A Bright Shining Lie (1998) Movie Script

(# Jefferson Airplane: Somebody To Love)
# When the truth is found
# To be lies
# And all the joy within you dies
# Don't you want somebody to love?
# Don't you need somebody to love?
# Wouldn't you love somebody to love?
# You better find somebody to love
# When the garden flowers
# Baby are dead
# Yes and your mind, your mind
# Is so full of red
# Don't you want somebody to love?
# Don't you need somebody to love?
# Wouldn't you love somebody to love?
# You better find somebody to love
# Your eyes, I say your eyes
may look like his
# Yeah but in your head baby
# I'm afraid you don't know where it is
# Don't you want somebody to love?
# Don't you need somebody to love?
# Wouldn't you love somebody to love?
# You better find somebody to love
# Tears are running
# Running down your breast
# And your friends, baby
# They treat you like a guest
# Don't you want somebody to love?
# Don't you need somebody to love?
# Wouldn't you love... #
(Man) Ready, aim, fire.
Ready, aim, fire.
Present arms.
(# Last Post)
(Quietly) Excuse me.
(Man) I had come to say goodbye.
Vietnam tore us apart.
We went there believing
in freedom and democracy
but somehow we lost our moral compass.
How did we let it happen?
A decade ago things seemed
so much clearer.
(# Chubby Checker: The Twist)
# Come on baby
# Let's do the twist
# Ooh-wah-wah
# Come on baby
# Let's do the twist
# Ooh-wah
# Take me by my little hand
# And go like this
# Ooh
# Ee-aw
# Round and around... #
These are extraordinary times
and we face an extraordinary challenge.
Our strength, as well as our convictions,
have imposed upon this nation
the role of leader in freedom's cause.
It is a contest of will and purpose
as well as force and violence and,
in that contest, we cannot stand aside.
(Man) Gentlemen, to West Berlin
and next year Moscow.
- (Men) Moscow.
- West Berlin, shit. You'll never fire a shot.
Oh, Vann, you wanna tell me what the hell
you did so wrong to pull Vietnam?
- I'm gonna see combat, boys.
- A bunch of gooks with shotguns.
- Hey, those gooks beat the French.
- Ooh, beat the French.
- Who hasn't?
- Mark my words, gentlemen,
- Vietnam is the war of the future.
- (All) Ooh. War of the future.
- Right.
- (Gl) Oh, man.
- Howdy, darling.
- Hi.
Same again for me
and my constituents over there.
- Right. Two whiskeys, two beers.
- And a Coke, please.
- Yeah. We have a good boy over there, huh?
- That's me, honey. I don't drink or smoke.
What else don't you do?
- Keep the change.
- Thank you.
(# On jukebox: Brenda Lee: I'm sorry)
# That I was such a fool... #
Oh yeah.
# I didn't know
# Love could be so cruel
# Oh, ho, ho, ho #
(Dog barks in distance)
- Hey, I bought you some flowers.
- What's to celebrate?
I got it. I got it.
The Pentagon? You...
Vietnam. Vietnam.
Vietnam? W-Well, what happened
to Washington?
Mary, don't you see? I'm going to war.
You know what happens in a war?
Guys like me get promoted.
Now I can fight my way to the top.
Oh, we are going to Washington...
but I'm going as a soldier,
not a goddamn clerk.
Wait a minute, John,
you kind of smell like perfume.
- Oh, hell, honey, it's the flowers.
- Oh.
Baby, this is the chance
we've been waiting for. This is it.
- Enlisted men over here.
- Yeah, tell 'em to hustle.
- Enlisted men, over here.
- Saigon, over here, in the trucks.
- OK, right over there, sir. Morning, sir.
- Vann, John P, Lieutenant Colonel.
Colonel Vann. Colonel Vann.
Er, I don't have you on manifest, sir.
I was supposed to be
on yesterday's flight. I missed it.
- That flight crashed, sir.
- Well, I'm glad I missed it.
Go ahead, take that Jeep right there, sir.
- Steve Burnett, the Times.
- Go ahead.
Hey. You're a lucky man.
You should be dead.
I should've been dead long before yesterday.
What's your name?
- Er, Steve Burnett, Times.
- You don't say? You need a ride?
- Sure.
- Hop in.
- Welcome, Colonel.
- Thank you.
Do you mind getting in the back, soldier?
I like to do my own driving.
Let the man from the Times sit up front.
Just point me in the right direction.
(Burnett) An exotic little war
in an Asian paradise,
that's how one of my colleagues described it.
After the French were defeated in 1954,
Vietnam was divided between
Ho Chi Minh's Communist north
and the southern regime of Ngo Dinh Diem.
The Communists launched
an insurrection to capture the south,
so America sent 11,000 advisors
to bolster Diem's army.
(John) Look at this place.
Man, this is a place worth fighting for.
Can you imagine what it's gonna be like
if the Communists get it?
(Burnett) God, look at that.
- (John) Where'd they get all the water from?
- They terrace the fields at different levels
and they have a bunch of canals
and dikes and bring it all down.
- That's fantastic.
- Yeah.
Gentlemen, each one of you
will be assigned to a division
of the South Vietnamese army
to act as our senior advisor.
The South Vietnamese soldier
is a magnificent fighter,
highly motivated, tough, and intelligent.
The body counts given to this office
are nothing short of remarkable.
Just take a look.
Theirs is a splendid effort
and it is our job to support 'em.
I know you're all experienced soldiers
but we have been sent here as ad-vi-sors.
Their President Diem is decent
and God-fearing, our God, by the way.
He is emphatic that this is a war between
the legitimate Vietnamese government
and their Communist invaders.
Now we all know that Red China
and Moscow are behind this, huh?
So we have every right to supply
and support these people
but it is their fight and they are in charge.
So give them your best
cos they are giving us theirs.
Colonel Cao?
(Soldier shouting in distance)
(Man speaking Vietnamese)
- Sir.
- Lt Colonel John Vann.
- Er, Frank Drummond, sir, S-2. Ron Dray.
- Sergeant.
- Sir.
- What the hell's going on here, Major?
Well, er, this is just
a little positive thinking, really.
Let me introduce the division
commander, Colonel Cao.
- Colonel.
- Welcome.
- Welcome, Colonel Vann.
- Thank you.
Yesterday we killed many, many VC
but they take some of the body away.
Still, I must send photo to my president.
It is good for morale, no?
Come, let me show you my command.
(Man shouts in distance) Careful with it.
- How many men are attached to your division?
- About 500.
- Impressive.
- Yes, we have a very strong fighting force.
Thanks to your government's assistance,
we are arming the people to fight beside us.
- Soon you and I will defeat the Vietcong.
- I look forward to it, Colonel.
(Announcement in Vietnamese)
- Good morning, gentlemen.
- Morning, Colonel. What's going on?
- We have important intelligence.
- Frank, what do you got?
A village elder is confirming
a Vietcong instructor
has infiltrated and is training new recruits
right here at this village.
- OK, what's the plan?
- We will attack here...
and here.
Shouldn't we bring a team
around behind the village
- to cut off any retreat to the mountains?
- Yes, yes, but, er, all in good time, Colonel.
Shall we, er, commence battle?
Let's go.
- Er, Colonel, I thought we fight better together.
- Yeah.
No, no. We must command from here.
This is where I fight many battle.
Gee, Colonel, that's not how I do things.
Colonel, please, join me, by my side.
Tiger Centre, we're approaching
Than Bin, over.
- Sir, we should cut off their retreat now.
- Patience, Colonel, we must not hurry.
(Man speaking Vietnamese)
Tiger Centre approaching from south,
appears to be movement up ahead. Over.
(Gunfire, cries)
One man down, repeat,
one man down. Over.
- Hold the advance, I send helicopter now.
- I'll take care of that.
Colonel Vann!
Hold the advance.
I will send a helicopter to you now.
Do not advance. Repeat, do not advance.
OK, Frank, I've got a chopper,
I'm on my way.
What's your situation? Over.
John, we got one ARVN soldier
with a leg wound. He's stabilised. Over.
- Roger that, Frank.
- John, my hands are tied here.
The enemy's getting out the back door.
(John) I'll come from the south,
cut off their escape route,
see if I can't put a scare in them. Over.
(Speaking Vietnamese)
(Pilot) I see 'em.
I see one, two, three, four hostiles.
- Go lower, circle around fast.
- Roger that.
(John) Get down low behind them,
by that tree line.
Don't let them get away. Go lower.
(Pilot) There they are, there they are.
We're coming in behind them.
(Pilot) Get in with the chopper, men.
(John) Hold it, stay on the deck.
(Pilot) Great shooting.
(John) Let's go.
(Pilot) Outstanding, sir, outstanding.
(John) All right, let's get after the rest.
(John) Looks like we got
a reception committee.
(Pilot whistles) We got prisoners here, let's go.
This is no good, Colonel.
I am in charge, you hear? I am in charge.
Your plan worked, you've killed
the Communist recruiter. Congratulations.
Good work. I will radio headquarters
that Than Bin has been cleared.
- Very good.
- Man, look at the scars on this old guy.
They gotta be years old.
This man was a warrior.
Probably been fighting all his life.
The Japs, the French, now us.
In recognition of his outstanding victory
at Than Bin,
President Diem has awarded Colonel Cao
the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry.
We are honoured to have
his sister-in-law, Madame Nhu,
who will make the presentation. Madame.
I am so proud of Colonel Cao.
I hope he will kill many, many more
of these Communist traitors
and together, we will... kill them all.
- That's one tough lady.
- Yeah?
- I heard the men aren't so tough.
- Bullshit.
There's been talk
that Diem's men are unwilling to fight.
These men are kicking the Vietcong's ass.
All we're doing is supplying intelligence
and logistics, right, Major?
- Yes, sir.
- (Man) Madame Nhu, photograph.
(Man) Madame Nhu, this way.
(Second man) Right here, sir.
- Thank you very much.
- General, move in, please.
(Speaking Vietnamese)
Excuse me.
Do any of you ladies speak English?
- We all speak English.
- Oh, you're students at this school?
- They are students. I am the teacher.
- You're the teacher?
Well, I hope this is my lucky day.
I need a good translator
and, well, I'd be honoured if you'd help me.
(Woman laughs)
Soon I must go.
Do you still want me to translate?
Yes, I do.
Would you read the last entry?
"The Americans are here.
"They have brought tanks and helicopters.
"The young men are afraid
"but I tell them do not fear
because the Americans are huang phi."
Huang phi, it's a word that means soft.
Well, actually...
decadent. Do you understand?
"They can never win because they use only
those of our people who are also huang phi.
"The peasants are with us
because they hate the huang phi."
What do you believe?
Oh, I'm not interested in politics, Mr Vann.
What are you interested in?
My school.
I enjoy it.
You know, it allows me to decide my own life
and that's a very rare thing for a woman here.
I have to say this.
I think you're one of the most
beautiful women I've ever seen.
You did not bring me here
to translate, did you?
(John)... immediate kill, he disables
his enemy, then he kills him.
OK. Again.
(Burnett) These men
are kicking the Vietcong's ass.
It wasn't so much a lie as something
he knew he could make happen.
- Here he is, tiger of the delta.
- Colonel Vann.
Congratulations, commander.
Beautiful medal. I must have a photo.
(Burnett) Vann would charm, coax, cajole,
anything to rally the South Vietnamese.
At first it worked.
By God, the best US Vietnamese team
for fighting Communists.
(Broadcaster) American advisors
work to bring the level of training
and combat readiness of these forces
as high as possible.
Superior equipment and mobility
are used to full advantage
to carry the fight to the enemy, swiftly,
wherever his presence becomes known.
The Vietnamese soldier
is quick to grasp the techniques involved
in copter-born counteraction
to guerrilla raids on villages,
and he uses his new knowledge well.
(Speaks Vietnamese)
Colonel Cao, what is the mission?
- We are mounting an assault on Than Bin.
- Than Bin? We've already cleared Than Bin.
No, no, we must cleanse the village thoroughly.
- This is ridiculous.
- Colonel, please.
You have to understand,
I must follow the order of my president.
If I do not, then my family is in danger.
- He has told me no casualty.
- But you are at war with the Vietcong.
You want us to fight the Vietcong,
so we fight them.
My president needs your money
and your guns, because he has many enemy.
Thing are not as simple as in America.
Jesus H Christ. We're eyeball to eyeball
with the Communists all over the world
and these guys are out shooting rabbits.
"General Giap's instruction
for us to steal back the rice
"on behalf of the peasants
has paid great dividends."
This General Giap is a very clever man.
Tell me about your wife.
We're separated.
What does that mean?
It means that she lives on one side
of the ocean, and... I live on the other.
(Woman speaking Vietnamese on radio)
The Russians are taking
the missiles out of Cuba.
Ha! I knew it.
These are dangerous times, John.
But they're exciting times, Lee,
exciting times.
(Helicopter overhead)
Saigon Command has located
the enemy's radio transmitter here at Ap Bac.
We will land the first airborne force here
and the second here.
Advance here and here
and capture the objective.
I have to brief my men, Colonel.
(Man speaking Vietnamese)
All right, here's the drill.
Frank, I want you take the lead armoured.
Ron, take the first chopper.
I'm going in the spotter plane.
- What about Cao?
- The hell with him.
I'm gonna check this one out for myself.
(lnstructions called out in Vietnamese)
(John over radio) We're coming up
on the target side now. Over.
(Gl) Roger that, Colonel Bogie.
(John) No signs of movement below. Over.
(Burnett) Ap Bac, January 2nd, 1963.
For a year the Vietcong had studied the
Americans and their tanks and helicopters,
studied and learned.
Now they were ready to stand and fight.
Vietnam's exotic little war
was about to turn into a quagmire.
(Pilot over radio) Foxtrot-alpha
banking right 45 degrees.
- Heading one-five-two-four south. Over.
- (John) Roger that.
Thumper, this is Colonel Bogie.
What's your ETA? Over.
Roger, Colonel Bogie, this is Thumper.
We're about 30 seconds away. Over.
Roger that. There's a big tree line
east of the LZ.
Tell your boss to stay at least
300 yards away from that.
- Roger.
- OK. Over.
OK, reposition, come back around.
Hawkeye, get those tracks ready to move fast
when I give the order. Over.
Roger that. OK, you're headed for the tree line.
(John) Take your three birds
out to the west behind the tree cover.
(Gl) Colonel Bogie,
this is Chopper-four-alpha.
We're swinging west
of the target zone. Over.
(John) Thumper, put your two birds
down to the east.
(Gl) We're coming in from the east
toward the LZ now.
(Pilot) 400 yards, 100 feet,
dropping down to 50.
Thumper, you're too close.
You're too close, get back.
You're over-shooting the LZ. Go around.
God damn it.
Hawkeye, what the hell's keeping you?
Get in there, we got two birds down.
(Frank) We're taking heavy fire here, John.
Shit. Tiger Centre, Tiger Centre,
we got two birds down,
move on the objective now.
- Move up to the tree line now.
- (Speaks Vietnamese)
(John) Shit. Damn it.
Come on, come on. Get out.
(John) Come on, Frank, move.
He doesn't understand English now, John. Go.
God damn it.
Hawkeye, come in. Thumper, come in.
God damn it. Take her down now.
Give me a hand with this guy. Hold his neck.
What the hell's going on here?
This isn't a game.
- We have lost helicopter.
- Yes, you lost helicopter.
- Now get your infantry out there.
- No, we must withdraw.
You will not withdraw. We have men down
out there. You will hold the line.
(Gl) Second chopper coming in.
Let's move it. Move it.
(John) Get that Jeep over here.
Shit, come on, soldier, don't go to sleep.
It's OK, you're gonna be all right,
hang in there. Hang in there.
No, stay awake, stay awake.
Come on. How you doing there?
- What the hell happened, John?
- Let's get him loaded up.
Almost there. Let's get him on the Jeep.
Charlie kicked our ass.
They knew they wouldn't fight
so they stood their ground.
- Moving out. Moving out.
- Come here.
(Agonised cry)
Ah, jeez.
What a waste.
Goddamn stupid waste.
That's six-five-nine.
- Ten hut.
- Carry on.
- Gentlemen, you wanted to see me?
- Yes, sir.
Well, sir, given the setbacks,
I thought you'd be interested to know...
Just what in the hell is this?
Sir, the red areas indicate
current Vietcong concentration.
We control these areas.
Sir, I'd have to argue that.
- Who've you talked to about this?
- No one, sir.
Get this straight, Ap Bac was a victory.
We took the objective.
We drove off the enemy.
Everybody knows that ours beat theirs.
- We lost 88 men, sir, 1500...
- Don't lecture me.
If you spread defeatist nonsense,
I will have you court-martialled.
And the charges, this time, will stick.
I want that overlay.
(Whistling sigh)
- Steve.
- Hey, John.
- Thanks for meeting me.
- My pleasure.
D'you see this?
An important victory.
101 VC dead. (Scoffs)
So what's the truth?
The most miserable damn
performance I've ever seen.
- Would you talk about this?
- Somebody has to.
John, you have a military career
and if we do this thing,
a lot of people are gonna read it.
I understand. Start writing.
South Vietnamese Command has no interest
in fighting the Communists.
The ordinary soldiers are willing but their
officers' priority is to protect Diem's regime,
rather than to stop Communist insurgency.
What about all those things that we get,
the casualty figures,
battle reports, the briefings?
The numbers are all phoney,
they make 'em up. These battles are a joke.
They attack areas that the VC
have already vacated
or they attack from one side and leave the
enemy a wide-open back-door escape route.
Surely American assistance
has made a difference.
Oh, yeah, that's helped.
It's helped the Communist.
We supply guns to the peasants and they turn
straight around and give them to the VC.
At Ap Bac we were being
shot down by our own weapons.
The US Army advisory programme
is a complete sham,
totally ineffective.
What's going on?
Er, two days ago in Hue, Diem's forces
opened fire on a Buddhist protest.
Killed nine of them.
Can't get this guy to fight the Communists
but he's willing to kill his own people.
I should cover this.
(Chanting continues)
(Chanting stops)
(Man chants)
- No.
- It's OK. It's OK.
(Woman screams)
(Women cry out)
(Monks chant)
- No.
- It's... Yes. Yes. Yes.
(Men) No!
- Can you believe that?
- Come on.
You have no idea what the hell
is going on around here.
"Miserable damned performance."
Heh. That's Vann, I can just hear him say it.
I want him busted now.
- Get him out.
- General, he's got a month to go.
Let's not stir up the press. Let him finish out,
- then we'll take care of him.
- Shit.
I gotta go.
Give me your hand.
What is it?
It's for good luck.
I'll be back.
(Woman makes announcement over PA)
(John) Thanks a lot.
- Hey, hey, John.
- Where's the story, boys?
The story's the shit-storm
you caused back at home.
We got cables from the Pentagon,
- We picked up some new friends.
- (John) Who are those guys?
Diem put his boys on us for reporting Ap Bac.
- Well, the truth hurts.
- We got something for you here.
"To Lt Colonel John Paul Vann,
"from his good friends and admirers,
the American Press Corps."
- I don't smoke.
- But you can use it to light a fire
under the brass back at home.
You can depend on that.
Bobby, thank you. Nick.
John, I hope nothing I've written hurts you.
- Nothing can hurt me.
- OK.
(John) Gentlemen.
Give 'em hell, John.
(Burnett) He was our hero, an officer willing to
risk his career to tell the truth about Vietnam.
He set out to spread the word
to everyone and anyone who would listen.
(Horn hoots)
- Dad. Dad.
- Ah.
- Hey, Daddy.
- Oh, God, Katy.
Oh. Good to see you.
Man, you have grown.
- Honey, you look great.
- It's good to be home.
Boy, have I got work to do.
I'm gonna give them the clearest,
most concise, kick-ass report
in the history of the US Army.
Southeast Asia.
Rubber, timber
and manpower.
Southeast Asia,
the Communists want it
and we wanna stop 'em.
The Communists want it,
we wanna stop 'em.
And in my hand,
I hold the secret weapon
to win the war in South Asia.
Secret weapon to win the war in South Asia.
In my hand, I hold the secret weapon
to win the war in South Asia.
Rice. Rice, gentlemen.
For the Vietnamese peasant, it is everything.
They fought the Chinese, the Japanese,
they fought the French for their rice fields.
The Communists have hijacked that rebellion.
This man, Ho Chi Minh, and his General Giap,
have promised the farmers
they will give them back their rice,
while our man, President Diem...
...continues dealing it.
We must regain the goodwill of the peasants...
...restore the good faith of the people.
To win the war in Vietnam,
we must take back the rice revolution,
throw out the rice dealers
and give them back their rice.
We must wage war for the peasants,
not against them.
Build their houses, don't destroy them.
Kill the enemy with this, instead of this.
In short, we must harness
the peasant revolution
to defeat the Communist revolution.
Thank you.
- Outstanding, Colonel.
- Thank you, sir.
I'm gonna recommend that the Joint Chiefs
hear this as soon as possible.
That's great news, sir.
(Man) Send him over to my office,
I'd appreciate it.
Lt Colonel Vann to see the Joint Chiefs.
- Please have a seat, sir.
- Thank you.
Lt Colonel Vann to see you, sir.
- Great to meet you, Colonel Vann.
- Real pleasure to be here.
I'm sorry I didn't get in touch sooner
but your briefing's been cancelled.
There must be a mistake. I was assured
an audience with the Joint Chiefs.
It appears there was a conflict in scheduling
and the chairman is anxious
to hear your briefing at a later date.
(Burnett) The old guard closed ranks
and shut him out.
Vann resigned.
His military career was ruined.
That's what he led us to believe.
But John Paul Vann had no career.
He was an outcast, a man whose dark past
had denied him the general stars
he thought he deserved.
(Mary Jane) Where were you last night?
(John) Don't...
(Shouts) No, don't lie to me.
Don't lie. I know where you were.
- (John) Wait, honey...
- To hell with this.
- Honey, wait.
- You are a liar and a cheat
- and you will never change.
- Don't do this now.
We are finished. I am so sick of putting up
this front for you, for your career.
(Scoffs) Your career? You screwed yourself
out of your career years ago.
We are gonna do something
or I am outta here.
Come in, Mrs Vann.
- I think we've made some progress here.
- Good.
Your husband has been
quite forthright about his lapses.
If I could just explain something.
Often when military men
get put in pressure situations,
they find themselves in a difficult position.
They see sex as a kind of an outlet,
it's a release.
Erm, it's almost unconscious,
you might say.
I thought we came here
to be honest with each other.
I am being honest.
Did he tell you about
the housemaids in Japan?
Well, er, Mrs Vann,
we didn't go into every specific case.
Oh, not every specific case, OK.
How about the baby-sitter in Kansas?
- Go on and tell him.
- Mrs Vann, I don't think it's productive...
This is a very specific case.
He slept with our baby-sitter.
She was 15 years of age. She told the army.
He was gonna be court-martialled
until he asked me to lie for him.
No more lies, please.
- Tell him about your mother.
- (Quietly) That's enough.
Please, tell him about Myrtle.
This is where it all came from.
We can talk it out, please.
Mr Vann, maybe you would like to talk
a little bit about this.
- That's it.
- (Mary Jane) Please.
I... I can't do this.
Just, just tell me what it'll take
to make you stay.
I want a life for us.
I don't wanna be warehoused
in some army base.
You got it.
Just don't bring Myrtle up again.
Come on.
Let's go. Take your toast with you.
Here's your lunch.
- Thanks, Mom.
- I love you.
- (Radio) The regime of South Vietnam...
- I want to hear that.
...comes to an end in a wave of violence.
- Can it.
Honey, leave him alone, he's just playing.
...a man who seemed to have no...
Oh, I love this song.
(# Pete Seeger:
Where Have All The Flowers Gone)
# Gone for soldiers every one
# When will they ever learn?
# When will they ever learn?
# Where have all the soldiers gone?
# Long time passing #
(Woman) What?
Oh, my God.
(Radio) We interrupt this programme
for an important news flash.
John Fitzgerald Kennedy,
president of the United States,
shot by an assassin as he drove
through the streets of Dallas, Texas.
(TV) He is three years old
on this day, November 25th.
He moves a pace apart from his mother
and lifts his hand...
- What is that boy doing?
...saluting his father...
- He's saying goodbye to his daddy.
...one last time.
Renewed hostile actions
against United States ships
on the high seas in the Gulf of Tonkin
have today required me to order
the military forces of the United States
to take action in reply.
We intend to convince the Communists
that we cannot be defeated by force of arms
or by superior power.
General Weyand, please,
Lt Colonel John Vann calling.
Hello, sir?
Yes, sir, I resigned my commission
but I knew I couldn't get through.
Everybody's fine, thanks.
I'm doing great, just great.
Well, no, I'm not.
Fred, I'm dying here.
I need to be in on the action.
Anything, Fred, I mean anything.
Must be something I can do. Anything at all.
I understand. You can't fight this war
without me, Fred.
OK, I appreciate it. Goodbye.
You're supposed to be
at the productivity meeting.
Oh, yeah, right. I'll be right along, Don.
(John) Hello. Hello, sir.
(Dog barks)
Boys. Throw it here.
- Shoot, Dad, shoot.
- Yeah, baby, he shoots...
...and it's nothing but net.
Take it back to the line. Three seconds left.
Come on, double team, get him.
- Hey. What's up?
- Hey, honey.
You guys go ahead.
The army called me today.
Guess what.
They offered me a job
in the civilian aid programme.
What is that?
It's back in Vietnam.
Vietnam, oh, I see.
Once again we're gonna get dumped?
No, listen. This is another chance for me.
I can't let it go. I know how to win that war.
I tried.
I thought maybe you could've been
the kind of father you never had.
(Boy) Catch.
Make sure I can have
a decent home for these kids.
- Hey, Dad.
- Hey.
(Gl) Let's go. Let's move it.
Move it on. Move, move.
Formation. Let's go. Let's go.
Left, right, left, right, left.
# Goodbye my sweetheart, hello Vietnam... #
John Paul Vann with the aid programme.
Where's my ride?
- Ride's right there, sir.
- Thank you.
- Move over, soldier, I'll drive.
- Yes, sir.
Thank you.
# And you know it involves us one and all
# I don't suppose that war will ever end... #
Fred. How the hell are you?
God damn, it's good to be back.
- Good to see you, John.
- Thank you, sir.
That's a lot of hardware out there.
It's phase one of General Westmoreland's
three-stage plan.
We put together a superior force,
then engage the enemy on the battlefield.
- Three, wipe them out.
- W...
Well hell, Fred, I don't know if the enemy's
gonna go along with that plan.
We're not fighting a conventional war here.
You can't roll out the tanks
like it's World War II.
I mean, God damn, hasn't the Pentagon
learned anything in three years?
John, you gotta learn to keep your mouth shut.
It was a hell of a job to get you over here,
even as a civilian.
You're here to work
with the aid programme, right?
You're right, Fred.
I read your briefing and I agree with you.
We gotta win these people over.
That's why I want you in charge
of the aid programme around Bau Trai.
I'll get a good man to work with you.
Let's try to put your ideas into practice.
OK, you're the boss.
No, John, Westmoreland's the boss.
Is that Vann? John Vann. John Vann.
Hell, I thought they buried you.
They tried, Steven. Hey, Nick.
- Are you part of this US aid programme?
- We sure are. Doug Elders, Steven Burnett.
- Oh, it's a pleasure.
- (Order yelled)
(# Trumpet salute)
(Man) Ten hut. Gentlemen,
General Westmoreland.
At ease, gentlemen.
The aid programme is a, er, noble effort
to bolster the civilian population in the hamlets
and particularly to help them
resist Vietcong infiltration.
Gentlemen, you are part
of a great new mobilisation.
We now have at our disposal the best army
that the world has ever known.
We have the men, we have the materials
and we are going to stomp
the Vietcong into the ground.
Thank you. Thank you.
We'd now like to take this opportunity
to introduce you to your various counterparts.
- Fred.
- (Man) General, can I ask a quick question?
I'd like you to meet John Paul Vann
and Doug Elders. Colonel Dinh.
- Mr Vann, Mr Elders, welcome.
- Thank you.
I am your regional commander.
We have a very good region, you and I.
- We will do well together.
- I look forward to it.
Thank you.
(Horns beeping)
(Woman) How are you?
(Students) Fine.
- I'm fine, thanks.
- (All) I'm fine, thanks.
- What's your name?
- What's your name?
- My name is.
- My name is.
- Can I help you?
- Can I help you?
Can I help you?
(Speaks Vietnamese)
- (All) Goodbye.
- Goodbye.
What happened to the schoolgirls?
Times change, John.
They have more needs now.
It's good to see you again.
Look at you, you look different.
You, too.
(Horns hoot, dog barks)
Howdy. Welcome to Bau Trai, guys.
- Terry Pike.
- John Vann.
- Doug Elders.
- Nice to meet you.
Do you know there's a Jeep
outside of town with a body in it?
- Nobody buries them?
- They're too afraid to go out there.
Now I don't mean to discourage you guys
but this place is gone.
See that bunch of kids standing over here?
(Child crying)
They're Vietcong. Our defenders
either work for 'em or pay 'em off.
- So who's in charge?
- That'd be Colonel Dinh.
I don't know if Charlie works for him
or he works for them.
Don't matter much, though,
cos nobody works for us.
Well, maybe we should just hand it all over
to the Communists right now.
Mr Vann, these people don't have any money
and they don't get a chance to vote.
That sounds Communist to me.
(Speaks Vietnamese)
Now if you don't mind, it cost me 50 bucks
to get Colonel Dinh to get me
a military escort out of here.
I better get before the price
goes up. It's all yours.
Stay alive, gentlemen.
(Doug) Jeez, what a mess.
OK. Each family of six or more
gets one five-gallon can of cooking oil,
- 100lb sack of flour per month.
- Yes, sir.
Doug, check the manifest,
see when this stuff's due in Tam Huang.
All right, we do what we call an inventory.
That means everything that goes
in and out of here gets accounted for...
(Children speaking Vietnamese)
(Teacher speaks, children repeat)
Sorry. Sorry.
OK, you tell these men to put these ladders
here and pull down any loose tiles.
- Yes, sir.
- Replace it with this corrugate.
- One there, rip out all the tiles around...
- (Speaks Vietnamese)
- You tell them.
- Yes, sir.
(Speaking Vietnamese)
- What'd she say?
- She said to stop, she cannot pay.
You tell her she does not have to pay.
- What was that?
- She says somebody will always have to pay.
Who needs a treat, huh?
Oh, OK, OK, OK, OK.
Here you go. Here you go.
Here you go. Here you go.
Chiclets, gentlemen. The secret
of the children's revolution.
No, it's just candy. No, it's OK, it's just gum.
For you, for the school.
(John) Presents for the teacher, eh?
(Engine outside)
(Speaking Vietnamese)
- What's going on?
- You have used my material without paying.
I'm sorry, Colonel, but this is aid material.
Yes, my aid material. This is my region.
It is my aid material and you must pay.
(Speaks Vietnamese)
- Whoa, whoa.
- Put that down.
Colonel, if you do not leave, I will disgrace you
in front of your men and this village.
Tell the men.
(Speaks Vietnamese)
Jesus, John.
Uh. Uh. What the fuck was that?
(Doug) It's blood.
What the hell is it?
It's a tongue.
Come on.
- (Dog growls)
- (Doug) Ah.
(Doug) God.
(Shouts in Vietnamese)
- Get Dinh.
- He's not here.
- Where is he?
- Bau Trai. He's gone to punish the village.
(Soldiers laugh)
(John) Dinh knows the VC have fled the village.
What the hell is he playing?
(Soldier) Whoa, whoa, whoa. Slow down.
- What's going on?
- Colonel Dinh's holding an air strike.
- God damn, call it off!
- Wait.
(Muted cries)
(Screaming, shouting)
It's OK. It's OK. It's OK.
Look, I'm sorry.
(Screaming, crying)
Fred. God damn it,
I want that murdering bastard arrested.
Look, I just came back from la Draug
where four companies of air cavalry
went smack into the North Vietnamese army.
We lost 230 men.
So don't come here telling me
about one corrupt ARVN colonel.
- 230?
- It's all over in the boonies.
I want you back here in Saigon, working here.
You know the locals? Get together
your own squads and clean out these villages.
(Sighs) I'll give you all the authority you want.
Excuse me, gentlemen, I need a shower.
(Broadcaster) Our casualties
in Vietnam in a single week
had exceeded the average weekly rate
of dead and wounded in the Korean war.
240 Americans killed, 470 wounded.
Most of these casualties were suffered
in the battle of la Draug Valley.
The United States is indeed at war,
a full-dress war against a formidable enemy.
(Burnett) Vann threw himself into the war effort
with a passion few others could muster.
He ran pacification programmes,
mobilised his allies among
the South Vietnamese forces,
coordinated American support and still
found time to bombard friends and foes alike
with his theories
on how to turn the war around.
(John) December 23rd, 1966.
Dear sir, despite the fact that we now have
385,000 American soldiers on the ground,
the Saigon government remains corrupt
on all levels. If it were not for the fact...
(Burnett) Vann worked twenty hours,
slept four.
He never stopped, on all fronts.
(Arguing in Vietnamese)
(Bicycle bells)
May I be of assistance?
What happened here?
Wrecked bicycle? Yes?
Orchids. This is what you need.
For you.
That's a picture.
- I'm in love.
- How old is she, 17?
17? She's 18, goes to college.
You have your teacher friend translate for you?
(Laughs) Well, you know me,
I can't help falling in love.
My mother's dead.
(Bell rings, woman calls out)
Come on. If you don't get moving
you're gonna miss the Tokyo connection.
It's your mother, John, you owe it to her.
That's funny.
I owe her.
My mother was a whore
and I'm her bastard son.
You know what my birth certificate says on it?
John Le Gay, a son of a bitch.
That's why those god damned WASPs
at West Point wouldn't let me in.
Fucking bunch of hypocrites.
When I was a little kid growing up in Norfolk,
I used to see her screwing them in their cars.
Grunting and carrying on.
You know how she died?
Somebody cracked her skull open
with a whiskey bottle.
Go home and bury her, John.
(Man, muted)... whosoever believeth
shall not perish, but have everlasting life.
The father loveth the son
and hath given all things into his hand.
- Amen.
- (All) Amen.
(Sighs, sobs)
(John) Thank you.
(Man) My condolences.
- Thanks for coming.
- Sorry, son.
Hey, you need some money for a haircut?
What's the matter with him?
He's against the war.
You don't say.
(Sighs) I better have a word with him
before I head back tomorrow.
Wait a minute. I, erm...
What is it?
John, I wanna file for a divorce.
- I just need to be free from you.
- Baby, come on, I need you.
You don't need anybody,
Myrtle made sure of that.
- And you have the war.
- Johnny.
- I'm truly sorry.
- Thank you.
- Your mama was very special to me.
- I appreciate that.
- You don't remember. I'm your cousin Artie.
- Oh, yeah, yeah.
I'd like to introduce you to some friends
of mine. Danny Dykes.
- Our condolences.
- Thanks for coming.
- I'm sorry for your loss.
- This here's my wife Bella.
- How do you do?
- (Artie) I've been reading about you
in the Norfolk Leader,
all those battles he's been winning.
It's a great thing you're doing, son.
God knows it's a great thing.
Imagine Myrtle's boy
advising the United States Army.
Who would ever have thought that?
Yeah, you need a hand,
you know who to call...
(Burnett) 1967, the year of delusion.
465,000 American troops fought
major battles from the delta to the DMZ,
while Westmoreland declared
the end was coming into view.
Vann knew better.
- (John) I thought we cleared this area.
- We had, sir,
then we discovered these tunnels. Here...
here... and here.
And here, sir, is where
we found the documents.
- What do they say?
- Last month we destroyed the Vietcong here
but according to this document
another VC battalion has replaced them.
(John) Where did they get
the manpower to do that?
I don't know, sir, I thought
we had killed them all.
I'm afraid we are back
to where we started, Mr Vann.
(John) Well, God damn it,
we'll just have to clear it out again.
Hey, get away.
Jesus, John,
now we're fighting schoolteachers.
She was never VC
until her village got bombed.
Er, John, how the hell do we have
a Thanksgiving dinner with these things?
- (Doug) What's the news?
- Spencer Tracy died.
Huh. Who said this? "I don't have
no personal quarrels with those Vietcong."
- Cassius Clay.
- Muhammad Ali.
His new name's Muhammad Ali.
I don't care what he calls himself. He dodges
the draft, no Negro soldier's gonna fight.
- Lock his ass up.
- Hey, can I just say, John,
what an extraordinary pad you've got here?
It's called harnessing
the best houses in Saigon.
- That's the new US aid programme.
- What the hell's that supposed to mean?
It's odd to see you in this context, that's all.
When I met you, rice paddies
and peasants and now...
What are you saying?
You accusing me of selling out?
- I read your articles.
- Oh, have you?
- Yeah. You're ready to surrender.
- Since when is criticism surrender?
Screw that. Nobody's been more critical
of how this war's been fought than me.
But you think it's your duty to spread
this defeatist loser crap.
Oh, winning and losing,
that's what it's all about, isn't it?
A soldier's sole purpose is to win.
I got no argument but you're
not a soldier, you're a civilian.
- (Doug) Come on, guys.
- (Door opens)
Mr Vann?
Excuse me.
What sort of a man are you?
She was a good student. Now...
she's pregnant.
I love your daughter. I will take care of her.
Shall we?
(Lyndon Johnson, on radio)
I have asked General Westmoreland
what more he needs to meet
this mounting aggression.
He has told me and we will meet his needs.
There's incipient uprising in this country in
opposition to this war and it's gonna get worse.
This talk about sending over 100,000
to 200,000 more troops,
you're going to create a very serious difficulty
in this country if you go through with that.
- Captain, where can I find Doug Elders?
- Right over there.
- Thank you.
- You're welcome.
- Hey, Dr Doug.
- Hey.
- Jeez, you look like shit.
- Thanks.
I brought you something.
For the revolution.
- I'm going home, John.
- Home? What are you talking about?
- It's jaundice, you'll be out in a week.
- You see this shit?
Those are Marines.
Now we're the ones burning them out.
- It's just one damn photo.
- It's more than one photo.
- We're losing our souls here.
- Hell, do you think I agree with it?
I don't want to fight with you, John.
Come on, man,
we've been through a lot together.
John, I'm going home.
Well, I'm not real good at goodbyes.
Don't get killed.
Gentlemen, as you all know,
until now the fifth division of the Vietcong
has had sole control
of the Saigon operational area.
- These captured VC documents indicate...
- Attention.
Carry on, gentlemen. Fred.
Please continue, Mr Vann.
I was saying that the intelligence
we now have indicates clearly
that divisions formerly positioned in the area
on the Cambodian border have been moved
to here, here, here and here
and now all share
the Saigon theatre of operations.
General, there's aerial evidence
of advanced movement to support this.
And what is your conclusion?
Well, sir, our conclusion is
the enemy is about to strike at the capital.
Gentlemen, that is exactly
what the enemy wants us to think
because they are going to lay siege
to the Marines here with regular forces,
trick us into believing that they are going
to invade the capital with the Vietcong,
we hold back our forces, they overrun
the Marines for a spectacular victory
just like they did the French.
That's not gonna happen
on my watch, gentlemen.
Fred, I want you to have every available man
ready to move at a moment's notice.
Sir, I don't believe
a strategist like General Giap
would risk his troops openly against us.
I appreciate your input, Mr Vann.
101st, 199, you have them ready, Fred.
Lee, what's wrong?
I haven't seen you for so long.
I'm worried.
Look, there's a lot going on right now.
Let's go away together. For Tet?
We can go to my family's home by the sea.
Please come, John.
I can't.
- Who is it?
- General Weyand.
Look, I'm sorry, Lee, I gotta go.
Be careful.
Yeah, go, Fred.
(Fireworks cracking)
(# Easy listening lounge music)
(Man) Happy New Year.
(John) Happy New Year.
Admiral, very nice to meet you.
Happy New Year.
- Good evening, Mr Ambassador.
- Hey, John.
- Can I have a word with you, sir?
- Sure.
- Sir, did you receive General Weyand's alert?
- No.
- Are you sure?
- Absolutely.
Our intelligence indicates the enemy's
about to plan a major offensive.
- Where?
- Here in Saigon, sir.
Why didn't the General Westmoreland
tell me this?
General Westmoreland
doesn't agree with our analysis
and I feel he's about to make
a grave error in judgment.
- (Guest) Good evening.
- I'll take this up with you in the morning.
Welcome, Major, good to see you.
Try to relax, John.
Evening. Help yourself to a drink,
enjoy yourself.
Nice party, huh?
All that's missing is Nero and his fiddle.
Did you see who's here?
They made him a general. Rising star
at the palace. Inspiring, huh?
- (Fireworks fizz and bang)
- (All) Oh.
(# Pianist plays Auld Lang Syne)
(Drumbeats, fireworks)
Hi. Me?
Hello. Hello. Hello.
(American) Hey, baby, how much?
(Woman) Hi, GI.
Hello, GI, I really, really like you. (Blows kiss)
# This is one of those days... #
(Man shouts in Vietnamese outside)
(Gunfire, explosion)
(Machine-gun fire)
(Man shouts)
Let's go, head for the embassy.
- Let's go. Let's go.
- Man, get us out of here.
- You know what the hell's going on?
- Give me that radio.
Lightning-six, this is Vann. Over.
Lightning-six, this is Vann. Over.
(Man on radio) The airport's under attack.
He's up on the roof.
Well, get him on the horn, God damn it. Over.
Come on, get those bags up here.
(Man shouts)... field of fire.
- We got them up our ass here, where the...
- Holy shit.
- Control...
- Our guys are firing into the embassy.
Charlie's taken the fucking embassy, man.
(Heavy gunfire, shouting)
(John) Come on, let's go. Go.
(lndistinct shouting)
(Man) We need a...
- Who's in charge?
- Somebody down there.
Fuck this, man.
(lndistinct shouting)
- Yes, sir.
- I was in bed. It's unbelievable, John.
They've taken the radio station
they're about to take over the palace.
Get General Weyand on the horn.
It's John Vann, sir.
John, we're holding them here.
What about there? Over.
They're pushing to take the whole city.
We got any troops, Fred?
I kept six battalions in reserve.
I'm sending four to the city.
That's great news. Keep that line open.
- What's happening?
- We got the men. We can hold them.
Now CIA men and MPs
have gone into the embassy
and are trying to get the snipers out.
We've got two more alert forces
that are trying to push him out this way
but he's heavily fortified.
232 Gls killed and 900 wounded.
(Broadcaster) 21 towns and cities attacked...
and suicide commandos...
The palace, the radio station,
the Philippine embassy...
...sniper fire still coming...
...civilians caught in the crossfire.
Hi, baby. You OK, the baby OK?
Don't worry about a thing, Gran,
I'm gonna take care of all of you.
I gotta go. I gotta go.
All right?
(Broadcaster) The official explanation, that
it's an attempt to divert American forces...
The Vietcong paid dearly for their terrorism...
The enemy is mounting
some last desperate campaign.
- Clean this up.
- (John) We're mopping up.
What's the word at the radio station? Over.
I see, real good, keep us posted. Over.
Keep this line open.
John. Ah.
We did it, Fred. They threw their best
at us and we beat 'em.
- Yeah, it got a bit crazy out there.
- (Man) General Westmoreland.
- What's your assessment of the situation?
- (Bang)
That's just our guys clearing up
some unexploded M-79 rounds.
The enemy appears to be trying
to take over South Vietnam.
- The Vietcong has very deceitfully...
- (Bang)
...taken advantage of the Tet truce
in order to create maximum consternation
in South Vietnam.
Particularly in the, er, populated areas.
- John?
- Mr Ambassador.
- Good work, thank you very much.
- General Weyand should take the credit, sir.
- Well, I'm aware of that, thank you.
- I'll tell you this, you throw a hell of a party.
Yeah, a real blowout.
Yeah. Yeah. Let's get a picture.
- Muek.
- Yes, sir.
Get a picture.
Little hands. Come on.
(Johnson) I shall not seek and I will not accept
the nomination of my party
for another term as your president.
I, Richard Milhous Nixon,
do solemnly swear
that I will faithfully execute
the office of president of the United States.
North Vietnam cannot defeat
or humiliate the United States.
Only Americans can do that.
(Gl) We get really stoned. Then, you know,
like, who cares about the war?
Gentlemen and ladies, as you know,
General Westmoreland
has returned to Washington
and General Abrams has replaced him
as commander of ground forces.
This reorganisation is part
of the president's Vietnamisation strategy.
Now the new second-in-command,
General Weyand,
is here to brief you on the implementation
of this phase of the war.
Ambassador, with Abrams in and Westy out,
is this an admission that
Westmoreland's strategy was a failure?
- General Westmoreland was promoted.
- (Journalists clamour)
Ladies and gentlemen,
we now believe that the South Vietnamese
are ready to take on a primary role
in driving back the enemy's forces,
their divisions, North Vietnamese regulars
across the western border.
- Is this an American withdrawal?
- No, no. In no way is this a withdrawal.
(Weyand) It's a change of strategy
and I have appointed the former Lieutenant
Colonel John Vann, whom you all know...
John, please step up here?
...to act as my deputy for military functions,
who will help me implement this strategy.
He will serve as a commanding general
for the central highlands region.
Please, General, help me clarify this.
You are placing a US civilian in command
of ten divisions of south Vietnamese troops
in the central highlands, which is a large area,
while the rest of the US troops pull back?
We're not pulling back.
The South Vietnamese are moving forward.
If it's not a withdrawal, what is Vietnamisation?
Well, that's what we're trying to explain to you
if you just, er, pay attention.
John, you've always advocated that the US
take control here in Saigon, yes?
That's correct. But Tet has proved
that the South Vietnamese
are capable and willing
to take control of this war.
- (Journalists clamour)
- The American people
have been completely demoralised
by recent developments.
Not at all. Not at all. On the contrary.
Our intelligence indicates it is the Vietcong
who have been demoralised since Tet.
Wait, I'm highly confused.
I find this contradictory
because, with this restructuring,
the South Vietnamese are not in command
but you are, Mr Vann, while US forces
go out the back door.
- No one is going out the back door.
- (Journalists clamour)
- Will any American soldiers go home?
- Certainly, as the Vietnamese people
assume greater responsibility there will
be some reassignment of US personnel.
John, did you and President Nixon
discuss Vietnamisation?
- I met the president, yes.
- So was it his policy or your policy?
It's the policy of the United States government.
(Ambassador) US policy
has not changed from day one
in terms of our involvement in helping
the people of the Republic of Vietnam.
(Burnett) Nixon ordered all American combat
troops out of Vietnam by June of 1972.
The South Vietnamese, although backed
by American air support and advisors,
would have to fight the war themselves.
Ten years down the road
we were back to where we started,
but this time John Paul Vann was in charge.
Intelligence says the enemy's moved large
numbers of troops, maybe five divisions,
down the Ho Chi Minh trail to here.
We also know that there's heavy artillery,
even tanks, further north.
I see what they're after.
If they can break through the line here
and head for the sea,
they'll have cut our forces in half
and have a clear shot at Saigon.
If the South Vietnamese troops
can't hold the line, it's over.
The South Vietnamese are good soldiers,
they just need some leadership.
Oh, they'll hold the line.
We'll do one better.
We might turn this whole
goddamn thing around.
I think old General Giap's about to make
the mistake we've been making all along.
He's gonna try to fight this
in a conventional fashion.
If we can persuade him to send his troops
out of these hills around Kontum,
he'll be vulnerable,
and that's where we could crush him.
- I don't know, John.
- I do, Fred, I do.
I've never seen anything so clear.
I've been waiting for a moment
like this all my life.
- Yeah. What can I do for you?
- I'd like to have a word with Vann, please.
- General?
- It's OK, let him through.
- I'd like an interview, John.
- I don't have time.
Yeah, I'll make it quick. You intend
to carpet-bomb around Kontum with B-52s.
That's operational information.
What a line of bullshit you fed us about the
peasants and the revolution, and I bought it.
- I still believe it.
- But you're gonna bomb with B-52s?
- How can you say that? It's wrong, John.
- Wrong?
It's the same war it was back in '62.
You were there.
Why didn't you say it was wrong then?
Shit, you and the fucking Kennedys,
the good old boys who sent us here,
now you all want to change your minds
because there's blood and guts on TV.
Well, I don't have that luxury.
I've got 50,000 people in Kontum
whose lives are on the line because of us.
They can't change their minds, can they?
I gave those people my word
and I'm gonna do everything
I can to save them.
Let's go.
- Colonel Ba.
- Welcome, sir.
- Frank Drummond, I thought they retired you.
- Retirement sits good with you.
- Thanks for requesting me, buddy.
- My pleasure.
- Major Darryl Jones, sir.
- Major Jones.
Finally, I got a fighting team I can be proud of.
- Well, gentlemen, let's get to work.
- This way.
(Typewriter clicks)
Ten hut. Gentlemen, senior advisor.
At ease, men.
All right, listen up, everyone.
We are gonna hold the line here at Tan Canh,
then mount a staged retreat
back to where we are, Kontum.
That will pull these North Vietnamese
divisions out of the hills
and when they do,
we are gonna call in the B-52s
and carpet-bomb each of these squares.
We are gonna wipe out the second, third,
and fifth division
of the North Vietnamese army.
My old colleague, Colonel Ba,
will conduct a forward command
defence and withdrawal.
This is General Giap, commander of the NVA.
He's a genius. He's never been beaten...
till now.
I've studied this man for ten years and we
are gonna whip his ass. You know why?
Because he wastes his men.
Pours them away like piss in the wind.
There's not a man in this room, not a man
on that line out there I wouldn't die for.
No matter what we've done with our lives,
you and I can be proud today
because we have the noblest
of all professions. We are soldiers.
The good Lord said it all about us.
He said no greater love has a man
than he lay down his life for another.
And by God this day will not end
but I will see you all safely through it
and we will hold this ground.
- Redirect that fire.
- Sustained mortar and small-arms fire. Over.
- Get me a sitrep at forward command.
- Forward command, sitrep. Over.
Enemy still 500 yards to my immediate front.
We're holding them here.
Roger that, Major, good work.
Tell Colonel Ba we will withdraw
in one hour. Over.
(Shouting in Vietnamese)
(Speaks Vietnamese)
- Ba, why aren't you at your post?
- I have been replaced, sir.
- Who's in charge of the ARVN?
- Who's the general?
- It's General Dinh, sir.
- Tell him I'm on my way.
Sir, Kontum Four, en route to you. Out.
Kontum says Vann's on the way out.
(John) Let's go, forward command. Step on it.
Cover that right flank. Lay it out, boys.
(Panicked shouts)
- What the fuck was that?
- OK. We got an enemy tank here.
There's a tank. There's a fucking tank.
- Got an enemy tank here.
- There are no enemy tanks reported.
Fuck you, son. I'm telling you
there's a goddamn tank up here.
- How long to the LZ?
- (Pilot) We're two minutes out.
Let's go. Get a move on.
They'll be cut off up there, God damn it.
(Frank) Hey, get back here.
(Panicked shouts)
- Frank, how long can you hold it there?
- Dinh's running like a son of a bitch.
- Get out, Frank. Go.
- Yep, we're fixing to do that.
God damn that asshole. God damn.
Go, everybody back, go on, fall back.
- Let's go. Go.
- (Frank) Blow this fuckin' place.
- Move.
- Go. Go.
(Pilot) My God, they've blown it, sir.
- (John) There. There.
- Jesus Christ, it's a minefield.
(Shouting in Vietnamese)
- (Pilot) Jesus Christ.
- Take her down.
- But, sir...
- I said take her down.
- Right here, put her down.
- Coming around. Coming around.
- Frank.
- (Pilot) Going down into a minefield.
Enemy 300 yards, we need support, over.
Frank, come on, get up here, son.
Come on, get him in.
Come on. Come on.
- Frank, hold on. Grab his arms.
- Frank, it's me.
Let's get him up.
- OK, got him?
- OK. Let's go. Let's go. Let's go.
- Damn it. Hold on. Hold on, Frank.
- It's a tank.
(Pilot) It's coming around, damn it. Come on.
Come on, let's move it. We gotta go.
- OK.
- Hold on.
Ba, get these men back to their posts.
- What's this?
- Sir, we're ordered to withdraw.
Withdraw nothing,
get Bomber Command on the horn.
Sir, the enemy have passed the coordinates.
- Give them new coordinates.
- Stand by.
- 1580.
- Sir, that's us.
- Call it in.
- One-five-eight-six, one-five-eight-zero.
- Soldier, let me have a look.
- That's correct. Yes, we know.
- Sir, they want confirmation.
- Shit, we're about to be overrun.
- Just do it.
- Senior advisor says go.
(Over radio) Recon Skyhawk,
enemy is now one mile.
Recon Skyhawk,
enemy now 800 yards, over.
Major, here they come.
Colonel, let's get ready.
(Speaks Vietnamese)
Come on. Come on. Come on.
(Orders shouted in Vietnamese)
Come on. Come on.
(Approaching aircraft)
(Muted explosions)
(Shouts and groans)
(Loud creaking)
(Coughs, groans)
Where you get your luck?
Ba, let's get these men organised,
get out there, see what's left.
(Man) Here he is now.
(Pilot) Roger, touchdown, over.
- (John) What is all this?
- Congratulations, John. Hell of an action.
Mr Ambassador.
The president asked me to convey
his and our country's appreciation.
- Thank you, sir.
- John, step right this way.
(Order shouted in Vietnamese)
We have a little surprise here for you.
- John, President Thieu.
- Mr President.
The people of Vietnam are grateful
for your help in defending our country.
I'm honoured, thank you.
Congratulations, John, you deserve it.
(# Military march)
This was great, Fred,
but I better be getting back.
- You sure?
- Yeah, duty calls.
Good luck, John.
You know, Fred, we can win this thing.
- You bet.
- (Ambassador) I'm not here to supply gossip.
Yes, but... Excuse me one moment.
- Congratulations.
- Thank you.
I have something that might interest you.
"Former Vietnam veteran Douglas Elders
"claimed the US government
has conspired to deceive the American people
"in order to pursue an illegal war in Vietnam."
- Well, I'll be dammed.
- Someone's prepared to stop peddling the lie.
- What lie would that be?
- That we're here to solve Vietnam's problems.
We are the problem and that's the truth.
Well, you see, Steven,
there's your truth and there's my truth
and they're two different things.
All I know is up that road is old General Giap
and when he and I speak
to each other, we never lie.
General Giap and you?
John, the war's not about warriors any more.
It's about children and women and
rice paddies, and you know who told me that?
You did. You did.
I gotta go.
I got men holding the line up there.
(Over radio)... flight will be cancelled.
Repeat. Recent wind...
Boss, we really don't have the weather.
Come on, let's go.
He's dead?
How? I was just...
Oh, man.
(# Bugle plays Last Post)
(Burnett) John Paul Vann
was America's warrior.
He personified our good intentions,
our arrogance, our courage,
and ultimately our folly.
He had fought to redeem the unredeemable,
to salvage the doomed enterprise
called South Vietnam.
In death he had triumphed over defeat
while the rest of us are left to ask...
(# Where Have All The Flowers Gone)
# Where have all the flowers gone?
# Long time passing
# Where have all the flowers gone?
# Long time ago
# Where have all the flowers gone?
# Young girls pick them, every one
# When will they ever learn?
# When will they ever learn?
# Where have all the young girls gone?
# Long time passing
# Where have all the young girls gone?
# Long time ago
# Where have all the young girls gone?
# Gone to young men, every one
# When will they ever learn?
# When will they ever learn?
# Where have all the young men gone?
# Long time passing
# Where have all the young men gone?
# Long time ago
# Where have all the young men gone?
# Gone for soldiers, every one
# When will they ever learn?
# When will they ever learn?
# Where have all the soldiers gone?
# Long time passing
# Where have all the soldiers gone?
# A long, long time ago
# Where have all the soldiers gone?
# Gone to graveyards every one
# When will they ever learn?
# When will they ever learn?
# Where have all the graveyards gone?
# Long time passing
# Where have all the graveyards gone?
# Long time ago
# Where have all the graveyards gone?
# Gone to flowers, every one
# When will they ever learn?
# When will they ever learn? #
English SDH