Rules of Engagement (2000) Poster

Tommy Lee Jones: Hodges



  • Colonel Hayes Hodges : You ever had a pissed-off Marine on your ass?

    National Security Advisor William Sokal : Is that a threat?

    Colonel Hayes Hodges : Oh, yes, sir.

  • Colonel Hayes Hodges : I'll make you a deal. If you can tell me right now what the life expectancy was for second lieutenant dropped into a hot LZ in Vietnam in 1968, I'll tell you everything I remember about Ca Lu.

    Major Mark Biggs : One week.

    Colonel Hayes Hodges : Negative. Sixteen minutes. Sixteen fucking minutes. That's all I remember about Ca Lu.

  • Colonel Hayes Hodges : [final arguments of the defense] 

    Colonel Hayes Hodges : [presenting a photo of the embassy to juries]  That is sovereign United States territory as much as if it were in Ohio or Maryland. Colonel Childers didn't volunteer to go over there, he was ordered to go over there because he was the best man for the job. We armed him, we trained him, we sent him over there to risk his life to save other Americans and then ask him not to return fire? There are over three hundred bullet holes in this building. Colonel Childers didn't open fire, he returned fire. And he waited until after three of his Marines were dead and another lay mortally wounded. He waited until he was personally under heavy fire. He waited until he saw that crowd holding weapons, only then did he order his men to return fire. Under the Rules of Engagement, a civilian pointing a weapon is no longer a civilian and the use of deadly force is authorized in order to save lives. It's not murder, it's combat. Colonel Childers is the only man alive who was in a position to see that crowd, but the camera on the Embassy roof had the same point of view. The Government would have you believe there is no tape from that camera. I have shown you that that tape was delivered to the State Department, do you believe that that tape got up and walked out of the State Department on its own? By not producing that tape, the National Security Advisor, Mr. Sokal, has brought dishonor into this court. Without that tape, I cannot show you that the crowd fired first and that Colonel Childers is innocent. But without that tape, they cannot prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he's guilty. Here's my case, it's all I've got. Thirty-two years of service, thirty-two years of heroism as a United States Marine, regardless of what you decide here, Colonel Childers' career as a marine is over. He will never again command men in combat. The Ambassador and his family are alive today because of him, and I know how the Ambassador feels because Colonel Childers saved my life too. I am alive today only because of him! I'm alive today and I have a son, because of the heroism of Colonel Childers. To ask this man to risk his life for his country, to ask this man to watch his Marines die in his arms and call it murder when he's defending himself, to call it murder for firing back when being fired upon, to call it murder for saving the lives of his countrymen under the most extreme of circumstances, that's... my fellow Marines... that's hanging him out to dry... and it's worse than leaving him wounded on a battle field. That is something you do not do if you are a United States Marine, and it is something I pray to God you won't do here either.

  • Colonel Hayes Hodges : If this gets bad, it gets bad for both of us.

    Colonel Terry L. Childers : Why, Hodge? Are you going to jail too?

  • Colonel Hayes Hodges : The guy's a real Marine, dad. I mean, if they can do this to him, just hang him out to dry, they... they can do it to anybody. Forget that he's my friend, they can do it to anybody. And that means, that YOUR medals and YOUR citations won't mean jack shit when they come after you.

  • Colonel Terry L. Childers : Listen... when I turned 18, I joined the Marine Corps, I ASKED to be in the Infantry, I ASKED to go to Vietnam...

    Colonel Hayes Hodges : Terry...

    Colonel Terry L. Childers : I live for the privelidge of commanding troops, I think it's the greatest honor an American can have...

    Colonel Hayes Hodges : Terry...

    Colonel Terry L. Childers : Do you know how many birthdays and Christmases I missed spent rotting in jungles or in the desert just so you could play war at ROTC?

    Colonel Hayes Hodges : CHILDERS! You got to keep your shit together here, man. Your court martial boys is going to be made up of people who might have spent one day in Grenada, maybe two days in Kuwait, they're going to be beach boys who've never been anywhere near combat, they're going to be people like Tom Chandler sitting right here in front of you. That's who you're making your case to.

    Tom Chandler : We don't have anybody to back up your case.

    Colonel Terry L. Childers : That's because all my witnesses are dead.

See also

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