I am listening to an audio book in my car. It is a book from the Jack Ryan franchise started by Tom Clancy and carried on now by Mark Greaney. The latest books are not as focused on naval submarines, ships and procedures as the original Clancy novels but they are just as fascinated with military weaponry, tactics, and the brave men and women who serve the nation on the front lines of battle defending America and acting as a global peace-keeping force.
As I listened to the end of chapter 39, I had two thoughts;
- Our nation, or any nation could admire a President like Mark Greaney imagines in the pages of this book. A straight talking, principled, man of integrity who will not make excuses for failures but will work diligently to ensure that a crisis, however started, ends with justice.
- Any church leadership team that takes similar responsibility for correcting bad outcomes no matter whose poor performance created the “problem” will eventually have the support of its people.
Setup for the excerpt below: A massive data breach has compromised the nations military and anyone who has ever applied for a security clearance. The information is sold to ISIS operatives who begin to dispatch secret cells with specific targeting information of US citizens. ISIS begins to bring carnage to American soil. Now the President has called a briefing with his top staff to determine what they know and what can be done about it.
“DHS Secretary Zilko raised his hand. Mr. President. I do want to stress that the breach happened during the previous administration.”
Ryan felt the boiling heat on his face, but he didn’t let his anger overtake him. He pointed at Zilko. “I don’t ever want to hear you say that again about this or any other crisis. We aren’t here to cover our asses. We’re here to serve the United States of America. For four damn years people in this administration have known that a company in India had access to sensitive material. Just because we didn’t know they took it is no reason to pat ourselves on the back. Just because you didn’t know personally, people you are responsible for did. And just because I didn’t know personally, I am responsible for you.”
Zilko looked away. Softly he said, “Of course, Mr. President.”
Ryan moved his pointed finger around the room. Everyone, even Mary Pat and Dan, got the finger and the intense eyes that came with it. “Everyone, in here needs to take responsibility for finding our way out of this debacle. We need to accept that we bear significant responsibility for these deaths and injuries, because despite any excuses we might think we have, this all happened on our watch. Maybe not the initial breach, but the fallout from it.
“Now . . . let me explain what is going to happen. We will find Musa al-Matari, we will discover who was responsible for the breach and take them off the game board, and only then, when this is over, I will ask for a stack of resignation letters on my desk. Ladies and gentlemen, we owed our bravest citizens better than we gave them. We’ll fix it going forward, but I want a full accounting of the past.”
Ryan stood and stormed out of the room, as angry as he’d ever been in his life. America was endangered by innumberable outside threats. He had long ago learned to accept this. But he’d never been able to come to terms with the amount of self-inflicted damage the nation incurred because of poor job performance and those who did not take threats seriously.
excerpt from chapter 39 of
True Faith and Allegiance, A Jack Ryan Novel
by Mark Greaney (Random House, 2016)
It’s my day off, but I thought, maybe this was worth sharing as people pick candidates to lead our nation and states. Look for men and women with this kind of integrity.