War Machine (2017)
President Karzai: 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- uhh, one minute he was here- uh, next minute, not here.
Gen. Glen McMahon: Ah. Well, Mr. President, I think our government simply felt it was time our effort took a new direction.
President Karzai: And uh, what is this new direction?
Gen. Glen McMahon: Ah! It's most important to me that we *build* Afghanistan. Together, we build Afghanistan into a free and prosperous nation, free from fear and conflict.
President Karzai: I see.
Gen. Glen McMahon: Yeah.
President Karzai: I see. Sounds a lot like the *old* direction.
Gen. Glen McMahon: We hope to launch Operation Moshtarak *tonight*. I need your official consent before doing so.
President Karzai: [surprised] Really?
Gen. Glen McMahon: Yes, sir.
President Karzai: Why?
Gen. Glen McMahon: Because it's your mission.
President Karzai: It is?
Gen. Glen McMahon: Yes, sir!
President Karzai: Ah. No one has ever asked me to approve a mission before.
Gen. Glen McMahon: 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-
[the President sneezes loudly and one of his nose tampons fly off]
Gen. Glen McMahon: I don't mean to be rude, Mr. President, uhm, but it is *imperative* that you begin to take a leadership role here. We cannot win this thing alone.
[the President shakes his head adamantly, captured by Glen's pep talk]
Gen. Glen McMahon: Without your active involvement, our presence here will never be anything more than a foreign occupation! This is *your war*.
[the President nods]
Gen. Glen McMahon: For your country!
[the President nods again]
Gen. Glen McMahon: Your people!
[the President nods once more]
Gen. Glen McMahon: Again, I'm sorry sir, but you need to- behave like a leader.
President Karzai: But I am behaving like a leader! I'm unavailable. I am as unavailable to you as is your own president. Hm?
[Glen clears his throat uncomfortably]
President Karzai: 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.
[the President turns the TV back on]
Sean Cullen: [voiceover] The thing about counterinsurgency is that it doesn't really work. We tried it in Viet Nam. 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.
Gen. Glen McMahon: General.
[shakes his hand]
British Officer: We're all... very excited to see you here; it's an honor to meet you.
Gen. Glen McMahon: I'm excited to be here. Ain't that right, Greg?
Greg Pulver: Yes indeed, sir, you're very excited.
Sean Cullen: 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.
Sean Cullen: [voiceover] 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.
[Glen is briefing government officials on the mission in a conference room in Berlin, talking about counterinsurgency]
Gen. Glen McMahon: [to an audience member with her hand up] Yes ma'am.
German Politician: [with heavy German accent] General, the US invaded Afghanistan because of the Al-Qaeda attacks on September 11th. This is correct, yes?
Gen. Glen McMahon: Uh, yeah.
German Politician: You have been speaking to us now for 45 minutes.
[Someone in the back says "Lauter bitte"]
Gen. Glen McMahon: Oh, uh, where is the- uh... Oh thank you.
German Politician: [takes the microphone] Thank you.
[Says something in German to someone off screen, then turns to Glen]
German Politician: You have been speaking to us now for 45 minutes, and yet in all of that time, you have only mentioned Al-Qaeda once.
[Scott Cullen scoffs and takes out his pen]
German Politician: Your own vice president has advocated a much smaller and simpler counter-terrorism 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 was in the first place.
Gen. Glen McMahon: Ah!
German Politician: [interrupting Glen] Your analysis of the insurgency there suggests to me that 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.
Gen. Glen McMahon: [to the group of marines] 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 actually where it 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.
[to Billy, who raises his hand]
Gen. Glen McMahon: Yes son?
Cpl. Billy Cole: If what doesn't happen, sir?
Gen. Glen McMahon: *It*, son.
Cpl. Billy Cole: Okay, thank you, sir.
Gen. Glen McMahon: Does anyone here know what "it" is? Anyone?
Gen. Glen McMahon: *Any* one?
[points to Ricky who's raised his hand]
Ricky Ortega: To- uh, secure the area, sir? To protect the people from the enemy so they can go about building their lives.
Gen. Glen McMahon: Okay. O-kay. Thank you, Sarge.
Cpl. Billy Cole: Okay, but I can't tell the difference between the people and the enemy. They all look alike to me. I'm sure they're the same people, sir.
Sean Cullen: Men are imperfect creatures. Left to their own devices all they really wanna do is play with their dicks and eat chicken.
Gen. Glen McMahon: Let me tell you want 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!
[slams on the table simultaneously]
Gen. Glen McMahon: How's that sound Tom Howard?
Tom Howard: [stands] I'm sorry sir.
[glances across the table and to Jeannie McMahon]
Tom Howard: Ma'am.
Gen. Glen McMahon: Let's say you have ten insurgents. Huh? 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? Right? Wrong! 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. Yeah. And so, in the math of counterinsurgency, ten minus two... equals 20.