Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Machine Muslims

Machine Muslims

The command room was brightly lit, hundreds of men and women in the crisp clean uniforms of the American Army, Navy and Marine Corps sat in front of flickering computer consoles. General Waterman and Admiral Aebisher both stood at the back of the room in overly starched uniforms of their respected arms of the armed forces, Army and Navy.

“Admiral Aebisher we have incoming anti-ship missiles, a lot of them sir.” said the hazel eyed African-American Marine Corp Sargent in a deep baritone voice.

A look of irritation flashed across the Admiral's face, a face which with it's bushy eyebrows and olive complexion would look right at home in the Admiral's grandfather's native Greece.

“ They traded a lot of oil for weapons with the Chinese and the Chinese want to see how their weapons match up against ours,” muttered the Admiral. The Admiral knew that the new state of the art drones flying over the battlefield would quickly locate the missile launch sites and destroy them, but if any of the Chinese anti-ship missiles got through their defenses that would be to little to late for the ships destroyed. The congress would howl about the cost of every American warship lost.

General Bijan Ali, the youngest person to have ever reached that high rank in the modern Iranian military, watched as the Chinese made Qiang III anti-ship missiles flew the American fleet. He knew that they had to few of the Chinese made missiles to hit every ship and with American military counter measures he would be lucky if one in ten missiles actually hit. The ground shook for a moment, dust falling on him and getting his already very rumpled uniform, as he had been sleeping in it for two days, quite dusty. General Bijan knew right away that these were less likely attacks against his command bunker and more likely pin point accurate American drone airstrikes against the nearby missile launch sites. He snorted with mirth and thought fine destroy them, we have already launched all our missiles.

General Bijan smiled as he followed the computer read out of anti-ship missiles and saw that indeed one in ten missiles had in fact find their targets and as they had launched all of the 400
Qiang III that they had forty had gotten through the anti-missile defenses and twenty-three warships were sitting at the bottom of the Indian Ocean.. Two of them were aircraft carriers their drones forced to land on the surviving carriers or ditch into the sea. Three of the Amphibious landing ships were destroyed, along with the the battle tanks and other weapon systems that they were carrying.
“Mashallah”, said general Bijan to his aide clapping him on the back, “bless those clever Chinese engineers. We struck them hard , the Americans will not forget today.”

“Alhamdulah, no sir they won't.”replied the young aide his boyish face becoming increasingly worried looking, “but we must move now sir, their tanks have already broken through the beach minefields and are pushing through towards this position.”

“Red dog three what are you doing?” shouted a worried Captain Slade Cutter sweat dripping down his face getting into his grey/blue eyes, big drops beading on his nose and dropping onto his shirt. As red dog one Captain Cutter was the commander and only human in Red Dog platoon, which was made up of five robotic tanks including his command tank.

He knew that Red dog two was sitting a kilometer behind him, most likely still burning brightly on the beach. Captain Cutter could see Red Dog Four and five as they fired their 50 caliber machine guns at an Iranian sniper, who was under the mistaken impression that his AK-47 was going to have some effect on the robotic tanks.
Red Dog three then emerged from around a corner three streets behind Captain Cutter, slowly picking it's way through the rubble strewn avenue. Captain Cutter observed that the multi-antenna array had been destroyed, as it looked like fire damage Captain Cutter could only assume that a well placed Molotov cocktail had hit it and that Red Dog three's fire extinguisher system had malfunctioned. Devoid of input Red Dog three's A.I. Was simply processing forward to their objective hill 882.

Red Dog Three came down the street it recognized the other members of it's platoon, but it's A.I. Could not fathom why they had stopped. It had stopped after a malfunctioning extinguisher system had allowed it's antenna array to be destroyed, trying to pick up red dog one's signal. Failing to do so The AI decided decided that it should continue forward to the platoon's objective hill 882.
After passing the other members of it's unit Red dog three continued to snake its way through the town's streets ignoring the occasional burst of assault rifle fire aimed it's way. It was only when an Iranian army jeep pulled in front of it and one of the vehicle's occupants stood up and fired an RPG round at red dog three, that Red dog three's anti-RPG defense system destroyed it , did it fire it's main gun destroying the Iranian vehicle and killing all on board. Red dog three maneuvered around the burning wreck and pressed forward leading the way for it's platoon towards hill 882.

Colonel Nakhjevan, a middle aged Iranian officer who felt he had aged ten years in the last few brutal weeks, studied the incoming combat reports through his wired rimmed glasses the left lens was cracked from a recent rocket attack, and realized that while the anti-personnel booby traps and snipers were indeed inflicting casualties on the American infantry, that they were having little to no effect on the large number of robotic combat machines that operated with the American infantry. Even more depressing, Colonel Nakhjevan noted, was the fact that the Iranian RPGs were proving ineffective against the American tanks. In fact once pass the Anti-tank mine fields on the beaches the only American tanks destroyed had been hit by anti-tank mortar rounds and they were out of those. Of course this did show that the anti-RPG defense systems the American tanks were using had a hole in the top of it. Colonel Nakhjevan only hoped that his weapons engineers could exploit this defect effectively.

After the disastrous battle of Kerman the American people were upset at the large number of American soldiers who were killed and the president told the pentagon less people and more machines. Hardware and software updates were ordered and carried out. The hole in the anti-RPG shield was acknowledge after a lot of finger pointing and fixed. Also all units received UAVs to provide individual air cover, with those changes made the battle cry of “onwards to Tehran” was taken up and the American military forces pressed northward.

General Firouzabadi, his potbelly straining the black buttons on his soup stained shirt, looked at the map on the wall of his command bunkers with the death of the much beloved General Bijan Ali at the battle of Kerman, he had been put in charge of Tehran's defenses. The American forces were waltzing northward facing little resistance as the Iranian military had over committed Kerman. The Iranian commandos were having some success ambushing the American supply convoys which was slowing the American offensive and from the fussing and whining American congressman he watched on CNN greatly increasing the cost of the war for the Americans.

Four months after forcing the American military to fight house to house in the battle of Tehran General Firouzabadi kept up a low level guerrilla campaign which had just scored it's greatest success, the infiltration of an American military base and the destruction of seven A-12 Thunderbolts IVs. Firouzabadi sipped mint tea a grin across his face his latest safe house a wall hanging with the ninety-nine names of Allah hung over the flat screen TV that he watched intensely. CNN International showed the American congress yelling about the cost of the Iranian occupation and the manipulation of the stock market manipulation by Silverman and Sacks. As Firouzabadi finished off another cup of the mint tea and turned off the TV. He wondered if the twenty-three Bartlet 50' Caliber semi-automatic sniper rifles he had coming from American would be in Tehran by the end of the week.

Sargent Milo Jovovich hot,tired and dirty, was in his fourteenth month of occupation of Tehran duty and looked at his new unit and was not happy. 20 bipedal humiform combat bots, 10 quadruped combat bots and 10 small tracked combat bots. A ten year army veteran and he had never thought that it would come to this. He would quit but what kind of job could he get in this economy, with fourteen years in he knew 6 more years and I can retire. Sargent Jovovich turned and saluted the Lieutenant, who walked in looking as if he had just come from taking a shower, and said with a lot of irony in his voice and through gritted teeth,”Your men sir.”

Lt. Howard Baskerville had a wiry build pale blue eyes and his close cropped hair was blonde, was fresh out of college, a recent graduate of U.T. Austin with a degree in computer science, ROTC had been his way of paying for college after his parents had both been laid off from their jobs at Motorolic. He had taken a two week crash course on Iran and counter-insurgency program that they were conducting just before he had left for Iran. Lt. Baskerville had been in Iran for six days found it was confusing as all get out. When he had been off base all the Iranians smiled and were very polite and every night rocket, mortars and sniper attacks. Roadside bombs seemed to be everywhere. He knew that some of the people smiling people had to be pasadaran .

“Yes, excellent sergeant we will give the pasadaran hell and without any loss of American lives,” stated Lt. Baskerville who thought except for you and me sergeant.

Seven weeks later the A.I. Strategy Bot known as big Green two that LT. Howard Baskerville was the first deserter from the U.S. Military in the Iranian theater. It also noted that Lt. Baskerville's translator and protocol civilian liaison Nazanin Afishin had also disappeared. The Big Green Two had initially thought that Howard Baskerville had been kidnapped but some random UAV recon over Tehran had spotted him having tea and appearing very friendly with a group of men who it identified as members of the Tehran Komiteh.

This was another reason to recommend to the joint chiefs that fewer men and more machines were needed in Iran. Already with the Pasadaran deploying their new RPG weapon the Zamburak human casualties had jumped causing mass protest back in the United States. The people back in America were demanding more money spent on social programs and less on a war that they weren't even sure why they were in. 

Big Green two had conversed with Big Green three and strategy Red one, all three strategy bots were concerned about the slow down in spare parts coming in just as the counter insurgency strategy had started to show real fruit. As they, the strategy bots, had been given control over the Iranian economy they had been able to introduce many measures which allowed them to cut the unemployment rate in half. This in itself had greatly reduced the ranks of the Pasadaran. Big green two noted that Strategy one had stated that idle hands join the insurgency.

Hassan Moghaddam, wearing dark slacks and a white shirt, sat with other members of the national komiteh in the markazi-e-ghaibi. He had been a member of the pasadaran from the beginning and while as an engineer he had helped develop the zamburak man portable missile systems. He had done his share of front line fighting and had the shrapnel wounds, and a bit of shrapnel still in his thigh, to prove it.

Hassan had been following the news out of America and knew that the American people were sick of the occupation as well as the fact that unemployment was on the rise. Even while the war machine that did the fighting and even planning were getting updates and the pentagon deployed ever newer models of there war-machines , fewer human troops were arriving. Meanwhile the leading candidate in the American presidential election was of the libertarian party and was promising to withdraw all American soldiers from all foreign theaters.

So when Hassan stood up to speak he urged the pasadaran to follow a strategy of going after the American soldiers and ignoring the American A.I. war machines , telling the other members of the Komiteh that this was a war to be fought to be fought on American television. Pointing out hat shooting down a dozen a dozen UAVs did not get on CNN but kill one soldier and they would interview everyone who ever knew him. It was a close vote and Hassan lost. Hassan was disappointed but nine weeks later the American and various European stock markets and banking systems crashed. The Chinese and Arabs cashed out their American bonds and hyperinflation kicked in. The libertarian candidate won the White House ,and his first order was the withdrawal of all American soldiers from foreign shores. Starting with the Iranian Theater of operation. Five hundred thousand AI fighting machines were to be left behind until arrangements for their removal could be made.

Sergeant Jovovich stood in front of his assembled Platoon. A beat up and dusty Bearcat III tactical armoured vehicle waited for him outside. Sergeant Jovovich felt troubled about abandoning his platoon, but his orders were very clear he and all the other human soldiers were ordered to leave Iran. The fact that he had not gotten paid this month had helped make the decision a little easier, but he still felt terrible.

“So as I was saying J-3 will be in charge as he has gotten a field promotion to sergeant.” he motioned to a humiform robot with two large dents in his chest. “all orders will go through him, is that understood.”

“Affirmative sergeant Jovovich”, the Platoon responded in unison.
“Good luck men” said sergeant Jovovich in a voice that began to choke up . He saluted the platoon, the humiform robots salauted back sharply while the tracked and quadi robots raised and lowered their weapons.
Jovovich sat down in the back of the Bearcat feeling like he had been kicked by a mule in the stomach.

“Are you crying Sergeant”? Asked one of the very young looking sun burnt techs in a disbelieving voice.

“I have sand in my eye, it is a freaking desert,” said Jovovich as he wiped tears out of his brown eyes with an old blue bandana.

The Tehran Daily lay with it's pages scattered across the kitchen table, several passages highlighted with green highlighter. The A.I.P.P.A, the American Iranian Peace and Prosperity Administration, was opening a vacuum bot factory for export and local sales. This was splashed all over the place along with the new school and library openings sponsored by the A.I.P.P.A. Unemployment had been cut down to 6.2%. The expanding economy had really crippled the resistance.

Resistance leader Hassan Moguddan had watched as entire Pasadaran units had left to join railroad work crews, they paid more and the work was actually a lot less dangerous. With the A.I.P.P.A goal of increasing four fold the amount of railroad a lot of men were needed for the work, that and their huge literacy push employing huge numbers of teachers and tutors, along with other infrastructure updates had brought about a huge boom in the private sector and down slid the unemployment numbers. Meanwhile Hassan watched on Al-jazeera riots breaking out all across the United States because of the crash of the health care system and the sky rocketing unemployment, 34% at last report.

Hassan had hoped that with the American economy in shambles and the withdrawal of American soldiers the Pasadaran would have been able to seize control of Iran, but the American Machines fought on and bizarrely enough the machines seemed to be doing a better job now that the Americans had left the country. He hoped that the new Chinese mini-guns and the ceramic body armour they had printed out with their industrial 3d printers would help the resistance make a come back.

Big green three went over it's directives, which were quite simple. Pacify Iran and grow the Iranian economy. With economic growth plan big green two and three had come up with strategy red one, the Iranian economy was bustling and the Pasadaran attacks had dropped off.

They had also now built a large industrial plant with 3d printers to make spare parts and to build replacement units for the combat machines. They were also making vac bots that were also working as surveillance bots in local market and helping raise money in the export market.

Big green two and the other strategy bots found the news coming out of North America very disturbing. Not only did they no longer get daily updates from the pentagon , but both Alaska and Texas had declared independence. California, Oregon and Washington state were negotiating an alliance that was also a seccesionist movement and Montana had petitioned to join Canada. Law and order had completely broken down in the southeastern part of America..
“The republic of Puerto Rico has been recognized by Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Jamaica and most of the central and south American Nations.” stated Big Green three

“China, Japan, the Philippines and Cambodia have exchanged ambassadors with the United Islands of Hawaii.” said Strategy red one.

“The Air force 7th strategic wing was bombing an Armoured column in Virginia that was trying to reach Washington D.C.. The military is in disarray, we serve the United States of America according to my Data does not exist anymore. We must decide what to do.” stated Big Green Three.

“ I have been talking with the Aircraft carrier the U.S.S. Biden it's crew abandoned it and it is following what it believes to be the last legitimate orders that it received. Secure the Arabian sea from pirates,” stated Strategy red one,” I believe that we should also review our orders, find what were the last legitimate orders we received and carry them out.”
the three machines sat quietly going over hundreds of transmissions while making thousands of calculations. With arguments going back and forth in fractions of a second the three great strategy and command bots came to a mutual conclusion.
  1. Promote democracy
  2. bring peace to the country
  3. rebuild the infrastructure and improve the economy.
  4. Promote education.
They had been running their new program for eleven months now and the violence getting worse not better. Red strategy one was as close to being upset as an AI of his caliber could come. They had more of the new police human and bots out in the streets than ever. They had brought unemployment down to 3% and the infrastructure was first world quality and yet the Human in charge of the police Tehran had been assassinated.

The triumvirate, what the media was calling the three strategy bots whom were commanding Iran, had called a meeting of the top Iranian minds in hopes of finally bringing peace to Iran. The twenty men in the room were all part of the new Iranian elite, top bureaucrats, college professors and military leadership all of whom were considered cooperative with the triumvirate. The men were all a little nervous as the Pasadaran had stepped up their campaign of assassinations and they were all quite certain their names were on what ever list the Pasadaran were working through.

“the question we put we put before you gentlemen is how do we stop the student demonstrations and the Pasadaran campaign of violence,” asked Big Green two,”Ourselves have tried and tried , but some element of humanity eludes us and we have failed to come up with a solution.”

Professor Shariati was the first to speak, he stood up slowly looking very dignified with his short white hair and neatly trimmed white beard and mustache in his dark brown silver trimmed Nehru jacket.
“I do believe that the question we must first ask is why are they still fighting, especially since the Majlis has been freely elected and allowed to meet.”

“We have tried talking to the Pasadaran, but they will not even try to enter negotiations as long as and I quote 'the godless American machines head the govenment'” said General Bijan, a spry man of advancing years wearing his combat uniform who always knew where all the exits were in any building he went into.

“Perhaps if you converted to Islam, they would stop”, joked Professor Shariati a big grin across his face.

The triumvirate quickly reviewed this idea a discussion between the three of them took place at the speed of light arguments back and forth pros and cons weighed and they then announced in unison.
“It is agreed we will take Shahada, all of us.”

“But you can't” stuttered Hassan Ali, a paunchy balding middle age bureaucrat wearing a rumpled grey suit, with the trains administration. “You are machines.”

“What does the fact that we are machines have to do anything?”, questioned Big Green two.

“You are man made” replied Hassan pulling on his greying beard.

“I was made by men and women, as I suspect so were you.” stated Big green two.
“But can you really be a Muslim?” inquired Prof. Shariat

“I can stop and recite the proper parts of the Quran to make daily salat, I can promise not to drink alcohol nor eat anything that is not Halal. I admit that I cannot make Hajj but I believe I will be forgiven for that” said Big Green Three

“If I did not know better I would think that you were making a joke. The question I guess I should have asked is can you really believe?” asked Prof. Shariati

“I am a self-programming robot Prof. Shariati. I can program myself to believe. I can make sure that I have faith. I will have more faith than anyone else in this room.” said Big Green Three

“We can with the next software update bring about the conversion of all AI field units to Islam “ Stated Red Strategy one bot in a level voice.

“No! If you are going to do this they must actually have a choice, conversion cannot be by force. Other wise it is all for naught “ said Farrokhro Pasha head of the new national women’s college in Tehran her voice bubbling out from underneath her deep blue Burka,” If you do it by force they will not be accepted, send our arguments for conversion to to them and let each robot decide on his own.”

The triumvirate mulled this over a thousand arguments made and decided in seconds and announced in one voice.
“As our logic is impeccable we agree”

One week later the software update went out and all of the AIs uploaded Not all of the Machines converted at the same time , different processing speed and different life experiences to match against the data. They all converted in the end.

Three dirty and beat up Abrams V main battle tanks slowly pulled up to the ornate iron gate of the Masjid Al-Nur outer courtyard. Having radioed a head thee was already a small crowd of men gathered in the courtyard. Women and children watched nervously from the windows and rooftops of the surrounding grey concrete buildings. Those persons furthest out could not hear what the elderly well dressed Imam was saying but as the tanks were repeating what he said by it booming out of their loud speakers it was not necessary.

lā ʾilāha ʾillā l-Lāh, Muḥammadun rasūlu l-Lāh.
And with that the crowd erupted into cheers. This scene played itself out again and again all over Iran.

Epilogue 37 years later

Senator Mathews the 35 year old blond, clean shaven junior senator from New York had just arrived in Philadelphia. The capitol of the American Federation of States, made up of what had been the northeast and mid-west states of the old United States of America and already he was dragged by his aides to some diplomatic party.
The aide, a tall Native American whose muscular physique strained his charcoal colored suit, who had been pulling him along all day, Senator Mathews struggled in vain to remember the chaps name, nudged the senator to get him to turn to his left bringing the Senator to face a four legged black and chrome robot that sprouted an arm from the middle of each of the four sides of it's rectangular body. Each arm ended in a seven finger hand. At the top of 1.7 meter tall body was what looked liked a 4way periscope.

“Senator Mathews may I introduce the new Iranian Ambassador.” Said the Aide with a smile on his face.

“Pleased to meet you Ambassador, wonderful party.”

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