The spacious tent reeked of sweat, body odor, stale food and clothes that had
been worn too long without washing. The tent carried the stench wherever it was pitched.
Laramie Boyd was doing his best not to retch, but all he could think about was exiting the confines of the tent and breathing some
cool, fresh air. He was in Iraq, in a small village just north of Baghdad, sitting next to the area's most powerful warlord. This
man, Bade Udeen, controlled thousand of acres of opium poppies, mostly in Afghanistan, but also some acreage in Iraq. . He had his
own army of 1500 armed and well-trained Iraqis and Afghanistan men. His influence extended over thousands in northern Iraq He was
one of the Middle East's most powerful men, but few outside of Iraq and the militant Muslims had ever heard of him.
This was the last of the Emirs, Warlords and Mullahs that Boyd had to convince during his month-long visit to Iraq, Iran and Syria.
He had been sent under secret orders, known only by the new President, the new Vice President, the new Secretary of State and the
Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army. He was chosen from a select group of 6 men. All knowledgeable in the ways of Islam, experienced negotiators
and each having a distinguished military career.
Laramie Boyd was chosen
from the 6 candidates because of his ability to deal with powerful Islamic men and successfully communicate with them, as exampled
during his tenure as Ambassador to Jordan.
Here he was, on the most important assignment
of is life. Working directly with the President of the United States, persuading 8 of the most powerful men in the Middle East to
be peaceful for three days in March. As the new President of the United States told him in February of 2008, "Your job, Mr. Boyd,
is to do whatever it takes to make sure that on March 4 th, 5th and 6th of this year that there is no violence of any kind in Baghdad
or any other city or village in Iraq. Every Warlord, Islamic Priest; every man controlling terrorists in Iraq is to withdraw and become
quiet, peaceful and if needed, invisible during those three days. There are to be no murders, no suicide bombers, no snipers, not
one act of violence in the streets of every city and town in Iraq."
familiar with some of these powerful men, thought for a second and then asked, "Mr. President, these men are traders. They trade in
opium, in lives, in power. They are not reasonable people. Why would they stop their killings, their violent ways for three days?"
"Mr. Boyd, I am aware of the ways of these men. I don't expect them to do you any favors. I am giving you 100 million dollars in cash
to offer to these 8 men to persuade them to have 3 days of absolute peace from one end of Iraq to another. If you should need more
than the 100 million I will find a way to get it for you. You are to report to me, personally, every day on my private phone."
"Mr. President, I will be on a plane in 2 hours on my way to the Middle East. I will report to you daily. Thank you, sir."
"Good luck, Mr. Boyd. The lies and good fortune of millions of Americans rest in your hands. Have a safe trip and I look forward
to hearing from you."
It took Boyd two weeks to make agreements with 7 powerful
men. Here he was with the eighth. He leaned towards the middle aged Bade Udeen and made his offer, "Sir, I have a suitcase in my car,
outside this tent, containing 8 million American dollars. It is yours if you will order your men to cease firing and withdraw for
three days, on March 4 th, 5th and 6th of this year."
The startled self-proclaimed
Prince asked, "Ah, Mr. Boyd, your offer tempts me. I do not know of your plan, but if you will swear to Almighty Allah that you are
not planning an attack against me or any of my people I will consider your offer – but only if you raise the amount to 10 million
Boyd, knowing that this man was the most powerful of all the 8, felt
himself starting to sweat. He was close to achieving his goal. He wanted to be able to report success to the President.
He smiled at the Prince, held out his hand to confirm their deal and said, "Sir, you have a deal. The 10 million dollars is
yours. There is to be complete peace in Iraq on March 4 th, 5th and 6th. Understood?"
It was 3 a.m. in Washington D.C. when the President's
private phone rang next to his bed.
"Mr. President, the program is completed.
There will be peace in Iraq on those 3 days in March."
"Mr. Boyd, the country
owes you a debt of gratitude. You have served this country well. I will not forget what you have done. I look forward to seeing you
upon your return."
At 8 a.m. the following morning the President of the United
Stated called a meeting with his Vice President, Secretary of State and Chief of Staff of the United States Army. By 10 a.m. the 4
were seated in the Oval office of the President of the United States.
The President stood and paced around his desk. "On March 4th, 5th and 6th of this year there is to be a celebration of our victory
in the war for Iraq. On those 3 days there will be no fighting in any city or town in the country. On March 4 th you will prepare
our troops to march in a parade in downtown Baghdad. All of our soldiers and Marines will be neatly dressed, each carrying their appropriate
firearm. Every tank, every Humvee, every military vehicle will be on display in this parade. Every truck that we have in Iraq will
be fully loaded with every piece of equipment that we have brought to Iraq. Nothing is to be left on our bases. This parade will march
for 5 miles directly through downtown Baghdad. Posters will be placed all around the City and outlying areas announcing the parade.
Radio and television will proclaim this 'Victory' Parade. Safety will be guaranteed to all who attend the parade. Announcements will
be made that America, our allies and the Iraqis have won the war. There will be peace and quiet starting on March 4 th. The parade
is to start at 10 a.m. on March 4th. Our soldiers and Marines and all their support crews are to proudly march through Baghdad, past
all check points and out to the Baghdad Airport. Every available transport plane is to be dedicated to flying out every member of
our armed forces from the Baghdad Airport to airports in France and Germany and then home to the United States. Starting on March
4 th and through March 5th and 6th every American will fly out of Iraq."
President took a deep breath and continued, "I will go on television on March 4th announcing that we have defeated the terrorists
in Iraq. I will state that peace has come to Iraq. Television will show the tranquility in the streets. I will tell America that we
have turned the government and all security to the Iraqis. The "Victory" parade will be shown on all the networks in the United States
and around the world. By the end of the day on March 6 th all of our young men and women will be out of Iraq."
"The President, in office for only a month, weary already, but hopeful, said, "We have done all we can do in Iraq. Starting
on March 7 th Iraq will be governed and policed by the Iraqis themselves. We have been there too long already."
The Secretary of State, the Vice President and the Army Chief of Staff rose and said, "Thank you and congratulations, Mr. President."
They left to make arrangement for the "Victory Parade."
The new President sat
down behind his desk and breathed a sigh of relief.
He thought, "That's going
to be a helluva parade!"
He leaned back in his chair, stretched out his legs
and thought, "I wish the Iraqis well."