An Englishwoman in New York
Saul Bellow - Herzog, Penguin Books, New York, 1964
Private defence contractors. Where’ve you been ? Name of the game these days. War’s gone corporate, in case you haven’t noticed.However in Le Carre’s book it is Toby, a British civil servant, who is fighting to reveal information about Ethical Outcomes, a private US defence company:
which in turn led Toby into a rather inarticulate condemnation of the Deep State, and thence into a denunciation of the ever-expanding circle of non-governmental insiders from banking, industry and commerce who were cleared for highly classified information denied to large swathes of Whitehall and Westminster.Le Carre’s themes are echoed in the new Star Trek Into Darkness movie - a sentence I never thought I would write - as the military tries to take over the Enterprise’s scientific mission.
Unfortunately in real life, the differences between heroes and villains is not quite as obvious.
Admiral Marcus orders Kirk to fly to the edge of enemy space and execute Khan using a payload of classified, high-tech torpedoes that are capable of seeking out enemies from long distance. In other words, he orders an extrajudicial killing by drone strike. The fact that this measure isn’t strictly kosher under Starfleet law worries Spock, who reminds Kirk of Khan’s right to due process, noting that there is no Starfleet regulation that allows the killing of a Federation resident without a trial.