The Officers’ Council in charge of the Pentagon immediately accepted the Federation’s call for a cease-fire. But the generals were divided on the question of whether to negotiate and with whom. Impossible to enter into negotiations with the Federated Assemblies without tacitly recognizing their sovereignty. On the other hand, the Officers’ Council could not ignore the strikers, for they controlled all the networks of civil transportation as well as access to oil and foodstuffs. For example, in order to move their remaining loyal units through the Teamster checkpoints on the Interstates, the generals’ orders needed to be co-signed by the Strike Committees. Meanwhile, conscripted soldiers and activated National Guards were longing to be at home among their loved ones in their embattled communities. The strikers gave them every facility to return, including free transportation. Whole units quietly deserted.
The top brass concluded that their position was in the long run untenable. Many officers were thinking privately about war crimes trials and other possible inconveniences. They pondered the fate of colleagues among the Latin American generals they had trained and armed: the lucky ones had made it to Miami, but where could exiled US generals go?
Meanwhile, the Officers’ Council’s major problem was reining in the Armageddon Movement of right-wing religious crazies in the military before they destroyed the country in order to save it from the Anti-Christ. Although Fail-Safe systems made it nearly impossible for the diehards to launch strategic atomic weapons without Codes secured in the Pentagon, there were plenty of kamikaze Colonels out there with lethal minds and access to heavy-duty chemical and biological weaponry.
Fortunately, the generals who made up the Council had quietly vetted reliable subordinates on whom they could count. They now moved swiftly to remove from command the obvious right-wing maniacs and religious fanatics in their ranks. The Council also placed under arrest a number of ranking officers deemed responsible for atrocities and massacres, in the hope of sating the appetite of future war-crimes tribunals by offering up scapegoats. Nonetheless, isolated fratricidal clashes broke out between Pentagon forces and rebel units. The awesome savagery of these high-tech battles to the death surpassed anything previously seen. Once engaged, there was only one possible outcome, and it had to be achieved as quickly as possible. The stunning massed firepower unleashed during these last brief explosions of made-in-USA ordnance punctuated the end of the War on Terror like the final bouquet of an awesome Fourth of July fireworks display.
Then there was silence.
Slowly the country picked itself up, dusted itself off and started to put itself together again. Councils of striking flight personnel, air controllers, dispatchers, railroad crews, truck and bus drivers got together on the Internet to put together emergency traffic schedules, deliver relief supplies, evacuate wounded. These plans were coordinated with military-run disaster efforts. Working along side of their brothers and sisters in uniform, the strikers no longer appeared to be the fearsome terrorists, malcontents and dupes of foreign agents depicted in Army “Why We Fight” indoctrination courses.
This military-civilian cooperation was crucial in the urgent work of extracting nearly two million GI’s stranded abroad among not always forgiving locals they had been sent to pacify using such friendly measures as kicking down the doors of their homes when they did not actually burn them. There was need for a rapid withdrawal. The striking aviation workers and merchant mariners placed themselves and their employers’ ships and aircraft at the disposal of the Officers’ Council. It was an offer the generals could not refuse.
The joyful fraternisation between striking US crews and the forlorn GI’s they had come to rescue broke down the last barrier of hostile misunderstanding between the young men and women getting shot at overseas and the internationalist protesters and strikers at home who had ‘refused to support the troops’ and were ‘allied with international terrorism’ – according to the government. Soldiers who had seen (and committed) horrors broke down and cried when they saw themselves welcomed with open arms by the strikers. Many GI’s had believed that all those protesters and pacifists looked down on them and hated them; they had been afraid of being spat on if and when they finally got home.
At the suggestion of the strikers’ Federation of Councils and Assemblies, the Officers’ Council granted a three-month leave to all returning overseas personnel so as to be reunited with their families. Another offer the generals could hardly refuse. Back on Main Street the repatriated soldiers found a whole country cutting loose in an explosion of joy and liberty. They breathed in the spirit of the international general strike that had finally released them from the mayhem of war. All over the country young people were flocking to giant rock concerts, smoking legal dope, celebrating with their bodies and their music the return of the future. Welcomed to these concerts, the young men and women of the military shed their uniforms, put the hell of war behind them and re-joined their generation – killers and outcasts no longer.
Nine months after this nation-wide party, hospitals overflowed as an unprecedented number of American babies were born. Busy nurturing all this new life, America ceased to be a threat to world peace. With the fall of the last bastion of global capitalism, the planet now turned its attention to healing.