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A Few Good Men

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Charlotte Barrow

on 18 July 2014

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Transcript of A Few Good Men

A Few Good Men
A Few Good Men revolves around the the court martial of two U.S. Marines who are charged with the murder of a fellow marine. It follows their lawyer and the tribulations he is faced with as he prepares a case to defend his clients.
Blind Loyalty
Lieutenant Junior Grade Danial Kaffee
Lt Danial Kaffee is a young lawyer who graduated from Harvard Law and followed in his dead father's footsteps by becoming a lawyer for the Navy. His father, Lionel Kaffee, was a former Navy Judge Advocate and Attorney General, of the United States. He was one of the best court room lawyers that the Navy had ever seen. Danial Kaffee feels as if these are rather big shoes to fill and is rather unenthusiastic about his job. He has settled all of his cases without the need to enter a court. Others just feel as if he is buying his time so that he can leave the Navy and get a "real job." No one, however, is able to overlook that he is a brilliant lawyer and has closed 44 cases in 9 months, even if he is terrified of disappointing his "old man." He is the lawyer who is given the Dawson, Downy case and is completely prepared to settle outside of court as he believes that they would lose once the set foot in a courtroom. He doesn't care about what he believes is right but only what he can prove.
Lieutenant Commander JoAnne Galloway
Lt JoAnne Galloway is Special Council for Internal Affairs in the Navy. She is the one who believes that the murder of PFC William Santiago was a 'code red' and not merely a random act. She petitions to be council for the two marines accused of murdering Santiago. She is refused and the case is given to Kaffee. She keeps an eye on Kaffee as he takes on the case and is later employed by one of the accused aunts as his lawyer. She has a strong sense of what is right and fully intends on seeing that innocent men are not punished. She is head strong and often rushes into things based on her emotions rather then her evidence.
Colonel Nathan Jessup
Private First Class Louden Downey
Lance Corporal Harold Dawson
Cl. Nathan Jessop is the commanding officer at Gitmo (Guantanamo Bay) and is a very high ranking officer who has a brilliant track record. He is being considered for an extremely high position in the government and has a hard personality. He believes in the way that he runs his base and does not always follow the law, or take advice from others who he believe are below him.
Lance Corporal Harold Dawson is highest ranked officer in his specific unit. He is on trial for his life as he is accused of murdering William Santiagio, another man in his unit. He is passionate about being a marine and truly believes that he is not in the wrong. He rejects settling because he does not want a dishonorable discharge form the corps, not because he doesn't want jail time. He pushes going to court as he believes that he will be proven not guilty as he has done nothing wrong and was just following orders.
PFC. Louden Downey is ranked below Dawson and is also accused of murdering William Santiago. Downey is withdrawn and only answers to orders or somebody who he trusts immensely. This is because he is mentally 'challenged'.
1. Do you think that Dawson and Downey should be charged with murder?
3. What is your opinion on code reds?
2. Is it ever ok to withhold the truth?
Private First Class William Santiago
William Santiago is a Marine stationed at Gitmo who has requested a transfer numerous time. He goes outside his unit and station and sends a transfer request to someone outside of Gitmo. At the commencement of the movie he is restrained by Dawson and Downey and they shove a rag down his throat. It is this rag that kills him.
In this movie Cl. Jessup withholds the truth from the court as he believes that he was doing his duty in protecting his country.
'You can't handle the truth' 2009, YouTube, available at <http://www.youtube.com/>
'Photos of A Few Good Men' 2013, Listal, available at <http://www.listal.com/movie/few-good-men/pictures/2>
Dawson and Downey follow orders without questioning them or their origin.
Jessup though he put Downey and Dawson in danger was saving the lives of many others.
Withholding the truth could have resulted in Dawson and Downey being wrongly charged.
In everday life it is 'the right thing to do.'
By withholding the truth Jessup endangered 2 marines but may have saved the reputation of the whole corps
Code Red
Though in everyday life we see lying as wrong. Is it fair to judge Jessup's decisions without being in his situation
In case of the armed services, when men don't follow orders others die.
Jessup, though he believes in protecting people, put two marines in danger in order to protect himself
Blind loyalty eradicates your moral compass causing unjust events to occur. In Dawson and Downey's case, they should have protected the person who couldn't protect themselves. Instead, they followed orders and and this resulted in Santiago's death.
Blind loyalty is against fundamental human instinct. Is it right to ask someone to go against there instinct of self preservation?
Dawson and Downey are both on trail for their lives because they didn't question orders. They followed an order which put them in the wrong in the eyes of the law. They, however, do not understand what they did wrong as they they were merely following their superior. This act, however, has sullied their reputation for the remainder of their lives.
The marines are built on a solid hierarchy system which demands blind loyalty. As Jessup states in the movie, men need to be able to follow orders without hesitation in order to succeed in their role of protecting people.
Blind loyalty is a display of trust and for an army to be successful and cohesive they need to be able to trust other members, and trust the decisions that they make. When they don't, these organizations tend to disintegrate or not function to their full potential. This is seen when marines start questioning Jessup's authority. In an army one should be able to trust all other members and therefore follow them without question.
Should officers follow orders blindly?
Should the truth be withheld to protect others?
Full transcript