The Green Zone (2010)
Director: Paul Greengrass.
Starring: Yigal Naor (General Al Rawi), Said Faraj (Seyyed Hamza), Faycal Attougui (Al Rawi Bodyguard). Aymen Hamdouchi (Ayad Hamza), Matt Damon (Miller), Nicoye Banks (Perry), Jerry Della Salla (Wilkins), Sean Huze (Conway), John Roberson (Infantry Sergeant), Troy Brown (Soldier at WMD Site), Raad Rawi (Ahmed Zubaidi), Bijan Daneshmand (Zubaidi's Aide), Amy Ryan (Lawrie Dayne), Greg Kinnear (Clark Poundstone), Bryan Reents (Poundstone Aide), Michael Judge (JMOC Tech), Michael O'Neill (Colonel Bethel), Patrick St. Esprit (Military Intel 2 Star), Allen Vaught (Captain Jonathan Vaught), Paul Rieckhoff (Gonzales), Brendan Gleeson (Martin Brown), Martin McDougall (Brown's Aide), Antoni Corone (Colonel Lyons), Timothy Ahern (General at VTC), Ben Sliney (Bureaucrat at VTC), Whitley Bruner (Senior CIA Man at VTC), Khalid Abdalla (Freddy), Intishal Al Timimi (Hawkish Iraqi), Driss Roukhe (Tahir al-Malik), Muayad Ali (Qasim), Jamal Selmaoui (Hawkish Aide), Mohamed Kafi (Iraqi Officer), Kadhum Sabur (Mystery Man), Hillal Boubker (Qasim Aide), Soumaya Akaaboune (Sanaa), Thamou El Metouani (Seyyed's Housekeeper), Salah Eddine Elamari (Seyyed's Son), Naji El Jouhary (Seyyed's Son), Aroun Benchkaroun (Seyyed's Son), Hajar Machroune (Seyyed's Daughter), Jason Isaacs (Briggs).
army inspector sniff out a huge cover-up while looking for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq
Spoiler Warning: below is a summary of the entire film.
March 19, 2003. Baghdad, Iraq. Shock and Awe bombings. Iraqis are scampering around. General Al Rawi's people help him to get to safety. The general gets in car. Bombs are bursting everywhere around the city.
Four weeks later. Chief Warrant Officer Miller tells his crew of men looking for WMDs that they are looking for a Military Storage Site. More specifically, they are looking for chemical weapons. Shot fired, right side. Miller arrives at the site and he tells the officer in charge that this is a WMD site -- a priority site. Live chemical agents have been reported to be here. The officer has his own problems and lets Miller do what he wants. Miller tells his men that they are going in. A problem is that the place is not secure. There's a sniper that they will have to take out before they can get to the military storage site.
Miller's men locate the sniper and start shooting at him. Miller asks for covering fire so he and some of his men can get into the target building. They eventually kill by firing from two directions at different times.
The guys take a lock off the door and go in with flashlights. They have their gas masks on. There are no readings for chemicals, so they take off their masks and open the doors. This is no WMD site. "The site's empty." Miller asks where did that intelligence come from? He is told that this is American intel. Miller is mad and says that this is the third straight time this has happened.
DOD guys come out to meet leaders of the new Iraqi government to be set up. Clark Poundstone of the Pentagon Special Intelligence Unit tells a friendly reporter, Laurie of the Wall Street Journal that they will find the WMDs and that she shouldn't worry about that.
Miller goes to Colonel Bethel (?) about the intelligence problem and asks what's going on with the intel. He says the intel is no good. All the places they check have no WMDs. The colonel tells Miller not to make any waves about the intel. He adds that is just not the right time to talk about intel.
A Captain Vaught briefs the press on the search for WMDs. Miller brings up the problem with the intel anyway. He asks where they got the intel about the WMDs. Someone mentions that it is from a human source. Miller says the information is not reliable. Last week they went into a site and found it was a toilet factory. Finally the General tells Miller that the sites are vetted, so don't question the intel.
Martin Brown of the CIA tells Miller not to go the site next on his list. It's already been checked and there was nothing there. Brown says Miller is right. Something is wrong with the intel.
Miller tries to get to a different site, but his team gets caught up in a big traffic mess. He tells his men to clear the traffic. That's easier said than done, because the crowd is mad because they want water and can't get any. They are taking out their frustrations by screaming at the American soldiers. .
Coalition Provisional Authority headquarters. Poundstone is there. Martin Brown tells everyone that this Sabides fellow (?) is not reliable. He adds that they just cannot hand the country over to someone who has been in exile for a long period. And he suggests that they work with what's left of the Iraqi Army. If they dismantle the Iraqi army, Marty assures them that they will have civil war in six months.
Gen. Rawi comes to a meeting of the big wigs of the Bathist Party. The news is that Saddam has fled and the Americans occupy the whole country. Someone says that what they decide here will determine the future of Iraq.
Miller looks through his intel. He is informed that an Iraqi civilian wants to talk with the chief. Miller goes over to where a soldier is holding Freddie down on the ground. The chief tells the soldier to get the man off the ground so he can talk to him. He has to wait awhile because this fellow, called Freddie, has to cool down. When he does he says that there was a meeting of some real heavyweights of the Bathist leadership. Miller tells Freddie to come with him. He says he believes Freddie and acknowledges that the men in question could be high value targets. He decides to go with in civilian vehicles so the Bathists won't see them coming a mile away.
In the meeting some men say they must fight hard before it's too late. Gen. Rawi says that streets are full of anarchy and the Americans will eventually realize they need the Bathists snd then they will make a deal with the Americans to share in the running of the country.
Miller and his men grab one man out of a car before he can leave the meeting area and then they take the building. Inside the building a fire fight breaks out. One Iraqis gunman is killed. The general, however, gets away. Miller is told to get upstairs immediately. The women with their children are really mad about all this shooting and are yelling their heads-off at the soldiers. The soldiers managed to catch three men of interest. And after they have run the liscense plate number through the american database they confirm that the car belongs to to Gen Al Rawi, Saddam's top general.
Miller has the highest ranking sit with his back to a wall. His name is Hassam. Miller asks through the translator Freddie how can he find Gen. Al Rawi? Hassam asks if Miller can protect his family? Hassam adds that he will tell Miller what he wants to know if he can protect his family. They find a notebook on Hassam and ask him what's in the book. All of a sudden three helicopters. land, probably sent by Poundstone, and American soldiers jump out. They grab Hassam away from Miller and his team and place a black hood over his face. They also take the two other guys captured by Miller and team. The leader of the soldiers comes back to ask where is the notebook? Miller says he doesn't know what the guy is talking about. So the guy pops him in the nose. Miller now attacks the aggressor and struggles with him. He manages to pass off the notebook to the translator and Freddie takes off. Miller and the aggressor are pulled apart and the helicopters. Miller wants Freddie found. They finally catch up with Freddie and Miller asks him why is he running from them? Freddie wants to know why are they chasing him? Miller finds out that Freddie has a prosthetic leg. He says he lost his left lower leg in Iran in 1987. He says he isn't doing this for money. Freddie wants a better life for himself and for his country.
Miller telephones Brown and tells him about Gen. Al Rawi, the jack of clubs in decks of cards with the most wanted Iraqi's faces printed on them. Miller asks if Freddie wants a job? Freddie says yes and Miller says good, get in your car and follow us.
Laurie speaks with Poundstone asking him for the identity of this Magellan character (the source of the intel information). She adds that she may have to find someone else who can find this Magellan for her.
Miller comes to the pool in the green zone where soldiers are having Dominos pizza and beer. He goes up to agent Brown and talk with him for awhile. He slips to Brown the notebook belonging to Hamsa. Brown takes the notebook and quickly leaves to check it out. Laurie goes over to Miller and asks you're with the WMD unit, aren't you? She says it just doesn't make any sense that his unit is always coming up short on the WMDs. She says: "If you find anything, call me." Miller answers: "I'll keep it in mind."
Miller checks out the articles written by Laurie about WMDs in Iraq. The articles all are positive about the idea that the WMDs will soon be found. She mentions that she got a lot of her information from Magellan.
An interrogator is really grilling Hamsa. He is being brow-beaten. The interrogator tells him that he needs to know where Gen. Raw is. He wants an address. Hasam tells him to find the note, because it contains the names and places of Rawi's safe houses.
Greg to chief miller. pentagon special intelligence unit Greg. lifted a notebook from him? asks Martin Brown says Miller. Marty is a dinosaur. I can bet you a promotion. "I'll keep it in mind." Miller to Marty about talking with Greg. Who is Magellan? Going to make a deal with Rawi? Give him a million dollars in cash and will get Hamsa's family out of Iraq.
Poundstone just loves telling Miller that he has been transferred back to his old unit. He says: "You chose the wrong side." Poundstone's men go to the offices of Brown in order to find the notebook. In a couple of minutes the men find the book.
Miller and Freddy go down to where the prison is. They go into see a fellow named Abdullah. The fellow wants to know why did they brought him here to the prison? Miller later tells Freddie the reason: it's because he was a member of the Republican Guard. Now they go to Hamsa. Hamsa is really beaten up badly. Miller calls for a medic. Miller wants to know where was the meeting held with this Magellan character? Jordan, says Hamsa. The medic comes in to examine Hamsa.
Poundstone's men in black ski masks hit a safe house with a concussion grenade and shoot the guards. They ask a man they did not shoot where is Rawi? The fellow says he doesn't know and even if he did he wouldn't tell them. So Poundstone's men shoot the guy in the head. .
Miller says to Laurie that he read her articles and he needs to know who is this Magellan? And how does Laurie know what he's saying is true? Miller blurts out: "Magellan's intel is bullshit." In fact, he suspects that Poundstone just made up this Magellan character to throw people off the scent. Laurie says she won't talk about her sources. Miller then asks her how does she write something that's not true? What do you know? She says a senior official gave her an intel repor. Miller asks about the meeting having been in Jordan, wasn't it? She says, yes. So now Miller is thinking that Al Rawi is Magellan. Miller tells Marty. Miller asks what if Rawi told them the Americans that there are no WMDs in Iraq?
Miller gets confirmation that Al Rawi and Poundstone were in Jordan on Feb. 5, 2003. This was three days before Magellan came on line.
Poundstone is hunting Al Rawi. His men kill two body guards. Now they chase down their real target Al Malik. Miller or someone else shoots the fellow about to shoot his target figure. Miller talks to the target and tells him he needs to get a message to Al Rawi. He needs to meet him tonight. He lets Al Malik go so he can tell Al Raw the message. Freddy doesn't like the idea of working with Al Rawi. Miller tells him: "I just need you to do your job tonight, Freddy.
Al Malik tells Al Rawi that Quasim has been killed. He adds that he was about to be killed, but an American soldier saved him. And this fellow Miller wants to meet Al Rawi. .
President George W. Bush is on the USS Abraham Lincoln. He says that major combat operations in Iraq are over and that the Allies have prevailed.
Poundstone's men in a helicopter follow Miller and his group of men to the meeting with Al Rawi. Poundstone gives the order to eliminate Al Rawi. And what about Miller? Poundstone just says that Miller cannot be allowed to get to Al Rawi.
Poundstone has called a press briefing.
Milller goes alone into an area filled with trucks and buses -- the Adamea bus depot. Someone hisses to Miller and Miller follows the guy. He can talk to his men via communications. He says he is going out central alley west.
At the press briefing Poundstone's man announces the disbandment of all Iraq's remaining military forces This includes the dismantling of both military and para-military groups.
Miller moves southwest. The guy he is pursuing runs around a corner Miller is soon telling his team: "I lost contact! I lost contact!" Miller starts running to see if he can catch up with the man, but all of a sudden two cars cut him off. Miller is grabbed and thrown into one of the cars.
Freddy retrieves a pistol from his car. The helicopters sights the two vehicles moving rapidly. The helicopter lands because the guys inside said they will now go on foot.
Al Rawi interrogates Miller. He is very suspicious of Miller who talks about programs involving WMDs. He asks Miller: "What programs?" He says they dismantled everything after 1971. Miller informs the general that Pentagon officials lied about what the general told Poundstone telling the higher-ups reported that the general said they do have WMDs. The general suggests: "Your government wanted to hear the lie, Mr. Miller. And this, he says, is why Miller is here now.
A lookout informs the general and his men that the Americans are coming. The general tells one man to stay behind and kill Miller. Once Miller is alone with just with one fellow, he kills his guard. Poundstone's team gets into the building and there is a lot of shooting. When the Iraqis see Miller free they shout out to kill the American! A firefight breaks out between the two sides and both sides suffer casualties.
The helicopter is tracking the general and his body guard through the streets of Baghdad. Wherever they go, there is the helicopter. So the Iraqis take out the helicopter with a ground to air missile and the copter goes down. Now it's a race between Miller and Poundstone's team letter to see who can get to the general first. Nearing the general Miller dives onto the team leader. The team leader wins the struggle and is about to shoot the general, when the general's body guard kills the American team leader. Now Miller can take a little rest before trying to convince the general to come with him. All of a sudden, Freddy appears and he shoots the general numerous times. Miller shouts at Freddy: "What the fuck did you do?" Freddy says: "It's not up to you to decide what will happen here."
Chief Miller writes up his report on WMDs on his computer in his hotel room.
The new Iraqi leadership meets with other Iraqis. Meanwhile, Miller comes up to Poundstone and gives him a copy of his report. Poundstone asks Miller what's the point of this report, since no one is going to believe Miller anyway. So it really doesn't matter.
At the meeting the leadership meeting, man Iraqis call the selected Iraqi leader an American puppet.
Laurie reads her e-mail from Miller. There he has the full report he wrote on line. Then she sees that Miller has forwarded it to the really large news organizations. The report is partly entitled Falsification of WMDs . . .
This is mostly fiction, but it makes the point that the idea of Saddam Hussein having WMDs was largely a lie as a result of intelligence people vigorously trying to tell Bush and Cheney what they knew they wanted to hear. The end result is that the executive branch of government got the report it wanted and had their prejudices and suspicions confirmed for them. Bush probably was convinced there were WMDs in Iraq. He was not lying about that. The lies arose because Bush communicated to the intelligence community what he wanted and expected to find and that's exactly what he got. So Bush was indirectly a liar because he communicated what he wanted to find. There was no independent intelligence reporting because the agents were not protected from political interference. Garbage in, garbage out. A lie in, a lie out. It's actually worse that Bush was only indirectly a liar, because he managed to fool himself. He couldn't tell the lies from the truth because that's the way he set up the process. A man who fools himself is a fool indeed. Matt Damon and Greg Kinnear were both very good in their roles. The film itself is a good mystery/action film.
Patrick Louis Cooney, Ph. D.
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