How The West Was Restored was published in CHRONICLES, November 2009.
He had finally done it. He had mastered the physics of time. He was ready to visit the past.
He had made his first fortune in U.S. Treasury bond futures in the early 1980’s. Wall Street had thought that the Reagan tax cuts would drive up interest rates because of budget de!cits. But he knew that the deficits were a result of the unanticipated collapse in the rate of inflation, and, thus, as the deficits were caused by disinflation, the deficits could not cause inflation.
In those days $60,000 could tie up a million dollars in Treasury bonds, and he had made many times $60,000 on the speaking circuit after leaving the government. Buying futures contracts when Wall Street thought doubledigit interest rates were forever was a surefire path to riches.
He made his second fortune on the collapse of the dollar and the end of its role as the world’s reserve currency. The free-trade economists and the Washington policymakers thought that the offshoring of U.S. jobs brought benefits to America and strengthened the dollar. He almost alone understood that offshoring turned U.S. GDP into imports and would crush the dollar. His first fortune went into hedges against the coming decline in the dollar.
When the dollar finally tanked, he was a very rich man.
When the Soviet Union collapsed, he had rescued a Russian physicist from penury. The Russian shared his daydreams of time travel, and one day in their banter of how it could be done they hit on the solution. It came to them both at the same time, and now they were about to change history.
As a reader of Louis L’Amour’s westerns he had come to respect the American Indians. When he finished reading Joseph M. Marshall’s Hundred in the Hand about the Lakota Sioux, he wished that white “civilization” had been halted at the Mississippi and that the Western United States still belonged to the native Indians, wild animals, and clean water.
Now he was going to enable the Indians to halt the white man at the Mississippi.
It had been difficult and time-consuming, but he had amassed 10,000 M-14 rifles; 5 million rounds of ammunition; 1,000 mortars with 100,000 rounds; 10,000 rocket-propelled grenades; and 1,000 Kevlar vests, helmets, and face shields.
He and the Russian, who hated the communists for polluting the wideopen spaces of the Soviet Union, had mastered enough of the language of the Sioux, Cheyenne, Arapaho, Blackfoot, Crow, Comanche, Kiowa, Apache, and Ute to teach them military tactics and the use of these weapons from the gods.
The first rule was that there would be no more fighting among themselves. If the Indians did not understand who was the real enemy, the gods would swiftly destroy them. If they failed in their duty to prevent any white man from crossing the Mississippi River and surviving, the gods would annihilate them. The Indians had never seen such power. It was like controlling the thunder and lightning of the gods. That it was coming into their hands made them obedient.
The second rule was that fighting would no longer be a matter of individual honor to “make coup.” It was to annihilate the enemy at no loss of life to the Indians. With the weapons the gods had delivered, getting killed was a disgrace, a sign of stupidity rather than bravery.
The third rule was that no weapon must be lost to the whites, or they would learn to copy it and to produce their own, thus depriving the Indians of their advantage.
The M-14s could cut the whites down before their own weapons came into range. If the whites took cover, the mortars drove them out into withering fire.
The first cavalry detachment of 300 troops was destroyed in three minutes. Boats intending to cross the Mississippi never made it off the opposite shore.
The Kevlar protection was for work within the whites’ rifle range. The Indians understood that a shot from too close a range could knock them down and break a rib, but that penetration into the flesh was unlikely. In close encounters the whites fled when they saw that the Indians were bulletproof.
Washington sent three frigates by sea to California. When they arrived, they were sunk by RPGs. No word ever reached Washington.
Knowing only single-shot rifles, the whites imagined their adversaries to number in the hundreds of thousands. Nothing less could explain the firepower. The whites began building forts along the eastern side of the Mississippi to repel invasion. The word was sent to the whites that they would be tolerated only if they remained east of the Mississippi.
With the West saved from the avarice that lives in the white man’s heart, he and the Russian turned their thoughts to the East. A century or two further back in time, and the white man could be eliminated from North America. The closer they arrived to 1620, the easier it would be. The Iroquois were quick learners.