Tom Clancy – Op Center 6 State Of Siege

“Where Are We Going?” “To The White House,” Coffey Said.

“What’s Waiting For Me There, Lowell?” Hood Asked. “I Honestly Don’t Know,” Coffey Admitted. “Secretary-General Chatterjee Is Flying Down With Ambassador Meriweduir To See President Lawrence. They’re Meeting At Noon.

The President Is The One Who Wants You There.” “Any Idea Why?” “I Can’t Imagine The President Wants A He Said, She Said Thing,” Coffey Replied. “Anything Else I Can Think Of Is Not Good.” “Meaning?” Hood Asked.

“Meaning He May Want To Send You Back To New York In The Custody Of The American Ambassador,” Coffey Said. “To Make Sure You’re Around To Answer Any Questions The Secretary-General And Her Associates May Have. A Gesture Of Our Concern.” Herbert’s Wheelchair Was Parked Behind And Between The Seats. “A Gesture,” He Snorted. “Paul Saved The Friggin” Place. What He Did Took As Much Guts As I’ve Ever Seen. Mike And Brett Were Also Great. But Paul– When I Heard That You Were The One Who Took The Last Guy Out, I Was Never Prouder Of Anyone. Never.” “Unfortunately,” Coffey Said, “International Law Does Not Provide For “Proud’ As A Defense.” “And I’m Telling You, Lowell, If Paul Is Sent To New York Or The Goddamned Hague And The International Court Of Supposed Justice,” Herbert Said, “Or Some Other Half-Assed Place Where They Serve Up Scapegoat On Hot Coals, I’m Gonna Take Hostages.” The Debate Was Typical Herbert-Coffey And, As Usual, The Real World Was Somewhere Between The Two Extremes. There Were Legal Issues, To Be Sure, But Courts Also Took Emotional Exigencies Inffconsideration. Hood Wasn’t As Concerned About That As He Was About The Near Future. He Wanted To Be With His Family, Helping Harleigh Through Her Recovery. He Couldn’t Do That If He Were Defending Himself In Some Other Country.

Hood Also Wanted To Stay With Op-Center.

Maybe Resignation Had Been An Overreaction.

Maybe He Should Have Taken A Leave Of Absence.

And Maybe That’s All Academic Now, He Reminded Himself. A Few Days Ago, His Future Was Still In His Own Hands. Now It Was In The Hands Of The President Of The United States.

Since No One Else Knew That Hood Was Being Brought Here, None Of The Primary Weekday Staff Was Present.

The Weekend Team Congratulated Hood For His Heroism And Harleigh’s Rescue. They Wished Him Luck And Support With Whatever Came Next. The Hot Shower Felt Good On Hood’s Sore Muscles, And The Fresh Clothes Felt Even Better. Fortyfive Minutes After Arriving At Andrews, Hood Was Back In The Van With Herbert Handling Security And Coffey At The Wheel.

Washington, D. C. Sunday, 11:45 A.M.

Sitting In The Limousine That Was Taking Her To The White House, Mala Chatterjee Felt Unclean.

It Had Nothing To Do With Her Physical State, Though She Could Have Used A Long Rest And A Bath. She Had Settled, Instead, For A Shower In Her Office And A Nap On The Flight Down. The Feeling She Had Was The Result Of Watching Diplomacy Die In A Slaughterhouse. Though She Hadn’t Been Able To Control The Bloodshed, She Was Determined To Control The Cleanup.

And It Would Be Thorough.

Mala Chatterjee Had Not Spoken Much With Ambassador Flora Meriwether During The Ride Up. As Cohostess Of The Saturday-Night Event, The Fifty-Seven–Year-Old Ambassador Had Been Late Going To The Security Council, Just As Chatterjee Had Been. Thus, The Ambassador And Her Husband Had Not Been Among The Hostages. However, The Ambassador Had Not Remained With The Other Delegates After The Takeover. She Had Gone To Her Office, Claiming That This Was A Matter For Chatterjee And Her Advisers To Handle. That Was True, Although Meriwether Could Not Have Put More Distance Between Herself And The Takeover.

The Ambassador Didn’t Want To Appear To Pressure The Un Into Allowing American Negotiators Or Swat Personnel To Become Involved, Chatterjee Knew. Which Was Ironic, Given How The Siege Turned Out.

Mala Chatterjee Did Not Know How The Ambassador Felt Now. Or What The President Was Thinking. Not That It Mattered. The Secretary-General Had Insisted On This Meeting Because She Needed To Immediately Reestablish The Right Of The United Nations To Settle Its Own Disputes And Discipline Those Nations That Broke International Law. The United Nations Had Been Quick To Condemn Iraq For Invading Kuwait. They Could Be No Less Quick To Bring The United States To Justice For Interfering In The Hostage Crisis. The International Press Was Waiting En Masse For The Limousine When It Passed Through The Southwest Appointment Gate. Ambassador Meriwether Declined To Speak But Waited While Chatterjee Spoke To The Group.

“The Events Of The Past Eighteen Hours Have Been Difficult Ones For The United Nations And Its Family,” She Said, “And We Mourn The Loss Of So Many Of Our Valued Coworkers. While We Are Gratified That The Former Hostages Have Been Reunited With Their Families, We Cannot Condone The Methods That Were Used To End The Crisis. The Success Of The United Nations And Its Operations Depends Upon The Forbearance Of The Host Nations. I’ve Asked For This Meeting With The President And Ambassador Meriwether So That We Can Begin To Accomplish Two Very Important Goals. First, To Reconstruct The Events That Undermined The Sovereignty Of The United Nations, Its Charter, And Its Commitment To Diplomacy. And Second, To Make Absolutely Certain That Its Sovereignty Is Not Violated In The Future.” Chatterjee Thanked The Group, Ignoring Shouted Questions And Promising She’d Have More To Say After Meeting With The President. She Hoped That She Conveyed The Feeling That She’d Felt Violated By Members Of The American Military. The Route To The Oval Office Is A Zigzag That Takes A Visitor Past The Office Of The Press Secretary And The Cabinet Room. Beyond The Cabinet Room Is The Office Of The President’s Executive Secretary. This Is The Only Entrance To The Oval Office, And A Member Of The Secret Service Is Stationed There At All Times.

The President Was Ready Promptly At Noon. He Personally Came Out To Welcome Mala Chatterjee.

Michael Lawrence Stood Six-Foot-Four, With A Close-Cropped Head Of Silvery Gray Hair And Dark, Sun-Weathered Skin. His Smile Was Wide And Genuine, His Handshake Was Strong, And His Deep Voice Resonated From Somewhere Around His Knees.

“It’s Good To See You Again, Madam Secretary-General,” He Said. “Likewise, Mr. President, Though I Wish The Circumstances Were Different,” She Replied.

The President’s Blue Gray Eyes Shifted To Ambassador Meriwether. He Had Known Her For Nearly Thirty Years. She Had Been A Fellow Polysci Student At Nyu, And The President Had Pulled Her From Academia To Serve In The Un.

“Flora,” He Said, “Would You Mind Giving Us A Few Minutes?” “Not At All,” She Said.

While The President’s Executive Secretary Shut The Door, The President Showed Secretary-General Chatterjee To A Seat.

Chatterjee’s Shoulders Were Straight, Her Neck Tall And Stiff. Dressed In A Gray Suit, No Tie, The President Was More At Ease As He Used A Remote To Click Off The Tv. The Set Had Been Tuned To Cnn.

“I Heard Your Remarks To The Press,” The President Said. “When You Talked About The Events That Undermined The Sovereignty Of The United Nations, Were You Referring To The Terrorist Attack?” Chatterjee Sat In A Yellow Armchair. She Folded Her Hands On Her Lap And Crossed Her Legs.

“No, Mr. President,” The Secretary-General Said. “That Is Very Much A Separate Issue. I Was Referring To The Uninvited Attack By Mr. Paul Hood Of Your National Crisis Management Center And Two As Yet Unidentified Members Of The United States Military.” “You’re Referring To The Attack That Ended The Hostage Crisis,” He Said Pleasantly.

“The Result Is Not The Issue,” Chatterjee Countered Firmly. “At The Moment, I Am Deeply Concerned With The Means.” “I See,” He Said. The President Sat Behind His Desk. “And What Would You Like To Do About It?” “I Would Like For Mr. Hood To Return To New York And Answer Questions Pertaining To The Attack,” She Said. “You Want Him To Go Right Now?” The President Asked. “While His Daughter’s Recovering From The Attack?” “He Doesn’t Have To Return Immediately,” She Replied. “The Middle Of The Week Would Be Acceptable.” “I See. And These Questions,” The President Said.

“What Do You Hope To Accomplish?” “I Need To Formally Ascertain Whether Laws Were Broken And Whether Boundaries Were Overstepped,” She Replied. “Madam Secretary-General,” The President Said, “If I May, You’re Failing To See The Larger Picture Here.” “And That Is?” “I Believe That The New York Police Department, The State Department, The Fbi, And U.S. Military Units In The Region Acted With Extraordinary Restraint And Respect, Given How Many Young Americans Were At Risk. When The Situation Deteriorated And Your Own Security Forces Were Repulsed– Yes, Three Of Our People Did Go Into The Security Council. But They Did It Selflessly And Effectively, Like U.S. Soldiers Have Always Done.” “Their Courage Is Not Being Questioned,” Chatterjee Said. “But The Law-Abiding Nature Of The Many Does Not Outweigh The Heroic Lawlessness Of The Few. If Laws Were Broken, Then Legal Remedies May Be Required.

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