West Wing
18th And Potomac

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This Is The Dawning of the Age of Sagittarius

Charlie and Mrs. Landingham are sitting at their desks, opposite each other reading documents. Charlie doesn't look up, but I can tell he's not really reading. He's just waiting for his next opportunity to kibitz Mrs. Landingham. He waits a few moments and then says, "Look..." But she's ready for him; the minute he opens his mouth, she cites chapter and verse of the regulation stating that employees of the Executive Branch may not solicit or accept gifts over twenty dollars in value. She concludes, "They want to give me a nineteen-dollar discount on my car, I'll take it." Just then Leo arrives to speak with Jed; Charlie shows him in.

Jed asks, "What happened?" Leo says they shot three Haitian soldiers on the runway. Jed: "They boarded the plane?" Leo: "Ground traffic control stopped the plane." Jed tears his glasses off and sighs heavily, but silently. Leo explains, "When the soldiers boarded it, they were told they'd illegally boarded a U.S. Air Force C-9. They were told to drop their weapons. They were told again. Two staff sergeants in the bulkhead had a clear shot and took 'em. They dumped the bodies on the tarmac and made an emergency takeoff." Jed starts walking out from behind his desk toward Leo, hollering, "That wasn't supposed to happen! I evacuated the nonessentials specifically so that wouldn't happen! I gave the order six hours ago! Six hours ago I gave the order! What the hell were they still doing on the runway?" He's right in Leo's face now. Leo replies -- with considerable restraint given that someone's yelling in his face, even if that person is the President of the United States, "They had to be collected, sir! They weren't all in one place!" Jed hollers: "We shot three men!" Leo: "That's what you do!" Jed: "We what?" Leo: "A foreign hostile puts his foot on an American military plane, that's an attack. And rules of engagement give us every right to repel." Jed yells, "And I'm sure these guys had their handbooks with them!" You know, everything about war and any kind of armed or violent conflict pretty much makes me sick, but since it is a reality, I can certainly understand at times why some people feel so strongly that a POTUS should have military service in his (or her) background. I think there's a certain toughness you have to bring to that particular job, and Jed has shown himself on a number of occasions to lack it. I admire him for his compassion, and for wanting to avoid casualties at all costs, even on the "other side," but I don't think it's always realistic. Moreover, imagine how a woman in the same job, taking the same approach, would be excoriated for it. Anyway, I digress, as usual. Leo replies, "These guys were there to keep the plane on the ground." Leo confirms for Jed that the plane is in the air. Jed asks what's happening on the ground. Leo indicates that they're communicating through diplomatic back channels: the Canadian ambassador and Dominican intelligence. Jed asks what Bazan wants. Leo says, "Dessaline." Jed: "On what charge?" Leo replies, "That as Treasury Minister, he embezzled eighteen million dollars earmarked for humanitarian aid." Jed rolls his eyes and makes a dismissive gesture, saying sarcastically, "I'm sold." Leo picks up the phone and asks Margaret to get him the Secretary of State. Jed stands by his desk, hands in his pockets. He says, "You're right, you know. I should be bringing them in on re-election. I should be talking to them." Leo: "Yeah." Jed: "I don't want to make the same mistakes over again." Leo, with his hand over the mouthpiece: "Yeah, not when there are so many new mistakes we can make." Jed suggests that they start tonight, around 9 PM. Leo tells the Secretary of State, "Scott, I'm with the President. We're going to need to invoke 1070 at OAS."

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West Wing

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