War Machine (2017) Movie Script

Ah, America.
You beacon of composure
and proportionate response.
You bringer of calm
and goodness to the world.
What do you do
when the war you're fighting
just can't possibly be won
in any meaningful sense?
Well, obviously,
you sack the guy not winning it,
and you bring in some other guy.
In 2009, that war was Afghanistan.
And that other guy...
was Glen.
You boys ready?
Let's go win this thing.
So this is what I learned
about four-star General Glen McMahon.
He was born to a military family
at Fort Leavenworth.
Graduated West Point in 1976.
Ranger school in '79.
He had a graduate degree in political
affairs and military history from Yale.
He was both a straight-A student
and a troublemaker.
He once famously attempted
to stick a lit cherry bomb
up his sleeping drill sergeant's ass.
He was loved by the men and women
who served under him.
Three, two, one, let's go.
Never afraid
to get his hands dirty.
Yeah, it's flash time.
Never willing to send his troops
anywhere he wouldn't go himself.
He was known variously as the Lion King,
the G-Man, Big Glen
and, most commonly, the Glenimal.
He was like a throwback to another era.
His hand was bent into a permanent claw,
like it was still clutching
a World War II cigar
his modern, fitness-fanatic self
wouldn't allow him to smoke.
After a successful stint
running the secretive special operations
killing machine in Iraq,
Glen was appointed leader of US
and coalition forces in Afghanistan.
A war which, as he saw it,
wasn't being won
'cause it wasn't being led.
We're all very excited to have you here.
It's an honor to meet you.
I'm excited to be here.
Ain't that right, Greg?
Yes, indeed, sir. You're very excited.
Somehow, while he was in Iraq,
Glen found time
to author a book on leadership,
entitled One Leg at a Time,
Just Like Everybody Else.
In it, he wrote,
"Men are imperfect creatures.
Left to their own devices,
all they really want to do is play
with their dicks and eat chicken. "
For all his many achievements
leading special operations in Iraq,
I think most of us here
will know General McMahon
as the man who took out al-Zarwaqi,
who kicked al-Qaeda in the sack.
You're welcome.
We have a warrior at the helm,
and it's a pleasure to have you, sir.
Glen was known as a humble man.
But humble in that way that says,
"My humility makes me better than you. "
He was famous for his Spartan regime
of routine and discipline.
He ate one meal a day.
He slept four hours per night.
He ran seven miles every morning.
In Iraq, he transformed special operations
with what he called
systemic negation
of repetitive procedural practice.
Or, to the acronym-obsessed military,
We got Italy in there.
That's the Dutch.
We got Poland, Macedonia, Ukraine.
We got Australia over there,
Croatia, Belgium-
Okay, that'll do. Bite-size chunks, hmm?
Let's knock this on the head.
All right.
Basically, he was a master
of systems organization.
Which he'd kind of need to be,
if he was to corral
this 43-nation coalition of the willing.
- May I help you?
- No, finish your phone call.
The war can wait.
What can I do for you, General?
I want to pull everyone
out of their offices.
I want to open this place up.
I came in here
to speak with you about that.
I have only ten men
to lead here in Afghanistan, huh.
So it make no sense for me
to be sit out there with everybody else.
I get it. All right?
But everybody has a reason
not to be out there with everybody else.
Austria only has two guys here.
Iceland has seven guys.
This country won't fight at night.
That country won't fight in the snow.
This country
wants to do counter-narcotics.
That country won't do counter-narcotics.
But if we're in the same room...
Cory Staggart
was Glen's executive officer.
Ran the general's affairs.
He was a Ranger.
Although how he made it through
Ranger school, I have no idea.
That's great. Thank you, guys.
That's all the time we got.
Let's go. Come on.
Greg Pulver.
General Greg Pulver graduated West Point
in the same class as Glen.
Oh, that's interesting.
Does he have security clearance?
And hadn't left his side since.
Then fucking let him in
just like you would any other fucking
person with a fucking security clearance!
His official title
was director of intelligence,
but all I saw was a guy
with anger management issues
whose life had no meaning without Glen.
Andy Moon was Glen's tech whiz,
providing the general
with all forms of IT support.
- Yes, sir?
- Which Glen needed often.
- How are you?
- Pretty good, sir. How are you doing?
Uh, swell. Can you come with me a moment?
- My electric razor is...
- Oh, yes, sir.
...yeah, broken.
Pete Duckman was a Navy SEAL.
Like Pulver, his job title
had the word "intelligence" in it.
- What's going on?
- Boss is visiting with President Karzai.
Cool. Why so fancy?
He's a world leader.
Cool. Am I coming?
Yes, you are. It's your job.
God damn it, Pete. Why are you fat?
- I'm not fat.
- I still, to this day,
don't know exactly what it was
that Duckman did for the general.
It's a mixture
of cross-pollinational collation...
Admiral Simon Ball
was Glen's public affairs officer.
- Cooperational, uh, cooperative...
- For three and a half years,
he'd been trying to explain
SNORPP to the Washington press gallery.
...with a centralized command
centralization structure,
and, um... things like that.
Matt Little
was Glen's new civilian PR consultant.
Oh, I don't know. Is this a good hand?
- He was a DC marketing hotshot...
- Straight flush. Hello?
...and sometime lobbyist who had thought
the war in Afghanistan
to be entirely pointless.
Are you fucking kidding me?
I'm not going there.
Until he was offered
a lot of money to sell it.
How much?
And Willy Dunne.
- Right this way, boss. Yeah.
- Willy was Glen's body man.
Put your things in here.
I'll let you spread them out how you like.
Why is this my room?
This was General Whelan's room.
It's got, uh, a great bathroom here.
Willy laundered Glen's clothes.
He did Glen's ironing.
Yeah. Uh, boss?
He polished Glen's shoes.
He always seemed
like he was about to collapse
from the weight
of one too many of Glen's bags.
- Willy!
- Yes, boss?
- Put my stuff in this room.
- Okay.
Here to fight a goddamn war,
not watch goddamn television.
Willy was the first person
that Glen saw every morning
and the last person he saw every night.
Glen loved these men...
and they loved him right back.
I don't know
how it looks to you, Cory,
but it seems to me, everybody's forgotten
we're fighting a war here.
We got the goddamn Pizza Kings
and Burger Huts.
The entire base
is rolling with Eurosexuals
who are so drunk they can't even stand up.
General McMahon here
to see Ambassador MacKinnon.
- Glen.
- Pat.
Great to see you.
You know Dick Waddle, of course.
- Dick.
- Glen.
Ray Canucci.
- Ray.
- Glen.
Grab a seat, boys.
I'm calling myself Richard now,
Pat, if you don't mind.
Okay, fine. Uh...
- That's fair. My apologies.
- Hmm.
- Have you settled in, Glen?
- No, Pat, I haven't.
Seems to me that too much settling in
might somehow be at the heart
of the problem we have here.
Small talk.
Should've gone with the weather.
Glen, the president wants you
to get the lay of the land here.
This war's been running eight years now.
President Obama, as you know,
is drawing down troops in Iraq
to refocus our attention on Afghanistan.
Henry Whelan was a good man,
he meant well,
but he just wasn't getting the job done.
Now, given your reputation
and your formidable drive,
our hope is that you're the man
who will get the job done.
First things first. We want you to make
an assessment of the situation here.
Travel the country, talk to people.
At the end of that assessment,
you'll tell us what needs to be done,
how you're gonna get it done
and what you need in order to get it done.
- So, now-
- To that end...
- I'm sorry.
- Oh, you go.
- I thought you were finished.
- You go.
- You sure?
- You go.
- I thought you were finished.
- No.
To that end...
uh, now is probably
a good time to share with you
where the president hopes
that assessment might land.
Obviously, the endgame here
is to just finish this thing.
So, how do we do that?
- Is it by reducing our footprint here?
- The civilian executive.
These were guys who, in Glen's eyes,
hadn't earned their power the way he had,
through hard work and discipline.
I don't know. But whatever it is,
we want you to bring it on home, Glen.
But, whatever you do,
please do not ask the president
for more troops.
No more troops, Glen.
These were men who'd acquired
their power through charm and seduction,
and who seemed to serve no purpose other
than to stand in the way of his greatness.
God, it's so fucking hot!
Another fucking assessment.
How many assessments do they need?
Just one fucking assessment after another.
They all point the same direction.
Bring General Glen McMahon in here
and do whatever the fuck he says!
Settle down, Greg.
They just wanna feel involved, is all.
Wars aren't fought
by nations or by armies.
Wars are fought by men.
There are two types of general
in the American military.
There are those who believe they can win
in the face of all evidence
to the contrary.
And there are those who know they can't.
Unfortunately for the world,
it's the believers
who climb to the top of the ladder.
It's guys like Glen
who get given the keys to the castle.
President Karzai is very much
looking forward to meeting you.
I think you will like each other.
There is no need to be nervous.
I'm not nervous.
Fuck it.
- Ah! General, excuse me.
- Ah.
We are trying
to make this Blu-ray player work.
- Uh, do you know how they function?
- Uh...
Normally, you have those wires with
the red, the yellow and the white plug.
But, uh, this machine seems
only to have this wire.
I can't find where to plug it
into the television.
I'm sorry, Mr. President.
I'm afraid I don't know
a whole lot about technology.
I'm sure I could have somebody come by
and take a look at it for you.
Fuck it. Never mind.
I think I need a new television.
I'm sorry, General.
Please, let's sit.
- Thank you, Mr. President.
- Please call me Hamid.
Excuse me.
Your predecessor, General Whelan,
I liked him.
I'm not entirely certain he liked me.
He didn't visit very often.
Why was he dismissed?
It seems, uh, one minute he was here...
the next minute, not here.
Ah. Well, Mr. President,
I think our government
simply felt it was...
time our effort took a new direction.
- And, uh, what is this new direction?
- Ah!
It is most important to me
that we build Afghanistan.
Together, we build Afghanistan
into a free and prosperous nation.
Free from fear and conflict.
- I see. I see.
- Yeah.
Sounds a lot like the old direction.
But perhaps you yourself
are the new direction.
New strong personality.
New energy. New commitment.
Well, General,
I wish you the best of luck.
Sir, uh... my team and I are about
to embark on a, uh...
a tour of the country
so that we may make an assessment...
...to precisely understand
what is required of us here.
It would be an honor if you would
consider joining me on the tour,
so that our project
might be a unified endeavor.
A sharing of our purpose...
Of our shared purpose.
Thank you for the invitation, General.
- It's very generous.
- Hmm.
I've seen the country.
To get inside
the mind of Glen McMahon,
you really need first to get a handle
on the madness of modern American war.
Lieutenant Colonel Frank Groom.
Welcome to Kandahar, sir.
Nice to meet you, Frank.
I'm here to get the lay of the land.
In the good old days,
wars were fought
against conventional armies
from nation states.
Guys in uniforms, like Nazis and stuff.
When, however, you've just gone
and invaded a place
that you probably shouldn't have,
you end up fighting against just
regular people in regular-people clothes.
These guys are what are called insurgents.
Basically, they're just guys
who picked up weapons 'cause...
so would you,
if someone invaded your country.
Funnily enough...
insurgencies are next to impossible
to defeat.
And so, if you wanna go on
pretending you can win,
you're really left with no option
but to try to convince
the country you've invaded
that you're actually here to help.
He's saying the Americans
are urinating in the streets,
and, uh, they call us motherfuckers
all day.
It's "motherfucker, motherfucker"
all the time.
And it's considered in our culture
a very bad thing to fuck your own mother.
In ours, too. Uh... in ours, too.
This is counterinsurgency.
It's a popularity contest.
Salaam alaikum.
You're trying
to convince the people
that they're better off with you
than they are with the insurgents.
Basically, it works like this.
You install a local government.
You provide security for the people
so that that democracy can take root.
We're training them up,
taking them out on maneuvers.
You train up the local forces
so that they can provide
the security for themselves.
I mean, they're sweet kids.
They're good kids.
Good-natured. Integrational.
You know, they are very integrational
as a people.
You know, I mean,
they are committed to, uh...
- But, uh...
- Or at least you try to.
I don't know, sir, they're also lazy.
I mean, they really seem
like they don't wanna be here.
They steal our shit and, basically,
they're on drugs all the time.
I mean,
they are fucking high all the time.
Excuse my language, sir.
You do whatever you can
to stimulate the local economy.
Heroin is the only thing
bringing money in.
Not that I like to think where
the money is going to, exactly,
but money keeps the people happy,
so we're rolling with that.
Can't they grow something else?
Mmm-hmm. Yeah, they could grow cotton.
Cotton would grow here.
- Why don't they grow cotton, then?
- Because the United States Congress
will not allow any United States aid
and development funds
to be directed
towards the cultivation of a crop
that will end up on the world market
in competition with US farmers.
- Which pretty much rules out cotton.
- Sure.
- So we're growing heroin instead.
- Right.
I think we're doing
a pretty good job here, sir.
You build infrastructure.
Roads, schools, stuff like that.
What kind of presence
does the Taliban have here?
- Who?
- The Taliban.
In short, you get off your bases
and you go make friends with the people.
Killing insurgents all the while,
of course.
Nation building. Hearts and minds.
Hello! Hello, all.
Let me break it down
this way, General.
We've been in Helmand province
for five years now,
and in all that time, all we've
really managed to secure is this base.
Now, you go out there, you go into Marjah,
you go into Lashkar Gah,
it's all Pashtun, as you know.
This is the Taliban.
We're not winning any hearts
and minds there, I can tell you that.
I'm not sure we ever will.
Kandahar's the same, of course.
Can I be completely frank with you, sir?
If I was you, I'd cut Helmand loose.
I'd concentrate
on those parts of the country
that are at least, in some way,
sympathetic to the mission,
and I'd cut it loose.
It's a lost cause.
This whole province constitutes
just 4% of the population of the country.
It's strategically meaningless.
I'd cut Helmand loose, sir.
The thing about counterinsurgency
is that it doesn't really work.
We tried it in Vietnam. That went well.
The British and the French gave it a shot,
trying to hang on
to their crumbling empires.
It just hasn't worked.
To me, it would seem kind of simple why.
You can't win the trust of a country
by invading it.
You can't build a nation at gunpoint.
For guys like Glen, however,
counterinsurgency hasn't worked
for one simple reason.
You ready, boss?
Nobody's ever done it right.
Yes, I am, Pete. I sure as hell am.
- Andy?
- Yes, sir.
- Good job.
- Thank you.
Let's lose Fox News.
Won't do us any good to have a bunch
of angry perverts yelling at us all day.
- Yes, sir.
- So...
we probably need
to get to work on this assessment.
- Already written it.
- When?
It's already written. Did it last night.
Needs a little flesh on the bone,
but, basically, it's written.
All right, what's it say?
I wanna take Helmand province.
I wanna take Helmand province
precisely because everyone else
seems to think we can't have it.
If we're gonna win
the trust of this country,
we can't be seen to accept that there's
a whole chunk of it we can't handle.
We're here to provide security.
I say the first order of business
is we secure that corner of the country
everyone else seems to think
we can't control.
I didn't come here to manage this war,
and I sure as shit didn't come here
to close it out.
Came here to win.
I'm taking Helmand...
then I'm taking Kandahar.
What do you say to that?
All right, and another thing.
Being that this is
a nation-building exercise and all,
seems to me it'd behoove us
to have someone in the room
who's actually from the nation
we're building. Don't you think?
We are here to build, to protect.
We are not here to harass, to intimidate.
We're not here to shoot first
and ask questions later.
We must not be driven
by fear and suspicion.
We are here, above all else...
to support the civilian population.
And to that end,
we must avoid killing it at all cost.
Civilian casualties cannot be seen
as an unfortunate byproduct of conflict.
They must be treated as errors
of the greatest consequence.
This is the war we are fighting.
It's a complex war,
but it's a war nonetheless.
Let me reaffirmate that
right from the get-go.
This is a war.
But it's a war that cannot be won
by the virtues of our unassailable
military might and power alone.
This war will be won primarily
with the unassailable might
and power of our ideals.
- Forty thousand?
- I'm afraid so.
God damn it. What did we tell you?
No more troops.
Don't ask for more troops. What do you do?
You ask for 40,000 more troops.
Well, Dick, Helmand province
ain't exactly about to secure itself.
Probably should've asked for a lot more.
I just thought 40,000 sounded
like a reasonable number.
There's no reasonable number, Glen,
except perhaps zero.
That's a reasonable number. Zero.
I thought you understood that.
Yeah, this "no more troops" thing,
is that coming from the president,
or coming from you?
- Of course it's coming from the president.
- Ah.
Why would it be coming from me?
Why do I care if we send more troops
over there or we don't?
I don't know, Dick.
I'm just trying to work this thing out.
The president gave me a job to do.
- This is what I need to get it done.
- God damn it.
I'll be there day after tomorrow
with the secretary of state.
We'll figure this nonsense out then.
- Roger that.
- God damn it.
God damn it.
There it is.
What did I tell you?
He's on retired-general time.
His mind's on a golf cart somewhere,
halfway down the fairway.
He doesn't have the constitution
for the hard stuff anymore.
He's obviously in the wrong fucking job!
That thing's off, right?
I'm sorry to have to tell
you this, General,
but we're gonna sit on your report
until after the Afghan elections.
With all due respect, Madam Secretary,
uh, the election is a month away.
I know it is, but, as I'm sure you know,
an election here is a fragile thing.
It's a very delicate thing,
and nobody wants its smooth running to be
muddied by a big new American offensive.
No, I told you no more troops, Glen.
Now we're gonna have to
rethink the game plan.
Well, Dick, with all due respect,
you told me you didn't care
if I got more troops or I didn't,
so I'm trying to work out
how to get the job done.
No, I did not say I didn't care.
- I believe you did.
- I did not say that.
- I believe you did.
- No. No, I didn't. I...
- You did, Dick.
- Whoever said what,
a troop surge and an election
don't sit well together,
so this is the way it's gotta be.
I'm sorry.
I don't know what I'm supposed
to be doing in the meantime.
I have a strategy. I'm ready to execute.
The suggestion now
seems to be that I thumb twiddle.
Uh, with all due respect,
Madam Secretary-
General, please spare me
the "all due respect" stuff.
It's really giving me the fucking creeps.
I think... I think we all understand
your frustration, Glen,
but these elections have to run smoothly.
We need a legitimate partner
in power here.
You need a legitimate partner here.
So... we just have to sit tight.
Why don't you do that SNORPP thing
you did in Iraq?
You know, get your systems in place,
get everybody talking together.
The time will fly, you know?
Get everybody excited.
You know, you're the best
in the business at this stuff.
We've been operating
at an extremely high optempo.
In the last week,
we've conducted six air assaults
into previously denied territories.
Uh, we're also
in final coordination with RC South
to develop an ops box
in the seams
existing along the provincial border.
You got that, uh, Lexus?
No. No, now we got a Prius.
She got the new Prius.
Yeah, my wife, too. She's got one.
We both have one. We love it.
My first car was a Taurus.
My father bought it.
What do you got?
Where you boys headed?
Back to our patrol base, sir. Sasquatch.
Where you coming from?
Where are we from in the States,
or where have we just been?
Where have you just been?
- Italy, sir, on R & R.
- Ah.
R & R in Italy.
- Yes, sir.
- Well...
Attention on deck!
So why the long faces?
You just got back from Italy.
I'm guessing you ate
some sensational food,
saw some antiquities. Hmm?
I bet you got yourselves good and drunk
and bumped into beautiful girls.
So what's it like out there?
Out where, sir?
- Sasquatch, son.
- Oh, um...
it's not good, sir.
You know, I mean, it's whatever.
- It's... it's okay.
- No, it's a fucking shithole, sir.
No, I don't know.
We'll see where we land.
Cory, what time's that bird due?
- Uh, in about 20 minutes.
- Cancel it.
Uh, why's that, boss?
I'm going to Sasquatch
with those boys there.
General, those boys are heading out
to an inhospitable corner of the world.
I'm a goddamn Ranger, Frank.
Those boys, they need me.
I've spent the last week or so
talking to guys
who I would call middle management.
But you boys are at the coal face.
After all the blah, blah, blah,
you boys are where it actually happens.
I'd go so far as to say
you boys are the only thing that counts.
If it doesn't happen here,
it doesn't happen. End of story.
- Yes, son?
- If what doesn't happen, sir?
It, son.
Okay, thank you, sir.
Does anyone here know what "it" is?
To, uh, secure the area, sir.
To protect the people from the enemy
so they can go about building their lives.
Okay. Okay, thank you, Sergeant.
Okay, but I can't tell the difference
between the people and the enemy.
They all look alike to me.
I'm pretty sure
they're the same people, sir.
I understand it can be tough, son,
but that's the job.
I have another question.
Um, I hear now they're giving out medals
for heroic restraint.
Do I have that right?
Courageous restraint.
And that is right.
Well, I don't mean to be rude, sir,
but I do not understand
what the fuck that means.
It means, son, that sometimes
when you're dealing with an insurgency,
you're not gonna be 100% clear
on who the enemy is.
It means you're gonna find yourself
in situations where,
when you're afraid or whatnot,
you're gonna have to make
a judgment call.
Because, as Sergeant Ortega here
has so rightly pointed out,
your mission is to protect the people,
not kill them.
We can't help them
and kill them at the same time.
It just ain't humanly possible.
Do you understand me?
No, not really, sir. No.
What part are you struggling
to comprehend, son?
I don't know, sir. It seems to me
that we all here with our guns and shit,
trying to convince these people that...
deep down we're actually really nice guys.
And I don't know how to do that, sir,
when every second one of them
or every third one of them
or every tenth one of them
is trying to fucking kill me, sir.
'Cause I'm a marine. 'Cause we're marines.
And it seem like now
they handing out medals
for heroically not being a marine, sir.
I'm confused,
is what I'm trying to say, sir.
Well, then you're just gonna have
to get yourself unconfused, son.
On the day
of the Afghan general elections,
for which Glen had waited so patiently,
Badi Bassim joined his team.
Cory wouldn't tell me
where he found Glen his Afghan mascot.
No, I'm doing your job!
He said he just found him
in the phone book.
Put the bag down.
I assume that was a joke.
My name is Captain Badi Bassim.
I'm here to start work
with, uh, General McMahon.
- Who?
- McMahon.
- McMahon?
- Yeah.
- Why are you not wearing the uniform?
- Uh, my uniform is in my bag.
It's too dangerous for me to wear it
while I am walking here from my home.
Unzip it.
Unzip the bag.
My uniform.
- Why are you walking in here?
- Why I am working here?
Walking! Walking! Walking here?
I like to walk.
- Badi! Come in. Come in.
- Ah!
Everyone, this is my new aide-de-camp,
Badi Bassim.
He's a soldier and a scholar.
This is the face of the new Afghanistan.
Greg, you know. That's Cory.
You know Cory. Pete Duckman.
And, uh...
we got people here
from Spain and Italy and, uh...
- You know, places like that.
- Okay.
- Have you voted?
- I wanted to report to you first.
- You haven't voted?
- No.
Good. Good. You can do it right here.
We got a polling booth right here,
right around the corner.
- Election day. It's exciting.
- Yeah.
This is important, Badi.
That long line of men,
that slow shuffle there,
that's the slow shuffle towards freedom.
The steps are small but, by God,
their importance...
It's like the moon landing.
Small step, giant leap. Yeah.
Are you familiar
with the moon landing, son?
- Yes, sir.
- It's like the goddamn moon landing.
Yes, sir, I agree. It's very important.
- Yes, it is.
- Yeah.
- A what?
- We're gonna have another election.
We can't ignore these fraud allegations.
They're coming in
from every corner of the country
and everything points
to a ridiculous Karzai victory.
I mean, the whole thing
just smells stupid.
Sure, there's gonna be irregularity
now and again.
But surely a result
is the best possible outcome. Yeah?
The polling station,
the one right there over where you are...
367 registered voters,
1,200 votes counted.
It's a joke.
We're going to a runoff election.
Tell them what you told me!
- About what, sir?
- About the elections.
About the whole concept of elections
in this country.
Well, I was just observing, sir,
that, um, people don't quite
understand elections.
They see that the president is alive,
everything is okay.
So what's the big problem?
Why are we having an election?
And then you have an election anyway,
and people vote for whoever
the local leaders tell them to vote for.
Because they don't want to have
their heads chopped off.
See what I mean?
Thank you... for that. Uh...
I'm sorry, Glen.
We're going to a runoff election.
Jesus H...
I got the White House sitting on my report
till after these elections get done.
I can't do anything until the president
approves my recommendations.
And now you're telling me that's not gonna
be until after another goddamn election?!
You need a legitimate partner here, Glen.
Karzai ain't that guy.
You gotta understand,
what we're trying to do here
is like raising a child.
And a child needs two parents.
Two parents who love it
and each other very much.
That's what it needs, above all else.
Well, then your wife, Mrs. Karzai...
I'm assuming that you're the daddy
in this metaphorical relationship-
We suspect your wife, Karzai,
might be a drug addict.
He eliminated his chief opponent
in this election
by spreading
a pretty vicious homosexual rumor,
and we're pretty sure that his brother
is a straight-up criminal warlord.
Oh, come on, Pat!
You got a bee in your bonnet.
You just don't like him for some reason,
whatever it is. And seriously...
Anyway, I wanna know,
how is Washington any different, huh?
Seriously! Tell me!
You can't.
On page 74 of One Leg at a Time,
Just Like Everybody Else,
Glen wrote, and I quote,
"A good leader lives by a set of rules.
A great leader knows when to break them. "
- Morning, all.
- Sir.
- Morning.
- Morning, sir.
Morning, boys.
- Morning, sir.
- Boss.
Morning, Matt. You're up early.
Uh, yes, sir. We've got a problem.
Somebody leaked your report.
The Washington Post has a copy.
- Somebody gave it to Bob Woodward.
- Woodward? No.
Oh, my God almighty.
You find the source?
Sir, the source?
Uh, this is terrible.
Goddamn terrible news.
Do you hear that?
Someone leaked the assessment.
- Oh, terrible.
- Terrible. Shocking.
- Shocking.
- Shocking.
- Terrible.
- Shocking.
Yeah, well...
I don't think it really matters
who leaked the assessment.
Question is,
what are we gonna do about it?
I wanna do the 60 Minutes interview.
Sir, as your senior PAO,
I must counsel strongly against it.
It would be foolhardy.
I really don't think
now's the time to court media attention.
At the very moment,
allegations are being made
- that you leaked this report yourself.
- I'm choosing to embrace the leak, Simon.
I don't seem to be getting any traction.
Do you know what I'm saying? Traction?
We got ourselves a president
who appears not to be aware of the fact
that the United States is
at war right now,
and he's that war's commander in chief.
- I gotta get me some traction.
- You need cut through.
Exactly. Cut through. You need to get me
some goddamn cut through.
I can handle that for you, sir.
Sorry. No offense, Simon,
how exactly are you gonna do that?
I'll quieten this whole situation down.
Again, I'm sorry,
I don't wanna start a fight here.
And please forgive me
for speaking for you, sir.
But the general didn't hire me
to make things quiet, okay?
Look, you're so good at your job,
but that job is basically
writing press releases.
Here's the thing about press releases.
Nobody reads 'em, okay?
They're boring.
And they're bullshit.
And everyone knows they're bullshit.
Correct me if I'm wrong,
you hired me to make some noise.
You know, the right kind of noise.
Our... noise.
- Boss.
- Move those vehicles to the right.
I wanna make sure the M-ATVs are
clearly visible in the background.
Copy that.
They're completely blocking them.
- This one?
- Both of them.
Just get 'em out of there.
Get 'em out of there!
Hey. How're we doing over here? Good?
- Great.
- You good? Good. Okay.
- Yeah, I think we're getting close.
- Oh, that's exciting.
I don't wanna interrupt.
I mean, I know you have your own
world of questions to ask in there.
You might wanna think about
asking the general...
how much face time
he's had with the president
since taking over the position.
Yeah. You know, if you run out
of stuff to talk about or whatever.
You're welcome.
Yes, the leak was unfortunate.
There's no denying it.
It's unfortunate.
One would always choose
to mull these things over
in the... the sensible calm
of the proper quiet places.
But this war is tough. War is tough.
And... And the president
has tough decisions to make.
How many times have you spoken
to the president since you've been here?
Since I've been here in Afghanistan,
leading ISAF?
Once. I've spoken to the president once.
By video teleconference.
You've spoken to the president
once in, what, 70 days?
That's right.
You're the leader
of US forces in Afghanistan,
and you have spoken to the president
once in 70 days?
- Yes, ma'am.
- Why is that?
Uh... I don't know. Uh...
I'm guessing he's... very busy.
What the fuck's
the matter with you, Glen?
Are you out of your mind?
One second we're dealing
with this so-called fucking leak,
the next you're on the fucking television
backing the president into the most
ham-fisted corner I've ever seen.
I honestly believe you've made it
your sole mission to fuck me.
Well, Dick, I answered the questions
that were asked of me.
- I thought I was being fair.
- It's not a question of fair, Glen.
It's a question of what the fuck
were you doing on the television?
- Why am I seeing you on the television?
- Oh.
Now we gotta fix this.
We gotta find a way
of taking the heat out of this thing.
Now you've gone and lit a fucking fire
under it! Do you understand?
- Yeah, I see.
- Here's where we're gonna start.
You're gonna get on the phone
to Bob Gates and-
Hang on, Dick. You're cutting out.
I can't hear you. Can you hear me?
Yeah, I can hear you.
And please stop calling me Dick!
Shit. Something's wrong.
I can't hear a word you're saying.
Let me, uh... let me try this.
- Can you hear me now?
- Yeah, I can hear you.
Okay, something's wrong here.
Hold on a minute, Dick.
- Oh, God.
- Andy, get your ass in here!
- Yes, sir.
- Got a problem.
- I can't hear a word Dick's saying.
- Uh-huh.
He can hear me, but I can't hear him.
- All right, can you hear us now?
- Yeah, I can hear you.
- What about now, Mr. Dick, sir?
- Yeah, I can hear you!
I'm... I'm sorry.
- I'm sorry, Dick.
- Oh, gosh!
Can't hear a word you're saying.
Andy's gonna have to work on this,
and pronto!
- Yes, sir.
- This is goddamn unacceptable.
No, no, we need to talk.
I'll talk to you later, Dick.
We need to finish...
We need to finish this thing.
Well done.
- Thank you, sir.
- Well done.
Ladies and gentlemen,
the President of the United States.
Thank you.
I wanna speak to you tonight
about our effort in Afghanistan.
It's an extraordinary honor for me
to do so here at West Point,
where so many men and women
have prepared to stand up for our security
and to represent
what is finest about our country.
As your commander in chief,
I owe you a mission
that is clearly defined...
- Yes, you do.
- ... and worthy of your service.
And that's why I insisted
on a thorough review of our strategy.
And as commander in chief,
I have determined that
- it is in our vital national interest...
- Mmm-hmm.
...to send an additional 30,000 US troops
to Afghanistan.
After 18 months,
our troops will begin to come home.
I do not make this decision lightly.
We have been at war now for eight years,
at enormous cost in lives and resources.
Years of debate over Iraq and terrorism
have left our unity
on national security issues in tatters.
And having just experienced
the worst economic crisis
since the Great Depression,
the American people are
understandably focused on
rebuilding our economy
and putting people to work here at home.
You got your troops.
Buddy here just announced
to the whole of Afghanistan
that we are about to abandon it!
That's like telling the bad guys
all they gotta do
- is wait out the next 18 months...
- Yeah.
...and then we'll be gone!
And so he just told an auditorium
full of young American soldiers
the war they've been asked to fight
these last eight years
has been nothing more than
one great monumental waste
of everybody's time.
That was a clusterfuckingly
stupid fucking speech!
Thank you, Greg.
Well, you heard him.
He's not giving us the full 40,000.
They're giving us 30.
I just got off the phone with the SecDef.
We gotta get the rest
from our coalition partners.
Looks like we're going to Europe, boys.
So, uh, pack your, uh...
Oh, I don't know, fuck it!
Pack whatever it is they wear in Europe.
- Speedos and shit! Willy.
- Hmm.
The world stage.
It's always seemed funny to me
how a man can go from looking at a map of,
I don't know, say Helmand province,
to finding himself in Europe
trying to persuade our friends and allies
that his crazy dream
is their crazy dream, too.
Bonjour, General.
Thank you.
- Bonjour, monsieur.
- Hello.
Okay, so tomorrow afternoon,
you have the presentation
to I'cole Militaire.
Uh... Tomorrow night,
dinner with the minister of defense.
That is a gala dinner, by the way.
Just a heads-up so you can prepare
yourself mentally. It's a big one.
Meetings the next day.
Then we got the night free.
- And then to Berlin.
- Yeah.
Here we go.
Obama is in Copenhagen tonight.
They wanna know
if you can spare time for a meeting
on Air Force One tomorrow morning.
The president wants some face time.
Now he wants fucking face time.
Fucking dick.
So can you do that, boss?
Then we can jet across
to Copenhagen at zero six.
The president's gonna be
on the tarmac at 8:30.
Well, you're the keeper of my schedule,
Cory. You tell me if I can do it.
Uh, okay, yeah, we can have you back
in Paris early afternoon,
depending on how much time you two need.
And I can shift your morning meetings.
See that out there? I'm calling that dusk.
That's close of fucking business.
Boss, you good with this?
Sure, Pete. We're not in theater.
You boys earned it.
Sir, have you had a chance
to say hello to your wife yet?
You know, she checked in this morning.
I think she's waiting for you
in your room.
Shit. Right, I should do that.
What room am I in again?
- What?
- Five-seven-one.
- Five-one-seven.
- Stop. Go.
- Five-one-seven.
- Hi, boss.
- Hey, Willy.
- Hi. Hi, honey.
- Hi.
- Hi.
- Huh.
I'm sorry, I've been delayed.
The president is wanting time
with me tomorrow,
and we've been trying to ascertain
whether... whether or not
we can accommodate this request.
I'm gonna leave you two be. I'll be...
- I'll be right next door.
- Okay, thank you, Willy.
Well, we're in Paris.
Yeah... Hopefully we'll get to see
some sights.
Yeah, I'll have, uh,
Cory, uh, schedule some time.
- Yeah.
- Okay,
but you do what you gotta do,
because I am here for you.
- Oh, yeah?
- Uh-huh.
- How's Tim?
- Oh, he's good. He's good.
- He sends his love.
- Okay.
Um... He's...
He's got a new girlfriend now.
- Ooh!
- Yeah, I like her.
Yeah, her daddy's an ILE instructor
over at Leavenworth.
- Huh.
- Mmm-hmm.
Yeah, she's sweet. You'll like her.
Well, I... I think it's just great you're
getting to see the president, honey.
You must be very excited, huh?
Hey, Glen.
Hope you don't mind me hitching a ride.
I'm on my own dash to see the president.
They told me you were heading
over there this morning.
No problem, Pat. My plane is your plane.
- Knock yourself out.
- Thanks, Glen.
So my hope is, depending on how long
your meeting goes with the president,
we can have you back in Paris NLT 1400,
then straight to
the cole Militaire for 1500.
My uniform will be crushed
after these flights.
I'll need a shower, a fresh shave.
I'm allowing for four solid hours
with the president.
If it's less than that,
we should be fine to go via the hotel.
I am just contingency planning
for the possibility
we may be running tight on time.
- Can we move the cole Militaire back?
- Not really.
Gonna be a lot of people there.
We have the gala dinner right after.
We don't have any wiggle room here.
You should wear the fatigues
to the thing this afternoon.
The general, direct from the battlefield.
No need to shower
when you're straight from the fight.
- That's good.
- Yeah.
- It's very good.
- I like that.
Well, just make sure
Willy has my fatigues on standby.
Talking points for the president.
How you doing, Glen?
This one is a bitch, right?
Nothing about war is easy, Pat.
Right on.
Though I'm guessing, somewhere deep down,
you were happier in Iraq.
A soldier leading soldiers.
Soldiers above you, soldiers below you.
Just a nice bubble of soldiers.
Just ordered. Right? 'Cause it has to be.
War is chaos, so then the army has to be
the opposite of chaos.
But now you find yourself
in the real world.
Now you're dealing with civilians,
and civilians don't make sense.
Not making sense is a luxury
I can't afford. Hmm.
Lives depend on it.
- No, of course.
- Yeah.
And you can't live in the bubble forever.
You gotta rise as your talents dictate.
What do you want, Pat?
How do you think this ends?
Simple. We either win it or we lose it.
Yeah, I don't know.
I think I'm gonna call bullshit
on that, Glen.
All the winning we were ever gonna do,
we did in the first six months.
And since then,
we've just been making a mess.
And that's all it was ever gonna be.
You're not here to win.
You're here to clean up the mess.
You'll get your 40,000 troops.
Get 'em in there. Get your PowerPoint
presentation in order, you know?
Just move the needle a little bit.
Show everyone how all the graphs are
pointing in the right direction.
That's all you gotta do.
That's how this ends best for you...
A nice-looking set of graphs.
Or a nicer-looking set of graphs
than the last set of graphs.
Either that or get yourself fired.
Then you can say "I told you so"
when it all turns to shit
or fizzles out or...
however it is this thing ends.
There's no street parade
at the end of this one.
It's good to talk.
Everybody. How are you?
Yeah, it's good to see you again.
- How you doing? Good to see you. Nice tie.
- Thank you.
All right. How's it going?
- Morning, sir. Nice to see you again.
- All right. Take care now.
It's good to see you,
Mr. President.
All right, see you soon.
- Mr. President.
- It's great to see you, General.
I'm sorry,
but we're running behind schedule.
I was looking forward to getting
some face time with you,
but I gotta get this baby in the air.
So... all right.
Smile for the cameras, Glen.
All right.
Take care.
- Pat.
- Mr. President.
- Let's get going.
- Yes, sir.
All right, Magnus, talk to you soon. Okay?
You could argue
that the main reason
certain generals like war so much is...
well, because it's only in war
that they feel truly relevant.
It's only in war that they feel close
to the center of power.
Only in war do they feel
the warm glow of other people's attention.
Good evening, sir.
The attention of people like me.
Okay, you know what?
You both look beautiful.
Uh, sir, before you get dragged
into the hubbub there,
I want to introduce you
to Sean Cullen here.
Sean's the writer from Rolling Stone.
He's been doing that profile piece on you.
He's gonna be tagging along
for a couple days.
Thanks for having me, sir.
It's a real privilege.
- Rolling Stone?
- Yes, sir.
Just make sure I'm on the cover.
Well, it's between you and Lady Gaga, sir.
Well, put me in a heart-shaped
bathtub with her.
Rose petals. Happy to share.
Glen, stop joking.
I'm deadly serious, son.
Put me on the cover.
Okay, here we are.
There's the boss. There's Mrs. Boss.
Oh, there's me. There's you.
Where's me?
I guess you're on a different table.
Better keep looking.
- You serious?
- Hmm.
- Sorry.
- Yes?
Excuse me.
I think you are sitting in my seat, sir.
Oh, hey, there. I'm sorry.
Pleased to meet you.
Thank you. Hi.
General. Tom Howard, sir.
I'm the United States defense attach
here in Paris.
Pleased to meet you.
This is my wife, Jeanie.
Pleased to meet you, Jeanie.
Are you enjoying your time here in Paris?
Oh, yes, very much. It's lovely.
Isn't it? Have you managed to see
any museums or exhibitions?
- Have you done the Louvre?
- Oh, um,
I... I think we're gonna be too busy
to see the Louvre.
But I've been wandering around by myself
while Glen's at meetings, and...
oh, my, it's... it's lovely.
General, I thought it went very well
at the cole Militaire today.
I didn't get the opportunity
to introduce myself there.
But, uh, there were some
very interesting people there today.
If you'd like, I'd be very happy
to give you a rundown of the who's who
if you get a little window
in your schedule while-
I appreciate that.
My schedule's very tight.
Of course. Totally understood.
General, I could introduce you to some
people here tonight if you'd prefer.
No, I... I think my team and I
have a grip on the who's who. Thank you.
- Cory, where's Badi?
- Hmm?
Uh, I don't know, boss.
He was here a minute ago.
I thought he was supposed to be
sitting beside you and Jeanie.
General, I thought it best if you and I
took this opportunity to talk, so...
so I switched places
with your colleague over there, I...
Like you said, your schedule's very tight.
What'd you say your name was?
Tom Howard, sir.
What do you think this dinner is for,
Tom Howard?
General, this dinner
is to honor you, sir.
Wrong. This dinner is for Afghanistan.
We are here tonight
because we're at war in Afghanistan.
And you got the goddamn gall
to kick the only Afghan in the room
- off my goddamn table?
- I'm sorry-
Let me tell you what I want you to do,
Tom Howard.
I want you to go sit your ass down
wherever the fuck your ass was officially
designated to sit,
and I want you to tell Badi
to bring his ass back over here!
How's that sound, Tom Howard?
I'm sorry, sir.
I apologize for my language.
- Everything's okay, honey.
- Uh, boss?
I'm pretty sure the Afghan ambassador here
is from Afghanistan.
I don't want for this dinner
to be awkward for you, General,
so I will tell you now
that we intend to give you
our portion of the troops
that you request.
I don't think the Germans will be so easy.
I think that they are feeling
inclined to withdraw altogether.
And, uh, I should add that
I would hate for you to think
that France is easy.
This must be a final moment, no?
We cannot stay in Afghanistan forever.
No, we can't.
That's why I'm gonna win it.
Thank you.
That was strange.
Writing a biography, is that something...
you might be open to? Or...
For sure, yeah.
Something I'm absolutely open to...
It's such a fascinating
subject matter.
No offense, book could kinda write itself.
We may have a problem
getting to Berlin tomorrow.
This volcano in Iceland. It's, uh...
canceling all flights
because of the ash cloud.
- Dude, we got our own plane.
- Guess this cloud's huge.
Nothing's taking off in Europe.
They're grounding all air traffic.
We got tonight free, right?
Then what's the plan? We're drinking.
Tell me we're fucking drinking.
Today is Jeanie and my's
30th wedding anniversary, so, uh...
I'm taking her to dinner.
Just the two of you?
It doesn't matter, honey. I've had fun.
- Good. Good.
- Mmm.
We'll come back again
when everything's normal
and we can do it together.
- Sure.
- Mmm-hmm.
We're together.
- This is so special.
- Hmm.
You know, the other day
I was, uh, calculating the...
I was working out that we've spent less
than 30 days a year together
for the last eight years.
...I was just thinking
that it's really interesting,
the way things happen.
Well, if we hadn't gone to war...
if September 11th hadn't happened...
if America hadn't been attacked
and we hadn't gone to war,
I'd probably be barbecuing something
in our backyard right now.
- Mmm.
- But 9/11 did happen, didn't it? Hmm?
Yes. Yes, I know. I know.
I know, and I am... I'm sorry.
- I didn't say that to make you feel bad.
- Why are you thinking about it?
No, I'm not... I'm not...
I'm not thinking about it, I promise.
Yes, you are. You're calculating days.
You just told me, one day
you sat yourself down with a calendar
and you calculated days.
Yes, I know. I know.
But I just did that because...
I did it because
I was proud of you, honey.
I'm proud of me, too. You know?
Yeah, I'm proud of me, too.
Do you know?
Oh, honey.
No, honey, look at me.
Everything's gonna be okay.
I know.
Yes, every... Everything...
Everything's okay.
Obama's not a leader.
He's an orator.
He hammered the whole world on,
"Yes, we can. Yes, we can. "
Really, it's "No, we can't. "
We can't do Iraq.
He's loud and clear now
that we can't do Afghanistan.
We can't do Gitmo.
Where the fuck else
we gonna put all these motherfuckers?
- That's a great orator. Right there.
- Hmm.
He's sold us on, like, a double negative.
Yes, we can not do things.
You know? Or is that a double negative?
Not really, but I know what you mean.
Yo, look who it is!
- Hi.
- Hello, Mrs. Boss.
Oh, yeah! Oh, yeah!
Boss and Mrs. Boss, down there.
- You, drink!
- No, no.
- You, drink!
- Down the hatch.
Sir, I just want to say again
what a privilege this is.
- You must be really proud.
- Hmm?
- You must be really proud of him.
- Oh, yes, I am.
- Ah, here we go! Here we go!
- Oh, yeah!
Go, Pete!
Come on!
I got your name all over this.
I always loved this asshole!
- We're not flying to Berlin tomorrow.
- What?
- Not flying to Berlin tomorrow.
- What?
They won't give us clearance
to fly to Berlin tomorrow.
USA! Everybody now!
This is bullshit.
It's, like, one phone call.
"Hello, they won't let us take off.
Can you fix it?"
"Oh, no, monsieur.
Big volcano. No take off. "
"Well, this is General Glen McMahon
we're talking about here. "
"Oh, General Glen McMahon.
Oh, I did not know.
Why didn't you say that?
Pardon, monsieur,
of course you may take off. "
- Done! How hard is that?
- I've made the calls. Believe me.
we are the fucking US military.
We practically invented everything!
And now we have
some chinless fuck in Brussels
who's telling us
we can't fly our own plane
because of a volcano in Greenland.
What are we supposed to do?
Sit around here in Paris
and wait for it to "stop erupting"?
I don't know, Greg. This isn't exactly
a situation that I've been in before.
Okay, bear with me on this one.
I think I might have
just solved our problem.
I really can't tell you why
these guys got so loose in front of me.
Or why Glen let them get so loose.
I can only put it down to hubris.
These guys thought they were
the most important guys in the world...
with the most important jobs in the world.
Maybe they assumed I thought
they were as amazing as they did.
What are you writing?
What are you writing?
You're always writing. I don't like it.
Maybe they thought
they could do whatever they wanted.
I'm a writer.
I write.
I better like what it is you're writing.
Let's say you have ten insurgents.
Now, let's say you kill two of 'em.
Now, how many insurgents do you have left?
Hmm? Hmm?
Well, you'd say eight, of course.
Eight. Right?
In this scenario, ten minus two equals 20.
Let's say the two insurgents
you just killed, uh...
each had six friends or brothers
or some such,
who are hovering on the brink of...
of joining the insurgency.
They're thinking
about this insurgency thing.
"Looks interesting. But, you know,
for one reason or other, not for me. "
But... So, then you go
and kill their friend.
Now you've just made up
their minds for 'em.
Those hovering friends are now
full, paid-up members of the enemy.
And so, in the math of counterinsurgency,
ten minus two...
equals 20.
Uh, yes, ma'am?
General, the US invaded Afghanistan
because of the al-Qaeda attacks
on September 11th.
- This is correct, yes?
- Yeah.
You have been speaking to us now
for 45 minutes-
Oh, uh, where's the, uh... Oh, thank you.
Thank you.
You have been
speaking to us now for 45 minutes,
and yet in all of that time you have
only mentioned al-Qaeda once.
Your own vice president has advocated
a much smaller
and simpler counterterrorism approach
to incapacitate what is estimated to be
little more than 100 al-Qaeda fighters
that still remain in Afghanistan
to refocus on what it was
that started this war in the first place.
- Ah.
- Your analysis of the insurgency there
suggests to me
there is no monolithic Taliban.
You are spread over the entire country.
You are fighting 1,000 separate battles
with locals
whose principal ideological position
would seem to be simply that they don't
want foreign soldiers in their village.
And that, General, you must know,
is a war you will never win.
with all due respect, ma'am. Uh...
I must beg to differ.
I firmly believe,
having traveled to all corners
of the country,
having spoken with many people
from many walks of life...
that what these people want is the very
same thing that you and I want.
Freedom, security, stability, jobs.
Progress is being made. Real Progress.
But challenges do remain.
I understand all of that, General.
And... and, please,
let me say quite sincerely
that I do not question
the goodness of your intent.
I have been listening to you
here this morning, and, uh...
I believe you are a good man.
I do.
What I question is...
your belief in your power
to deliver these things that you describe.
I question your belief in the power
of your ideals.
Ah, well...
I think
what I am trying to say,
and I apologize, General,
if this is sounding impolite,
but I question your sense of self.
No, no, no, that's all... all right.
I, uh, appreciate your, uh, commentary.
I do. Um...
But I have a job to do.
Yes, I understand.
And I also have a job to do.
And I am trying to do mine.
As an elected representative
of the people of Germany,
it is my job to ensure
that the personal ambitions
of those who serve those people
are kept in check.
You have devoted your entire life,
General, to the fighting of war.
And this situation
in Afghanistan, for you,
it is the culmination
of all your years of training,
all your years of ambition.
- This is the great moment of your life.
- Well...
It's understandable to me
that you should have, therefore,
a fetish for completion
to make your moment glorious.
It is my job, however,
to ensure that your personal ambitions
are not entirely delusional
and do not carry with them
an unacceptable cost for everybody else.
- Honey, you okay?
- I'm fine.
Please don't shut down.
It's our last day together.
Be here with me.
One second. Thank you.
So, just got an email from Gates.
Good news and bad news.
Spoke with the German defense minister...
We're getting our troops.
Turns out that crazy bitch...
lady back there
was just some sad, lonely voice
in the wilderness.
Bad news is,
they won't let their guys leave the base.
Whatever that means.
But, hey, they're ponying up.
So I guess job here is done.
I used to think that men went gray
because they had stressful jobs
with stressful decisions to make.
Now, I think it happens
when men start to feel in their bones
that the great moments of their lives...
might not turn out to be quite as great
as they'd always hoped.
When the real world starts creeping in.
What separates the believers like Glen
from everybody else is...
their ability to block
this real world out.
Some people call this insanity.
Welcome to Operation Moshtarak.
We're taking the Helmand province,
gentlemen, once and for all.
Moshtarak will be the largest operation
yet to be conducted since this war began.
So, needless to say,
it is an important one.
This whole province has been
a thorn in our ass since day one.
So this here will be a definitive test
in our resolve.
And that starts right here in Marjah.
If we infill teams here and here tonight,
we can set up our blocking positions,
hopefully draw enough wiggle room
for the marines tomorrow.
- Good.
- The forecast says tonight's the night.
If we don't go in tonight,
likely have to wait maybe another week.
I want Karzai to sign off on this.
Cory, can you get him on the phone?
And why these spots?
ISR is telling us these locations
are where there still appears to be
a concentration of movement.
Obviously, we're proceeding
under the assumption
that anyone who isn't a bad guy
has moved on or at least hunkered down.
We've made it clear
to the whole city that's the thing to do.
If I could just ask
a question, General.
I know this is Marjah,
but I'm still not quite clear
as to why you're sending boys
to Nawzad and Musa Qala.
I mean, there's nothing out there.
I'm just not quite clear what it is
you're trying to control there.
Apart from nothing.
You see this map, Frank?
This one, hmm?
This here is the mess
I'm having to clean up.
Now, we've been kind enough
to plan this operation in such a way
as to not make it look like the Americans
are here to get done what you couldn't.
But that is what's happening.
Hmm? So, Frank, uh...
while your input is greatly appreciated...
It is.
I wouldn't want you to think
that it isn't. It is.
I'd also appreciate if you would take
one nice, big step back
and let me get this shit done.
Yeah. Hmm? Yeah?
- What?
- I can't get him.
They're telling me
he's in bed with a cold.
Well, did you tell 'em what it's about?
I didn't tell 'em exactly
what it was about.
- I said it was very important.
- Jesus H. Christ.
- Just dial the number again. I'll talk.
- Right. Copy.
Thanks, Bernie.
Let's assume this is happening.
I'll give you the green light
soon as I get it.
- Yes, sir.
- I have General McMahon on the line.
Hello, who am I speaking with?
This is General McMahon.
I need to speak
to President Karzai urgently.
I understand he's not feeling well,
but I need to speak with him.
Is he awake?
Good. Put him on. Put the call through.
What do you mean, he doesn't have one?
What world leader
doesn't have a phone in his bedroom?
Does he have a cell phone in there?
- Did you try his cell phone?
- Straight to voice mail.
Well, tell him to turn it back on.
Please! Please!
This is... I can't...
Oh, fuck it! I'm coming over there.
This is me doing that right now.
I'm making the appointment right now.
- Oh, General, please come in.
- Mr. President.
Please sit here.
Please, please sit. Sit.
- How are you?
- I'm fine, sir.
I've been trying to contact you.
Oh, yes, I'm sorry. I'm not feeling well.
I understand, sir.
But did they not tell you this is urgent?
Oh, you know how everything is
at the top of the mountain, General.
Everybody's urgent
about everything all the time.
Everything is important.
Nothing ever really is.
There's nothing
that cannot wait until morning.
This is important, sir.
We hope to launch
Operation Moshtarak tonight,
and I need your official consent
before doing so.
- Really?
- Yes, sir.
- Why?
- Because it's your mission.
- It is?
- Yes, sir.
No one has ever asked me
to approve a mission before.
Well, that needs to change.
This mission needs your consent.
If we're to win the trust
of Helmand province,
it demands that this mission
be seen to be of your design.
I don't mean to be rude, Mr. President,
but it is imperative that you begin
to take a leadership role here.
We cannot win this thing alone.
Without your active involvement,
our presence here will never be anything
more than a foreign occupation.
This is your war.
For your country. Your people.
Again, I'm sorry, sir...
but you need to behave like a leader.
But I am behaving like a leader.
I'm unavailable.
I am as unavailable to you
as is your own president.
You have my approval, General.
We both know it was never really
mine to give. But...
I thank you for inviting me
to participate in the theater of it all.
And good luck.
I wish you much success.
Good luck tonight, Glen.
Who told you about tonight?
I just mean...
whatever you happen to find yourself
doing tonight,
good luck with it.
Go fuck yourself, Pat.
Glen? Glen.
Look, I just want to apologize.
You know how the other day
I said there wasn't a parade
at the end of all this?
I was wrong. It was glib.
I just thought it was a pithy way
to end the conversation,
but I was wrong.
There's gonna be thousands of parades.
Thousands of 'em all over America.
Only none of them will be for you.
Now that was pithy, too, but it was true.
Fuck you!
Roger that.
What was that about, buddy?
Nothing. Let's get to Kandahar.
We got some fucking winning to do.
Okay, listen up.
This is going to be tough.
I'm not gonna mince words about that.
This will be tough.
This will probably be the toughest mission
that any of you all will experience.
This is the real deal.
Marjah is Taliban ground zero.
This is gonna be IEDs everywhere.
This is gonna be their best guys.
And they are gonna be prepared.
They know we're coming, gentlemen.
They've known we're coming for weeks.
So don't be under any illusion.
This will get ugly.
We're gonna lose guys.
I am not gonna lie to you about that.
There will be casualties.
But if you keep your wits about you,
if you have faith in your ability,
if you have faith in the ability
of the men next to you,
you will come out the tail end of this!
I have faith in you!
I know who you are!
You are proud members
of the toughest fucking fighting force
this world has ever known.
Carry that knowledge with you!
Carry it with pride!
Do you understand me?
- Do you understand me?
- Oorah!
That's right.
Any of you so inclined, I'm gonna ask
this chaplain to say a prayer for us.
Thank you, Captain.
Let us pray!
Almighty God,
as these marines prepare for battle,
we pray that your Holy Spirit
shall guide them.
As you brought down the walls of Jericho,
as you dealt out your wrath
upon the Philistines,
as you crushed the Hittites
and brought retribution upon
all the enemies of the righteous,
may your mighty hand be upon these men
and assure their victories.
Be with them, mighty God...
Let's move.
What are you thinking about, buddy?
Well, let's just see
how this plays out.
The uncrackable nut.
If anyone's gonna crack this,
it's gonna be you.
You're gonna smash this
like a monkey on a rock.
- You're a killing machine, Glen.
- Hmm.
You are the terrorist hunter.
You're Big Glen.
You're the Glenimal.
Thank you, General.
I'm hungry.
I wanna eat that motherfucker.
Jesus Christ, man.
Contact front!
Move! Move! Up against the wall!
- Farrenberg.
- Not too close.
Get off the walls. Now!
- Fuck!
- Over there, twelve o'clock!
Cole! Cole!
I need to see a weapon.
He isn't a combatant until I see a weapon.
Fuck, man!
You think this nigga on his morning jog?
All right. All right.
We're gonna head to that house
over there at two o'clock.
All right? We're gonna work this shit out.
Cutter, I need you,
Song, Carroll and Trey,
head over there and get us in, all right?
We're gonna move up to cover you.
I need ANA guys going in first.
Trey! You take those first two guys
with you. Copy?
Oorah! You two, up! Up! Get the fuck up!
Move in.
Come on! Let's go!
Put that gun up, now.
We're getting ready to move now.
Come on!
Come on. Fucking move! Come on!
Zah, zah, zah, you fuck!
Oh, you fat piece of shit!
Fucking move! Move!
To the right!
- Clear!
- All right!
All clear!
Okay. Farrenberg, let's go!
Move. Go in.
All right.
Listen up.
We're gonna get on the roof of this place,
figure out what we're looking at.
Cutter, Cole, you're coming with me.
The rest of you guys stay put. Copy?
Comin' up!
We got movement, twelve o'clock.
About 300 meters, two guys on the roof.
- Are they armed?
- I don't know.
It's a simple fucking question, Trey.
Do you see a weapon?
No. That's not what you asked.
You asked if they were armed.
The answer to that one is,
I don't fucking know.
Obviously they're armed, Ortega.
Why else would they be
running around up there?
I don't fucking know, do I?
I don't understand these fucking people.
All I know is we need to see weapons.
- Are you hit? Are you hit?
- Fuck!
- I'm fucking hit!
- Where are you hit?
On my fucking eyes.
- Can you open 'em?
- What the fuck is going on? Is he hit?
We're good. We're good.
Trey's just got shit in his eyes.
Hey, yo, guys!
- Cutter, get the fuck over here!
- Fuck!
It's just water. It's just water.
Give us... Give me the 203.
Give me the 203.
- Trey, stay still!
- Give me your fucking gun!
Ortega! What's going on up there?
What the fuck's going on up there, guys?
Fucking short, man!
- Again!
- Zah!
- Short!
- I know.
One more!
Fuck, yeah!
Good job, Cole.
Nice shooting, boys.
- Farrenberg, you hit?
- Nah.
- Are you hit?
- No. I'm good.
- Fuck this shit!
- Cole, where the fuck are you going?
- Dude, where the fuck are you going?
- Fuck off!
- Corporal, what's happening?
- Wait, where the fuck are you going, man?
- Shut the fuck up!
- Wait, Cole! Cole!
- Cole! Get back here, Cole!
- Cole!
Cole, what the fuck, man?
Where you going?
Where the fuck
are you going, man?
- Fuck, Cole!
- Come back, Cole!
They're crawling.
They're in the middle of an IED belt.
And first and second platoons,
they're pinned down,
and second is close to requesting QRF.
Tell me something good, Cory.
I'm trying.
This info ain't meeting me halfway.
I wanna hear something good, God damn it.
I don't want the word "clusterfuck"
featuring anywhere in tomorrow's news.
Don't worry about the headlines, buddy.
We got civilian casualties.
We got civilian casualties
southeast corner of town, third platoon.
It's those boys from Sasquatch.
Cutter, find out
who these fucking guys are.
If they're gonna stand there,
I wanna know who they are.
Get one of the ANA to talk to 'em.
Them motherfuckers speak Pashto.
The ANA don't speak Pashto.
I don't know. Figure it out.
The fuck...
Cutter's fucking shit up outside.
- All right. What's the deal here?
- He's saying he didn't know the bad guys.
They just commandeered his house, and
there was nothing he could do about it.
Well, that's fucking bullshit.
We did leaflet drops and shit.
He shouldn't still be here.
Why are you still here?
What's your reason for being here?
He says that he has
nowhere to go. He has no wife.
He is worried about leaving his goats.
He says that he's telling the truth.
You can search his house.
You will find no weapons.
Farrenberg? Farrenberg!
- Yeah, I'm here!
- Come here!
We're gonna give this guy
some money, all right?
- You fucking serious?
- Yeah, I am serious.
Give me the fucking...
Open the fucking bag.
- What are those, 2.5?
- Yeah.
Okay, give me one of those.
My name is General Glen McMahon.
On behalf of the coalition forces,
I wanna apologize to you
for the loss you've suffered here today.
I know the money that Sergeant Ortega
gave you can't bring back your family.
But hopefully it can help you to rebuild,
because rebuilding
is what we're all about.
And providing you
with the security you need
to live a long and prosperous life.
Roads and schools
and then jobs, so...
you can raise your families,
and jobs so you can put food on the table.
The Taliban aren't gonna provide you jobs.
The Taliban aren't here to help you.
Only we can help you.
We have a saying in America...
"You can't make an omelet
without breaking a few eggs. "
I understand that sometimes it can be hard
to see the helping hand,
what with all the guns
and the strange guys
and the mess and what have you.
But I assure you,
this is the hand of helping.
This is the helping hand.
He says that he likes roads and schools,
but when you leave,
it will all mean nothing
and they will be left in a big mess.
And every day that you spend here longer,
the worse it will be for them
when you leave.
So please, leave now.
I understand your concerns.
I really do. That's...
That's why we're doing everything
we can to bring peace,
and to train up your own Afghan forces.
So that they can maintain
your security, uh...
well into the future.
Please, leave now.
Dragonfly, this is Spartan Two.
Think we're ready to roll.
Give 'em hell, boys!
Kill those motherfuckers! Eat 'em alive!
Jesus Christ, Willy. What time is it?
It's me, boss.
Um... sorry to wake you.
We have a problem.
That Rolling Stone article came out,
and it's not good.
Sir, it says we're shit-talking
our president.
And our vice president.
That we don't have the support
of our coalition partners.
And that we're drunk all over Europe.
Basically, a fucking drinking tour.
All over Europe.
I mean, I don't even know what the legals
on a thing like this are, you know?
Nothing he says in there
is actually untrue.
I'll get the editor on the phone
as soon as it's morning there
and see if there's anything they can do.
I'm not sure what that's gonna be, though.
Bottom line,
this is gonna play bad, all right?
It's gonna play really fucking bad.
So we are in damage control now.
Guys, guys... Is this really that bad?
I mean, yeah, it's colorful, sure. But...
this is Rolling Stone, okay? It's hip.
And you guys...
You guys are the operators.
You know, you're out there,
you're getting shit done in, like,
a totally non-square way.
Yes, Little, you fucking idiot,
it's that bad.
This was always a terrible idea.
Why you would unnecessarily
court attention like this is-
- Simon, can you shut the fuck up?
- I will not shut up!
This is your mess.
You created it.
You invited this... this Cullen fellow in,
you didn't properly consult me!
What? I didn't properly consult you?
Are you fucking kidding me?
We had a conversation.
- Give me his phone number.
- What? Whose phone number?
This fucking Cullen fuck.
Give me his fucking phone number!
- I'm not gonna give you his phone number.
- Why the fuck not?
Because you're acting crazy! You're acting
like a fucking lunatic right now!
You think this is crazy, huh?
- You think this is me being crazy?
- Peter! Calm down!
You fucking calm down!
I'm gonna beat you down
unless you chill out.
Oh, I'd like to see you try, old man.
Fucking come on!
Settle down, fellas.
I do believe I'm finished.
do me a favor, and...
be lovely to one another.
- Sir.
- Yes, sir.
The president wants to see you in DC.
You need to be on a plane this afternoon.
- Okay.
- Okay.
Okay. Let's go, Willy.
Fall out.
- Do you need anything, boss?
- Uh, no. Thank you, Willy.
Are you... are you sure you don't need me
to come with you?
I'm fine, Willy.
- Thanks.
- Yeah.
And so Glen finally got
his face time with the president.
Getting fired probably wasn't
the kind of face time he was after,
but, well,
I guess you could say it was
kind of a page in the history books.
That was pretty exciting for me.
But, sadly, while I would've liked
to have thought
that my story had made a difference,
it didn't.
It just became another
celebrity-fall-from-grace story.
It would've been nice
if the conversation after
had been about the failure
of counterinsurgency,
or why we seem so desperate
to be at war all the time,
or how maybe what we're doing
is just making more enemies
all in the name of keeping America safe.
It might've been nice if it had caused
someone important to ask
what any of this says about us.
But really, the only question
anyone seemed to want to ask was,
"What the fuck was Glen McMahon doing
talking to a Rolling Stone
reporter anyway?"
Which, admittedly, is a good question.
Anyway, in the absence
of any real soul searching,
what do we do?
Well, obviously, we sack Glen
and we bring in some other guy.
And that other guy...
was Bob.