Only the Dead (2015) Movie Script

WARE [narrating]:
We all have dark places buried within.
I know I found mine... a war in Iraq.
A place inside me I never knew I had.
A place I was led to by my own obsession
with the worlds most feared terrorist--
[speaking Arabic]
a man who would choose me
to be his messenger.
[machine gun fire]
It was 2003, and the Americans
were about to invade Iraq
to oust the dictator, Saddam Hussein.
I was a war correspondent
for Time magazine
sent in to cover the conflict
from the north.
Im not sure I can ever tell you what
drove me to come to this crazy place,
but I loved being a journalist,
hunting a story.
-MAN: Here it comes.
-WARE: Where are we going to go?
-To this bunker?
Lets do it quick, mate.
WARE [narrating]:
I was a small-town boy from Australia.
This was my chance to get out.
I was in my 30s, young and dumb enough
that war had a false sense of adventure.
I simply couldnt have been happier.
Fuck me.
-[men laughing]
That one was close.
-Next time, take cover when they fire.
WARE: The forward scout has just told us
he believes another mortar is on its way.
-[explosions in distance]
WARE [narrating]:
This was the first day Id held a camera--
a small, beat-up Handycam
Ive carried with me ever since.
In the end, I shot hundreds of hours
of tape, capturing my war on film.
And in those tapes I found this story
that I guess Im finally ready to share.
WARE: Do you want to go forward with
this man on the nightly probe? Tom?
Tell him it would make for
a great story, but Id better not.
Ask Mick if he will go.
I tell him Id think about going
with a man I trust,
and I think I trust this man very much.
The funny thing is, we sit here and take
the exact same risks as these guys.
Theres nothing that separates us.
We can be as far in as we like.
We can be journalists.
We can be noncombatants.
That matters nothing to these mortars.
Were fucking close.
Saddam Hussein and his sons
must leave Iraq within 48 hours.
Their refusal to do so
will result in military conflict.
For their own safety,
all foreign nationals,
including journalists and inspectors,
should leave Iraq immediately.
Well, right now
were in the back of a sheep truck...
...and were leaving
the border town of Chamchamal
to drive two hours forward
to approach the Iraqi front line.
We believe were maybe three, four days
away from the beginning of the war.
So that we can try and get there
before anyone else.
My fellow citizens,
at this hour,
American and Coalition forces
are in the early stages
of military operations
to disarm Iraq, to free its people
and to defend the world
from grave danger.
We spent the night here
under the Iraqi guns.
We received word that Bush
had addressed the nation
and essentially declared war.
The Iraqis are not entirely enamored
with Saddams secular regime.
However, they support
his anti-American cause.
[whispers] I love America.
WARE [on radio]: All of a sudden, there
was a god-awful explosion just behind us
in what should have been a safe area.
WARE [narrating]: Im not sure
when things went wrong with me,
but it must have started
on this quiet road.
Theres a journalist whos been killed
by a car bomb or a suicide bomber.
Probably not a good idea to be here long.
WARE [on radio]: I spun around
and across a grassy field...
...I saw the fireball
and the smoke plume.
WARE [narrating]:
Something inside me changed, seeing this.
The brutality of it,
its cruel kind of violence.
The memory of it
stowing away in my mind,
coming with me as I collected
the dead mans body and sent him home.
And then I went south
to the Iraqi capital.
My fellow Americans,
major combat operations
in Iraq have ended.
In the Battle of Iraq,
the United States and our allies
have prevailed.
WARE [narrating]: When I first arrived in
Baghdad, it wasnt yet a bad place to be.
A city under American occupation,
it still had hope
that now things would be better
and the Iraqis would be able
to live their lives.
I felt daunted, still a junior reporter.
There were hundreds of other journalists
who had all been here longer.
I was convinced I had arrived late,
already behind the curve.
I was less afraid of a war zone
than I was terrified
Id make a fool of myself.
But I was lucky to live here
in the Time magazine bureau
with other writers and photographers,
like the great Yuri Kozyrev,
who became my Russian brother.
And our staff of Iraqis
who were more like family.
At our head was Ali, a grumpy genius.
There was Omar,
our conscientious office manager.
-Hi, Mick.
-And Nathan, my young translator.
WARE: CIA asked me
to get your photograph.
WARE [narrating]: It was our job
to try to understand what was going on
beyond the press conferences
and sound bites.
They were my eyes and ears,
and we were a brotherhood pushing out
into the madness on our own.
I didnt have time to write my will.
Oh, man. All the time you bring me
to some shit, you know? [laughs]
WARE [narrating]: It didnt take long
to realize that something was going wrong,
that the facade of a successful Iraq
was already coming apart.
People are getting hotter and angrier.
An air of desperation.
MALE REPORTER #2: A remote-controlled
explosive set off while US troops passed.
WARE [narrating]:
In this car, a teenage boy died,
shot by a nervous American soldier
at a checkpoint near our house.
His brother had been with him
in the car when he died.
[in Arabic] Tell those fucking Americans
my brothers blood will not be in vain.
Im gonna do something big.
Theyve taken my brothers life!
They stole his life!
WARE [narrating]: You couldnt help
but feel his sense of betrayal.
And he wasnt alone.
Behind all the Iraqis anger,
an armed resistance
against the Americans was rising.
It was small at first--
hit-and-run insurgent attacks,
shootings and roadside bombs.
But then an explosion
rocked our neighborhood,
larger than anything before.
Driving towards it,
I had no idea what it was
until I saw this.
[car horns blaring]
[sirens wailing]
[men shouting in Arabic]
-WARE: Is it a car bomb? What was it?
-MAN: Yeah, a car bomb. Jordanian embassy.
MAN [in Arabic] Dont film! Dont film!
WARE: Michael Ware.
MAN: Michael, I believe
somethings just occurred.
WARE [on phone]: Yeah, Steve.
Um, a suicide bombing
has just taken place
at the Jordanian embassy
here in Baghdad.
At least one or two car bombs
were involved,
and it has completely destroyed
the front of the Jordanian embassy.
There are a large number of wounded
and a number of killed.
The scene is one
of total chaos, Steve.
[in Arabic] What are you filming?
Why do you film the dead?
Theyre just removing another body now.
So, people are very emotional.
[sirens wailing in distance]
It was the first suicide bombing
ever in Baghdad--
a violence worse than anything
that had come before.
No one knew who had done it,
but it had only just begun.
MALE REPORTER: The bombing
of UN headquarters in Baghdad
killed at least 20 people
and wounded 100 others.
No one has claimed responsibility
for the attack.
WARE [narrating]:
This is when I started obsessing.
These attacks were so dark, so sinister.
I was becoming possessed by the idea
of how someone could do these things,
of the hideous resolve
they must have had in their heart.
And they were out there somewhere,
lurking in the shadows.
[man speaking Arabic]
Already fear, like a virus,
was spreading.
From town to town,
platoon to platoon.
On a stretch of rural highway
known for roadside bombs,
a kid in a clunker of a car
says hes run out of fuel.
[in Arabic] Its run out of gas.
SOLDIER: Hey, hey.
-Theres no gas.
-SOLDIER: No gas?
-SOLDIER #2: Its a wire.
-SOLDIER: A wire right there.
-SOLDIER #2: You see that wire?
-SOLDIER #3: Blue wire.
Behind that rock! Move!
Get down, get down!
WARE [narrating]: Impossible to know
whether hed planted that bomb
or if his car had really broken down.
In a war like this,
everyone was suspect,
everyone as guilty
as they were innocent.
Hey, keep your fucking head down!
-No, no, mister.
-Fuck you.
[in Arabic] No, no. Its not working.
MALE REPORTER: A car bomb in Baghdad
killed 10 people and wounded many more.
The apparent target was a police station.
WARE [narrating]:
The Americans grip kept slipping,
fighting an enemy they couldnt see.
It was hard just looking on
from the sidelines.
I felt somehow
there was more I should be doing,
to know who those men were,
to understand why they were fighting.
At least thats what I told myself
as I began crossing to the other side
to talk to the insurgents.
It took months, turning to anyone
with cousins or old war buddies
or friends who might know someone
who knew someone still carrying a gun.
I was fumbling, but over time
it seemed to be working.
Gaining trust after trust,
the guerrillas began to let me inside.
[man speaking Arabic]
This homemade tape they gave me
was proof Id made contact.
Its probably the first
insurgent video of the war.
[in Arabic] The rocket-launcher group
remains behind the first hill.
The mortar group remains behind
the second hill.
You understand the plan, comrades?
MAN #2: One, two, three--
then the explosion.
Now it begins.
MAN [in English]: One, two, three.
MAN #2 [in Arabic]: Hit it. Hit it.
[continuing in Arabic] Come on!
-Is this video with sound?
-God willing.
We advise every honorable Iraqi mujahid
to defend their country and their honor.
We dont accept any forces,
whether Arab or Western,
to conquer or rebuild Iraq.
Depend on Allah, mujahideen.
[in Arabic] Sir, all the Americans
were attacked over there.
MAN #2: What did you blow up?
-The mother of all ammo depots.
-The armored vehicles?
-The armored vehicles all around it.
-Well done.
-I got it twice.
-Well done. Well done, lions.
-Go with Allah on your side.
-God willing.
WARE [narrating]: I know these men
and feel bad about this tape,
filmed just for me when I insisted
on proof they were really fighting.
Soon, I wasnt just watching their tapes.
They began taking me to secret meetings
in the dead of night.
[heavy breathing]
Thats my breathing
as Im doing the filming.
It was frightening.
Id surrendered myself
to these guerrillas,
men the Americans were hunting
and I had found,
not knowing if they were friends
or if they were going to kill me.
I guess I knew it was insane,
but I couldnt help myself.
MAN [in Arabic]:
This is a message from us.
By Allah, by Allah, by Allah.
They will not have a restful day
while there is a single Arab, Muslim,
Iraqi breathing in the land of Iraq.
I was brought to this barn,
blindfolded in the trunk of a car.
[in Arabic] We will not stop resisting
the occupation until our last martyr.
Soon it wasnt enough
just to meet them.
They insisted on taking me and Yuri
on our first attack.
We were on the outskirts of the heavily
protected US base at Baghdad Airport.
There was a guilt in watching this happen
as they targeted the Americans.
-[in Arabic] Give me your scarf.
-In the name of God the Merciful, why?
Because I dont want my face filmed.
All I could think about
was chopper pilots video screens,
where they can see anything
in the dark.
The insurgents saw my unease.
Dont worry, they told me.
We do this all the time.
Prophet Mohammad, peace be upon Him,
said its jihad until doomsday.
And we will wage jihad and wage jihad
until the Americans leave our homeland.
[chattering in Arabic]
Pull your hands. Go, Go!
-What do I do?
-You pull it.
Wheres the American plane?
These men saw themselves as nationalists,
fighting to rid their country
of an occupier.
But for all the blood theyd spilled,
they were not waging
a holy war of suicide bombings.
That, they told me, was someone else.
Someone who scared even them.
A man called Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.
Zarqawi, who lived only in secrets,
in mystery,
with so little known.
He was a Jordanian,
a militant radicalized in a prison,
had run a terror camp in Afghanistan
and was now somewhere in Iraq,
waiting to bring the country
to its knees.
It had been almost a year for me here,
and at our house we prepared
for Christmas vacations.
Happy Christmas!
One, two--
One, two, three.
-[Kozyrev laughs]
But our family
was about to be torn apart.
Omar adored his son, Qutab,
and I adored Omar.
Soon, a few blocks
from where hes standing,
Omar will be gunned down.
Merry Christmas, Abu Jack.
WARE: Merry Christmas, Omar.
Abu Qutab.
Abu Qutab.
And for a moment,
the war lost its distance.
It had found us.
Omars death forced us to leave that house
where wed been so happy
to seek safety
in a well-guarded hotel.
Thats where I was when Zarqawi
showed himself to the world.
[man speaking Arabic]
Thats him, they say,
reading from those pages.
Beneath him is Nicholas Berg,
a young American contractor
Zarqawi had kidnapped.
My name is Nick Berg.
My fathers name is Michael.
My mothers name is Suzanne.
I have a brother and sister,
David and Sara.
I live in West Chester, Pennsylvania,
near Philadelphia.
[in Arabic] You will see nothing from us
except corpses
and casket after casket
slaughtered in this way.
God is great!
[Berg screaming]
There is no justification
for the brutal execution of Nicholas Berg.
No justification whatsoever.
WARE [narrating]:
That day, it felt the entire war stopped,
the wind knocked out of it
by the horror.
Zarqawi was escalating.
Then late one night in our hotel,
it all became very personal.
A Zarqawi contact knocked on my door,
a DVD in hand.
The Prince of Princes ordered me,
he said.
Give this to the infidel.
From the beginning, Zarqawi had
been filming his masterpiece,
something that would
change the war forever.
And now that it was ready,
hed given it to me.
[speaking Arabic]
This is the first-ever film
of suicide bombings in Iraq
and the kids who were doing it.
This one reading his living will,
saying his farewells
in a darkened ceremony
before setting off
to an American checkpoint.
[singing in Arabic]
A torrent of my longing
I see you all leaving,
and you will not be returning
In the name of God the Merciful.
This is all it is. A button only.
Dont forget us in your prayers.
We shall be missing you.
MALE REPORTER: This Western journalist
views horrifying video
sent to him by
an Islamic insurgent group in Iraq.
WARE: Oh, my God! Ive not seen this.
Michael Ware, working for Time magazine,
is walking a professional knife edge,
an unlikely go-between
for anti-Western militants.
WARE: Whether you think Im fortunate
or whether you think Im doomed,
the point is, Ive been given a window
into something that no one else has.
What we see here
is Zarqawis terrorist groups attack
on an American convoy.
A pre-positioned cameraman
knows where the bomb will go off.
A suicide driver will intercept
this convoy and detonate that explosion.
[shouting in Arabic]
This is a very, very sophisticated part
of Zarqawis information campaign,
stamping him as the star
of the new global jihad.
[singing in Arabic]
Its just fascinating
to watch a face like that...
...and know that, in a day or two,
hes dead.
He knows this is coming
and he welcomes it.
This is their power.
Its what they often say to me.
Our great advantage over you,
that you are afraid of death
and we are not.
[speaking Arabic]
WARE [narrating]:
Id never know why he sent it to me.
It had to have come
from being out there,
the foreigner roaming
among the insurgents,
from fighters I knew
who knew him or his men.
It was too big to think about,
paralyzing to contemplate,
a man like that choosing me.
I felt hed made me complicit,
somehow, in his war.
Now there could be no turning back.
The Americans
were losing control of the war.
First, some of the desert provinces went.
Then it was the highways.
[soldiers shouting]
Bullshit! Bullshit!
Its an ambush!
Till finally the US
was losing Baghdad itself.
In the heart of the capital,
Haifa Street was a special
kind of hell to the Americans.
MALE REPORTER: Last night,
two more soldiers killed on patrol here,
making this one of the deadliest 24 hours
since major combat was declared over.
WARE [narrating]: Soldiers dubbed
its corridors Purple Heart Lane
and RPG Alley,
a place where even children
fought against them.
Its where Yuri and I met this boy,
his parents killed
in an air strike on Fallujah.
Hed been taken in
by his insurgent uncle.
MAN [in Arabic]: Come on, Hammudi.
Come here.
-God is great.
-God is great.
Look this way. God is great.
BOY: God is great.
[men chattering in Arabic]
[men chattering in Arabic]
I knew Haifa Street well.
Its insurgent commander was a friend,
at least to the extent of his interests.
And in war, thats the best type
of friend you can hope for.
MAN: Dont show it.
They fucking shoot at cameras.
-[man #2 speaking Arabic]
-He said take a picture.
MAN #2 [in Arabic]:
Haifa Street is blocked.
-He said its closed.
-[in Arabic] I dont want my face on film.
Thats him, my friend, who I cant film
for fear hed be identified.
We are moving around Haifa Street,
which is now controlled by
the Iraqi mujahideen, or holy warriors.
This is the insurgents,
the guerrillas who are fighting
against the American forces
and the interim Iraqi government.
-MAN [in Arabic]: Is it a free-fire zone?
-MAN #2: Its a forbidden area.
WARE: A US unit has moved into the area.
Armored Bradley Fighting Vehicles
have taken up positions.
Normally, whenever American troops
come into this area,
the insurgents attack.
MAN: Stop.
[in Arabic] It is not my hand,
but the hand of God.
Allahu akbar.
-Allahu akbar.
-Again! Again!
WARE: They were lobbing mortars
at a base a few hundred meters away.
Allahu akbar.
-Should I shoot it?
Remove it. Remove it.
[speaking Arabic]
Lets go!
The area was a prize
in the midst of the city
that Zarqawi wanted for himself.
First, he sent his men
in ones and twos.
Then twos became threes and fours.
Soon, word came back.
Zarqawi had taken over Haifa Street.
-Allahu akbar!
-Allahu akbar!
[shouting in Arabic]
My friend, the insurgent commander,
had been overthrown
and sent one of his men to bring me back
so I could see for myself.
Zarqawi had seized
the equivalent of midtown Manhattan,
right in the middle of Baghdad.
[man speaking Arabic]
[in Arabic]
Ahead, ahead, ahead. Go, go, go!
-[in English] This?
-Where? Where?
Zarqawis black flags line the streets,
his fighters everywhere.
[in Arabic] Another one.
Theyll shoot the car.
Theyll shoot and burn the car.
-I swear by God!
We made one pass down the boulevard.
Then another.
[in English] Continue.
Wait, wait, wait.
Many, many mujahideen here.
Until we were spotted.
One of Zarqawis men
stepping out from the curb,
pulling the pin on a grenade,
stopping our car.
Thats all the tape I have.
From this point on,
its only jagged, brittle memory.
A swarm of jihadis grabbed our car,
reaching in to grab me.
Clawing, dragging me.
They were going to cut my head off,
like Id seen them do
in so many videos--
grabbed by the hair from behind,
screaming as the sawing began,
legs flailing.
The images reeling through my mind.
I stood beneath a banner,
beside a man with a knife, waiting.
[man speaking Arabic]
Thats when he spoke up,
my insurgent escort,
the one my friend
had sent to bring me in.
He threatened Zarqawis men
with a turf war if they killed me.
I just wasnt worth it.
Even Zarqawis men saw that.
With gritted teeth,
they shoved me back into the car.
It was over.
[children shouting, squealing]
But in a way, it would never be over.
For the next three days,
I didnt leave my bedroom.
I wanted to be sick
whenever I was in a car.
I still hate shaving
with blades near my face.
I guess most people
would have left Iraq after that.
I dont know.
Its a thought I never had.
Maybe by then,
it was already too late for me...
-[wailing] let it all go.
Now I craved, almost sickly,
to know more,
to comprehend
the enormity of him-- Zarqawi.
If he was obscene,
my intrigue was becoming perverse.
The dark idea of him
would not leave my mind.
And Zarqawi was never far away.
Two car bombs.
His suicide bombings kept coming,
even to our door.
-MAN: Hes coming.
-If theyre coming, I wanna be ready.
MAN: Mick, you cannot
go outside with a gun.
WARE: Im not going outside with a gun.
[shouting in Arabic]
Get back! You get back!
Get back! Get back!
Im Australian.
Im American. Im American.
Im a journalist! Im a--
I live here!
WARE [narrating]: The Americans
pursued Zarqawi relentlessly,
but still he was taking over the war.
In Fallujah, a city west of Baghdad,
he now ruled.
An insurgent stronghold,
the Americans had no choice
but to take the city back,
assembling a force
of 10,000 troops to do it.
At last, Zarqawis men
were making a stand,
daring to confront
the full might of the US military.
And I wasnt going to miss it.
Eh? [grunts]
Fuck you.
WARE: Didnt you take a photo
of me sleeping?
-Fuck you.
If Iraq is to be free
and a peaceful society,
one part of the country
cannot remain under the rule
of assassins and terrorists.
We will hunt down the criminals.
We will kill them or capture them.
made a somber prediction--
the street fighting could be
the heaviest since Vietnam.
Our purpose is to give back Fallujah
to the people of Iraq.
We are to clear this city
of the terrorists and the criminals.
There is nothing walking in that town
that Im afraid of
because I got you all with me.
You make contact,
I expect you to finish it.
Finish it with the biggest weapon
youve got.
Leaders have got to account
for your soldiers.
Know where theyre at on the battlefield.
Support them.
If they get in a catfight,
I expect you guys to pile on
and kick somebodys ass.
Im not afraid of anything in there.
And neither should you be.
You reach around,
you put your arms around each other,
walk into this city together
and you walk out together.
Lets pray.
Heavenly Father, your word says
you do not give us a spirit of fear,
but of courage and of sound mind.
I ask you
to give these soldiers today
that courage that they have to do
to accomplish this task.
Protect each soldier
as they go into battlefields.
Let us be able to take all back with us.
In your precious and holy name, amen.
Hey, Fallujahs that way, yall.
Hey, Jack. Its your dad here, mate.
Just about to go
into the battle of Fallujah.
I love you, Son.
[machine gun fire]
WARE [narrating]: We were
the first American unit into the city
and were quickly surrounded
by Zarqawis suicidal fighters
who had stayed behind
when everyone else had fled.
[shell explodes]
-[soldiers shouting]
-Hey, Im hit!
Hold on. Hold on.
[soldiers shouting]
-Good. Im good, man.
-Youre all set.
WARE [narrating]:
Its odd, the things I remember.
The boys faces
and how old they made me feel.
Where is it at?
That their leader, Lieutenant Meeno,
had worked in an office
till not so long ago.
And that Staff Sergeant David Bellavia
was about to celebrate his 29th birthday
in the midst of the battle.
-SOLDIER: Of all places!
-Its a Purple Heart.
-Its a purple dick!
-Its a purple penis!
-RPG fire or something.
-Where did that happen?
-[gunfire continues]
Hey, Doc, hes gonna walk off--
Hes gonna walk it off, right?
Yeah, hell be all right.
The other American units
were stalled entering the city.
The further we fought,
the more we were on our own.
So wed have to go back onto the streets,
through ghostly houses the soldiers
thought theyd already won,
looking for fighters
hiding in the crevices.
We have the good fortune
of doing our own BDA.
Now we know were killing people.
We know what they got. We can make sure
all those weapons systems get spiked.
Okay, so thats the plan.
Were gonna leave shortly.
[soldiers shouting]
Were about to go into this compound.
There are six to eight dudes--
-This one here?
-No, over here.
They havent been able to find em.
Before we roll in,
Im gonna pound it with tank rounds.
Just wait. Have your guys
in a cover position. Dont be in the open.
WARE [narrating]:
It was six of Zarqawis suicidal jihadis
cornered in a block of empty houses.
With night coming,
they had no way out.
Once it hits that house,
were gonna be here.
Were gonna come out here
and were gonna assault this way.
Push those fuckers this way so if he runs,
the tanks can direct him here.
SOLDIER: Lets go!
Push through, first squad!
-First squad, get up here!
-[soldiers shouting]
Alpha team!
Alpha team, get up here! Alpha team!
[soldiers continue shouting]
SOLDIER: I want the last man in Bravo
in this spot when you assault.
SOLDIER #3: Were okay here.
-SOLDIER #2: My bad, Bravo.
-SOLDIER: First floor secure?
First floor secure.
Here we go, here we go.
Last man in Bravo, take that spot.
-Bravo? Who is--
-Over here.
WARE [narrating]: From the first house,
we knew the jihadis were not far away.
SOLDIER: You gotta keep your weapon
up there. Stay up there.
All right, Bravo. Split squad.
Go right, go left.
Lets go.
We got a back door over here
thats opened up.
-Its open.
-Blood on the basin.
WARE [narrating]: The search went on
for hours. House after house in the dark.
Till we entered one last home.
-[soldiers shouting]
It was a trap.
Ambushed from six feet away.
[gunfire continues]
-Bullets ripping through the walls.
-[gunfire continues]
SOLDIER: Hey! What the fuck!
-SOLDIER #2: I got shrapnel--
-SOLDIER #1: I need a Bradley!
-WARE: Have you been hit?
-Get me a Bradley!
-Are you all right?
-Im good.
-Have you been hit?
-Im good!
-Who is shooting?
WARE [narrating]:
Zarqawis men had the advantage.
We scrambled back onto the street.
-Get back!
-WARE: Im trying.
Theres people in front of me!
SOLDIER: Get out of here.
WARE: Yuri? Yuri!
Out of here! Go!
We are not gonna fucking die!
-SOLDIER #2: Is anyone fucking hit?
-SOLDIER: Nobodys hit!
SOLDIER: Everything is fucking crazy.
We just got shot at at point-blank range.
WARE [narrating]: Someone had to go
back in there. Someone had to kill them.
Yeah, I wanna go after em.
-It was Staff Sergeant Bellavia.
-BELLAVIA: I wanna go.
I wanna go.
BELLAVIA: This guy is shooting
from point-blank range.
-You wanna stay?
-SOLDIER: Ill stay here.
-BELLAVIA: All right, lets go get em.
-One sergeant followed. I went with them.
SOLDIER: Youre coming.
Youre fucking coming.
[soldiers shouting]
WARE [narrating]:
Bellavia killed two in the hallway.
-SOLDIER: Who is that?
-WARE: Mick!
-Who is it? Who?
-Mick! The journalist!
Then he pushed further inside.
I lost him, blinded without night vision
and suddenly alone
in a house full of death.
And then it went quiet.
No gunfire, no Sergeant Bell.
Something was wrong.
[rubble clattering]
I ran back to the others outside.
WARE: Hey!
-Who can hear me?
They need a couple more guys!
Sergeant Bells not answering!
WARE: Pauly and someone else
are on the right side of the garage.
Right side of the garage!
WARE: And Sergeant Bella
and someone else went in.
And we havent heard from them.
WARE: Have you heard anything
from inside that house?
-WARE: Man, its gone quiet.
-SOLDIER #2: Thats not good.
-SOLDIER #3: I hope theres no injuries.
WARE [narrating]:
These were the longest of minutes.
-I dont know whats going on.
-First ten. Then 20.
Not knowing if Bellavia was alive.
I couldnt sit still.
I couldnt just watch.
He might need help.
I ran back to the door of the house
to see if I could hear him.
Then a sound came from inside.
[man shouts, faint]
WARE: Someones calling out.
-From where?
-WARE: Inside.
-I cant hear it.
-WARE: I can.
-SOLDIER: Sergeant Bell?
-[man shouting, faint]
-[gunfire, explosions]
-Sergeant Bell!
WARE [narrating]: He was alive.
On his own, hed crept through the house,
killing five of Zarqawis men,
some in hand-to-hand combat.
-SOLDIER: Hey, Bell.
-Yeah, hold on.
SOLDIER #2: Talk to six.
-SOLDIER: Whats he want?
-SOLDIER #2: A report.
I got three dead fuckers
who tried to shoot us at five meters!
WARE [narrating]:
We were all stunned,
but Bellavia, I think,
had found something in that house,
a part of him he never knew.
-[soldiers shouting]
Thats it. Moving out!
-Hey, uh, suck up.
[soldiers chattering]
WARE [narrating]:
Me, Id had no place going back in there,
but Id felt there was
nowhere else for me to be.
And all Id found inside was that
I no longer cared about dying.
After six days of heavy fighting,
US forces say tonight
they have taken the town of Fallujah.
FEMALE REPORTER: US and Iraqi forces
are now in control of 70% of Fallujah.
FEMALE REPORTER #2: A devastating
display of American firepower.
The battle for Fallujah is all but over.
WARE [narrating]:
It was a false sense of victory.
For Zarqawi, the battle
had been a display of his power,
his men willing to die in nothing more
than an act of glorious defiance.
And their suicidal devotion to him
only grew stronger.
-[children chattering]
-[speaking Arabic]
By now, Zarqawi controlled
large chunks of the country
and he was becoming more barbaric,
bringing his vision
of an Islamic state to life.
This is footage Zarqawi
never meant the world to see--
these men posting notices announcing
the fate of a man held in their car.
Accused of informing to the Americans,
hes been sentenced to death.
CHILDREN [in Arabic]:
God keep you safe.
MAN: Allah give you victory.
Allah give us victory.
[weapon cocks]
[in Arabic] Keep going.
Move away, old man.
Old man, give us space.
Please, move on!
God is great!
Come, you can drive through.
WARE [narrating]: His methods
were horrifying, even to Al-Qaeda.
Osama bin Ladens deputy
wrote to Zarqawi,
urging him to curb his violent excesses.
Step back, step back.
He ignored them.
This film was retrieved
from the computer hard drive
of one of Zarqawis
top military officials,
videos brought to me by insurgents
I knew whod drifted to Zarqawi
but eventually chose to resign
from the terror network.
Reporting one morning to their boss,
they blew his brains all over a wall.
As they left, one turned and asked,
Do you think
Mick would want his computer?
MEN: Allahu akbar. Allahu akbar.
People, I am innocent!
Men said to be thieves or looters
hung like piatas.
[men pleading in Arabic]
Zarqawis world
was one of unimaginable terror,
everyone within it a prisoner
of his distorted reality.
-[men shouting, screaming]
-Allahu akbar. Allahu akbar.
-[gunshots continue]
There was only one place left to go--
into the very heart of Zarqawis power,
to a province called Anbar
where hed forged his Islamic state,
to a city hed made his dark capital,
a city called Ramadi.
It was a forbidden place
to a foreigner like me.
The only way in was to join
the American units stationed here,
fighting for their lives
in a hell their commanders
called the meat grinder.
So bad was the fighting,
the Americans were struggling
just to keep this one solitary road open,
a road dotted
with five lonely US outposts.
It was the soldiers only lifeline
to the outside world.
Id heard there was
a group of marines under siege,
ordered to hold the line,
whatever the cost,
at a post known as the gov center.
WARE: Hey, guys.
Stay underneath the glass.
Theres snipers running around here.
WARE: Whats this place like?
Its nice.
Look out of the window.
-You look out?
You see how it is, this place.
-Coming in! Coming in!
Here, on their second tours,
Lance Corporal Jose Taseco--
Fuck em up, partner!
...and Corporal Nathan Buck.
Trying to get the go-ahead
to launch that 40 down there.
When we got to Ramadi, the first day--
We had contact the first patrol we did.
We were the first patrol out.
So, it was just like, What up?
I couldnt even believe it.
Doc! Get in here, Doc.
Watch my rifle.
Hes hurt pretty bad.
BUCK: We lost three marines
and a corpsman.
You just gotta keep your head up.
Keep on pushing through, you know?
You cant let yourself get down,
cause one person gets down and out of it,
then it has a tendency to float
throughout the platoon and the company.
So we... go out there and... the good service
and do what we can to get back.
Get their blood back too.
WARE [narrating]: No winners here,
just kids on an impossible mission,
patrols sent out onto the streets
as little more than bait
to lure out Zarqawis fighters.
[loud gunfire]
The Americans were outnumbered,
with barely a third of the troops
they actually needed.
-What do you see?
-Its in that house. Its in the house!
-Which house?
Sniper AK on the roof!
-Which house?
-[soldiers shouting]
Hey, fucking check down there.
Hey, just an old man.
Direct straight. That house.
That two-story house.
[soldiers chattering, shouting]
-Need you as a terp, sir.
-Right there on the wall.
Is this ours or Zarqawis propaganda?
Huh. Yo, theres two.
Theres two of them.
I have this pharmacy.
This-- This pharmacy.
-This yours?
-No, no.
This pharmacy.
I own this pharmacy.
-Hes good.
-I am work this pharmacy.
I dont care where you work.
-[soldier speaking Arabic]
-MAN: I dont know.
Its on your fucking store.
This is your shop, right?
Mister, I am work this pharmacy.
-This pharmacy, I am work this--
-You work here?
-[speaking Arabic]
-[speaking Arabic]
SOLDIER: Colonel Kelly,
do you know what direction that--
Okay, so what do you--
If you work in that pharmacy,
what are you doing here?
-I am speaking with me--
-About that? How to blow up Humvees?
No, no. No. I am work this pharmacy.
Okay. Close your store up.
Close your store.
Close this store, close that store.
Do you understand what Im saying?
-Close the pharmacy?
And you close this one.
If you get froggy, I will kill you.
This guy, cuff him
after he closes his fucking door.
Hey, we got movement back here.
Hey. Fuckin face the building.
[soldiers chattering]
Close your eyes.
First team, were moving down.
[soldiers shouting]
[in Arabic] Give me your telephone,
telephone number.
[in English] If I see Ali Baba,
Ill call you.
-SOLDIER: Youll call us?
-Call you.
SOLDIER: If you see Ali Baba?
Hey, Ill call you if I see Ali Baba.
Ill give you a ring.
-Go, go, go, go!
Go, go, go! [shouts]
Freeze, motherfucker!
[soldiers shouting]
Hurry up, hurry up! Hurry up!
-Get in, get in. Lets go.
-We got one here.
Pick it up.
-Pick up the fucking rocks.
-Pick up the fucking rocks.
-Hey, get back.
-Hey, do that--
-SOLDIER: Watch your rooftop.
Pick up the rocks!
-[speaking Arabic]
-Lets detain this fuckin asshole.
SOLDIER: Okay, sir.
WARE [narrating]: For marines, nothing
in this city is quite what it seems.
A family man with a phone,
wires, rubber tubing--
all possible bomb-making equipment.
Gunshot residue on his hands.
See how it turned that color?
With the specks?
Guys fucking definitely been firing
a weapon in the last couple of hours.
Whats going on?
100 meters down,
there were two guys turkey-peeking.
-They did that two or three times.
[return gunfire]
WARE: What kind of day is this?
This is a fucking normal day in Ramadi.
WARE [narrating]: Back patrolling
with Corporals Buck and Taseco,
we went to a rooftop to watch over
another American patrol.
Keep your eyes open.
And try to stay low too, okay?
You see anybody moving,
looking at us, you know what to do.
Theres always someone
watching our position.
Keep moving around. Dont stay still.
Holy goddamn. Whew.
-See where that came from?
-In front of me.
Holy shit.
-The motherfuckers are right here.
-Theyre moving around us.
Oh, shit. Buck, I saw movement.
-Where at?
-Theres someone in that building.
The fucking window with the gate.
Fifty meters away.
Hold on one sec.
Theres someone there.
One, two, three.
You son of a bitch!
Whoo-hoo! Yeah, boy!
-Motherfuckers still out here, dude!
-My heart. Whew!
-[soldier laughing]
Were here way too fuckin long, man.
We shouldve pissed fucking out of here.
WARE [narrating]:
With Zarqawis men circling,
its only 200 yards to home.
Everyone, whoa! Hey!
[gunfire continues]
[shouting, groaning]
-Where the fuck this motherfucker at?
-[shouting continues]
Pick it up, Benny! Lets go!
-Lets go! Lets go!
-Come on, motherfuckers.
[soldiers shouting]
Lets go, dude.
Come on in! Come on in!
-Lets go.
-Pick it up!
Yes, Im good. Im moving.
What the fuck?
Leave my boy outside, huh, motherfucker?
Get up! Get up there!
What the fuck, man?
REPORTER: For an hour and a half today,
Sunni rebels went at two military outposts
in the town of Ramadi
with everything they had.
trade fire on Ramadis main streets,
clashes that grow deadlier by the day.
Every time these marines leave base,
theres every chance
they wont make it back.
[car horn honking]
-Allahu akbar!
WARE [narrating]:
Zarqawi wanted the Americans gone.
To him, their very presence was an insult.
This dump truck,
packed with explosives,
heads for a US outpost called OP Hotel.
[singing in Arabic]
MAN: Soon as we got hit, the one NCO left
started re-emplacing weapon systems.
Weapons were blown across the building.
All these guys were buried.
First, he re-established security.
Second thing was start pulling our guys
to a casualty collection point.
Our medic took over with the casualties.
He took over with the re-consolidation
of ammo and sectors of fire.
Was able to defend that position.
There was a follow-on wave
that was supposed to hit us,
try to overrun us.
Guys got back in their positions,
kept firing and maintained--
[distant gunfire]
WARE [narrating]: Theyd been bombed
within weeks of arriving,
Second Lieutenant Joe Walker
and the 30-odd men he commands.
Not a single day had passed since
without them being attacked.
-WARE: Are you a West Pointer, sir?
I went to a small private college
in South Carolina called Wofford College.
-And, um...
decided this is what I wanted to do
after September 11.
Its been full steam ahead ever since.
Southern-looking observation position.
Most of the contact down to the south
comes from small arms
or people observing the hotel
with binoculars, filming us.
Thats-- Thats considered
engagement criteria.
I like this bunker.
-WARE: Think we could make a reservation?
-Oh, yeah.
And lets buy some property in Ramadi.
WARE: Nows the time to get in,
while the markets sort of in a slump.
Then when the boom comes,
we make a killing.
-Lets be serious then.
-Yeah, this is a serious situation, Yuri.
This is no time for levity.
Fuck off.
What Im about to show you is one of
our additions since we were attacked.
We brought our snipers,
the battalion snipers in,
to occupy a position on top of the hotel
which allows them 360-degree overwatch
out to 2,000 meters.
They have a couple of confirmed kills
up here ranging out to 1,400 meters.
So theyre pretty impressive.
Been a good tool for us.
MAN: Yep.
WALKER: We get RPGs fired at us
every other day.
Sniper rounds. Well take single rounds
from 360 degrees.
It is a drive-you-crazy waiting game.
When are they gonna hit us next?
Itll wear on you.
WARE [narrating]: Nowhere in Iraq was the
war as bloody for the Americans as here.
[helicopter passes]
WALKER: In this platoon, since July,
weve had eight WIA, six KIA.
All of my squad leaders
and section leaders have been wounded.
For a while, our company
was fighting at less than 70%.
When youre in a static defense,
youre sitting around waiting to get hit.
Guns are clean. Guns are reloaded.
Its just a day-to-day struggle.
Everybody goes into survival mode.
Everybody just wants to get home.
I seen things thatll blow your mind.
Itll be an all-out contact, and therell
be kids playing soccer right there.
Here comes more people
round the corner.
-Same guy?
-A kid and a lady.
-A kid, a lady--
-Same guy and another guy.
WARE [narrating]: This woman and child
are used as human shields
to move Zarqawis fighters into position.
Send your warning shot.
-Is he inside the building?
-Warning shots.
We got it.
-Warning shot.
-MAN [on radio]: Warning shot.
Theyre bouncing right beside.
-Is that another one right there?
-Yeah, it is.
-Warning shots.
Hes moving now.
-There you go. S-AK. S-AK.
-Watch out. Get down.
AK fire from north of Saddam Mosque.
AK fire from north
of Saddam Mosque.
-SOLDIER: Did you say dump trucks?
-SOLDIER #2: Dump trucks on Y Road.
-SOLDIER #1: Am I engaging?
SOLDIER #2: Take them down. Engage.
Do not even let them come close.
Theres someone firing out there now.
-Theyre shooting at something.
-Can you see anything?
MAN [on radio]:
You have a target. Engage.
Suppress, suppress.
-Shoot yall motherfuckers!
-Suppress! Suppress!
Return fire. Suppress. Look out.
MAN [on radio]: Everybody calm down
and give me a direction of where they are.
Roger. You have five men--
MAN [on radio]: Be advised.
Dump trucks moving south on Apple.
Theyre trying to get here.
-See any vehicle, kill it.
-Smoke from the northeast.
-[gunfire continues]
WARE [narrating]: All five US bases
in the city were being hit at once,
Zarqawis men lashing out
in a massive coordinated assault.
Watch yourself! Watch yourself!
WARE [narrating]:
By nightfall it was over.
The Americans
had beaten back the attack.
But still, the threat remained.
Zarqawis men would come again.
WALKER: I try to remember the big picture,
but when I got guys
gettin shot and gettin killed,
you get tunnel vision
and you hate this place.
You start hatin everybody here.
WARE [narrating]: I could see
good men here losing their grip,
losing themselves.
[mortar blast in distance]
Zarqawi was now as wanted a man
as Osama bin Laden,
the Americans putting
a $25 million bounty on his head.
And still he waged his war,
destroying one of the holiest of mosques,
inciting a savage civil war
hed planned all along,
turning Iraqis on each other
in a bloodletting
the likes of which the country
had never seen.
It was to be his greatest legacy.
After years of pursuit,
the Americans finally found Zarqawi
where he slept at night,
in a small farmhouse north of Baghdad.
Acting on a last-minute
piece of intelligence,
two F-16s were scrambled,
dropping one 500-pound bomb.
Then another.
The most wanted man in Iraq is dead.
Terror leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi
is taken out--
Abu Musab al-Zarqawi has been killed.
Now Zarqawi has met his end.
This violent man will never murder again.
-[speaking Arabic]
-[speaking French]
On the streets, jubilation.
Hes called Abu Musab al-Zarqawi,
the slaughtering sheikh.
Well, no more.
Tonight he is a dead man.
Baghdad police were ecstatic, singing,
Zarqawi, where are you today?
Zarqawi, wheres the terrorist now?
WARE [narrating]:
You can only be so hunted for so long.
But I guess I knew it wasnt really over.
Zarqawis men kept fighting,
and so his holy war raged on,
the idea hed unleashed
too powerful to have died with him.
-Allahu akbar.
-Allahu akbar. Allahu akbar!
Certain dark chambers
of the heart, once opened,
can never be closed again.
Or so a soldier wrote after serving here.
I know this is what Zarqawi
had done to so many of us,
to the Americans, to the Iraqis,
to me--
showed us recesses in our souls
we never knew we had.
I found my darkest place here,
on a US patrol to sweep
a suspected terrorist village.
-A shot rings out.
Soldiers on the rooftop had seen
a man running past us with a gun.
Wheres he at, brother?
Wheres he at?
Who took that shot?
Hes gone that way, but hes still here.
Right here! Hes right here!
[soldiers chattering]
-Back up. Back up.
-Rod, get over here.
Tell him to show us his hands.
Tell him hell get shot again
if he doesnt show his hands.
Tell this dude to show us his hands,
or hes gonna get shot.
Hey, people, back up.
-Get away from him. Good job.
-[interpreter speaking Arabic]
-Wheres the fucking weapon?
-[interpreter speaking Arabic]
Push back a little bit.
-Push back a little bit.
Hey, set up over there.
[speaking Arabic]
Hes in the process of dying, dude.
Yeah, hes fuckin--
Hes dying right here, man.
-Theres the weapon.
-Wheres the weapon?
-Right there behind his head.
Drag him into the fuckin courtyard.
Go. Lets go.
-Roger that.
-Kibble. Grab him. Drag him. Go.
Whats up, kid? How you doin?
-Not so good, huh?
-SOLDIER #2: Yeah.
-You got him. You got him.
-Fucked up, bro.
Whats that thing?
-Theres a gun over there.
-We got it.
[soldiers chattering]
SOLDIER: All right.
Hey, did you see where
this motherfucker popped out of?
-East of route line, correct?
-Fifty meters east of route line.
-How is he doing?
-Tell them hes dying.
Get people on the roof.
Lot of you should be in the courtyard.
We dont have a good roof here, man.
-Yeah, theres no--
-Theres no roof here.
We got a flat roof.
Gentlemen, establish security.
[soldiers chattering]
He works for Al-Qaeda, sir.
Warning, warning.
[man gasping]
I got two more right here.
Hey, youre about to die, dude.
That was a good idea, huh?
[interpreter speaking Arabic]
-Where was he shot?
-I dont fucking know.
The head, probably under the fucking arm.
-Yeah, cause its coming down.
-You want me to look?
-No, its--
-You okay?
-Doesnt matter, man.
-Give him fuckin minimal aid.
Give him fuckin aid, but fuckin--
I aint telling you
to fuckin perform surgery.
-All right, come here.
Lets talk to his fucking family.
Why dont you just fuckin die.
Hey, Docs coming here. Docs got it.
-Watch out.
-I dont wanna fuckin--
This fuck.
I aint telling you to fix him,
but you need to look at him.
Take a quick look, Doc.
Not gonna help. Hes fuckin worthless.
He just died. Stopped breathing.
-He just stopped breathing?
Yeah, hes done.
Any ID on the guy?
-No. All he had was two mags.
-Double-checked his fuckin pockets?
I just checked em.
Anybody got blankets?
Get a sheet or something.
You got ID there, bro?
Oh, you do have ID of some sort.
Hey, keep watching outside there, bro.
-Thats just called shock, yo.
[gasping, louder]
-Here you go. Good job.
-[gasping continues]
[soldier laughs]
[loud gasp]
[gasping continues]
SOLDIER: He dead yet?
He still twitching?
Yeah. He stopped for a long time.
Thought he was dead.
He have a pulse?
You can see his skull and his brains.
-[man gasps]
-Unless you want to do a CASEVAC?
No. The motherfuckers dead.
WARE [narrating]: Through his gasping,
it was my silence I could hear.
All I had to do
was say something, anything,
simply clear my throat,
to force the soldiers to give him
the medical aid they were meant to.
But I didnt. I just let it happen.
No, thats just twitching and spasming.
He doesnt have a pulse.
-Hes alive-ish.
Maybe I was just too twisted up inside,
the soldiers too,
the brutality of it all having slowly
shaved away at our souls.
But I fear it might be more than that.
They say, Only the dead
have seen the end of war.
Does that mean it lives in all of us,
waiting to be found?
In the end,
I spent almost seven years in Iraq.
But I did make it home,
never to go to war again.
It took time,
but somehow I learned to reconcile
with myself the things Id seen--
The final attack has begun.
...the things Id done.
But I will always know
that at some unknown place,
at some forgotten hour,
I became a man I never thought Id be.