FF139 - Path to War

Intro by Ben Harrison

Vietnam films were a new breed of war film, and I am not just talking about the film specifically about Vietnam. The stakes of World War II were so high and the Greatest Generation's disposition as a people so specifically stoic, that the films they themselves made about their war were imbued with a reverence. These were important stories told about a good war, a war in which 73 million people died, and that touched the lives of almost everyone on Earth.

Even in corny adventure films about World War II the necessity of the war wasn't one of the questions the filmmakers set out to ask, but by the time the Vietnam War kicked off, some of the luster had worn off of telling war stories. That is why so many of the World War II films we have watched from the late 1960s onward feel like they are trying to relitigate things. They are grappling with issues presented by war for their contemporary audiences in the safe confines of a war that didn't make us wonder: ”Are we the baddies?”

The American self-image, at least for the subset of Americans whose socio-economic, religious, and ethnic identities have traditionally been pandered to by our culture, has always been one of being The Good Guys. We are the country that was founded by the guys that landed here and had a nice Thanksgiving dinner with the Indians, but then we saw the injustice of tea taxes and we dumped the tea in the harbor and have been fighting injustice ever since. Like that time we fought to defeat slavery, or that time we came to the rescue twice and two back to back world wars. The long arc of history bends toward justice and it is hard to fight for justice, but we always do it because: ”Gosh darn it! We are The Good Guys!”

You get the sense that that is not just a majority opinion, but a kind of orthodoxy among a certain kind of older American, and frankly, if you lived through the Great War, the Great Depression, and the Great War II: The Secret of the Ooze, you might never have encountered a challenge to that assumption, even if you were a genius and a once in a lifetime political phenom like Lyndon Baines Johnson. The question ”Are we the baddies?” was almost incompatible with the version of the OS he was running on.

The other thing that changed about films in the Vietnam era was how rugged they got. This reached its apotheosis later when Oliver Stone started to polemicize the war, but you could see it as early as the Johnson years: A Vietnam era film is often sweaty, bloody and brutal, but today's film takes an entirely different approach. It tells the story of the war from the perspective of the White House and the decision-makers who committed us to the quagmire. Every choice was made honestly, and every argument was made in good faith by members of the Greatest Generation who imagine themselves to be The Good Guys.

Today we got a 2002 John Frankenheimer film, exploring how The Good Guys could have broken so bad. ”I know they are losing! I don't need a Phi Beta Kappa to know they are losing! Anyone smart enough to pour piss out of a boot knows they are losing!” Today on Friendly Fire: Path to War.


B: Welcome to Friendly Fire, the war movie podcast that has been tossed about more than a dollar whore at a port of call. I am Ben Harrison,…

A: …, I am Adam Pranica,…

J: …, and I am John Roderick.

A: Pretty soapy language, there!

B: You are not supposed to say that word anymore, but it is a quote from the film, it is not my word!

J: You are not supposed to say whore anymore?

B: Yeah, I think you are supposed to say ”a sex worker that is priced to move”!

J: There are so many great poems and sailors' ditties that are canceled!

A: None of them are going to rhyme anymore! John, you are the songwriter, what rhymes with sex worker?

J: Herp derper?

A: Right! There you go! That's it! It is the only thing!

J: That is all you got!

The casting of LBJ

B: This movie definitely starts with a scene that is designed to impress you with the cast that got together. A lot of these HBO films are like: ”All right, we don't have the budget to make our own Vietnam footage, so we will use stock footage of that, but what we do have is a great big ballroom that we smoked up and put 43 That Guys in tuxedos to walk around in.

A: It really sets the tone!

J: It really does!

B: It is amazing! Michael Gambon was a great LBJ, in my opinion!

A: Totally!

What is it going to take to get Ho Chi Min to quit. That is all I want to know!

J: The accent never came all the way there and by hour 2 of the movie I was invested in him as LBJ, but LBJ’s way of speaking was just so unique and Gambon would slide into British. That has got to be the hardest accent: West Texas? It just got to be!

Moment of pedantry about LBJ’s accent

B: Actually, John, that smashes right into the the IMDB goof that I found for this episode: A pedant notice that ”Lyndon B. Johnson was a native of Texas, however Michael Gambon’s native British accent occasionally slips in, particularly in the pronunciation of some words like ”taught”, ”fought”, ”should”, or ”hurt”, and the use of some terms that would be unfamiliar to an American, such as gobbledegook,” which is an insane thing for an Internet pedant to write because gobbledegook derives from United States slang.

J: It was coined by a Texas congressman!

B: Texas politician Maury Maverick, the guy that gave us the word Maverick! He also gave us the word gobbledegook!

A: Downvote this pedant! ”Mark as inappropriate!”

B: ”Did not find this interesting!”

The casting of LBJ (continued)

A: I was really impressed with how much work a haircut and the right glasses do in making a person look like another person, and later on in the film Lyndon Johnson's glasses did a ton of the heavy lifting. Glasses and posture…

B: …, and Brylcreem!

That is a hell of a combination!

A: Yeah, it feels like the film got more believably Lyndon Johnson as it went.

B: I thought that McNamara was also the same exact list of things: the slicked-back hair, the right glasses, and suddenly Alec Baldwin looks like McNamara.

The 1960s hairstyle, people not taking a shower every day

A: Hey, if you lived in the 1960s and you were an adult man, did you take a shower before bed every night or did you go to bed with your greased-up hair on the pillow every night?

B: You do a hairnet like George Clooney and O Brother, Where Art Thou!

J: It is funny, Adam, that you ask that because taking a shower every day only became a thing that people did in the 1980s. In a lot of cases people took a shower pretty commonly once a week because if you took a shower more often than that, you had to redo all your hair.

A: So the benefit of this hairstyle is that you do it once? You set it and forget it for the rest of the week?

J: You put that stuff in there and then all you need to do is run a comb through it. But this was true of lady hair, too: You get your hair done and then you put it up at night and then you wash it at the end of the week and you get it done again.

A: Would you stick your neck on a foam roller to keep it up off of the pillow? I just don't understand how you don’t wake up with crazy-ass hair every morning and a pillow that just looks like an atrocity, that looks like a used diaper.

B: You still got the stuff in the hair, but you just pull a comb through it!

J: You pull a comb through it, and this is also probably during a time when although you only showered once a week, you changed your pillowcases every so often, unlike today where you wash your hair every day, but you change your pillowcases once a month.

B: This is back when they called it bed clothes.

J: I remember in the 1980s when I was going through puberty and started to take a shower every day and my mom was incredulous: ”You are taking another shower?”, and I am like: ”Yeah, today's shower!” and she is like: ”You kids today with your crazy ways!”

A: ”What is that sound I keep hearing while you are in the shower? That doesn't sound like showering to me!”

J: It was my motorized U-boat: ”Brrrrrrr… Dive! Dive!”

A: That torpedo tube in that toy should get a lot of action in those days.

J: It was medium-sized U-boat, big enough for the tub, not big enough for anything weird.

Reply to Fog of War, the McNamera character

J: It is interesting… This movie is a reply movie to the documentary The Fog of War.

B: I think this movie came out right before Fog of War.

J: Oh, did it really?

B: Yeah, I think this is 2002 and Fog of War came out in 2003.

J: Oh, no kidding! Wow!

B: They were speaking to each other for sure. You are not alone having picked up on that because that whole arc with McNamara being super hawkish almost feels like this movie is making the case that he had his will broken to some extent, seeing the protests day after day and getting less and less sure of himself as his strategies just didn't pan out the way his calculations said that they would. McNamara being the secretary of defense that unlike Donald Rumsfeld repented for what he did.

A: It has been a long time since I have seen Fog of War, but it does make me want to go back and watch it again, if it were a reply to this film. I really felt like Path of War presented both LBJ and McNamara as sympathetic figures, oddly. McNamara couldn't get out of the way of his nature as an analyst first and everything else that a human being is second. Honestly, that sounds super cutting, but I felt sorry for him through much of the film because he didn't seem like he had all of the qualities that a person has. It felt like something was missing to him and I feel like the reason we kept cutting to his relationship with his wife was a way to further emphasize that. He was so determined to see the thing through analytically that there was no room for emotion and LBJ was almost exactly the opposite. He was hyper-emotional and he couldn't go the other direction.

B: This as much as anything is a movie that is about what a bad situation it would be to have a petty in vain person in the Oval Office.

A: Right! Well, if McNamara felt like he needed to respond to this film it just makes me wonder in what way he attempted to do that. Was his position: ”I actually did have feelings and I felt very bad about all of the things I was complicit in!”, or: ”You just don't understand what that job is, man, and I am here to tell you!” I wish I had seen that film more recently to say. It makes me want to see it!

B: I remember that I came away from Fog of War pretty surprised at how much regret McNamara expressed and how toward the end of his life he came to understand at how many points he had completely misunderstood what the North Vietnamese were doing. It is shown in this movie, too: He and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff cannot get out of their head the idea that: ”If we destroy their fuel supply, that will completely eliminate their ability to keep prosecuting this war!” because they are thinking of the North Vietnamese as being a conventional army and all of their calculations are based on a faulty assumption and all of the things that they see the Vietnamese doing they can trace back to motivations of a conventional army that aren't the actual motivations of what they are doing.

A: A post-Vietnam McNamara is such an interesting character. Did you guys read that someone attempted to kill him by throwing him off of a ferry and he didn't press charges against the guy because he was like: ”Yeah, I totally understand where he was coming from!”

B: I would throw me off a ferry, too.

A: It is incredible! He lived for a long time afterward and he had to live with his decisions publicly.

I know, sir. I am afraid we did lose one plane!

The characters of LBJ and McNamera in real life

B: This movie was hard to watch. It is really long. It is not super-compelling. It is not a fun 2 hours and 45 minutes.

A: This is a kind of movie, though, and for its kind it was great.

B: It is ”a descent into”, and that is one of my least favorite genres, but the fact that it is historical is also infuriating because we are watching LBJ bang himself against the hallways in the White House, not wanting to do this stuff and yet feeling compelled to do it and never having the moral courage to be like: ”All right, we have taken this way too far and we need to shut it down and stop!” That fucking really happened! We don't have good social programs in this country, we have dog shit education, we have a dog shit social safety net because of these decisions and people that thought that they could continue to make this kind of decisions in administrations that followed this.

J: Yeah, the movie lets LBJ off the hook a lot more than history will, in the sense that it makes LBJ feel like a little bit of a patsy. It really plays up the degree to which these decisions were being recommended to him by his brainy cohort and he is just like: ”Well, I want to get back to civil rights, but my advisors keep pushing me into war!” LBJ was an incredibly energetic president and he wanted to do everything and his Great Society programs in a lot of ways do form the backbone of what we think of as the social services of today. Without LBJ there wouldn't be a lot of… the whole concept of public housing… there were a lot of things that came about as a result of LBJ’s interest in social services or civil rights. He was trying to build a great society! He didn't get pulled into Vietnam by McNamara and this movie shows this relationship as McNamara being a super-hawk and LBJ being like: ”What really? Can't I get back to my civil rights legislation?”

B: It really pits Nam versus the Voting Rights Act: ”Which do you want to do? You have to pick!”

J: But McNamara was not a super hawk. McNamara was one of the guys in the room during the Cuban missile crisis and in a lot of ways we owe our civilization to a handful of people there and he was one of them, one of the level heads. McNamara was not a warmonger…. Why wait a minute, let me just pull that statement back! Watching this was maybe the first time in my life that briefly the thought flitted through my mind, like: ”God! Vietnam! Who gives a shit anymore?” and it startled me to have the thought because Vietnam has been at the center of my life in terms of politics.

A: I love that you edited yourself to say that!

J: In a way this movie, the boringness of it or whatever, to a Boomer or an old Generation X-er, we know all these characters, we know this all, and watching this… we have heard all these these terms and we have watched all this play out in so many conversations and so many documentaries and newspaper editorials our whole lives.

But we won't get out, Bob. We will double our bets and get massacred in the rice paddies!

J: We watch all these people go home at night and put on their bedclothes, or whatever. This is supposed to, for people like me, be a tantalizing glimpse into the inner chambers of stuff that is just Washington Post fodder. LBJ and McNamara both had bigger personalities, if that is possible to imagine, then Gambon and Baldwin. Neither of them got anywhere close to communicating just the charisma, the arrogance, the insanity, the self-confidence.

A: Do you think the casting of Baldwin as McNamara was a choice about making McNamara more sympathetic because there is a charisma to Baldwin that he just has inherently in any role that I think pulls you in. There is a gravity to him that almost makes the point that we should root for him because we are made to root for Alec Baldwin characters in movies and we have been trained to do that for a decade leading up to this.

J: That gravity that he has, what it doesn't communicate… I don't know how much time you guys have spent around people that are super-duper confident that they are the smartest person in the room? I know that you have spent some amount of time with people like that.

A: I can't think of anyone who I could describe that way. We should do a show with one of those guys, Ben!

J: All right, all right, all right!

B: Where would we find such a person, though?

J: But people that are really like that, they have a sense of humor. McNamara had less doubt than Alec Baldwin is communicating with his gravity. McNamara had a big smile on his face most of his life because everything worked out for McNamara and he had the numbers to prove it and he was making decisions that were based on data analysis and he loved to sit and argue with you. There are a few moments like that where you get the sense of McNamara just being like: ”Oh yeah! That was a great argument! Thanks for having that wonderful argument with me about…!”

B: ”… You really made it interesting on the other side. I mean, you were wrong, but it was very interesting to hear you say all that stuff and you seem very passionate!”

J: But that was one moment in the film and we see a lot of McNamara agonizing. And I think he did agonize, but he agonized in a different way. There was nothing bruty about McNamara because he was so… And LBJ, too! The thing that Gambon didn't communicate about LBJ was that LBJ went into every conversation feeling like he knew best, at least I never got a sense of LBJ being so fickle. This is historical, and LBJ did lose faith and eventually the world came crashing down around him, but LBJ made that world. He went into Vietnam full of West Texas confidence that he was going to prosecute this war. He wasn't a dupe!

B: One thing that really blew me away about this movie is how theoretical it all seems for these people. They are just going around to different rooms with nice white wood paneling and paintings from the revolutionary era and talking about Danang and Ho Chi Minh and all these airstrips and stuff. They are literally fighting the war on paper, just like: ”If we take this out, but can manage to avoid hitting this school that is down the road, then this, this and this will happen because that is how this works!” One thing that is really powerful about Gambon’s performance is that he really seems to care about the outcome and that is always something I wonder about when you are so far removed. He goes to Vietnam eventually, but for most of the movie he has never been there, he has never set foot there, he doesn't actually have any connection to anyone there, it is all just an abstract concept, but he seems to really care about doing right by the people of South Vietnam!

J: LBJ was the best politician in American history and what the movie never made clear: It did show him really care about the school, but what it didn't show was him calculating the political consequences of a blown up school being on the front page of the newspaper. A lot of what LBJ was doing was saying: ”How is this going to play in the court of public opinion?” We mock Donald Trump for sitting and watching TV all day and tweeting about how he is being portrayed, but every politician at that level is super-duper conscious of the editorial pages, none of them want to see dead kids on the front page of The Washington Post. And we didn't see that in this performance. Gambon is portraying LBJ as concerned about the people. Early in the movie as he is navigating the the civil rights legislation we see him portrayed as a canny politician. When he gets George Wallace in there and and gets right in his face and manipulates him, that is the LBJ that I know.

A: Did you read about the treatment? That is what he was known for, how he could work someone politically, and there is a physicality to it and a hypnosis almost about it that was legendary

J: Right in your physical space!

A: Yeah, the way he moved a person physically in order to make himself dominant I thought was really great. I could have used more scenes like that.

B: I could have used more scenes where he was taking a dump and giving some information to one of his aides.

J: One of the famous stories of LBJ is that he had a really big dick and he would intentionally go stand next to you, too close to you, at a urinal while he was talking politics with you: ”Now we are going to have to get this legislation passed!” and he would just pull out his giant schlong and he wasn't being subtle about it, he would be like: ”Now take a look at this, boy! You are going to need to just respect my dick!” He was famous for it, he did that shit!


J: I think that Baldwin was cast partly because he really looks like McNamara when he does his hair.

B: He is definitely not a likeable character at the beginning of this movie. Part of that is that we are bringing our knowledge of how Vietnam went, so anybody that is like: ”Let's go do this!” is going to be somewhat villainous at the beginning, but his character arc is definitely bending toward sympathetic in this film. That is a magic trick, you shouldn't have to watch a man set himself on fire to catch yourself and realize that you have been fucking things up for two years.

A: The message of that scene was was how unemotional McNamara was at having witnessed it.

B: He doesn't break down in the moment, but he is fixated on that spot for the rest of the film. It it really affects him, I think!

A: It is instructive about how he processes information and emotional things, though, that moment. He does not absorb it the way many people would, which is in horror or to recoil from it, but he observes it almost like a scientist word.

J: The movie paints that as the turning point in his life, though!

B: It is a really problematic scene the way it is directed because Norman Morrison is made to look like a crazy drifter and there is a case to be made that Norman Morrison was not in his right mind when he took a baby in a basket and stood outside the Pentagon and set himself on fire. For sure! But he was also a devout Quaker and he didn't do it just because: ”Fuck the world!”, but he was devout in his cause and it was a political act and it was probably partly inspired by similar acts that had been performed by Buddhist monks in Vietnam. To have him just show up, looking like a guy who is at the end of his rope undercuts the power of the act that he…

A: Ben, we just talked about this at the beginning of the episode: Everyone looked like this! No one was showering.

The decisions and the fears behind the Vietnam war

J: We are watching these best and the brightest people with absolutely the whole world at their disposal. Johnson has won the the election in 1964 with the greatest majority of any president and really controlled the world, had tremendous support and mandate and power, and we watch it just slip through his fingers and we watch ourselves fall into this intractable and unwinnable war that in a way, you could say, has been going on ever since. From 1964 to the present we have never fully understood the wars that we have been in, and we keep getting into these…

B: (George) Ball keeps saying: ”Bombing never wins the war!” It is not that they didn't have access to a world view that contained their downfall before they did this stuff.

J: It is the story of the United States: The way we won the American Revolution: The Minutemen didn't just line up and get mown down by the redcoats. We fought a guerrilla war to a certain extent, and it is evidence of an action bias where people in the military, given a choice between not doing anything and doing something, will always pick do something, even if it is clear that what we should do at this moment is not do anything. But also at this point in history, there is this incredible technology bias. We have built all this war making equipment to fight a war with the Soviets and we have all these bombers and all these fast jets and all the stuff that we have made to counter this intercontinental threat and magic submarines and spy and nukes and all this stuff, so in looking at the problem of Vietnam it is not just that they are fighting the last war, which was a war that you could maybe make a case that strategic bombing… we at least flattened both Tokyo, Berlin and 80 other cities in both countries, …

B: This movie is long enough that they even have that argument in this movie.

J: …, but what do you do if what you have is B-52’s? You use B-52's, which is the problem, and…

B: They are fighting the last war and a future war that they are anticipating, but not the current war.

J: They are not dealing with Vietnam. And you are absolutely right! Ball is such a great character in this movie and it is a fairly accurate representation of his viewpoints throughout where he just keeps saying: ”Dien Bien Phu! Did you guys not read the book? To the Vietnamese this is not the war that you think it is and they will fight you forever!” and just nobody in the room listens!

A: If you are going to cast a George Ball, Bruce McGill is is just a great choice. Bruce McGill goes through every emotion in this movie. He is really spectacular in it! Ben, I think you mentioned earlier the problem of proximity, that no one was over there to really give those that made these decisions that perspective they needed. What they had instead was Westmoreland asking for more shit, and I thought that was a very damning depiction of how decisions were made: So remotely! ”Here is a guy on the… well, I guess if he needs more more B-52’s we better give them to him! If he needs more troops, we are not going to say No to Westmoreland!”

B: It is that death of 1000 cuts thing because at the beginning they are like: ”Nobody is talking about half a million troops. Put that out of your mind because we are not going to do this war with half a million troops. That is just insane!”, and then by the end they are like: ”We are probably going to need 750.000 troops and open up the bombing to everything. Everything is on the table now!” They establish their parameters pretty early, but they lose their nerve and part of it is that pivotal moment where somebody asks the chairman of the Joint Chiefs: ”How would you define victory if we do in fact escalate this war in Vietnam?” and his answer is so weaselly, but they are all so fucking confident in their own abilities. There is this distributed hubris in the room that they believe in their own abilities and each other's abilities. Even this bullshit answer of: ”We are going to fight them to a tie so that they realize that they can't win!”

A: That was the core scene in the movie to me. No one ever talked about winning the war and winning the war was was forcing a stalemate.

B: ”What mean victory, Rambo?”

J: That is exactly what happened in Iraq and Afghanistan. What is your definition of victory here? What is your definition of victory in the war on terror?

B: It is a question that the press didn't even ask. When we were deciding as a country to go to Afghanistan and Iraq, ”Go get the guys that got us!” was kind of on the list, but it was clearly not the only goal.

A: It is so interesting that this movie made in 2002 is made to ask those questions in the lead up to the war you are talking about, Ben!

B: God, I didn't even think about that!

A: This is at that moment in history.

J: What is crazy about American government is that you don't need a reporter on the ground in Vietnam to call the White House and say: ”Hey, well, let me tell you, they like rice dishes here, they have got a delicious soup, it is called Pho!” We have people who know what there is to know. There is never in government the proper inclusion of people who spend their lives studying other cultures, politics, history, government, even. Dean Rusk in this movie is the secretary of state and all of their secretary of state apparatus in this movie is ”diplomacy at the highest level” mentality, but there are people in the American government in 1964 who are raising their hands and going: ”I have a Ph.D. in Vietnamese history and culture and my desk-mate over here has a Ph.D. in Marxism in Asia and we would just like to say…” This was true in Iraq and Afghanistan: There are people raising their hands and saying: ”There is no way to win a land war in Afghanistan!”

B: Hearts and minds are not available to us there!

J: All you have to do is read the Flashman books. It really isn't science, and there is an engineering bias in this 1964 White House and in White Houses in general. You want data, you want it broken down, you want to take poll numbers into consideration, you want to look at a map, you want to move pieces around, and any time you get somebody in there in the room who is like: ”Well, culturally, you are not going to be able to force these people to surrender. It is intrinsic to their culture that they never surrender. It is also intrinsic to their culture that they will put out a wonderful meal for you if you come visit their home!”

B: A problem with the way the media presents this stuff to us… they cover politics now in the same way they cover sports, which is like: It is only exciting if we don't know who is going to win until the very end and each team could equally well earn the champion status or whatever!

A: Hearing you make a sports analogy is just a delight and I just want to say that.

B: There was a Bill Clinton speech a few years ago, probably in the run up to Obama's second election, where he talked about the financial crisis and it was an issue in that election that Obama had bailed out the automobile industry (I am also not interested in cars! J: Going to pay your bills, going to pay your automobiles?) He said: ”No nation that has the capacity to manufacture automobiles in its right mind would let that capacity go away!” and the Republicans were making an issue of like: ”Why did we bail out this industry?” and it just like cracked my brain open, like: ”Oh yeah! If you are the president you have to think about what things can my country do and how do I make those capabilities bigger and better?” It was just so far from the framing of that issue that we had seen in the media, like: ”Oh, did you give a handout to this big business or not? And should he have or not?” and one thing that I picked up on in this movie is that LBJ has a very strong understanding of the version of the country he wants to leave office with in terms of domestic agenda, but it almost feels like at least this characterization of LBJ barely cares about the the foreign policy side of what it means to be president. He wants to let the State Department, the Department of Defense, figure that out and tell him how to do it.

J: I think that is not inaccurate, yeah!

B: There is that point in the movie where somebody is like: ”Well, you made all these decisions! They made the recommendations, but you are the one that made the calls!” and it is damning, but it is just one scene in a movie that could have been making that case a little harder.

A: Crucially about that scene: It isn't just the jab of: ”You decided, you are the decider, it is your job!”, but it is the hook that follows later that he decided, but it was against his life experience and instinct to make the decisions that he did. It is not just he made the wrong choice, but he acted against his nature that made that scene so brutal.

J: Except his nature…, and this is the thing about a charismatic leader: LBJ believed that he could cajole and swagger and pull his dick out. He believed that if he can get a Southern congressmen to vote for the Civil Rights Act, he can solve the problem in Vietnam. He is not thinking foreign policy, you hardly ever hear him talk about the Soviets or the Chinese, except in the sense that the Vietnam War is going to bring them into the sphere. There is the domino theory, the belief that if Vietnam became communist, that Laos would, and then Thailand would, and then the Philippines would. This was just conventional wisdom, it wasn't anybody's doctrine, it just became the general sense of what geopolitics was, this bipolar universe: ”You are either with us or against us!”, and LBJ just thought he could broad-shouldered his way through it.

I can only give my best advice.

B: McNamara does ride pretty hard for the the domino theory, though!

J: Oh, he does, but anyone in the room would have, except for Ball and…

B: They also just care so much about not being the first administration to lose something and they feel like they have got the war already.

A: That is a more persuasive argument than the domino theory to me, because anyone who has ever advocated for the domino theory never speaks about it to its conclusion, which is: ”How does that affect us once it is done?” The fear of a communist Southeast Asia being a completed project, no one ever talks about the consequence of that in practical terms. What does that mean for our country, really?

J: What is interesting about the war of ideas between capitalism and communism, it always surprises me how somewhere there was such a great insecurity about capitalism in the mind of the West. They really did feel vulnerable, and it is funny because the way that they projected (I am talking about the Bilderberg Group mentality about Western capitalism), was that the people of the world would have a natural affinity for it, that if you projected through Hollywood movies what wealth and prosperity and democratic freedom looked like, that people in the nations of the world would see it and admire it and aspire to it. That has always been the American story, that people around the world, despite what they think about American bullying imperialism, they still want what America has. They want to come here, they want…

A: …, and if for some reason they don't want it and they don't accept our proselytisation, they will accept it at the end of a rifle.

J: That is that insecurity making a separate argument, which is: You will! But the insecurity is born out of a feeling that somebody that is in the Third World, for instance, there would be so many steps that their nation would have to undertake for them to ever get a Levittown experience for themselves that if you are in Algeria or in Vietnam, the appeal of Marxism is a lot more immediate. Marxism is not promising you Levittown, but what Marxism is promising you is a leveling of status in your own world, so the village head man or the guys upstream are going to get taken down a peg and that is going to lift you not to a land of America, but to your own land at a level that is incrementally better than what you have now.

B: You are not going to be putting a bunch of perfectly good food down the inSinkErator, but you will be better off than you were yesterday.

J: But also and crucially: It is going to free you from imperialism, it is going to protect you from the French and the Americans coming into your country and trying to colonize it or take your rubber plants or exploit you as workers, and that is where America is so insecure, because if Vietnam becomes a Marxist country and Laos and then the Philippines and then Japan, what happens is that even in 1965 there was enough of a global economy that… both ideologies presume that the whole world pursues that economic and political method, and it is very hard to have half the world be communist and half the world be capitalist because there is no point of intersection between the two. You can't really have trade.

Bob I know opposes it and every one of the chiefs

A: John, you were talking so much about the insecurity of the moment being a reason for decisions being made politically around this time, and hearing you say that made me think about how this movie is so persuasive about the insecurities surrounding the people involved and how damaging past success can be to a certain type of person. Lyndon Johnson, as you were saying, was known as one of the great politicians ever, and to know that that is his reputation leading up to his presidency and to see him fumble fuck around this whole situation, I think underscores that, but also: You look at Robert McNamara and he is being called the hero of the Cuban Missile Crisis, he is brought along into this new administration because of that reputation, he is not coasting, but his reputation of past success gives him this credibility during this new problem and you see him backslide due to this insecurity, too. As soon as his streak gets broken of wins, and the same goes for Lyndon Johnson, you can see them both get a little bit wide eyed as the movie goes on, like: ”I am supposed to be winning right now! This is not what I do!” and I really like that the film was so persuasive in that way. It is not just about political insecurity, it is about personal insecurity during the making of these decisions.

J: Just a complete failure to understand or try to understand where someone from somewhere else is coming from, culturally. It is not just a Western bias that is a bias of: ”This is what I know!", but it is a Western bias that comes from a conviction that: ”Everybody in the world wants what we have. What we have in America and in the West is the highest evolution thus far of the idea, and everyone else in the world that isn't where we are in terms of economic development and democratic politics and capitalist exchange, the reason they are not there is they are not there yet, it is not that they are not there because there is another way of looking at it, it is that they are not there because they haven't gotten there, and if they were just goosed along this is where they would inevitably arrive as well. So our job in the world is to help everybody else leapfrog all the mistakes. They don't need their own industrial revolution. We will handle that for them!” It is chauvinist and it is weird that they would have so much insecurity about it and at the same time unexamined confidence that we are the best thing that ever happened, that ever was.

B: It ties in with that thing of LBJ being so passionate about making sure that the casualties are low and that they are doing this the right way, that they aren't fighting this war in an ugly way. Because if you just believe that everybody is essentially an American that hasn't realized that they are an American yet, and once we are done with this war we set up a bunch of schools and highways and American style infrastructure and they will believe all the same shit we believe. If you are just mapping yourself on to the rest of the world I can see why he would behave that way. He is not uttering them, it is the opposite: He sees himself in them because he doesn't know them and doesn't know that they aren't him.

J: Right! We look back now and say: ”What an incredible amount of hubris!” in the sense that the civil rights movement is happening during the same period in the United States and a disproportionate number of African-Americans are fighting in Vietnam. ”We are not even managing our own house in terms of freedom and economic development for Americans. How could they have this chauvinism, this confidence that America was the best place and the best thing?”, but from their perspective there was nowhere else in the world in 1960 that had a better record of conflict or cultural resolution. Nowhere else in the world was treating their immigrant populations any better. They see themselves as part of, at that point in time, a historical continuum, which is a continuum of increasing rights for everyone, and the fact that there are a lot of people in the United States in 1960 that don't have equivalent rights, there is not equity yet, doesn't shock them because it had only just recently occurred to them. There is not even at that point an academic model that suggests the vision we have now, where it seems inevitable and it seems like where we are now is an embarrassment. We can look at 2020 from the perspective of 2050 in our imaginations, and they talk about that in this movie. When he leans into Wallace and says: ”How do you want to be remembered in 1990?” In 1960 that sense we have of the inevitability, of the extension of not just the franchise, but of equality in all respects to everyone.

A: The United States cinematic universe!

J: We feel that is so inevitable now that we are so frustrated that we have to be stuck in this moment in time, but that wasn't true in 1960. That kind of science fiction, the familiarity with the idea that if we could time travel, can't we just get on with it?

B: ”Why does it take time to get these rights and these resources to these people that clearly need them?” When you are sitting around in the Johnson administration, you are like: ”Do you really think in a few years we are going to look back on the George Wallace's of the world and think that they were on the right side of history?” - ”No fucking way!”

J: But to extend that to the people of Vietnam… Anyone in this administration only heard about Vietnam in 1954 and didn't think about it again until 1960.

A: How different is it to conceive of a world where a George Wallace can be persuaded and changed by a conversation with someone? Lyndon Johnson changed the trajectory of his life!

J: Except George Wallace ran for president in 1972 on a white supremacist platform.

A: I am not forgiving George Wallace, obviously, but I thought he did not die the monster that he was for much of his life. I thought he recanted a bunch of shit, but maybe that is just the the cowardice of a dying man.

J: What happened with George Wallace was he got shot and paralyzed. The last act of George Wallace was that he was in a wheelchair. That has a tendency to mellow a man.

A: Shitting in a bag is really going to change your perspective on supremacy, I bet!

J: Yeah! He was still governor of Alabama in 1975 and ran again in 1976 in the primary against Carter, and he did the whole ”I found Jesus!” thing. But by this point we are in the 1980s, he couldn't keep imagining a separate but equal Alabama. Also, he won another term of governor in 1982! In 1982 he was still governor of Alabama!

I just may not be able to get things under control without some assistance.

The cinematic effects and camera-work in this movie

A: Gary Sinise doesn't have a lot of scenes in this film, but I think he really does great in them. Gary Sinise, a frequent collaborator with John Frankenheimer, turns out, but I thought he was really good in this movie.

B: I did, too! I noticed in the scene where they see George Wallace on TV that there is a really slick camera move happening for a 1960s television broadcast of George Wallace yelling something on the steps of a state house and I was like: That is a camera move that they are doing in the rest of this movie, but it is not plausible that they would have a news camera set up on a dolly for George Wallace!

A: I don't know which one of you mentioned that this film’s strength is in its casting and not necessarily in its effects work and there are some parts in the film that definitely look rough in that way, but there is a very specific visual language happening throughout the film that I did want to talk about, which is the idea of two characters having different opinions about things, being in the same focus, using a split diopter lens or something. It emphasizes the insanity a person must feel if you are Lyndon Johnson and you are getting your advice from two people in two different parts of the room, they are both in clear focus, they are both contradicting each other, and you are supposed to make a decision based on that. That clarity when it is coming from multiple people, and holding those opposing ideas in your head at the same time really emphasized the feeling that pervaded this entire movie.

J: Agreed!

B: Yeah! This is a movie about a bunch of different conversations that happen in smoky back rooms and that can be a very staid feeling, but this movie does not feel like that and part of that is owing to the fact that Frankenheimer has the camera flying around these sets. Almost every set up has a camera move in it. It reminds me a little bit of the West Wing. We are not getting walk-and-talks as much in a movie like this, but how do you add visual interest to a film that is as confined to the kinds of spaces that this is confined to? It is very well done in those terms.

J: That is the kind of stuff that I don't notice at all, except when it is done badly, and I didn't notice it in this movie because it was done well.

B: When I watch The West Wing, when I watched this movie, I am amazed at the idea of a workplace… the White House is always depicted like this. People are screaming at each other, the differences of opinion boil over and turn into shouting fights, and I wonder how much truth there is in that. Are the issues so big when you work at the White House that this is how things get done, or is this how we dramatize what the White House might be? If I had to go into a workplace every day where people were like: ”No, Ben! Fuck you, you are fucking wrong!” Obviously every time we talk about the podcast offline, it is like that…

J: You are fucking wrong, that is why!

B: I don't know if I would want to work there!

J: It is a component of filling a cabinet with what you imagine are the smartest men in America that do this work, that there is not one of them that is going to be like: ”I am going to sit this argument out!” They are all going to have a strong opinion about it and they are all going to think everybody else is dumber than them.

A: And the path of success that took them to that place is one of a victory streak, right? ”How could I possibly be wrong in this argument? Look at my life up until now!”

B: ”I am right about everything, that is one of the main things about me!”

J: There has got to be a lot of power, too, in being the one in the room that disagrees. What we see in the current administration is that the president doesn't brook any disagreement, so he keeps firing people and fires anybody that shows any independence and he probably has filled his roster now with people that just nod and smile to our everlasting detriment. The whole concept of a president surrounding themselves with people that have strong opinions… the whole start of the movie where he gives that speech and he is like: ”I got all these guys from Harvard and Yale and I am from the West Texas Teachers College and I am in charge! LOL!” and all the Harvard and Yale guys in the audience applaud, but you can see they also have their teeth clenched, in the sense of like: ”Oh shit, we got to work for this hick now!”, except that Johnson was incredibly gifted at the art of politics.

B: He is the exception that proves the rule. It is not that it says anything about the elitism of the halls of power.

J: Elitism isn't necessarily good at politics. It is the old version of politics, which is like: ”You go out there and you are in your white linen suit and you kiss every baby and you get everybody to line up behind your program!” That is so gone from American Life now and now you just walk around and you count everybody's head according to their political party and you are like: ”Well, it is 54 against 46 again, I don't know what we are going to do!”

B: Gerrymander in a different way, I guess?

J: Exactly! ”Why don't you put some more rules in the Senate about how guys if they get up and go to the bathroom they lose their vote?” The world has gone insane, partly as a reaction to feeling like the old way of a guy in a white linen suit trading chickens with people was insane. It was just a different kind of insane. Watching this now is like a cultural exchange, trying to imagine this cabinet in their own terms rather than applying 21st century thinking to what they were. This movie was made in 2002 and there is still a very accurate depiction of the way people would have talked, the language they used. If this movie were made now in 2020, this is a question for the room: Do you think that they could make this movie in 2020 and accurately depict the way people spoke? Or are there just too many words that you couldn't have in a movie?

A: It definitely took an adjustment to the flowery language that took some effort.

B: The modern treatment where LBJ is like: ”Ho Chi Minh is bay, all right, and bay got me like…” would grate somewhat.

J: I had no idea what you were saying at first! I was like: ”Was there a character named Bay?” It feels like maybe there could have been.


Reviewing the movie

A: One of the centerpiece scenes in this film happens during one of the cabinet meetings toward 1968 when things have gotten pretty dark about the war. The lights are out in the cabinet room, everyone is looking over a slideshow, there is an almost reverential tone to the description of the resilience of the Vietnamese people in this meeting, and it is blowing people away. Their capacity to not only absorb losses, losses that strategically the United States chalked up as victories, like: ”We actually did destroy oil refineries and bridges and shit and then look at these slides from hours later! They are rebuilt again! It is not that our strikes were unsuccessful, but their capacity to recover is so great!” and that is the moment where the great mistake of this war dawns on everyone. There are many examples of this: There is the bicycle brigade, there is the teenage crater fillers, there is the guy who has a top 10 hit song written about the person who attempted to assassinate McNamara, and I could have lived for another couple of seconds on McNamara in that moment, just to gauge whether or not he has heard the song. You got to believe he has listened to the song, right? If someone wrote a song about your attempted assassination, you would have to out of curiosity listen to it, right?

J: It was a number one song in Vietnam!

A: Come on, John. Someone tries to kill you and then they write a song about it. You wouldn't find a copy of the song and listen to it, even if it was in a different language?

J: I would, for sure!

A: McNamara may be too incurious for that, but that was a moment. But then the biggest to me was the stamp made out of Norman Morrison. Such was his legend in Vietnam that they made a postage stamp with his face on it. And to me that makes a great rating system for Path to War. This is an enemy that was underestimated from the start, but is Path to War an underestimated, made for television war film about the Vietnam War? It is up to us to decide. 1-5 stamps will be the rating system. I really like that this film is more about personality than strategy. I think this is an angle to the war that I personally haven't often gotten through my movie watching, and when we started having the conversation there was a resistance to a film like this. It is too talky, it is too conversational, it is too dramatic, and three hours? Would it be able to hold our attention? Personally it really did, and it was for that reason. I liked getting to understand the perspectives in play here and I was very surprised at how sympathetically all the parties were presented. Before I watched this movie my position was that Lyndon Johnson was a hawk and he was waiting behind Kennedy to start this war and Kennedy's death made it happen and he was chomping at the bit to begin it, but that is not the story that this movie tells. It made me feel sorry for Johnson, a person who rose to power in really sad ways, having an idea of what he wanted to do and then having his direction wrestled away from him in the way that it was made him especially sympathetic to me. Whether or not it is true, I am trying to judge the film for its ability to tell this story. LBJ being a victim of his circumstances and not the architect of them, can teach us a lot about how presidents operate from then on, even modern ones. A president is only as good as the advice that they get, and the advisors who give it. You can see a lot of parallels between then and now and the now I am talking about is the 2002 George W. Bush administration. You see a president at that time who is ably manipulated by the people he was surrounded with and the essential question of this film is: ”Who has the power in a presidential administration?” The film makes the case that it may not be the president, and that is a very interesting thing to think about. I thought the ending of this film was so sad. We didn't talk at all about it, but the surprise moment of Johnson announcing that he would not seek or accept a nomination almost, it rushes through and past that moment and we don't really get to live in the consequences of it. I wonder how differently we would feel about the film if we got another 5-10 minutes to sit with the consequence of that decision because of what happened in the aftermath. I like the movie a lot. It is not something that I would suggest everyone sees, but if you are a Vietnam War film completionist this belongs in your bookshelf of films to watch. I think it was well worth watching. I am going to give it 4.25 of those Norman Morrison stamps.

B: Where you every time they talked about what was going on on the ground in Vietnam just picturing Colonel Trautmann and John Rambo running around?

A: Yeah!

J: Of course he was! Rambo drenched in sweat!

A: I thought about the shine box scene and how tragic that was.

B: The end is pretty amazing because it is this descent into chaos that at every point he is offered so many times the option of: ”Let's stop!” They can't get their heads around the idea of: ”If we quit now and then try to put this thing back on the path toward diplomacy, it is going to look like it is going to look like we lost and then I am going to be the guy that lost the first war for the United States!” and the disgrace that he leaves the administration in is so much worse than that. So fucking tragic, and a tragedy of his own making in a lot of ways! I agree that this is not required viewing by any means, but it is a really fascinating story and I don't think that this movie paints outside the lines too much. It tries to be pretty close to depicting the things that actually happened, and I learned a lot from it. I have an understanding of how we got into the Vietnam conflict that is richer and more nuanced now than I did before, and part of that is the movie, and part of it is the reading I did after the movie, but I am really glad I saw it, so I will give it 4 stamps.

J: I think a part of the movie that is missing is the degree to which Johnson’s sense of himself in history, not wanting to be the guy that lost the first war for the United States, not wanting to appear soft on communism, not wanting to suffer that loss of face, what isn't in the movie is how much of that is driven by the sense of him being conscious of American domestic political opinion. What Johnson was thinking about a lot of the time, and you see it teased in this movie, you see him looking at the newspaper, the editorial column or the editorial cartoon, but it is almost entirely personified in the character played by Philip Baker Hall, Everett Dirksen, who was a prominent Republican senator at the time. What we have is this character, Senator Hall, who is a sympathetic friend, but also a Republican partisan. This was the dawn of the rise of American conservatism, this era, the Goldwater era, where Nixon lost to Kennedy and there became this groundswell of hawkish, conspiracy-minded libertarian-philosophy conservative opposition that during the Johnson administration was regarded as fringe, it didn't really get mainstreamed until Reagan, but it was really there. Every time any politician showed leniency or sympathy or even the slightest bit of vulnerability, I am talking about toward the Soviets or to the Vietnamese or whoever our perceived enemy was, there was this incredibly vocal response that they were soft on communism, that they were too liberal to meet the threat of this global communist octopus that was ready to engulf the world. Democratic politicians, despite having bigger fish to fry in their own minds, felt like they had to be fighting this rear action against the criticism that they were too soft on communism, otherwise they would become politically vulnerable in America. You just didn't see that in this movie so much. Johnson appears to be making these decisions based on his sense of how he is going to appear in the history books, which I think was true because we do see him gradually fall out of favor with the left, but the story isn't completely told about how much he ran as a peace candidate and became a war president because he was being pushed or felt pushed and pressured by this political movement on the American right. I think this movie is important to watch because this kind of deep dive into politics is just so useful, when you are thinking about what is happening now, when you are thinking about the last 10 years, when you think about the next 10 years. What is beautiful about it is that all these guys, as they were coming up in the 1930s and 1940s, they were leftists, they were the radicals, these were the people that had ideas that seemed crazy at the time, and watching them go from 1940 to 1970, and it is a valid criticism that they were the radical left but they all went to Groden, but watching them become not just disillusioned, but gradually go through this process of becoming the establishment and then the establishment conservativised them and corrupted them and by 1970 they are the enemy of the people. You can imagine how soul crushing that was! Lynden says it a few times in the movie, like: ”Wait a minute! I am the hero of the people!” and he can't believe that it is Vietnam that ends up being his undoing. So anyway, in that sense, it is crucial to watch and this is a war movie, absolutely, the kind of war movie that makes this show fun to do, but there is just too much missing from it for me to give it more than 3.5 stamps. If they had made Gambon put a zucchini in his pants, so it is like: ”All right, every scene just be conscious of the fact that there is a foil wrapped zucchini in your pants, and let that guide how far out you chut your chin, I think it would have been a little closer.

Who is your guy?

A: It makes me wonder whether or not your guy is wrapped in foil, John. Who would your guy be in this film?

J: My guy you didn't see in this movie. My guy was McGeorge Bundy who is played by Cliff De Young. He only appears a couple of times and is dismissed in one scene by Johnson. He says something and Johnson cuts him off. But McGeorge Bundy was the classic example of this guy I am talking about: He was the young preppy smarty pants leftist. McNamara was the secretary of defense. Bundy was the national security adviser. He is the one sitting in the org chart closer to Johnson, and he was very involved in all of this and was the classic elite liberal thinker that gradually became a hawkish mid-1960s Democrat and equally an architect of the war, also awarded a Presidential Medal of Freedom in Johnson's final act, a main character of the story. In the movie he appears twice as a guy with a funny haircut and then is gone.

B: Well, you have definitely appeared as a guy with a funny haircut before, John!

J: That is my thing! He has always been a character that was important to me in reading about this stuff, and I think it is because when I was 13 and I realized that Johnson's national security adviser was named McGeorge, I was like: ”I got to know more about whatever culture it is that could produce a man named McGeorge!”

B: Is it New England elite?

J: Yeah, that is exactly what it is!

B: Good guy! We haven't talked a ton about the women in this film: Lady Bird Johnson has a number of scenes, a real fun portrayal by Felicity Huffman. Whenever I hear the name Lady Bird I just think of Hank Hill calling his dog: ”Lady Bird!”, but it is one of their daughters that is my guy for a scene where LBJ is sitting in the Oval Office by himself, he has just pulled a chair up to three feet in front of the TVs that he has over in the corner and is just yelling his head off at Bobby Kennedy on the TV screen and one of his daughters comes in to say something to him and sees him yelling at Bobby Kennedy and just turns and slinks out: ”I know when Dad is in a mood like this not to interrupt him!” is basically what that scene telegraphs to me. I laughed out loud at the moment, I thought the performance was great, and as sidelined as the women are in this movie the performances were all really great.

A: My guy also comes from a scene of mood. God, the discomfort of that scene where George Ball gets drunk and he starts laying into people is pretty rough, but there is a social combat black belt move that comes from Dean Rusk in this scene that is so subtle and perfectly done. There is a group of people talking and Dean Rusk is one of them when George Ball approaches and everyone sees him coming, but Dean Rusk has a plan in his back pocket to stop this terrible thing from happening before it starts, so he signals his wife, who is talking in a different group, to come over and say that the banquet is ready, or something, something to break up the conversation. He has done this wordlessly to her, and as soon as Ball approaches, ready to drunkenly throw his firebomb in the middle of the group, she comes over and breaks it up.

B: Oh, how I envy that wordless communication!

A: Yeah, something that is really from the realm of science fiction!

B: I have pitched that to my wife a million times. We need a couple of cues when we are in a big group of people that we can just make eye contact and you will know or I will know that X needs to happen.

A: Yeah, impossible to conceive of today, but back then: Nice bit of business deployed there by Secretary of State Dean Rusk. Probably what made him such a capable secretary of state was thinking like that. It was just a micro-scene within the greater story here that I just really delighted in and I am going to make him my guy for that.

B: Good guy!


Choosing the next movie

B: It is time to pick our next film, gentlemen!

J: Oh, yeah! Let me get my dice cup going here. There has been a lot of talk about our dice rolls recently and I want to just explain to people that I roll the 120-sided die here in Seattle, Washington, and Ben, the keeper of the master list, then finds the number and reveals the movie. Now I believe Ben to be a person of very high integrity and so when Ben tells us the movie I believe that Ben is doing an honest and forthright job of obeying the rules of the randomised list.

B: It is randomized even further because every week I add a film or two. We get recommendations from people on our various social media channels and I occasionally see one as like: ”If you liked this, you might like this!” when we watch a movie and I will check to see if it is on the list and if it is not I will add it.

J: And then you re-randomize it!

B: When I add a movie I randomize the list again, so there is a lot of randomisation at play here.

J: There is always some speculation, some haters out there that think we are gaming the system because Adam is so adamant about not letting people peek behind his curtain.

A: I don't want anyone to see my foil-covered dick!

J: We have a conceit for this podcast and we adhere to that conceit because all three of us are super-duper tightly wound about weird stuff like this. Anyway, here is the dice roll, 100% authentic dice in a cup. I want to make sure this die is nice and rolled.

B: Yeah, sounds well roled to me!

J: 93! 93 is the number!

B: 93! Uh, we are staying in the Vietnam era, gentlemen. This is a 1995 film, directed by the Hughes brothers. It is Dead Presidents! I saw this movie a long time ago, it is guys who are trying to do a heist and also processing their trauma from Vietnam at the same time. They get a lot of Vietnam as flashback, if memory serves.

J: It is a heist movie!

B: I think so. That is the Dead Presidents referenced in the title.

J: I didn't see it at the time.

B: You added it to the list, actually, interestingly enough.

J: One that I wanted to see. I think I missed it because I just wasn't going to movies in 1995. Too busy getting high on my own supply!


B: All right, well, I am really looking forward to it. This is one I have been meaning to revisit, so that will be next week on Friendly Fire. In the meantime, we are going to leave it with Robs Robs Robs Robs, so for John Roderick and Adam Pranica I have been Ben Harrison. To the victor go the spoiler alerts!

R: Friendly Fire is a Maximum Fun podcast hosted by Adam Pranica, Ben Harrison and John Roderick. The show is produced by me, Rob Schulte. Our theme music is War by Edwin Starr, courtesy of Stone Agate Music and our podcast Art is by Nick Ditmer. Would you like to hear more Friendly Fire? Last year we covered The Big Red One, a movie starring Lee Marvin and Mark Hamill that follows a hardened sergeant and the four core members of his infantry unit as they try to survive World War II. You can also gain access to our bonus episodes by heading to maximumfun.org/join and for as little as $5 a month not only will you receive our pork chop episodes, but you will also gain access to all the Maximum Fun bonus content. You can now follow us on Twitter and Instagram under the handles @FriendlyFireRSS. Thanks for listening! We will see you next week with another episode of Friendly Fire.

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