HOMELAND SECURITY

10 Feb

 

Coffee was poured and newspaper pages turned as the electrical litany of the ever present television broadcasted its sponsored rhetoric into the café – a subdued voice above the hum of breakfast and crashing crockery. Salt and pepper shakers were refilled and ketchup bottles wiped; another day in a community far from the maddening militarism of American imperial conquest.

The commercials finished and bikini-branded beer and erectile dysfunction medicine drifted from memory as the talking-head once again began to read from the teleprompter. A government mouth piece, but a mother of two struggling with a mortgage and rising supermarket prices. Credible or not what she read paid the bills. It wasn’t a question of moral weakness, more a hand-fast on financial security.

“Terrorists today were once again in action against government troops. The continued harassment of military installations and destruction of surveillance hardware has become prevalent in recent weeks. The military are recognizing this as a resurgence in violence that was thought to have been subdued over a year ago.

 General Smith told us from his headquarters, that the latest campaign is being taken extremely seriously, and that even now forces were being moved into the most dangerous areas.

 To quote General Smith.”

“What we are seeing her is a radicalization and resurgence of the kind of violence that was common during the early part of the campaign. It would seem that the guerrillas have reformed, regrouped, retrained, and rearmed. Those whom we are facing today and who seek to do us harm are not the hot-headed amateurs of two years ago, but organized, well trained groups employing hit and run tactics. In short they have learned their lessons the hard way and are now employing the same methodology we used against them. The enemy is elusive, and can slip easily in and out of population and is almost unrecognizable as a combat force. It is only when we are able to destroy them on their home turf that we can truly identify those who would seek to do us the most harm.”

“The General went on to say that a new theatre of war was developing in the South West  of the country and that forces at his disposal were being pressed to deal with the new front as well as the regular suburban insurgency of months past.”

Pictured in desert fatigues and with the American flag stoically placed behind him, the career officer was a believable source. The medals on his chest spoke of heroism and deeds done in the defense of this great nation. Without men like General Smith where would America be?

*

High in the still, baking air above the desert an American flagged machine darted across the sky; a silver bullet that cast its long shadow on the dry, baked valley floor beneath it. Six million dollars worth of technology controlled by an anonymous figure in a darkened room, thousands of miles away in Langley, Virginia. The eyes of the machine were the eyes of the controller. Everything that passed before it skimmed across his monitor – a virtual pilot of a very real flying machine. The drone had been fitted with hell-fire missiles. Twenty-first century weaponry that could decimate any given target and reduce the enemy to a dust cloud and a sound bite on the early evening news. There were thousands like it all over the country keeping watch over the countryside from the safety of the sky above. It was a win, win situation. They could access the most inhospitable terrain and the enemy never saw them coming. If lost it was merely a dollar price rather than a man’s life that had to be replaced. No grieving relatives, no rifles fired over flag-draped coffins, simply a standing order that went to the manufacturer to replace the destroyed drone. Warfare had moved on since the clash of arms of massed men in open order, although the effect was still the same. The point of the missile was as to the sharpened end of a Spartan’s spear. To that degree nothing had changed. War was hell and particularly so for those that incurred the wroth of the great United States of America. The drone swooped and began to turn as it reached the end of its assigned grid. Tirelessly and remorselessly hunting and seeking those who would seek to do America harm.

*

The two men dressed in camouflage fatigues skulked between craggy rocks. They had been there since yesterday having parked their truck nearly a mile away so as not to leave tire tracks and alert the ever vigilant sentinel to their position. They had bought food and water with them however the baking sun and radiating landscape had quickly diminished their supplies. It was now or never, or wait until night fall and then make their retreat.

 The shoulder fired missile launcher they held between them had been looted from a convoy their group had attacked a month previously. A night of death and destruction where they had surprised a convoy and liberated munitions destined for the government forces based nearby. It had become routine. Ever since the deserters had started to enlist with the roving bands their tactics had improved – their attacks more decisive. Now they were winning. The boot was on the other foot and it felt good to be fighting back.

*

The drone flew lazily across the laser sight of the weapon.

*

The older of the two men whispered something under his breath and squeezed the trigger. Fire belched from the tube and the projectile raced into the sky following the invisible laser-line illuminating the drone. They watched as the missile arced upwards  as it chased down its target.

*

The drone was engulfed in a fiery ball. A black smear spread across the sky and the remnants of a tax paying publics investment fell to the desert below. Somewhere in Washington a computer screen went black. The operator casually got up from his console to use the bathroom and refill his coffee cup. This wasn’t the first time they’d lost a drone; in fact it was becoming a common occurrence

*

Billy jumped up and down and whooped out his lungs, his father standing beside him, a broad smile on his face, embraced the boy. “That’ll show the bastards,” he said in his slow south-western drawl. The two high-fived and then quickly began to pack up their things and make their retreat. It wouldn’t be long before they sent a second to discover what had happed to the first.

Send as many as they want, they would knock them all down! This was their third and the Arizona resistance groups tenth. Freedom came with a price and despite the Arizonan’s brave fight casualties were common. They were a fledgling unit, a band of like-minded individuals who refused to be suppressed by big-government and the new world order.

This was early days, but with a determination and spirit that had ousted a King two hundred years previously they too would endure.

America the brave.  America the free.

Billy and his father grabbed their rifles and headed back for the truck.

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