie, and not just in plotting strategy to fend off Republican malevolence.

Winnie, Jack and their spouses were close social friends, unusual in a Congress in which Senators, relishing their exalted 
positions, tended to look down their noses at their “commoner” lower house colleagues. They vacationed together each 
summer in Cape Cod, where Winnie’s family had had a beach house in South Chatham since the1920s. During session, 
whenever Alex visited from their Rutland home, the Stibiks would host the Scotts in Annapolis. He would definitely scold 
her for not tipping him in advance to her shocker. 
 

Next in "Saecula:” Democratic Senator Winnie Scott scuttle administration strategy
with a blockbuster disclosure.


by  Martin Gresko

Interested in publishing this manuscript?
Or to make comments, CONTACT Martin Gresko at VGABONSUN@hotmail.com
See his biweekly political column http://www.StPetePost.com
 

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