A FEW GOOD MEN
Jo: I'm requesting... I'm... Captain, I'd like to request that I be the attorney assigned to rep--I'd like to request that it be myself who is assigned to represent-- "That it be myself who is assigned to represent"? ... Good, Jo, that's confidence inspiring.
Jo: I'd like them moved up to Washington and assigned counsel. Someone who can really look into this. Someone who possesses not only the legal skill, but a familiarity with the inner workings of the military. In short, Captain, I'd like to suggest that... I be the one who, that it be me who is assigned to represent them. Myself.
Sam: I have a stack of paper on my desk--
Whitaker: Work with Kaffee on this.
Sam: Doing what? Kaffee'll finish this up in four days.
Whitaker: Do various... administrative... you know... things. Back-up. Whatever.
Sam: In other words I have no responsibilities whatsoever.
Sam: My kinda case.
Sam: Commander, Lt. Kaffee's generally considered the best litigator in our office. He's successfully plea bargained 44 cases in nine months.
Kaffee: One more, and I got a set of steak knives.
Jo: Have you ever been in a courtroom?
Kaffee: I once had my drivers license suspended.
Kaffee: Commander, from what I understand, if this thing goes to court, they won't need a lawyer, they'll need a priest.
Jo: No. They'll need a lawyer.
Jo: Tell your friend not to get cute down there. The Marines in Guantanamo are fanatical.
Sam: About what?
Jo: About being Marines.
Santiago: "...My name is PFC William T. Santiago. I am a marine stationed at Marine Barracks, Rifle Security Company Windward, Second Platoon Delta. I am writing to inform you of my problems with my unit here in Cuba and to ask for your help. I've fallen out on runs before for several reasons such as feeling dizzy or nauseated, but on May 18th, I'd fallen back about 20 or 30 yards going down a rocky, unstable hill. My sergeant grabbed me and pushed me down the hill. Then I saw all black and the last thing I remember is hitting the deck. I was brought to the hospital where I was told I just had heat exhaustion and was explained to by the doctor that my body has trouble with the hot sun and I hyperventilate. I ask you to help me. Please sir. I just need to be transferred out of RSC. Sincerely. PFC William T. Santiago. U.S. Marine Corps."
"P.S. In exchange for my transfer off the base, I'm willing to provide you with information about an illegal fenceline shooting that occurred the night of August 2nd."
Jessep: Who the fuck is PFC William T. Santiago.
Kendrick: Sir, Santiago is a member of Second Platoon, Delta.
Jessep: Yeah, well, apparently he's not very happy down here at Shangri-La, cause he's written letters to everyone but Santa Claus asking for a transfer. And now he's telling tales about a fenceline shooting.
Markinson: I think Santiago should be transferred off the base. Right away.
Jessep: He's that bad, huh?
Markinson: Not only that, but word of this letter's bound to get out. The kid's gonna get his ass kicked.
Jessep: Transfer Santiago. Yes I suppose you're right. I suppose that's the thing to do. Wait. Wait. I've got a better idea. Let's transfer the whole squad off the base. Let's -- on second thought-Windward. The whole Windward division, let's transfer 'em off the base. Jon, go on out there and get those boys down off the fence, they're packing their bags. Tom!
Jessep: Get me the President on the phone, we're surrendering our position in Cuba.
Orderly: Yes sir!
Jessep: Wait a minute, Tom. Don't call the President just yet. Maybe we should consider this for a second. Maybe--and I'm just spit balling here-but maybe we as officers have a responsibility to train Santiago. Maybe we as officers have a responsibility to this country to see that the men and women charged with its security are trained professionals. Yes. I'm certain I once read that somewhere. And now I'm thinking that your suggestion of transferring Santiago, while expeditious, and certainly painless, might not be in a manner of speaking, the American way. Santiago stays where he is. We're gonna train the lad. You're in charge, Jon. Santiago doesn't make 4.1 on his next fitness report, I'm gonna blame you. Then I'm gonna kill you.
Jessep: What do you think of Kendrick?
Markinson: I don't know that--
Jessep: I think he's kind of a weasel, myself. But he's an awfully good officer, and in the end we see eye to eye on the best way to run a marine corps unit. We're in the business of saving lives, Matthew. That's a responsibility we have to take pretty seriously. And I believe that taking a marine who's not yet up to the job and packing him off to another assignment, puts lives in danger.
Matthew, sit down. We go back a while. We went to the Academy together, we were commissioned together, we did our tours in Vietnam together. But I've been promoted up through the chain with greater speed and success than you have. Now if that's a source of tension or embarrassment for you, well, I don't give a shit. We're in the business of saving lives, Captain Markinson. Don't ever question my orders in front of another officer.
Jo: I wanted to talk to you about Corporal Dawson and Private Downey.
Kaffee: Say again?
Jo: Dawson and Downey.
Kaffee: Those names sound like they should mean something to me, but I'm just not--
Jo: Dawson! Downey! Your clients!
Kaffee: The Cuba thing! Yes! Dawson and Downey.
Jo: I do know you. Daniel AlliStair Kaffee, born June 8th, 1964 at Boston Mercy Hospital. Your father's Lionel Kaffee, former Navy Judge Advocate and Attorney General, of the United States, died 1985. You went to Harvard Law on a Navy scholarship, probably because that's what your father wanted you to do, and now you're just treading water for the three years you've gotta serve in the JAG Corps, just kinda layin' low til you can get out and get a real job. And if that's the situation, that's fine ' I won't tell anyone. But my feeling is that if this case is handled in the same fast-food, slick-ass ' Persian Bazaar manner with which you seem to handle everything else, something's gonna get missed. And I wouldn't be doing my job if I allowed Dawson and Downey to spend any more time in prison than absolutely necessary, because their attorney had pre-determined the path of least resistance.
Kaffee: Wow. I'm sexually aroused, Commander.
Kaffee: Harold, what's a Code Red?
Dawson: Sir, a Code Red is a disciplinary engagement.
Kaffee: What does that mean, exactly?
Dawson: Sir, a marine falls out of line, it's up to the men in his unit to get him back on track.
Kaffee: What's a garden variety Code Red?
Kaffee: Harold, you say sir and I turn around and look for my father. Danny, Daniel, Kaffee. Garden variety; typical. What's a basic Code Red?
Dawson: Sir, a marine has refused to bathe on a regular basis. The men in his squad would give him a G.I. shower.
Kaffee: What's that?
Dawson: Scrub brushes, brillo pads, steel wool ...
Kaffee: What was your intent?
Dawson: To train him, sir.
Kaffee: Train him to do what?
Dawson: Train him to think of his unit before himself. To respect the code.
Sam: What's the code?
Dawson: Unit Corps God Country.
Sam: I beg your pardon?
Dawson: Unit Corps God Country, sir.
Kaffee: The Goverrment of the United States wants to charge you two with murder. You want me to go to the prosecutor with unit, corps, god, country?
Dawson: That's our code, sir.
Kaffee: Jo, if you ever speak to a client of mine again without my permission, I'll have you disbarred. Friends?
Jo: I had authorization.
Kaffee: From where?
Jo: Downey's closest living relative, Ginny Miller, his aunt on his mother's side.
Kaffee: You got authorization from Aunt Ginny?
Jo: I gave her a call like you asked. Very nice woman, we talked for about an hour.
Kaffee: You got authorization from Aunt Ginny.
Jo: Perfectly within my province.
Kaffee: Does Aunt Ginny have a barn? We can hold the trial there. I can sew the costumes, and maybe his Uncle Goober can be the judge.
Sam: Nobody likes the whites, but we're going to Cuba in August. You got Dramamine?
Kaffee: Dramamine keeps you cool?
Sam: Dramamine keeps you from throwing up, you get sick when you fly.
Kaffee: I get sick when I fly because I'm afraid of crashing into a large mountain, I don't think Dramamine'll help.
Howard: I've got some camouflage jackets in the back of the jeep, sirs, I'll have to ask you both to put them on.
Kaffee: Camouflage jackets?
Howard: Regulations, sir. We'll be riding pretty close to the fenceline. The Cubans see an officer wearing white, they think it's someone they might wanna take a shot at.
Howard: We'll just hop on the ferry and be over there in no time.
Kaffee: Whoa! Hold it! We gotta take a boat?!
Howard: Yes sir, to get to the other side of the bay.
Kaffee: Nobody said anything about a boat.
Howard: Is there a problem, sir?
Kaffee: No. No problem. I'm just not that crazy about boats, that's all.
Jo: Jesus Christ, Kaffee, you're in the Navy for cryin' out loud!
Kaffee: Nobody likes her very much.
Howard: Yes sir.
Kaffee: I understand you had a meeting with your men that afternoon.
Kaffee: What'd you guys talk about?
Kendrick: I told the men that there was an informer among us. And that despite any desire they might have to seek retribution, Private Santiago was not to be harmed in any way.
Kaffee: What time was that meeting?
Sam: Four o'clock.
Kaffee: Sam, somebody should see about getting this stuff to his parents. We don't need it anymore.
Kendrick: Actually, the uniforms belong to the marine corps.
Kaffee: Lt. Kendrick--can I call you Jon?
Kendrick: No, you may not.
Kaffee: Have I done something to offend you?
Kendrick: No, I like all you Navy boys. Every time we've gotta go someplace and fight, you fellas always give us a ride.
Jessep: You know it just hit me. She outranks you, Danny.
Kaffee: Yes sir.
Jessep: I want to tell you something Danny and listen up 'cause I mean this: You're the luckiest man in the world. There is, believe me gentlemen, nothing sexier on earth than a woman you have to salute in the morning. Promote 'em all I say.
Jessep: Take caution in your tone, Commander. I'm a fair guy, but this fuckin' heat's making me absolutely crazy. You want to know about code reds? On the record I tell you that I discourage the practice in accordance with the NIS directive. Off the record I tell you that it's an invaluable part of close infantry training, and if it happens to go on without my knowledge, so be it. I run my base how I run my base. You want to investigate me, roll the dice and take your chances. I eat breakfast 80 yards away from 4000 Cubans who are trained to kill me. So don't for one second think you're gonna come down here, flash a badge, and make me nervous.
Jessep: You have to ask me nicely. You see, Danny, I can deal with the bullets and the bombs and the blood. I can deal with the heat and the stress and the fear. I don't want money and I don't want medals. What I want is for you to stand there in that faggoty white uniform, and with your Harvard mouth, extend me some fuckin' courtesy. You gotta ask me nicely.
Kaffee: Colonel Jessep ... if it's not too much trouble, I'd like a copy of the transfer order. Sir.
Jessep: No problem.
Kaffee: Did Kendrick order the code red?
Kaffee: Don't say sir like I just asked you if you cleaned the latrine. You heard what I said. Did Lt. Kendrick order you guys to give Santiago a code red?
Dawson: Yes sir.
Kaffee: Did he?
Downey: Yes sir.
Kaffee: You mind telling me why the hell you never mentioned this before?
Dawson: You didn't ask us, sir.
Kaffee: Here's the story: The Goverment's offering Assault and Conduct Unbecoming. Two years. You'll be home in six months.
"Wow, Kaffee, you're the greatest lawyer in the world. How can we ever thank you?" Fellas, you hear what I just said, you're going home in six months.
Dawson: I'm afraid we can't do that, sir.
Kaffee: Do what?
Dawson: Make a deal, sir.
Kaffee: What are you talking about?
Dawson: We did nothing wrong, sir. We did our job. If that has consequences, then I accept them. But I won't say I'm guilty, sir.
. . .
Dawson: What do we do then, sir?
Dawson: After six months. We'd be dishonorably discharged, right sir?
Dawson: What do we do then, sir? We joined the corps 'cause we wanted to live our lives by a certain code. And we found it in the corps. And now you're asking us to sign a piece of paper that says we have no honor. You're asking us to say we're not Marines. If a judge and jury decide that what we did was wrong, I'll accept whatever punishment they give. But I believe I was right, sir . I believe I did my Job. And I won't dishonor myself, my unit, or the Corps, so that I can go home in six months. Sir.
Kaffee: Poker faces. Don't flinch in front of the jury. Something doesn't go our way, don't hang your head, don't shift in your seat, don't scribble furiously. Whatever happens, you have to look like it's exactly what you knew was gonna happen. When you pass me documents--
Jo/Sam: Do it swiftly, but don't look overanxious.
Kaffee: And don't wear that perfume in Court, it wrecks my concentration.
Kaffee: I was talking to Sam.
Jo: Danny, I want you to meet Ginny Miller, Louden's aunt.
Kaffee: You're Aunt Ginny?
Kaffee: I'm sorry, I was expecting someone older.
Ginny: So was I.
Sam: I strenuously object? Is that how it works? Objection. Overruled. No, no, no, no, I strenuously object. Oh, well if you strenuously object, let me take a moment to reconsider.
Kaffee: Corporal Howard, name some reasons why a marine would get a code red?
Howard: Being late for platoon or company meetings, keeping his barracks in disorder, falling back on a run...
Kaffee: Have you ever received a code red?
Howard: Yes sir. We were doing seven man assault drills, and my weapon slipped. It's just cause it was over a hundred degrees and my palms were sweaty and I'd forgot to use the resin like we were taught.
Kaffee: And what happened?
Howard: That night the guys in my squad threw a blanket over me and took turns punching me in the arm for five minutes. Then they poured glue on my hands. And it worked, too, 'cause I ain't never dropped my weapon since.
Markinson: I was William's company commander. I knew your son vaguely, which is to say I knew his name... In a matter of time, the trial of the two man charged with your son's death will be concluded, and seven men and two women whom you've never met will try to offer you an explanation as to why William is dead. For my part, I've done as much as I can to bring the truth to light. And the truth is this: your son is dead for only one reason. I wasn't strong enough to stop it. Always, Captain Matthew Andrew Markinson. United states marine corps.
Kaffee: What possible good could come from putting Jessep on the stand?
Jo: He told Kendrick to order the Code Red.
Kaffee: He did?! Why didn't you say so!? That's great! And of course you have proof of that.
Kaffee: Ah, I keep forgetting: You were sick the day they taught law at law school.
Kaffee: Jessep told Kendrick to order a code red. Kendrick did, and our clients followed the order. The cover-up isn't our case. To win, Jessep has to tell the jury that he ordered the code red.
Sam: And you think you can got him to just say it?
Kaffee: I think he wants to say it. I think he's pissed off that he's gotta hide from us. I think he wants to say that he made a command decision and that's the end of it. He eats breakfast 80 yards away from 4000 Cubans who are trained to kill him, and no one's gonna tell him how to run his base. Least of all the pushy broad, the smart Jew, and the Harvard clown. I need to shake him and put him on the defensive.
Sam: That's it? That's the plan?
Kaffee: That's the plan.
Kaffee: I need my bat. I think better with my bat. Where's my bat?
Jo: I put it in the closet.
Kaffee: You put it in the closet.
Jo: I was tripping over it.
Kaffee: Don't ever put a bat in a closet.
Jo: He thinks better his bat?
Sam: I can understand that. I used to have stuffed panda named Mr. Bobo. I could never do my home work without him.
Kaffee: Your honor, these are the telephone records from GITMO for August 6th. And these are 14 letters that Santiago wrote in nine months requesting, in fact begging, for a transfer. Upon hearing the news that he was finally getting his transfer, Santiago was so excited, that do you know how many people he called? Zero. Nobody. Not one call to his parents saying he was coming home. Not one call to a friend saying can you pick me up at the airport. He was asleep in his bed at midnight, and according to you he was getting on a plane in six hours, yet everything he owned was hanging neatly in his closet and folded neatly in his footlocker. You were leaving for one day and you packed a bag and made three phone calls. Santiago was leaving for the rest of his life, and he hadn't called a soul and he hadn't packed a thing. Can you explain that? The fact is there was no transfer order. Santiago wasn't going anywhere, isn't that right, Colonel.
Kaffee: I'm not through with my examination. Sit down.
Kaffee: What's that?
Jessep: I'd appreciate it if he addressed me as Colonal or Sir. I believe I've earned it.
Randolph: Defense counsel will address the witness as Colonel or Sir.
Jessep: I don't know what the hell kind of an outfit you're running here.
Randolph: And the witness will address this Court as Judge or Your Honor. I'm quite certain I've earned it. Take your seat, Colonel.
Kaffee: A moment ago said that you ordered Kendrick to order his men not to touch Santiago.
Jessep: That's right.
Kaffee: And Kendrick was clear on what you wanted?
Kaffee: Any chance Kendrick ignored the order?
Jessep: Ignored the order?
Kaffee: Any chance he just forgot about it?
Kaffee: Any chance Kendrick left your office and said, "The 'old man's wrong"?
Kaffee: When Kendrick spoke to the platoon and ordered them not to touch Santiago, any chance they ignored him?
Jessep: Have you ever spent time in an infantry unit, son?
Kaffee: No sir.
Jessep: Ever served in a forward area?
Kaffee: No sir.
Jessep: Ever put your life in another man's hands, ask him to put his life in yours?
Kaffee: No sir.
Jessep: We follow orders, son. We follow orders or people die. It's that simple. Are we clear?
Kaffee: Yes sir.
Jessep: Are we clear?
Kaffee: Colonel, I have just one more question before I call Airman O'Malley and Airman Perez: If you gave an order that Santiago wasn't to be touched, and your orders are always followed, then why would he be in danger, why would it be necessary to transfer him off the base?
Jessep: You want answers?
Kaffee: I think I'm entitled to them.
Jessep: You want answers?!
Kaffee: I want the truth.
Jessep: You can't handle the truth!
Jessep: Son, we live in a world that has walls. And those walls have to be guarded by men with guns. Who's gonna do it? You? You, Lt. Weinberg? I have a greater responsibility than you can possibly fathom. You weep for Santiago and you curse the Marines. You have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what I know: That Santiago's death, while tragic, probably saved lives. And my existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, saves lives. You don't want the truth. Because deep down, in places you don't talk about at parties, you want me on that wall. You need me there. We use words like honor, code, loyalty...we use these words as the backbone to a life spent defending something. You use 'em as a punchline. I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very freedom I provide, then questions the manner in which I provide it. I'd prefer you just said thank you and went on your way. Otherwise, I suggest you pick up a weapon and stand a post. Either way, I don't give a damn what you think you're entitled to.
Jessep: I'm gonna tear your eyes right outta your head and piss in your dead skull. You fucked with the wrong marine.
Ross: Colonel Jessep, do you understand those rights as I have just read them to you?
Jessep: I saved lives. That boy was--there was weak link. I saved lives, you hear me?
You fuckin' people. You have no idea how to defend a nation.
All you did was weaken a country today, Kaffee. That's all you did. You put people in danger. Sweet dreams, son.
Kaffee: Don't call me son. I'm a lawyer, and an officer of the United States Navy. And you're under arrest you sonofabitch.
Kaffee: You don't need to wear a patch on your arm to have honor.