American Rhetoric: Movie Speech

"10 Days To War" (2008)


Lieutenant Colonel Collins Eve-of-Battle Speech to the Royal Irish Regiment's First Battalion


We are going into Iraq to liberate -- and not to conquer.

We will not fly our flags in their country.

Now, there are some who are alive at this moment who will not be alive shortly. Those of them who do not wish to go on that journey, we will not send them.

As for the others, I expect you to rock their world! Wipe them out, if that's what they choose.

If you are ferocious in battle remember to be magnanimous in victory. Iraq is steeped in history. It is the site of the Garden of Eden, of the Great Flood. It is the birthplace of Abraham.

You tread...You tread lightly there.

You'll have to go a long way to find a more decent, generous, and upright people than the Iraqis. You'll be embarrassed at the hospitality they offer you, even though they have nothing. Do not treat them as refugees in their own country.

Now, if there are casualties of war remember that when they got up this
morning and got dressed, they did not plan to die this day. So allow them dignity in death. Bury them with due reverence and properly mark their graves.

It remains my foremost intention to bring every single one of you out alive. But there may be those among us who will not see the end of this campaign, and we will -- we will put them in their sleeping bags, and we will send them back, and there will be no time for sorrow. We will grieve for them later.

The enemy should be in no doubt that we are his nemesis, and we are bringing about his rightful destruction. But remember, it is a big step to take another human life. It is not to be done lightly.

I know of men who have taken life needlessly in other conflicts. I can assure you they live with the mark of Cain upon them. And I know your Ma's will be in the queue at the co-op next week, and they won't want you to let them down.

Let's bring everybody home safely and leave Iraq a better place for us having been there.

Our business now is North.

Good luck.

See also: The actual speech from the real Lt Col Collins.

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HTML transcription by Michael E. Eidenmuller.