"Nip the shoots of arbitrary power in the bud, is the only maxim which can ever preserve the liberties of any people. When the people give way, their deceivers, betrayers, and destroyers press upon them so fast, that there is no resisting afterwards. The nature of the encroachment upon the American constitution is such, as to grow every day more and more encroaching. Like a cancer, it eats faster and faster every hour. The revenue creates pensioners, and the pensioners urge for more revenue. The people grow less steady, spirited, and virtuous, the seekers more numerous and more corrupt, and every day increases the circles of their dependents and expectants, until virtue, integrity, public spirit, simplicity, and frugality, become the objects of ridicule and scorn, and vanity, luxury, foppery, selfishness, meanness, and downright venality swallow up the whole society." ~ John Adams
Minerva, Chapter 42
President Anthony Black hurled his coffee mug at the wall. Did they think he wouldn't have the balls to do it?
Black calmed himself and sat back at his desk. Especially after the briefing, Black was sure that there was simply no other option. Still, killing anywhere from 500,000 to two million people was not something done lightly. Black didn't care about the whining marchers, who would howl no matter what he did, but he still had posterity to consider.
The first point was obvious: The Minervans had put the nuclear card on the table. So he clearly had the right to retaliate in kind. Now it was just a matter of prudence. What would best advance the cause of mankind?
It seemed to Black that the conflict boiled down to a clash of two irreconcilable systems. The fact that things had come to this, less than two decades after the island's founding, proved that the so-called anarchists could not exist side-by-side with democratic republics.
So the question was, which system was better? Black was a man who always trusted experience rather than theories. And in practice, the United States and the countries like her certainly did much better than the places in the world without strong governments.
Black caught himself. He realized that he had been trying to play god. No, it wasn't his business to decide which system was better. Just like a good attorney always argues for his client, so too Black realized that he had to give the system of constitutional government the fairest possible hearing. If it could be beaten, even when its military had its hands untied, then so be it.
Maybe, decades down the road, the anarchists would be proven right. Until then, Black couldn't abandon his responsibility to defend the security of the American people. As his generals had rightly stressed, the U.S. could not ignore such a flagrant attack on its forces. To do so would give hope to enemies the world over, and inspire countless more attacks.
President Anthony Black took a deep breath. He realized with some amusement that he was now the only other man in human history to understand what Harry Truman had endured.