Sunday, October 29, 2006

Legal Careers: JAG - "You Can't Handle the Truth"

It was a legal movie weekend for me (and for my wife - nice for a change). We watched A Few Good Men yesterday. I haven't seen that movie since it came out in 1992. Quite a cast - Tom Cruise, Demi Moore, Jack Nicholson, Kevin Bacon, Keifer Sutherland, Cuba Gooding Jr.

When I saw it in 1992, it probably made an impression on me because I was a big Jack Nicholson fan. Who wouldn't get excited by his speach which he was under examination by the Tom Cruise character. "You Can't Handle the Truth" - man, that was cool. But, all of the legal nuances would have gone right over my head at that time. This time around, I actually understood what was going on (for the most part - the dialogue and plot are relatively complex). I still had some difficulty understanding a lot of the lingo, even though I did a stint in the Military in my more youthful years.

What I found fascinating this time around was the role and lifestyle and particular job description of JAG lawyers. JAG stands for Judge Advocate General, something most of us are unfamiliar with, except those gals that like to drool over the T.V. show JAG (which I could only stand to watch for about 15 minutes one time).

I thought it would be a good idea to do a little research on how to become a JAG in Canada. So, I'll try to do that tomorrow and post what I have found. If you know anything about it, please feel free to post your info in a comment here. Thanks.

For those who loved the movie, I give you the best part. For those who haven't seen it, please skip this part:

You want answers?
I think I'm entitled.
Jessep: You want answers?!
Kaffee: I want the truth!
Jessep: You can't handle the truth!
Jessep: Son, we live in a world that has walls, and those walls have to be guarded by men with guns. Who's gonna do it? You?! You, Lieutenant Weinberg?! I have a greater responsibility than you can possibly fathom. You weep for Santiago and you curse the Marines. You have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what I know: that Santiago's death, while tragic, probably saved lives. And my existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, saves lives! You don't want the truth because deep down in places you don't talk about at parties, you want me on that wall! You need me on that wall! We use words like honor, code, loyalty. We use these words as the backbone of a life spent defending something. You use them as a punchline. I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very freedom that I provide, and then questions the manner in which I provide it! I would rather you just said, "Thank you," and went on your way. Otherwise, I suggest you pick up a weapon and stand a post. Either way, I don't give a damn what you think you are entitled to!
Kaffee: Did you order the Code Red?
Jessep: I did the job I was sent to do--
Kaffee: Did you order the Code Red?!
Jessep: (shouting) You're goddamn right I did!!
[stunned silence]
Kaffee: Please the court, I suggest the members be dismissed, so that we can move to an immediate article 39A session. The witness has rights.

I also wouldn't mind talking about the Code Red thing. I experienced that in the Military, and can give some personal accounts. But I also wonder what the current status on Code Red activities is, both in the USA and Canada.

1 comment:

Lawyerlike said...

Cmon, the best part has to be where Kaffee explodes with "thanks for playing 'Should We, Or Should We Not, Take the Advice of the GALACTICALLY STUPID?'!"

You can usually measure the greatness of a Tom Cruise film with how angry his character gets.