Sunday, February 08, 2009

Reality Check - Part 1

"A Few Good Men" is a movie that speaks loudly to the situation in many churches today. If you haven't seen the movie, here is a brief summary and script excerpt (sources: and

Marine Pfc. William T. Santiago, stationed at Guantanamo, Cuba, just did not measure up to the high standards set by the U.S. Marine Corps. He is killed in a hazing incident perpetrated by Pfc. Lawson Downey and Lance Cpl. Harold W. Dawson. A mis-matched set of Navy lawyers is given the task of providing the defense in the court martial. And over the whole idea is the shadow of Col. Nathan Jessep (played by Jack Nicholson), who commands the Marines at Guantanamo. We know almost immediately that Jessep is the source of all the evil that has taken place. Little effort is spared in the script to make Jessep as vile and politically incorrect as possible. The goals of our three defense lawyers are first, to stop conflicting with each other; second, to put together a case to help Downey and Dawson; and third, if possible, to at the same time bring down the incredibly nasty Col. Jessep.

If you have seen the movie, you know that Tom Cruise's character baits Col. Jessep (Jack Nicholson) into admitting he was the one that ordered the code red which led to Santiago's death. The rogue soldier is arrested and led out of the courtroom. The two marines who carried out the orders naturally assume this means they are off the hook. The verdict reading follows:

All rise!

Have you reached a verdict?
- We have, sir. Corporal Dawson and Private Downey. Of the charge of murder, the members find the accused -- not guilty. On the charge of conspiracy to commit murder, the members find the accused -- not guilty. On the charge of conduct unbecoming a US Marine, the members find the accused guilty as charged.

You are sentenced to time already served, and to be dishonourably discharged from the Marines. This court-martial is adjourned.

Downey: What did that mean? Hal? What did that mean? Colonel Jessep said he ordered the Code Red. What did we do wrong?

Dawson: It's not that simple.

Downey: We did nothing wrong!

Dawson: Yeah, we did. We're supposed to fight for people who can't fight for themselves. We were supposed to fight for Willy.

So many parallels here...Part 2 coming soon.


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