Edge of Apocalypse: pages 58-62 (Chapter Twelve)
Now we move into the phase where Joshua, having established that he doesn’t trust the Congressional committee, now has his innings with Senator Straworth:
“‘Mr. Jordan,’ Senator Straworth smiled as he began grilling Joshua, ‘you just said you have a concern about your RTS technology getting into the wrong hands. Correct?’
‘And who exactly do you think of as the ‘wrong hands’?’
‘I think the wrong hands are anyone outside of the United States.'”
Joshua goes on to establish that while he would advocate giving the technology to the US’s allies, he would not give them the fundamental design documents.
He then goes on to establish some of the logical consequences of deploying the RTS-RGS system:
“‘This isn’t just another weapons system we can sell to the highest bidder. This system–my system–can alter the nuclear balance for the better of our country, for the better of the world, but only if we maintain strict control over it. Imagine if every missile, any missile, fired at us could be turned back on itself. With my Return-to-Sender system, there is a probable certainty that any missile attack by a rogue nation would result in their own self-destruction. So the threat of a nuclear missile attack on our country or our allies drops to almost nothing.'”
Nitpick: “Probable certainty”? Sounds like an oxymoron to me. Kinda like “corporate ethics”. But anyway…
“‘Just as when we put nuclear weapons into Western Europe to deter the Soviet menace in the 1980s, we did not turn over our nuclear arsenal to the Europeans, even though they were our allies. That way we could assure the world the weapons wouldn’t fall into the wrong hands.’
‘And I am here to assure you, Mr. Jordan,’ said Senator Straworth, ‘that we have the same concern today.’
‘That’s good to know.’ Joshua relaxed. This was easier than he thought.
‘But I think you have things turned around, Mr. Jordan.’
‘Yes,’ the senator said, his voice now building in intensity. ‘You see, protecting military secrets, with all due respect, is not the province of some private businessman like yourself. It is the province of the United States government. That’s our job. Not yours.'”
Now, watch this:
“‘I think you’re forgetting something,’ Joshua said.
‘And what’s that?’
‘I’m part of the United States government. Not because I work for the Pentagon, but because I’m an American citizen. I’m part of ‘we the people’ in the Preamble to the Constitution. In that respect, Senator, I guess you could say that you work for me…and for all of us.'”
You really showed ‘im there, Joshy-boy.
Let’s review why the US Government exists: it is the duly constituted authority, which exists by consent of the governed in the domain of the United States of America. To the extent that Jordan is correct, it is that the Senator can be removed by a vote in an election and it is for this reason that he is responsible to the people.
However, since the authority to regulate the state of affairs under national aegis derives from the Constitutional validity of the US Government and its creations, Joshua Jordan is indeed subject to the oversight committee’s authority and they can validly request those documents.
The Senator goes on to make basically this point. It’s only because he’s already been tagged as the baddie who wants to make Joshua’s life miserable that we’re not supposed to root for him, or to at least acknowledge that he has a valid point.
“Straworth could now see that the gloves had come off.
‘That’s right, Mr. Jordan, that’s right. I do work for you. I was elected by Americans just like you and put into a position of authority to make the tough decisions that affect my country’s security. That is the job I’ve been given by the people of this country. That’s not the job you have been given, sir.'”
Now the boxing match, as it were, moves into the second round, with the fighters moving in up close and personal to exchange blows.
“The senator’s face was turning crimson, and he was just getting started. His voice boomed out. ‘There’s a certain hubris, sir, in your refusal to produce your documents on this project, an arrogance in your taking it upon yourself to decide when and how military secrets ought to be shared with the United States Congress. An attitude that, quite honestly, I find shocking, and dare I say it–unpatriotic–‘
Harry Smythe leaped forward to his microphone before Joshua could get to his. ‘Sir, there’s no need to impugn the patriotism of my client.’ The lawyer held his hand over Joshua’s mic to make sure his client didn’t start cursing.
Straworth continued, ‘It is precisely because of your previous record of patriotism and service to this country that I find it particularly puzzling why you won’t comply with a simple request from your government–‘”
I find it particularly hilarious that a Democratic senator is the one in this book to use the same rhetorical low blow as a zillion Republican politicians have used since time immemoral: attack the other person’s patriotism.
Of course, this is really LaHaye and Parshall projecting onto their opponents the tactics they themselves have used, or have seen to be used, with effectiveness by their political allies.
“Joshua had heard enough. He ripped his lawyer’s hand off his mic. ‘Because I don’t want to give a single piece of technology that could save our country to the very people who are trying to destroy it!’
Senator Straworth sat back, like a spider watching his prey fly straight into his web. He smiled, then leaned forward again. ‘Do you mean the United Nations and the signers of the Six-Party Missile-Defense Treaty?’ intoned Straworth.”
The discussion goes on to establish that merely because of the treaty, Russia and China are the US’s “allies”, never mind that treaties have been, and will almost certainly continue to be, concluded both among allies, neutrals, and even active belligerents.
The United States and the Soviet Union were not made allies to one another simply because they ratified the SALT treaty.
There are numerous other examples of such cases where the mere existence of a treaty did not constitute an alliance.
But in LaHaye’s and Parshall’s world, signing a treaty mutually pledging (as near as I can guess) to not use missile defence shields or to strictly regulate their use automatically makes all the signatories allies to one another.
“‘[Russia and China] are our allies, Mr. Jordan,’ said Straworth, now clearly enjoying himself.
‘That’s right,’ said Joshua, ‘but only because we need oil from one and owe trillions of dollars to the other.’
‘So we should just throw out all our alliances because of an injured sense of pride?’ the senator said, toying with him now. ‘So who can we trust in this world then?'”
And now, once again, we see what a diva Joshua can be like, and how unnecessarily provocative he can be even though he knows the Senator has it in for him (assuming we ignore the fact that Senator Straworth is simply the foil against which Joshua can show off how justified and righteous he is).
“‘That is the question, isn’t it, Senator?’ Now it was time for Joshua to fight back. ‘Who can we trust?’ He turned to his lawyer. ‘I can trust Harry here because I know he’s taken an oath; if he repeats anything I tell him in confidence, he could lose his law license, maybe even go to jail. I trust my wife because I know she loves me and would never betray me. I trust the Constitution because I know it has the greater good of our country at its heart.’
He paused for a second, thinking carefully before going on. ‘But the question is, who can I trust in this room … Truth is, I just can’t come up with a satisfactory answer to that question.'”
Straworth goes on to threaten a contempt citation, and then threatens a full subpoena of him and his relevant documentation on the RTS project.
Joshua rounds out the chapter with this sermon/foreshadowing/warning:
“‘I’ll tell you what I find to be an outrage and a crime,’ Jordan spoke calmly. ‘But, Senator, it has nothing to do with this committee. What it has to do with is the fact that out there, right now, in terrorist cells, in dark rooms, in rogue nations, and in the palaces of dictators and international drug lords, there are men who are willing to do absolutely anything to get their hands on my technology.’
Joshua had one more word on the subject. He spit it out like a bit of rotten apple.
It’s a total non sequitur, but it sets the stage for some actually half-decent subplots in this book. But let’s get back to his statement. If it has nothing to do with the committee, why is he making reference to all these folks who want to get their mitts on classified technology?
The conclusion is that he’s subtly claiming that at least one member of that committee could be suborned to the ebil terrists, never mind that it’s very likely the FBI and CIA keep track of domestic and foreign contacts made to Congresscritters and Senators – in particular, the members on intelligence and military oversight committees.
Now, we will find that Chapter Thirteen takes us to a very familiar part of the world in LaHaye-ville. That’s right, folks – stay tuned for Ro-MANIA! (Sadly, however, Nicolae Mountain-of-many-names will not make an appearance)