Red Dot: Contact. Will the gravest threat come from closer to home than we expect?

Red Dot: Contact. Will the gravest threat come from closer to home than we expect? by Eugene Linn

Book: Red Dot: Contact. Will the gravest threat come from closer to home than we expect? by Eugene Linn Read Free Book Online
Authors: Eugene Linn
tell anyone, but he often thought of some of the horror he inevitably saw in the war.
    One of the scenes that disturbed him most came during a house-to-house search for insurgents and weapons in a small Iraqi town. Fitzgerald and the five soldiers with him knew that most households would offer no resistance, and may not even support the rebels, but the death of two soldiers to an IED explosion that morning filled them with rage and fear. After breaking down the door, Fitzgerald and two other soldiers burst into thetiny house, aiming their M-40 carbines at the people inside and shouting in Arabic for them not to resist.
    Nothing was unusual about this household. The room was poorly furnished, and the family—a man and woman apparently in their early thirties, and a small girl and a boy—cowered in a corner. But Fitzgerald caught sight of the boy—about six years old, his own son’s age—and for a few seconds, all his fear and anger faded, and he couldn’t take his eyes off the child. He was clutching his father’s left arm with both hands, his big brown eyes looking back at Fitzgerald in absolute terror as his whole body trembled.
    The thought flashed into Fitzgerald’s mind that the boy might actually die right there from fear.
    Just then, the search was completed and Fitzgerald and the other soldiers rushed out to go to the next house. Fitzgerald returned from his final Iraq tour obsessed with the need to protect his family, and other American families, from such horrors.
    Public policy debate ostensibly dealt with raising the defense readiness condition, a simple concept distilled in a dramatic term that had captured the public’s imagination: “DEFCON.” Insiders understood there were more issues involved, including questions about the President’s competence. DEFCON 5 was the normal peacetime state; four called for increased intelligence and security measures; three led to upgraded force readiness, with the Air Force able to mobilize in fifteen minutes; two called for the military to be ready to engage in six hours and put US forces one step from nuclear war; and one signaled imminent nuclear war.
    After red dots appeared, Fitzgerald and some hawks in the military, Congress, and media had argued for a jump from DEFCON 4 to DEFCON 2. Some of the most extreme members in that group insisted that some parts of the military, such as the Strategic Air Command, should go to DEFCON 1. Douthart had initially ordered the military into DEFCON 3. Within a day, he put ground forces on US soil into DEFCON 2. As days passed without any casualties caused by the red dots, Douthart moved ground forces back to DEFCON 3.
    “If we’re not going to put our military in DEFCON 2 and 1 now, when will we? When the aliens have already overrun us?” snapped Fitzgerald, sweeping his intense gaze around the table. “We’re betraying our fellow Americans, leaving them defenseless.”
    “Now hold on a minute,” said Peterman. The National Security Advisor—an overweight man of thirty-eight, with close-cropped, prematurely gray hair—assumed a relaxed posture, leaning back in his chair, but his jaw was clenched tight. “Even with this latest weird turn, the ETs haven’t directly harmed a hair on a single person’s head. They’re trying to communicate with us, and soon we’ll get their explanation of what they want.”
    Secretary of State Whiteton cleared his throat and said, “I still maintain that exaggerating the threat will lead to more fear and unrest, and over time, will make our leadership less credible.”
    “Exaggerating…!” cried Fitzgerald, leaning forward in his chair.
    Peterman, never one to shy away from a confrontation, abruptly cut him off. “We’re already prepared—even before this, this disappearance—to react to this particular threat instantly.” He referred to Douthart’s decision to modify and increase the flexibility of the defense readiness system to reflect a potential attack by a different

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