Character mistake: Lt. Caffey (Tom Cruise) wants the two marines to plead guilty and take a deal because he doesn't want the to "spend the rest of their lives in Leavenworth (prison)." The United States Disciplinary Barracks is indeed located in Leavenworth, Kansas. And the US Army and US Air Force send convicted felons there to do their time. However, Marines and members of the United States Navy are sent to Portsmouth Naval Prison in New Hampshire. It is run by the Marines.
Col. Nathan R. 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.
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