Lions for Lambs script
Roadside bombs have claimed the lives of eight US soldiers in Iraq.
Four troops were killed when an explosion struck their vehicle north of Baghdad,
while an airman was killed by another roadside bomb in Tikrit.
Two soldiers were killed and three wounded
when their unit was struck by a roadside bomb in Baghdad.
The death of an eighth soldier
from a non-battle-related cause is under investigation.
At least 3,555 members of the US military have died
since the Iraq War started back in 2003.
Washington DC 10:00am Eastern Standard Time
Senator Jasper Irving's Office
One more. That's it. Thank you very much. Here's my card.
- Thank you for coming in. - Thank you, sir.
He's ready for you now, Ms Roth.
- Sorry? - The senator.
- Ah, good morning, Janine. - Hi.
Only good thing about morning is it ends at noon.
Please, sit down. Would you like some coffee, tea, water?
- No, thanks. - It's terrific to see you.
- Thank you. - Thanks for coming in.
- Senator? - Marcia, could I have coffee?
I read the story you did on the rise of image consultants in politics.
- You did? - I thought it was a good story, actually.
It was a different angle.
Are we waiting for your PR pit bull or...?
No. Just you and me. No one to intercept your trick questions.
One-on-one time. Wow.
You first called me the future of my party. I'm returning the favour.
- It was just how I saw it eight years ago. - Well, nonetheless, grateful.
Considering the state of your party, how do you know the tag isn't pejorative?
- Cos I got 77% of the vote. - Oh, yeah. How could I forget?
- Yes. - You're aware I'm doing this time line...?
Yeah, you're doing a detailed time line on the war on terror.
If it's like every other time line that's come out this year
it'll be the opening salvo of a much larger retrospective of mistakes made.
- Or it could just be a simple list of facts. - From which you all will pick and choose.
- You don't trust us. - I trust you.
- And that's why we're here. - To discuss what, exactly?
To see if you'd like to write an honest-to-God story again, instead of reminding
the few paying attention that we've been fighting a tough war for six years.
Who gets the Peabody for that?
What's the story?
It's about a new plan going into motion in Afghanistan.
Afghanistan? A new plan?
A new plan that will win both the war and, as clich?as this might sound,
the hearts and minds of the people.
- What is it? - I won't be at liberty to tell you everything.
- National security. - But enough so you might write a story
about what we're doing in Afghanistan now -
not six years ago, but now -
and how those efforts can culminate into actual victory.
- What is this? - "This"?
This is my honest effort to keep the press better informed
and to change the subject from the past to the future,
acknowledge mistakes and talk openly about ways of fixing them,
step by step.
How much time do we have together?
I have till 11.
The whole hour? Wow. You all must be panicked.
Oh, no, no, no, no. We're determined.
Afghanistan 6:30pm Afghan Standard Time
Bagram Air Force Base
- Finch, you and your boys good? - Roger that, sir.
- How's that knee? - Ready for that hike.
- Glad to hear it. Rodriguez? - All up, sir.
All right. Good. I want you to take notes, I want you to ask questions. Good news first.
Al-Qaeda and the Taliban have been whittled down to small wolf packs.
Do not believe everything in the papers.
We've pounded the enemy into something much smaller
and more impotent than when we first got here. That's good.
The bad news. We have yet to step on their throats. We've yet to close.
The longer we don't, the harder it gets. Remember your Von Clausewitz.
Never engage the same enemy for too long or he will...
- Adapt to your tactics. - He will adapt to your tactics.
That is correct. Case in point, INTSUM is reporting
that al-Qaeda in the Badakhshan province is attempting to open up a new front.
- Locals can't handle the fight? - That's the problem.
Nobody up there is strong enough to fight this enemy
and Karzai sure ain't gonna let any of these guys go home now.
Why is the enemy doing this now?
Enemy is bent on establishing themselves as a legitimate fighting force for the people.
Sir, where are these guys comir from?
They're asking families to give up their sons.
If they don't, the sons are executed in front of the families. That's number one.
Number two is Iraq. Qaeda and the Tali are starting to funnel battle-tested fighters...
- Funnel through where, though, sir? - I can't tell you. I ain't gonna answer that.
Cos you already know too much.
So jihadi and Wahhabi terrorists are moving through Shiite territory, sir?
Suffice it to say the enemy is getting stronger and uglier.
It is time for us to get back into their kitchen, put our foot on their throats.
You are going to air-assault into the Badakhshan province.
You will set up an operating camp at Pamela Left, the forward operating point,
an 8,000ft peak offering 360?views of the valley below.
The enemy is gonna want it just as badly as we do
so we've been ordered to take it first before the snow thaws.
Check your maps. There's a suitable LZ. You all got that?
- Roger that, sir. - You'll set up camp. You'll set up comms.
You'll set up sat links. You will wait and, if fortunate enough to engage the enemy,
you will introduce them to the full measure of America Mean. Clear?
We're being pushed awfully fast here, aren't we, sir?
A California University 7:00am Pacific Standard Time
Professor Stephen Malley's Office
- Morning. - Morning.
You want it closed or...?
What's your guess, Todd?
This is unethical, making me bring you coffee.
- No more than makir me look at that shirt. - Ho, ho, Doc.
This here's a genuine Reyn Spooner. This was 89.99. Or was it 69?
- Oh, yeah? Well, I take it all back, then. - Yeah, please.
So, why'd I ask you to come in this early with a gift?
Well, you know, my sporadic absences.
Sounds like the title of a book about your semester so far, doesn't it?
That's good, yeah.
Yeah... I don't know, Doc.
I just... I've never ever been this busy in my life.
- What with? - Well, just, like, all my other classes.
- This is your major. - And there's also a young lady, too.
Is this the one that you jockey to sit next to when you do come to my class?
- What else keeps you busy? - President of my fraternity.
- Hey. Hail to the chief. - Oh, come on, now.
You were in a house, right? Gotta remember how busy it can get.
With the four-day weekends and 30-minute study sessions.
- That's not what I mean. - You asked me what I remember.
You don't think school should be as social as it is academic? Getting two educations?
I think if you can't balance the two you shouldn't be here.
I also think most of the kids that argue that
are the guys with the 2.4s trying to justify 30 grand a year for all those Cs.
OK, my friend.
You've aced a lot of the exams you've shown up for,
but you've only been to eight classes this semester.
Now, that'd be a hall of fame run if we only met once a week.
So attendance is part of my grade all of a sudden?
Would you take a solid B for the rest of this semester?
No plus, no minus, just a straight blue-collar B?
I'll get that to you. Right here. Right now.
It's no bullshit.
- A B for what? - For not coming to another class.
For not writing or reading one word I assign to you.
For not signing up for any more of my classes for the rest of your time here.
A B for nothing, huh?
- You nod yes and this meeting's over. - Half the class would kill for that deal.
- But I'm not meeting with any of them. - I think I know what you're doing.
There's another deal. Two parts. Both non-negotiable. First part,
you show up every day, every class from here on out.
And second, you let me tell you about the last two kids I had that gave me hope.
Maybe that'll explain why I called you in this morning.
We're just fluttering. Base turn to follow.
- You got the reaction time of a foetus. - Whoa!
- There we go. - Friendly skies.
How can you be more afraid of clouds than bullets?
Cos I'd rather take a bullet than a fall.
You think you fast?
This is a very high-minded goal you've set for yourselves.
But this goal for the future of Afghanistan
is just a lot of hot air unless we solve the military problem first.
Our Special Forces soldiers are going to take the high ground
in key positions throughout Afghanistan before the snow thaws.
And the military part has to come first why?
Because only after we've eradicated the enemy
can we then get down to the true work of keeping this new democracy breathing.
- So it's basically kill people to help people. - No. That's not what I said.
I said "the enemy". Don't take that out of context.
Sorry. I was just trying to boil it down.
In 2002, I remember you said something like:
"The Talibars back is forever broken", then big applause.
"Mission accomplished." Writ small.
- Mistake. - Mistake?
Because we now know the enemy with broken backs can still crawl
and we know that the enemy learned their lesson from that first backbreaking.
So you're taking it for granted there's gonna be a second backbreaking.
Would we be having this meeting if I didn't?
Is this how the rest of the hour's gonna go?
I'm just asking questions. Senator, can you just give me one example
of the enemy having learned a lesson?
They've woken up to the fact that we're fighting on two fronts.
And history does tend to punish that kind of hubris.
So we're launching this new strategy using the military as the opening punch.
Now, taking the high ground is key.
Whoever takes it owns the ability to observe,
the prerogative to attack, and the opportunity to preside.
- So... preside? - It's why the Romans built forts.
Establish a constant presence or you have constant violence.
So we're gonna be there for good, like Romans?
I said "constant", not "permanent".
We have to have the same determination as these insurgents or they'll outlast us.
This security allows us to build schools and clinics...
- But where is NATO in all this? - Good question. Where are they?
We can't wait for them to decide, so we put this new strategy into motion now.
And why now? Why not a year ago? Two years? Three years?
Two reasons. First reason, the satellites and drones
are not nearly as omniscient as they're marketed to be.
Anybody knows that. You just Google "Predator".
- The second reasors ugly. - Ugly? Is that code for "off the record"?
For the time being, yeah.
- Iran. - Iran? What are they doing now?
Outside of building nuclear weapons, talking to North Korea,
and telling Israel they don't know what a real holocaust looks like?
They're allowing Wahhabi insurgents to hike from Iraq to Afghanistan
- using the most direct route possible. - Across the countryside of Iran.
- Is that confirmed? - By their denials.
- Proof there truly is a new axis of evil. - Oh, wow.
1300 years of murder between the Sunnis and Shiahs getting back-burnered now
so they can kill more Americans in more places.
Are we still off the record? Because this really is... this is a story.
That's negotiable. Do you see what I'm saying?
These radicals are uniting against us.
We need to remind the American people who their enemies are.
You have proof they are uniting against us, or are you saying there may be potential...?
Don't underestimate how frightening a development this is.
This is a significant threat to the security of our nation and you can quote me on this.
Now that Iran has nuclear potential, we simply cannot...
When you say "nuclear", it sounds like the same kind of fear-mongering...
Your position affords you the luxury of that opinion. Mine does not.
It is my responsibility, it's part of my job description to protect the American people,
and that is why we put this new strategy into motion now.
So when does it start?
Ten minutes ago.
Copy that. I'll let him know.
- Heads up. - Sir, we're two minutes out.
Two minutes! Lock and load!
- That's an old AA right there. - Anti-aircraft gun on the ridge.
It's all good, sir. Drones took pictures last night.
It's an old rusty 23-millimetre with spiked barrels.
Good eye, though.
Rusted and spiked. Inoperable.
Spiked. By whom?
Point is, it can't shoot.
An old AA gun that can't shoot can make for a nasty trap.
Sir, I see this kind ofjunk from the air all the time.
That's why we call this place "Trashghani..."
What direction? What direction?
We are taking fire. Mayday! Mayday!
Give me your finger. Give me your finger.
Turn towards it. Turn towards it.
Turn towards it.
- What are their names again? - Ernest and Arian.
Wait. Like, master race - Aryan?
He spelt it with an <i>i</i> instead of a <i>y</i>. What's your point?
- If you looked up "irony", huh? - What?
You know, a guy named Arian, he could only be...
What difference does that make?
Stay focused on the American part.
All right. So they played ball, huh?
It was the only way they could afford to come here.
Scholarship athletes. You wanna come up with two guys more different than me?
You know, professors aren't teachers, they're salesmen.
OK. So what do you sell?
You, to you.
But, you know, you don't... you don't have to do me any favours, Doc.
- And why is that, Todd? - Why don't you have to do me favours?
Why don't you care any more?
I cared before because I showed up to your class?
Yeah. You not only showed up, you got involved.
You read everything I assigned. You were hungry. You leaned into those lectures.
You went for the jugular in every debate. Why not any more?
I already answered you. A lot of things, girls...
Bullshit. Come on. Hey, Todd. Come on.
I don't want to hurt your feelings.
Hey, we... we got an hour.
Don't waste a second worrying about my feelings. I'm not worrying about yours.
Thanks. You should write Hallmark cards.
OK. Go on.
- Say it. - All right, all right.
Political science, Doc.
What's scientific outside of the psychology
behind how much shit voters will swallow before they notice?
The science part, it's really only about how to win.
Not how to govern, not how to make anybody better, just how to win.
No matter how stupid or two-faced or criminal you look.
Give me an example.
OK. Like presidential candidates now.
They announce their candidacy by standing in front of an audience
and saying they will not run for president.
You know? Yeah. What is that shit?
- It's as old as time. - No, I don't think so, cos...
OK, you had me when we were studying the old philosophers.
The Greeks... I mean, Doc, you... you had me. They were awesome.
But somewhere... somewhere you lost me. I don't know.
- Have you ever been to Greece? - No.
No, otherwise you'd know their government makes ours look like a vision of the future.
Well, isn't that my point?
Socrates, Plato, Aristotle. If they can't fix things, what is Todd Hayes gonna do?
I'm gonna pay my taxes. I'm gonna obey traffic lights...
That's super. I was thinking about something bigger.
Something bigger? Bigger like what? Like, be a congressman bigger?
- Well, that's bigger. - Oh, yeah. Super.
I get to be one of those turds in DC -
and I do mean pure pieces of shit - who make our laws?
I get to be a doughboy who parts his hair like everyone else?
The guy who never says anything though he never stops talking.
Do I get to be the guy who lectures you on morality
while a page jacks me off under the table?
Oh, yeah, please.
The guy who funnels away a million and bawls like an evangelist when he's caught.
And how many never get caught, Doc?
Hey, if that's something bigger than being a good Joe with a good job, it.
Yeah, that's where you lost me.
You almost convinced me.
- Almost convinced me. - What?
That you really know what you're talking about.
You're great with words, Todd.
But what would make 'em better is if they had a heartbeat.
If they were rooted in any kind of experience,
if you had knocked on doors, licked envelopes, been to a damn public rally,
just put yourself on the line in any way.
Licking envelopes, that's putting myself on the line?
Infinitely more than just talking.
Pamela Left is hot.
- How hot? - Chinook took hits from small arms, RPGs.
They have dead and wounded, and didn't land at the objective.
- Where did they land? - Three kilometres south.
Chopper's ed for good, two men missing.
- Missing? Lead with that. Who's missing? - Finch and Rodriguez.
Consensus is that they fell out over a small ridge short of the planned LZ.
No guessing on whether or not they survived.
You ing idiot.
How bad are you?
Bad! Can you get to me?
I'm stuck. My leg's jammed.
I'll launch the rescue chopper.
Vector 'em halfway between Pamela Left and us.
We won't put them in that gauntlet.
Put them in a holding pattern until we know what's going on. See anything?
I don't know for how long. Cold front's still coming. G2 says it's packing big snow...
I want to see as much as I can for as long as I can.
- ETA on a fast mover? - I got a Warthog
that'll take 20-25 minutes to get out there, but the margin of safe...
I would love to talk to the motherer that said this mountaintop was secure.
Afghan terrain demands that small teams establish forward operating points.
I've heard of forward operating bases, but not forward operating points.
- "Point" sounds smaller than "base". - Because it is.
- What? Just, come on, say it. - Sorry. No. I... I... I just...
It also sounds like Pentagonese for "bait".
Janine, it's not like we're putting one or two guys on the mountain here.
- All right. But small is how we fight now. - Says the man in the air-conditioned room.
This is the fight that we're in,
and unfortunately civilisations do not sustain themselves through non-violence.
What does that mean? Are you going to forego diplomacy in the state department?
We were attacked.
You do not respond to an attack with diplomacy.
Bin Laders idea of diplomacy is not filming the beheadings.
Saddam violated 16 UN resolutions and the UN responded
by issuing 30-plus stern statements condemning his behaviour.
All the while, France, China and Russia continued to trade with him under the table.
And didn't we also arm Saddam in the '80s?
- But here we are now. - Yes, here we are now.
Don't you think it's critical to examine...?
How and why is not the issue now. We have to move forward.
We're fighting a brand of evil that thinks the last 1300 years of human progress
is heresy punishable by violent death.
Now, if you don't feel that should be wiped from the...
I'd like to see Bin Laden dead and gone as much as anybody,
but I don't understand how you cannot want to look at the past, not think it's critical.
What is critical, what is relevant,
is the implementation of a new strategy that will win this war,
a war we cannot lose.
- But we're not winning it. - Yet.
This new strategy can change that.
How about a strategy to bring the troops home?
- So leave? - That's not an option?
OK. Let's... let's play this out.
We walk, and Afghanistan reverts back to the Taliban.
Only now the Taliban has metastasised into something more vicious and potent
because they're now 2 and 0 versus the superpowers.
They'd butcher people who voted, who were stupid enough to put their faith in our word.
Call it not only the end of hope for millions of Afghans
but the end of American credibility,
the end of America as a force for righteousness in the world.
When we're forced to go back in a couple of years - quote me on this -
we'll square off against a shattered Iraq, a hopeless Afghanistan and a nuclear Iran.
How many troops are we gonna need then? You'll be adding some zeros.
May I speak freely?
You're about to implement another new strategy
regardless of the human cost or the financial cost because you predict...
We thought deeply about the human cost when we planned this strategy.
What were your estimates?
What I can say is that this strategy has patience and determination at its core.
It ensures that it puts our fighting men in spots where they can kill the enemy,
so that we can then go about rebuilding that country.
And if it takes ten years, we stay. We do whatever it takes.
"Whatever it takes."
Whatever it takes.
Then why did it take three years to up-armour our Humvees?
They're up-armoured now...
Add-ons don't provide the same protection, Senator, you know that.
Why does the president insist on spending billions on subs and fighter planes
that are useless in this kind of war?
- What do you think I'm working on? - And why did we send 150,000 troops
to a country that did not attack us, and one tenth that number to the one that did?
How many times are you people going to ask the same question?
- Till we get the answer. - OK. Here goes...
- Iraq was almost a First World country. - "Was" is the operative tense.
We took it quick because we had numbers.
Afghanistan was, is, and always will be the definition of rugged Third World.
Big numbers have bogged down there before Alexander became "The Great".
We took Iraq? How did I miss that?
Militarily, we did.
We made mistakes.
Colossal mistakes that should never be forgotten.
But six years ago, who could have known what to do or when to do it
after watching ourjets fly into our buildings?
Do you remember how petrified we were at what our enemies might do for an encore?
And how all at once everything was at risk?
Families, friends, the kindergartens...
the rivers and bridges, nuclear plants.
Do you remember how terror coloured that next morning in shades we'd never seen?
And tens of thousands have died since because of that fear,
and the mistakes it inspired.
But the question I'm left with, the question that keeps me up at night,
because I have to answer it, is what do we do now?
My God. They're moving in.
- They're alive. - OK.
- It's just snow blowing. - Watch my flank.
- Give me the A-10 pilot. I want an ETA. - They just said 18 minutes.
That was seven minutes ago. I want to talk to the pilot now.
Sir, the rescue bird is in its holding pattern waiting for your word.
All right. So, what, Ernest and Arian, they volunteered?
Is that a question or an accusation?
- All right. It's just a question. - Yes, they volunteered.
They're adrenaline types. They like it extreme...
No, no. Ernie and Arian aren't adrenaline types.
What I was talking about was fearless,
being terrified but willing yourself to the next step.
It's courage, right?
But of the real kind.
What are you afraid of, Todd? Most everybody's afraid of not getting ajob,
or moving in with their parents, or student-loan payments looming.
Yeah, that scares me.
Or the voice in your head that keeps asking awful questions:
"Should I be doing more with my gifts?"
"Am I making the most out of my time here on this planet?"
I think everybody asks themselves those questions.
A lot of us are afraid of the answers.
Do you remember the second or third lecture you ever had with me,
when I called you out of the blue?
You sat to the side where most of you guys sit when you don't want to talk.
You know, close enough to have commitment,
butjust far enough away where I can't... see you to call on you.
It's called embarrassment. You asked what I thought about the reading.
- I just said I didn't do the reading. - But on reflex.
No excuses, no bullshit, honest.
- I was just terrified. - But you willed yourself to the next step.
And do you remember the subject we were discussing, what that reading was about?
You try to block embarrassing moments out.
It was about that clinic they were opening up on Adams.
They were passing out clean, free needles to addicts.
A class of 80 people thought that was a good idea.
They thought, "Yeah. Stop the spreading of disease and cut crime a bit." You said...
Look, if we're gonna spend tax dollars, our tax dollars,
to help people break the law in a safer way,
why don't we have a designated drunk-driver lane on the highway too?
- What? - It's a bigger problem than IV drug use.
- The same logic. - You're talking economics.
I'm talking economics, and I'm also talking about safety.
You didn't even read the assignment.
- No, I didn't, but I can still think. - He's right.
Yeah, well, I can kick a hornets' nest with the best of them.
Yeah, but the kid who didn't read the assignment and admitted it
becomes the centre of one of the most interesting debates I've ever been a part of.
Where did that kid go?
So you think that the number of troops that we have in Afghanistan now is enough?
I do. And a big part of why we're able to do more with less in Afghanistan,
outside of the precise intel that we have in the area,
is the superior nature of our Special Forces.
These guys are pros.
It really reminds me of Abrams in '68.
- Abrams? - Yeah. Remember?
- How long ago was that? - "Can't get the Vietcong in big fights
so we'll send out smaller groups they can't resist ambushing."
"At least we'll be fighting." 58,000 names say that strategy didn't work out so well.
What is your problem with evolution?
With capable platoons of Special Forces soldiers surgically ferreting out the enemy?
- Again, platoons are small. - Again, small is the point.
Abrams. What, do you TiVo the History Channel?
'68 was my first year reporting. It was my college newspaper.
- Liberal rag? - Yeah.
I never lost my taste for it.
- 1968. - Yeah, you were six.
But reading at a sixth-grade level.
40 years in this racket.
You don't have to say the duration out loud.
40 years means you should have enough salt to know that we're at a tipping point.
The American people need to understand
it is not only our choice to stop these insurgents but our moral obligation.
We simply cannot allow their form of evil and terror to spread.
And through precise military action we will take the essential first step.
First step? But what have we been doing for the past six years, Senator?
You know, World War II took less than five.
Roll over. www.130q.com
I gotta see your leg.
See if it's compounded.
- Don't black out. - OK.
You need a tourniquet.
- Push through, brother. Push through. - Shit.
Nothing debatable about it.
Americans, if they're going to accept yet another new strategy,
want more than just vague admissions of past mistakes.
Can you tell me in your own words exactly where you think we went wrong?
Worst intel in our history.
Decision makers who've never bled in a fight.
You guys had a heyday with Abu Ghraib. That was... that was quite the meal ticket.
Have you ever bled in a fight?
- Intelligence. Six years. - But not the infantry, right?
You know this. I graduated first in my class at West Point.
I excelled at intelligence. Are you asking me to apologise for an achievement?
No, no, no. I would never do that.
You know, here we are having a high-minded debate about war and policy
and itjust occurred to me.
You're not gonna be able to fit a real story
in between those "Home of the Free, Land of the Obese" expos閟
and all your network's entertainment coverage.
If I keep my fingers crossed I might get a seven-second mention
from that focus-group-created anchor of yours with the big hair.
Forgive me. It's Summer Hernandez-Kawalski?
Is... is that her real name?
What happened to you guys?
- When did you all become a windsock? - A what?
Windsock. Blows with the prevailing breeze.
When did you start confusing majority opinion with the right one?
Sort of like when we supported going into Iraq?
Supported? Oh, no, no, no, no.
You guys sold it. Your network led every report about the invasion of Iraq
with the screen-sized flag, the square-jawed saluting marine
and the bald eagle soaring to Aaron Copland.
That's because we believed and you believed that Iraq was a legitimate enemy.
You asked us for the benefit of the doubt because we have troops in harm's way...
Your network provided that benefit without a blush.
We gave it to you.
We both... Janine.
We both put our fighting men at risk.
Now, I've admitted my mistakes. When will you?
- Call from Senator Skilken on line two. - Thank you. Ask him to wait a second.
You know, in a sense, we're on the same team.
We're team-mates. We both have a responsibility.
You've already sold the war. Now I'm asking you to help me sell the solution.
Excuse me. I have to take this call.
You could use the phone in here.
You think I wanna let you hear me beg for money?
- Why are they waiting? - Maybe trying to take us alive.
Figuring out how.
OK. Team one gets to set the bar.
The topic they've pulled...
"What foreign-relations theory or concept
can best be applied here at home to greater effect?"
- Thank God it's not us. - OK, you're up. 15 minutes, flame or fame.
- Man! - Hey. Hey!
- What? - You OK? You ready to do this?
- Yeah. - Breathe.
- I'm breathing. - Breathe.
Gotta forgive my boy. He's so desperate to get my dumb ass a good grade
he's either gonna shit his pants or swallow his tongue.
Know why they cut affirmative action? It was his GPA.
- So, what about you, Doc? - What about me?
Well, those who can't do, teach.
Seriously, is being a professor doing the most with what you were given?
Are these your gifts?
You got me.
You know, 30 years ago I had a whole different idea
about what this job was gonna be.
I was gonna publish theories that would change thousands.
The university fathers were gonna be so impressed
that they would offer me season tickets on the 50 to make sure I stayed.
- Jesus. Some elaborate daydreams there. - Arert they?
Papers I do get published don't get read. Students do come to me for advice,
but the school still spells my name wrong on memos.
- So, what, are you still here for the money? - The money? God, no. No.
I'm still here, Todd, because I'm a selfish man.
I'm selfish for the rare times when you know you have someone in your class
that has rare gifts to go on and do big things on a big scale.
I realised my gifts aren't my theories but my ability to recognise great potential in others
and maybe give them a little shove when they need it.
You think I'm one of those people?
What do you think?
Ernest and Arian, they were able to show you they were rare? Like, every day?
Just enough to erase doubt. No, the only real difference between you and them
is that you're a naturally gifted student. They werert.
They had to work their asses off. Didrt come easy for them.
And they could also hit 90-mile-an-hour fastballs?
- Hey, I'll trade 'em, Doc. - No, they'd trade you.
They went to these high schools in the area where they grew up,
godforsaken places that bear no resemblance to the schools you went to.
Metal detectors on every door, teachers carrying Mace.
These awful places did them not one favour.
- I saw the same thing in Vietnam. - What?
The first guys to sign up to fight are the ones this country doesn't treat well.
Here are Ernest and Arian growing up in these neighbourhoods
where people butcher each other for simple-minded shit.
"You were raised in a neighbourhood two blocks south from mine." Bam!
"The rims on your car are better than mine." Bam!
What do they do after scraping themselves up and getting outta there in one piece?
Fight for the country that ignores these neighbourhoods
unless there's a riot or a drive-by epidemic.
On the flip side, you got kids that can take advantage of every gift this country has.
- Like me? - Usually they're the first ones
to take a big step back when it comes time for volunteers.
- Are you recruiting me? - Recruiting you?
You sold the army to Ernest and Arian and now you're... you're trying to sell it to me.
Three guys in that photo never came home.
One guy's in prison for life.
You wanna know what the worst wound I ever got was?
54 stitches protesting in Chicago after I came home.
I did just the opposite of recruiting Ernest and Arian.
Did I like what they did? No. Did I agree with it? No.
It broke my heart. That doesn't mean I don't revere the reasons.
They believed the best way to change things in this country was to go fight for it.
Engagement. Engagement is the foreign-relations concept
that we would like to apply here at home.
We're pretty good with it abroad.
Our secretary of state has travelled more miles than any in history
and we have more embassies than ever.
To your first point, isn't that just because of easy access to jets?
And to the second, aren't there just more countries now to put embassies in?
We can choose not to fly those jets
and we can choose not to recognise any new country.
But choosing to do so, I guess, is engagement.
Again, we're pretty good with engagement outside of our country,
though we've had some big failures.
Like 9/11 and Rwanda.
Somalia. There's a communist country 90 miles outside of Miami.
We need more than 15 minutes to talk about that.
- Yeah, well, no country's perfect. - Every country should wanna be better.
Look, homeboy, if you cool with that,
we'd like to use the time we have left to focus on engagement
and how we see it abroad and we don't see the same on our streets.
Now, we totally turned away from the biggest problems here at home.
The best way to double the size of the problem is to turn your back on it.
So, who knew? America needs to do more.
- We do. - Why?
Like do away with yourjunior year of high school.
There's three options instead of going to school. A Peace Corps year abroad,
an AmeriCorps year here in one of the 500 poorest zip codes
or an ROTC-like apprenticeship here or abroad,
but everybody picks one and nobody gets a note from Mom.
Oh, man, come on. Is this anotherjoke?
No, man. Was democracy ajoke? Was civil rights ajoke?
How about every junior learns to march in formation and we invade our neighbours?
We would get lost on the way.
73% of all California freshmen cannot name the country that borders Minnesota.
Can you? 77% of all US freshmen cannot name both senators from their home state.
And 50% of all eighth-graders can't write or do math at eighth-grade levels.
And when 25% of our workers didn't function, we called it a Great Depression.
What do we call 50% of our students not functioning?
A Greater Depression?
Oh, and Canada borders Minnesota.
That's the smartest thing you've said all day.
What about cost?
How ridiculous and unfeasible would they be?
Not as ridiculous as the nine grand we spend per student per year. Nine grand times what?
3.8 million juniors. That's $34 billion, man.
We spend $2 billion more now than we did five years back.
For worse results.
Who won't wanna be part of an experience where it's not about your race, your wealth,
not even where you come from? Common only because we're American.
I guarantee you that would make us better for life.
And the shame is we don't get that type of level playing ground, not in this country,
unless there's a draft.
So I'd have to stay in school a year longer?
You've been here eight years, bro.
We could all, with all the degrees and the money we're gonna make,
go hide in a big house with high walls.
When hasn't a big house with high walls been the American dream?
July 5, 1776.
What about December 8, 1941?
September 12, 2001.
You don't wanna go to Harvard Law or Stanford Business after you graduate?
You don't wanna make money? I say bullshit.
I think it's totally hypocritical for you to just talk this giant game.
Let's do it, man. All right.
Are they kidding?
- Thank you. - Thank you.
Doc, you look like you getting ulcers over there.
I've had the ulcers. The question is whether they're bleeding.
Oh, you gotta stop thinking that project made us enlist. It didn't.
I don't believe that. Come on, you guys.
You two could pick any grad school in any field.
- $200,000 in the hole when you graduate. - Loan forgiveness programmes?
Yeah, there are programmes, but they're not as forgiving as they advertise.
- Ariars doing a lot of talking for both of you. - You think he did the math all by himself?
Doc, you're the one who tells us not to live over a safety net.
I didn't think that would translate to heading out to a war.
If I did, I would have cut my tongue out.
- You're missing the point. - Yeah.
Because I can't say the army is a better gig
than schools most students would give an arm to get into?
No, because you're not seeing that if we did anything else,
we wouldn't be a part of the most important things going on right now.
Doc, these events are going to define our lives,
just the same way Vietnam did for yours.
I didn't enlist. I was drafted.
World War I, German soldiers wrote poems
about the bravery of British grunts,
admired them, almost as much as they laughed at the high command
who wasted those same grunts by the hundreds of thousands.
A German general wrote:
"Nowhere else have I seen such lions led by such lambs."
Christ, that statement is so dead-on right now.
These starched collars that started this war, that are running it now,
nowhere near the best and the brightest, not even in the same galaxy.
They're the ones that, when our men are blown to bits in the middle of a gun battle,
say shit like, "The enemy has bloodied our nose, but we're learning from mistakes."
We agree. What's the problem?
"So what's the problem?" What are you talking about?
We already know how the system works.
- Guys, think. Think. - We've thought that far ahead.
Because it's going badly makes it even more important, Doc.
I don't... Tell... What do you mean?
We wouldn't have spent three weeks in school on Nixon without Watergate.
If we'd killed Bin Laden on 9/12,
or if Iraqi Shiites greeted us with a ticker-tape parade,
we would never have to think about, "Who are these people?"
"Does religion really preach murder?"
"Do they need a dictator to stop them massacring each other?"
The greatest military in history can't catch three guys. Come on.
And how do you preach democracy
and still send billions to Saudi kings who are the furthest thing from it?
- So load yourselves into the breach? - Or sit on the bench.
The men who lead do work when there's work to be done.
Will you step up when you're needed, or will you just sit back
and let the other people do the lifting?
They're simple questions.
With potentially really awful answers. Guys, trust me.
Please trust that if I thought this fight was won'th the sweat, I'd back you, I would.
But what about stepping up here, changing policy at home?
Look, we go do this now, then we come back and go to school.
- On the army's dime. - Then we can do something.
Black and Mexican combat vets with an education.
No debt to dictate what we do next.
They gotta listen to us then, Doc.
We can change things.
- Why isn't Tali rushing 'em, finishing it? - We're won'th more captured than killed.
- ETA to my boys? - 19 minutes.
All right. When you get there, you shoot straight.
Apprise the rescue chopper of this.
You tell 'em we've got an A-10 bomber moving in to clean it out
but they are heading into a still-hot LZ with exposed friendlies.
I want you to make sure this is heading the correct way up the command chain.
You tell 'em this is not as easy as it looks 9,000 miles away.
Janine, I'm sorry to keep you waiting. There's a vote up now, so I...
Can I just...?
In 1991, my network, ANX,
was bought by a corporation best known for selling soap and light bulbs.
Overnight, we went from an organisation preoccupied with gathering news
to a business unit preoccupied with ad revenue and ratings.
A windsock. And I knew it.
When I signed my contract, I knew it. I thought I could keep my autonomy.
I thought that raise they gave me meant they were still committed to,
uh, hard news, but anyway...
Janine, sit, please.
- Thank you for that. - It's just the truth.
How can I...?
How can I verify the results of this mission? You won't embed press with troops?
- No. No. There's no room. - Right.
Special Forces travel fast and light. I can provide infrared and gun-camera footage.
Oh, great. Those are always the most popular downloads.
Developing details will come directly from me to you.
Great. Thank you. Now let me kill the good feeling.
Worst-case scenario... Forward operating points don't work.
They will work.
Have you... Has the president contemplated surging the troops
in support of this strategy, if it's necessary?
The military is stretched pretty thin right now.
Maybe you'll send kids that didn't sign up?
A draft? No, no, no. We don't need it.
We have everything we need to break the enemy right now,
except the public will to do it.
That's where you come in.
How do we know you're going to get it right this time?
You know, people are very mistrustful.
After 9/11, we had the whole world on our side.
Six years later we're stumbling through one of the worst times to be an American.
Look, Janine, hyperbole is not gonna do us...
Come on. Nobody is monitoring our patriotism here.
You have to admit, this is one of the five worst times to fly the Stars and Stripes.
- People need... - A win, Janine.
The people, the president, me,
we all need a win in Afghanistan.
Winning allows our public to refocus.
Winning gets Congress back in the mood to talk instead of yell.
- It helps Afghanistan. - Goes without saying.
And it helps your party.
We are the party that represents security, the power that this country is known for.
The party that signals to tyrants the world over
that the USA has the stomach and stamina to finish our fights.
Do you want to win, Janine?
- What? - Do you want to win the war on terror?
Yes or no?
- Yes or no? - It's a broad...
OK. See this? This is the quintessential yes-or-no question of our time.
Equivocation is defeat. You stop and you're dead.
The only option for America...
- How much ammo do they have left? - How the would I know?
- Why aren't the Tali hitting them? - To get them to empty their clips.
Keep me posted.
It's just covering fire! Save your ammo!
I'll tell you what, I'm sick and tired, Janine. I am sick and tired of being humiliated.
Over and over again we have allowed our great country to be threatened
by these little tribal ragtag... gangs.
And it's going to stop.
Do you realise what we've got?
Do you realise what our capability is?
Because God knows...
breaks my heart to ask the men and women in uniform
to risk their lives for this victory...
when I know in my gut there is no other way to that end.
Not with this enemy. Not with their medieval beliefs.
But the solace that I can provide the families of our fallen,
with absolute conviction...
is that at least their lives were about something.
Now, to tax internet transactions or not tax internet transactions,
that is the question.
- Marcia. - Senator?
My notes, please.
- This is your strategy, is it not, sir? - It is the product of new-school thinking.
You are the school. You have the ear of the president more than the defence secretary.
- So? - So if it succeeds with your name on it,
it's a great way of separating yourself out
from the rest of the pack in your party who would like to be president.
Let me state this as loudly as possible.
I'm not running for president.
This has been a good hour. This is a big story, and it's yours.
This is my direct number. Call if you have any questions.
- Thank you. - Marcia, could you come in?
- Hey. - Yeah?
- Any idea how many left? - A dozen or more.
Phone the A-10. Tell him to make runs until he's out of ammo.
ETA on the rescue bird is six minutes. Headwinds.
Put me back on with the pilot.
Can they see us?
- Is it over? - For us if they lived!
So I'm supposed to go implement Arian and Ernie's junior-year project,
even though that thing sounds like a fairy tale to me?
- You gave them an A for that? - I gave them a B plus.
- What? - B plus. They were loose on stats.
I heard. Why don't you tell me about students who got an A?
Cos I don't remember them right now.
So attendance is a prerequisite for you, but grades aren't?
You're onto the secret now, Todd. It's called potential.
That's a far better signal of what you might do
than getting an A in some class you might forget about in two years.
Sounds a lot like what kids with 2.4s tell themselves to justify all the Cs.
Neither got Cs.
- Maybe both got blue-collar Bs. - Not by quitting.
Are you happy they're over there?
Todd, I told you twice, I did everything I could to stop them.
- But revered why they didn't? - Yeah.
So I'm supposed to listen to your advice, this direction you're trying to give me,
even though the two you've been telling me about... didn't listen?
They went ahead. They did what they were gonna do anyway.
And maybe, just maybe, you might be dropping the hammer on me
because of how... how rarely you find a student you think is won'th the time,
and how often, it sounds like...
you failed at getting through once you did find those students.
Actually, the failing started about ten, maybe 15, years ago.
You know, the truth is, Todd, I used to knock meetings like this out of the park.
- What changed? - You. Students sitting across from me.
Cos we're shrewd, we see how things work,
cos we don't want to die for these pieces of shit.
You put as much distance between yourself and the real world as you can.
Pieces of shit - how many times you gonna say that? -
they bank on your apathy, they bank on your wilful ignorance.
They plan strategies around it, figure out what they can get away with because of it.
So blame me for it all. Blame me, because I mightjust want to live the good life
because I can because I'm smart enough to.
Are you gonna blame me because I don't wanna work elbow to elbow with you
on a goddamn collective farm?
Doc, you are sounding a hell of a lot like my parents.
They harp on how they're giving me a better life than they had
and then they resent the shit out of me cos I got the nerve to enjoy it.
Todd, what good is a $90,000 Benz
if there's not only not enough gas in the tank
but the streets and highways are decaying to the point of becoming Third World?
If all your rants about Congress and politics are true, Todd,
if things are really bad, as bad as you say they are,
when thousands of American troops are dead and more are dying as we speak,
you tell me, how can you enjoy the good life?
Rome is burning, son, and the problem is not with the people that started this.
They're past irredeemable. The problem's with us - all of us -
who do nothing, who just fiddle, who try to manoeuvre around the edges of the flame.
And I'll tell you something, there are people out there fighting to make things better.
You think it's better to try and fail than fail to try?
- Yeah. - But what if you end up in the same place?
At least you did something.
Thanks for knocking. What did <i>I'enfant terrible</i> want?
- One-on-one time. Whole hour. - An hour? Jesus. A beating or a story?
A big new military move launched as we sat there.
An exclusive? Damn. Details.
Let's get the basics up on the scroll right away. What's the action?
- Janine. Hello? - It stinks.
I mean, I don't know. I just came away with a bad feeling. Itjust... it feels...
- Feels? ...bogus.
It feels? Are you being paid to investigate your feelings? Just give me the facts.
- You know, we can't do this again. - Do what again?
We can'tjust buy the whole little programme
like we did for the run-up at the fir...
Oh, please. Stand back while my ing head detonates.
- This is your guy, right? - He's not my guy.
He goes right to you. He's handing you an exclusive. He's giving you a ing gift.
It's not a gift. It's propaganda.
We don't have to broadcast everything the government wants.
No, we broadcast news. The launch of a new military move is news.
Are you feeling a teensy conscience attack here? Isn't it a little late for that?
Come on. What is the story? What is the move?
Are you old enough to remember The Who? The Who.
- And young enough to listen to 'em. - Meet the new boss
Same as the old boss... That's what.
It's the Vietnam-era thinking and they just repackaged.
They're gonna send out small platoons, these kids, as bait. It's the same...
No, no. That is speculation. We do not air speculation, OK?
No, no. It's these guys. They're so desperate for a way out, see.
They're so desperate to change the subject from Iraq, they're so desperate for a win,
that they're listening to Irving, and I don't blame them because, boy, he is good.
But he doesn't have a plan for the day after the attack. No.
I mean, he'll croon about hearts and minds, but it's all helicopters and marines.
That's what... Jesus. Anyway, he couldn't care less about the soft stuff.
This whole thing is a strategic... it's a lubricant to get him into the White House.
So what? So the guy's ambitious.
So what? Wait. Janine, are you letting your politics cloud your reasoning?
I'm just trying to do my job.
Yourjob is to report verifiable facts so I can put 'em on the goddamn screen.
There are none! OK? There are no embeds up there.
We have to just take his word for it. It's just... How can you stand it so hot in here?
But I'll tell you something. He does have a plan for after the election.
And it's not the long, slow peace process. No, no, no, no.
These boys have toys on the high shelf
they've not been allowed to use for 50 years.
- He says, "I'm sick of being humiliated..." - Don't start that nuclear paranoia bullshit.
Find out what a real winning noise sounds like.
He said this to me. I have it. I have it.
"Whatever it takes to win."
Here it is. See? "Whatever it takes."
Great, great. Can you please just... just calm down, OK? Calm down.
Look, it seems to me like Irving has a plan
to go after the guys who attacked us, OK?
Now, our viewers will believe that's a good thing. So do I.
What happened to you, Howard?
Time was you would take a punch at anybody if you thought it was justified.
You were good once.
Yeah, and I didn't think I'd live past 40, either. Come on, Janine.
You can't leave me hanging out here by myself. You just can't do that to...
Wrong. I just can't do this. You turn in some loony, speculative, what-if story
based on what? A womars intuition? I expected more from you, Janine.
Yeah, you expected me to turn in a tidy time line.
- That's right. - If we don't do this, who's gonna do it?
This is the job! These politicians, these journalists, everybody that says:
"Oh, well, if we'd known then what we know now..." It's bullshit! It's bullshit.
It was all right there. We knew it, if we had bothered to connect the dots.
But we didn't, did we? We just rolled over, right?
So what happens if you're wrong, Janine? Huh?
Listen to me. You're 57 years old.
You got a mother that needs 24-hour care now.
What other network is gonna snap you up after this, huh?
- All I'm asking... - Just don't put me in this position, OK?
Your version of this story will never see the light of day and you know it.
Well, I can't write the one that he gave me.
Well, I think you ought to think that over.
- Get to me! - I'm digging!
Get to me!
Get back there, make another pass and clean those ing Talis out.
Read the sign.
Are we done?
Here's my last bit, so bear with me.
The decisions you make now, bud, can't be changed
but with years and years of hard work to redo it.
And in those years you become something different.
Everybody does as time passes. You get married, you get into debt.
But you're never gonna be the same person you are right now.
And promise and potential...
It's very fickle.
And itjust might not be there any more.
Are you assuming I already made a decision?
And also that I'll live to regret it?
All I'm saying is that you're an adult now.
And the tough thing about adulthood is that it...
it starts before you even know it starts,
when you're already a dozen decisions into it.
But what you need to know, Todd, no lifeguard's watching any more.
You're on your own. You're your own man,
and the decisions you make now are yours and yours alone from here until the end.
I'm sorry. The sign says till eight and it's way after eight.
- Yes. Sorry. - So, what, you don't want my decision?
Class meets again Tuesday at nine. I'll find out then.
- OK, Muna. What...? - The grade you gave me can't be right.
You mean a C plus? Excuse me. Close the door behind you.
Let's see. So... Ah.
Rescue's not gonna be here in time.
Get outta here. Get outta here. Go on.
You can move. Climb down.
Not even if there was a ladder.
Not like this.
Not laying down.
Help me up.
Help me up.
- Hey. - Hey, man.
You going to astronomy today?
JD's organising a Madden tourney.
- The you doing up so early? - Meeting with Malley.
Los Angeles affiliate KZDZ is reporting that pop singer Fate
has this morning finally filed for divorce from rapper husband Bully-Dog,
after Fate and Bully-Dog's now notorious Pacific Rim tour last summer
when Fate was recorded asking a Japanese reporter
how long the bus ride from Tokyo to Beijing would be.
Up next we have our lead story...
What did you guys talk about?
Is he failing you?
- He is failing you, isn't he? - No, he's not failing me.
What, do you already know what you're getting?
You know what you're getting?
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