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* PutOnABus: NSA Advisor Jeffrey Pelt is mentioned to have retired sometime prior to the novel, paving the way for Cutter to take the position.

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* CouldSayItBut: At one point, the President turns to Ritter and explicitly tells him "You have a hunting license, and there's no bag limit. Is that clear?" Ritter agrees, but the narration then notes that the omnipresent recorder hidden in the room could be used to point out that the President never said "kill", which could be used to burn Ritter in the event that things go off the rails, demonstrating PlausibleDeniability at its finest.


** In lesser measure, Bob Ritter himself, as Clark explains while venting to Larson. Not only has he had a desk job for so long that he's losing his memory of how things work in the field, but his own career in the field consisted mostly of running spies in Eastern Europe, which is very different from the "low intensity warfare" that the CIA is now practicing in Colombia.

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** In lesser measure, Bob Ritter himself, as Clark explains while venting to Larson. Not only has he had a desk job for so long that he's losing his memory of how things work in the field, but his own career in the field consisted mostly of running spies in Eastern Europe, which is very different from the "low intensity warfare" that the CIA is now practicing in Colombia.Colombia[[note]]Best exemplified when the soldiers point out (internally) that their orders are to prevent ''any'' contact with the enemy, or even the ''chance'' of contact, which prevents them from doing such simple things as patrolling their area to determine enemy defenses and logistics[[/note]].


* ElitesAreMoreGlamorous: Averted. John Clark recruits his soldiers from regular U.S. Army light infantry units and then gives them additional training in guerrilla warfare. The reason he doesn't recruit from Special Forces is that the Special Forces community is small enough that people would notice the missing soldiers and start asking questions.

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* ElitesAreMoreGlamorous: Averted. John Clark recruits his soldiers from regular U.S. Army light infantry units and then gives them additional training in guerrilla warfare. The reason he doesn't recruit from Special Forces is that the Special Forces community is small enough that people would notice the missing soldiers and start asking questions. [[spoiler: It turns out that even regular Army units will notice when people don't end up where they're supposed to.]]


* ArtisticLicense[=/=]AnachronismStew: In the real world, 1988 featured UsefulNotes/GeorgeHWBush running against Michael Dukakis, since it was impossible for UsefulNotes/RonaldReagan, who got elected in 1980, to run for a third term. However, for the purposes of the story, the President in the last two novels was elected to his first term in 1984, theoretically making him either Harold Stassen or Walter Mondale. But this is impossible, since ''Red October'', which has the same President, clearly states that December 3rd took place on a Friday that year, which makes it only possible to happen in one of four years in the post-Vietnam, pre-2000 era: 1976 (Impossible as Ryan would have still been in college at that time, and ''Red October'' has explicit references to events that happened in 1981), 1982 (''Red Rabbit'', which takes place before ''Red October'' is explicitly stated to take place in this year), 1993, or 1999. This gets more confusing in later novels where Clancy treats the Reagan and Bush presidencies as happening as normal. Furthermore, the President in ''Clear and Present Danger'' is implied to be a Republican, or at least right-wing (the parties are never named in the Clancy novels), because his opponent Fowler's foreign policy is very dove-ish and pro-Cuba and his convention is in Chicago, a traditional location for [=DNCs=]. In addition, Clark mentions that he's been in the spy business for twenty-odd years, which, since ''Literature/WithoutRemorse'' had him get recruited by the CIA in the early seventies, implies this story takes place in 1996 at the earliest.

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* ArtisticLicense[=/=]AnachronismStew: In the real world, 1988 featured UsefulNotes/GeorgeHWBush running against Michael Dukakis, since it was impossible for UsefulNotes/RonaldReagan, who got elected in 1980, to run for a third term. However, for the purposes of the story, the President in the last two novels was elected to his first term in 1984, theoretically making him either Harold Stassen or Walter Mondale. But this is impossible, since ''Red October'', which has the same President, clearly states that December 3rd took place on a Friday that year, which makes it only possible to happen in one of four years in the post-Vietnam, pre-2000 era: 1976 (Impossible as Ryan would have still been in college at that time, and ''Red October'' has explicit references to events that happened in 1981), 1982 (''Red Rabbit'', which takes place before ''Red October'' is explicitly stated to take place in this year), 1993, or 1999. This gets more confusing in later novels where Clancy treats the Reagan and Bush presidencies as happening as normal. Furthermore, the President in ''Clear and Present Danger'' is implied to be a Republican, or at least right-wing (the parties are never named in the Clancy novels), because his opponent Fowler's foreign policy is very dove-ish and pro-Cuba and his convention is in Chicago, a traditional location for [=DNCs=]. In addition, Clark mentions that he's been in the spy business for twenty-odd years, which, since ''Literature/WithoutRemorse'' had him get recruited by the CIA in the early seventies, seventies[[note]]Unless he's counting his time in Project Phoenix and MACV-SOG, which could put in him the late 60's[[/note]], implies this story takes place in 1996 at the earliest.


* HollywoodSilencer: Played completely straight, notable in a book by Tom Clancy, whose claim to fame is meticulous research and realism in the technological aspects of his stories[[note]]For what it's worth, the MP5-SD2 on single-shot with subsonic ammunition ''is'' impressively quiet, but firing it on three-round burst (as Chavez does) or full-auto makes it unmistakable as gunfire, if you're close enough (generally about 100 feet). The intent of the SD2 isn't silence, it's confusion: the few seconds of "was that gunfire or something else?" is invaluable.[[/note]]

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* HollywoodSilencer: Played completely straight, notable in a book by Tom Clancy, whose claim to fame is meticulous research and realism in the technological aspects of his stories[[note]]For what it's worth, the MP5-SD2 [=MP5-SD2=] on single-shot with subsonic ammunition ''is'' impressively quiet, but firing it on three-round burst (as Chavez does) or full-auto makes it unmistakable as gunfire, if you're close enough (generally about 100 feet). The intent of the SD2 isn't silence, it's confusion: the few seconds of "was that gunfire or something else?" is invaluable.[[/note]]


* HollywoodSilencer: Played completely straight, notable in a book by Tom Clancy, whose claim to fame is meticulous research and realism in the technological aspects of his stories.

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* HollywoodSilencer: Played completely straight, notable in a book by Tom Clancy, whose claim to fame is meticulous research and realism in the technological aspects of his stories.stories[[note]]For what it's worth, the MP5-SD2 on single-shot with subsonic ammunition ''is'' impressively quiet, but firing it on three-round burst (as Chavez does) or full-auto makes it unmistakable as gunfire, if you're close enough (generally about 100 feet). The intent of the SD2 isn't silence, it's confusion: the few seconds of "was that gunfire or something else?" is invaluable.[[/note]]


* DarkHorseVictory: The President was heavily favored to win the election but deliberately throws it, allowing Bob Fowler to win an upset victory.

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* DarkHorseVictory: The President was heavily favored to win the election but deliberately throws it, allowing Bob Fowler to win an upset victory. As described by Arnie (Fowler's campaign manager) in later books, with actual reverence bordering on fear:
--> '''Arnie''': He threw it. He threw a presidential election. He fired his campaign manager and his campaign was for shit the whole way. Jesus, Jack, ''what did you '''do'''''?

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* CoolCar: Untiveros' monster truck, [[spoiler:which Clark uses as the target for the first RECIPROCITY attack, disguising an air-to-ground strike as a car bombing]].

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* HeroicBSOD:
** Moira Wolfe falls into this when she realizes that she inadvertently helped Felix Cortez compromise the FBI, which in turn lead to the assassination of Emil Jacobs. [[spoiler:She tries to kill herself out of guilt.]]
** Captain Ramirez falls prey to this at the Battle of Ninja Hill when he realizes that most of the other American soldiers are dead and no help is coming.


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** After the first attacks on the cartel processing sites, Admiral Cutter is stunned to learn the American teams have taken light casualties. Ritter points out this was inevitable; even with all their extra training, the sheer odds of combat meant that some American soldiers were going to get killed.


* DidYouJustFlipOffCthulhu: invoked in-universe by Felix Cortez. He refuses to divulge the identity of his sources to Escobedo, saying that not only is this a principle of intelligence operations but that ''Castro himself'' once asked him the same thing and was given the same answer. Privately, he acknowledges this is baloney: not only was he never that close to Castro, but no one in Cuba would have dared refuse him if he ''had'' asked. It's a good story to improve your street cred, though.

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* DidYouJustFlipOffCthulhu: invoked in-universe by Felix Cortez. He refuses to divulge the identity of his sources to Escobedo, saying that not only is this a principle of intelligence operations but that ''Castro himself'' once asked him the same thing and was given the same answer. Privately, he acknowledges this is baloney: not only was he never that close to Castro, but no one in Cuba would have dared refuse him if he ''had'' asked. It's a good story to improve your street cred, though. He's also privately flipping off Escobedo, a very powerful drug lord, by lying to him, demonstrating how little respect he actually has for his boss.


* NoOneGetsLeftBehind: Brutally averted. Most of the American teams don't make it out and even the ones that do suffer heavy casualties, with those who fall being left behind and likely ending up in unmarked graves.

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* NoOneGetsLeftBehind: Brutally averted.Averted. Most of the American teams don't make it out and even the ones that do suffer heavy casualties, with those who fall being left behind and likely ending up in unmarked graves.


* MyGodWhatHaveIDone: Chavez has this reaction when, after an attack on a cartel processing site, he runs down and kills a man who he thinks is a cartel soldier but instead turns out to be an unlucky peasant. He then is forced to carry the man's body back to the site, all the while realizing the peasant was just working there probably out of necessity rather than any desire to hurt people with drugs.



* RealityEnsues: Dropping laser guided bombs on drug kingpins is all fun and games until the rescue teams start pulling the bodies of the kingpins' family and innocent house servants from the wreckage.

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* RealityEnsues: RealityEnsues:
**
Dropping laser guided bombs on drug kingpins is all fun and games until the rescue teams start pulling the bodies of the kingpins' family and innocent house servants from the wreckage. wreckage.
** The American teams are reliant on stealth and outside support to succeed. Once their supplies are cut off and the cartel learns where they are, the sheer numbers of the cartel foot soldiers can overwhelm them.

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* AnonymousRinger: At one point in the book, the relationship between the US forces stationed in Panama, the military forces of Panama, and their leader, are discussed as strained. The leader of Panama at the time of writing, of course, [[{{UsefulNotes/Panama}} being the dictator Manuel Noriega]].


* ArtisticLicense[=/=]AnachronismStew: In the real world, 1988 featured UsefulNotes/GeorgeHWBush running against Michael Dukakis, since it was impossible for UsefulNotes/RonaldReagan, who got elected in 1980, to run for a third term. However, for the purposes of the story, the President in the last two novels was elected to his first term in 1984, theoretically making him either Harold Stassen or Walter Mondale. But this is impossible, since ''Red October'', which has the same President, clearly states that December 3rd took place on a Friday that year, which makes it only possible to happen in one of four years in the post-Vietnam, pre-2000 era: 1976 (Impossible as Ryan would have still been in college at that time, and ''Red October'' has explicit references to events that happened in 1981), 1982 (''Red Rabbit'', which takes place before ''Red October'' is explicitly stated to take place in this year), 1993, or 1999. This gets more confusing in later novels where Clancy treats the Reagan and Bush presidencies as happening as normal. Furthermore, the President in ''Clear and Present Danger'' is implied to be a Republican, or at least right-wing (the parties are never named in the Clancy novels), because his opponent Fowler's foreign policy is very dove-ish and pro-Cuba and his convention is in Chicago, a traditional location for [=DNCs=].

to:

* ArtisticLicense[=/=]AnachronismStew: In the real world, 1988 featured UsefulNotes/GeorgeHWBush running against Michael Dukakis, since it was impossible for UsefulNotes/RonaldReagan, who got elected in 1980, to run for a third term. However, for the purposes of the story, the President in the last two novels was elected to his first term in 1984, theoretically making him either Harold Stassen or Walter Mondale. But this is impossible, since ''Red October'', which has the same President, clearly states that December 3rd took place on a Friday that year, which makes it only possible to happen in one of four years in the post-Vietnam, pre-2000 era: 1976 (Impossible as Ryan would have still been in college at that time, and ''Red October'' has explicit references to events that happened in 1981), 1982 (''Red Rabbit'', which takes place before ''Red October'' is explicitly stated to take place in this year), 1993, or 1999. This gets more confusing in later novels where Clancy treats the Reagan and Bush presidencies as happening as normal. Furthermore, the President in ''Clear and Present Danger'' is implied to be a Republican, or at least right-wing (the parties are never named in the Clancy novels), because his opponent Fowler's foreign policy is very dove-ish and pro-Cuba and his convention is in Chicago, a traditional location for [=DNCs=]. In addition, Clark mentions that he's been in the spy business for twenty-odd years, which, since ''Literature/WithoutRemorse'' had him get recruited by the CIA in the early seventies, implies this story takes place in 1996 at the earliest.

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