THE WEST WING
"ISAAC AND ISHMAEL"
WRITTEN BY: AARON SORKIN
DIRECTED BY: CHRISTOPHER MISIANO
Good evening, I'm Martin Sheen, and I'm with the cast of The West Wing. For
those of you
who tuned in tonight to see our season premiere, I'm afraid you won't. That'll
be next week.
We're eager to get back to our continuing storylines, but tonight we wanted
to stop for
a moment and do something different.
You'll notice a few things different about this show tonight, for instance,
in place of
our usual main title sequence, we'll be putting phone numbers up on the
screen where you
can pledge donations to groups that are able to help with victims' assistance.
By now, nobody needs to be convinced that when they named New York's finest
and New York's
bravest, they knew what they were talking about. So we're pleased to tell
you that the
profits of tonight's episode will be donated to New York firefighters,
Relief Fund, and the New York Police and Fire, widows and children's benefit
A helping hand from our family to theirs.
Now, don't panic! We're in show business, and we'll get back to tending our
short order. But tonight we offer a play. It's called "Isaac and Ishmael." We
you don't spend a lot of time trying to figure out where this episode comes
in in the
timeline of the series. It doesn't. It's a story-telling aberration, if
Next week, we'll start our third season. That's when you'll see stories
reelection campaign, an MS disclosure, an embassy in Haiti...
Repealing the estate tax...
A fight against Big Tobacco...
A fight to get our friends back...
Funding the NEA...
A veto override...
A marriage in trouble...
And I get a boyfriend.
That's all for us. Thank you for listening.
FADE TO: INT. FBI OFFICE - NIGHT
FBI FIELD OFFICE
In a series of offices, people are at their desks, flags hanging off walls.
A man, Greg, walks in, comes up to woman by a computer.
Joan? Run a search in the NCIC. "Yaarun Nabi" - Y-a-a-r-u-n N-a-b-i.
Yaarun Nabi is a Persian name.
Means "friend of the prophet." [runs search, gets a few results]
Four AKAs. [reads] Yaquin Kashani, Raqim Ali, Yamin Bandari, Yawar Aryanpur.
[runs the search] I wonder if they all mean "friend of the prophet." Guess
would be silly, or at least remarkably coincidental, that the aliases would
the same thing as the actual name. I mean, you gotta ask what good would an
alias be if it... [cuts off, gestures for Greg to come closer] Greg?
Greg approaches, looks at the screen, then dials a number on the phone.
[into phone] Get me the Secret Service Joint Operations' center of the White
CUT TO: INT. JOSH'S OFFICE - NIGHT
Josh picks up his bag.
Donna comes to the door.
I'm going home.
It's only five.
Yeah, I know.
You can't go yet, you have to talk to the students.
From Presidential Classroom?
What are you talking about?
They're high school kids from across the country who were accepted for...
I don't know, they come to Washington for four days, they get to meet with
interesting people and you're one of them.
[puts on coat] When did... When did this get on the schedule?
[comes inside] It's been there.
No, it hasn't, it just... There isn't anybody else who can do this?
It's supposed to be you.
I have to work.
You can work in the office.
No, I can't work in the office!
He walks out, Donna follows into the bullpen.
We've crashed five times in the last three weeks. When I'm not being
from the building, I'm not being allowed to leave the building and now,
God, Donna, I wanna go home.
Josh, it's been on your schedule.
[stops] All right, I'll give them a few minutes, but then I gotta go, ok?
[sighs] When am I supposed to do this?
Where are they?
They're right in the North-West lobby.
Josh hands her his bag and walks out.
CUT TO: INT. NORTHWEST LOBBY - CONTINUOUS
A group of students and their teachers are standing as Josh walks in.
Good evening! Good to see you... you're the group from
[from behind] Classroom.
I'm their supervisor, Marjorie Mann.
[shakes his hand] Thank you for taking the time.
So, how'd you all get here?
They qualified with essays, recommendations, grades in history and
It's very competitive.
All right, I'm Josh Lyman, I'm the Deputy White House Chief of Staff,
I joined the
Bartlet campaign shortly before the Iowa Caucus, then served as the
political director. Before that, I worked with then Senator John Hoynes for
He looks at the red phone on the table, its incoming call button is flashing.
The security guard picks up the red phone with a sticker "Crash" on the
Station One. Code Black, crash!
[to students] All right, listen, something's about to happen. Don't let it
they need to seal the building.
Secret Service agents burst in through all doors.
Stay where you are, please.
Everybody, please, stay where you are.
Mr Lyman? These kids with you?
Yeah, I guess they are. [to students] Something's happened.
THE WEST WING ENCOURAGES YOU TO GIVE WHAT YOU CAN TO THE FOLLOWING
TWIN TOWERS FUND
GENERAL POST OFFICE
PO BOX 26999
NEW YORK, NY 10087-6999
DISASTER RELIEF FUND
AMERICAN RED CROSS
PO BOX 37243
WASHINGTON, D.C. 20013
* * *
FADE IN: INT. THE WHITE HOUSE MESS - NIGHT
Donna leads the school kids into the mess from a hallway right outside.
Right in here. Just grab a seat anywhere. Right in here. This is the mess.
This is where we eat lunch. We'll just... wait here.
Josh walks up from behind Donna.
What's going on?
How should I know?
Would you call Leo's office and find out what's going on, and, more
how long it's going to be going on for?
They're probably scared. You might try lightening up a little bit.
Yeah, I'll definitely give that a try.
Josh and Donna follow the rest of the kids into the mess. Josh stands in
of the kids and addresses them.
Okay, well, uh, this is called a "crash." It means there's been some kind of
security breach and no one's allowed in or out of the building.
Josh turns around, smacking his hands together nervously, and looks at Donna,
who is standing behind him.
Would you call Leo's office?
Donna goes off to a side room, and picks up a phone.
So, I guess we should use this time. Uh, this is the White House, the home
President and the Executive Branch, the most powerful of the three branches
the federal government.
Josh is pacing back and forth in front of the students. One of them raises
to ask a question.
Actually, Mr. Lyman, isn't it true that the Framers made sure that the
Branch was the weakest of the three branches? Because we were breaking off
royalist model that put absolute power in just one place. I mean, isn't that
made the Legislative branch-or People's Branch-the most powerful?
Josh stops in front of Billy, and acts vaguely menacing, a little smirk on
and Donna can be seen reentering in the background.
What's your name?
[with a slight hesitation] I'm Billy Fernandez.
I'll call you Fred. A little knowledge can be a dangerous thing. I don't
know how long
we're all going to be here, but you just made my list.
Billy smiles, and Josh walks off, continuing.
Yes, I suppose, technically, constitutionally the Legislative Branch is the
powerful, but we get a motorcade, so back off. All right, you already know
branches of government, I assume you know how a bill becomes a law. What do
to talk about?
The kids make no response, they seem nervous.
Guys, seriously, it's nothing to worry about. We've been having these crashes
once a week.
Let's go. Somebody ask me something.
A girl pipes up from the group.
So... what's the deal with everybody trying to kill you?
Well... it's not everybody, and they're trying to kill you, too.
But mostly you.
No, both of us the same. Let's go, it doesn't have to be about politics. You're
to college. I'm the guy who knows what you need to know. Sophomore year,
and I got a fish registered for 18 credits, and she made Dean's List. My
I made a Dean's List of a different sort, but that doesn't matter.
Another boy, behind Billy, pipes up.
Do you get scared coming to work at the White House?
No. I mean, we're bystanders, basically, and we work around a lot of people
routinely put themselves in harm's way-the Secret Service and the military.
You know, the protection detail? They practice a thousand different scenarios
for a gun: who tackles the president, who opens the car, who's covering the
perimeter, and there's one guy whose job it is to stand in front of the
Not get the shooter-stand in front of the bullet. I've seen him do it.
Do you ever think about quitting?
No. [hesitates for a moment, and continues] Well... my, uh... my mother
wants me to.
My family members have a habit of, uh, dying before you're supposed too. So
just me and my mom now and... You guys know I guess, that I got accidentally
a little bit or something at Rosslyn. So, she'd like to see me in the private
But I tell her my government salary may not be a lot, but I still make more
the guy whose job it is to stand in front of the bullet, so how do I tell
quitting? So she made me this box that I'm supposed to keep in the trunk of
and it's got a super-powered flashlight, five gallons of water, and a
radio, and some first aid. But she keeps thinking of things to add to
call and say, uh, "I found that cap that Dad got Joe Pepitone to sign for
your birthday. You wore it to school every day in the seventh grade. You
to send it to you so you can put it in the box?"
Josh has trailed off a bit, and stops for a moment, looking sad and serious.
He looks around the room for a moment. He starts up again, livelier.
So... I'll say "Yeah, Ma, let's put it in the box."
Josh gives a little chuckle. He walks over, leaning against something by
So anyway, I... I don't know against who, and I don't know what it's going
to look like,
but one of these days we're gonna have a big win, and for a lot of us who've
we've seen, we're not leaving till we do. I'm gonna be here six presidents
in my office, Wile E. Coyote and a map.
So why is everybody trying to kill us?
It's not everybody.
It seems like everybody.
It's just the Arabs.
Saying the Arabs is too general.
It's not Arabs. It's not Islamics. [to Donna] They're juniors and seniors?
You're juniors and seniors. [heads over to a dry erase board across the room]
In honor of the SAT's you're about to take, answer the following question.
He erases the board, and Donna hands him a marker.
Thanks. Islamic extremist is to Islamic as "blank" is to Christianity.
Josh writes this on the board as he speaks it again to the kids.
Islamic... extremist... is to... Islamic... as... "blank" is... to
No. Guys, the Christian right may not be your cup of tea, but they're not
stuff up. "Islamic extremist is to Islamic as "blank is to Christianity."
No one responds. Josh turns around and writes "KKK" on the dry erase board,
and circles it.
That's what we're talking about. It's the Klan, gone medieval and global. It
have less to do with Islamic men and women of faith of whom there are millions
millions. Muslims defend this country in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine
National guard, police and fire departments. So, let's ask the question again.
Why are Islamic Extremists trying to kill us?
That's a reasonable question if ever I heard one. Why are we targets of war?
Because we're Americans.
Because of our freedom?
No other reasons?
Freedom and democracy.
I'll tell you, right or wrong-and I think they're wrong-it's probably a good
acknowledge that they do have specific complaints. I-I hear them every
we support, troops in Saudi Arabia, sanctions against Iraq, support for
It's not just that they don't like Irving Berlin.
Yes, it is.
No, it's not.
No, not about Irving Berlin, but your ridiculous search for rational reasons
somebody straps a bomb to their chest is ridiculous.
You just called me ridiculous twice in one sentence.
Hardly a record for me.
And you just made my list.
[to the kids] Nothing happens on the list.
It's a serious list. But she does have a point, albeit college girlish.
Watch now, as he's going to put me down and make my point at the exact same
Hardly a record for me. What's Islamic extremism? It's strict adherence to
interpretation of 7th century Islamic law as practiced by the prophet Mohammed,
when I say "strict adherence," I'm not kidding around. Men are forced to pray,
their beards a certain length. Among my favorites is there's only one
at a soccer match: Allah-uh-Akbar-God is great. If your guys are getting
then you're on your own. Things are a lot less comic for women, who aren't
to attend school or have jobs. They're not allowed to be unaccompanied,
get publicly stoned to death for crimes like not wearing a veil. I don't
have to tell
you they don't need to shout at a soccer match because they're never going
to go to one.
So what bothers them about us? Well, the variety of cheers alone coming from
seats at Giants stadium when they're playing the Cowboys is enough for a
jihad, to say
nothing of street corners lined church next to synagogue, next to mosque,
that can print anything they want, women who can do anything they want
a rocket ship to outer space, vote, and play soccer. This is a plural
means we accept more than one idea. It offends them. So yes, she does have
but that certainly doesn't mean you should listen to her.
So... what do we do now?
What do we do now?
Well, I think for help with that question we're going to need some people
smarter than I am.
Thing is... that's pretty tough to find. But I'm going to go upstairs and
see if I can
get some of my friends to come down and join us. Listen, I-I don't know
what's going on
and I don't know how long we're going to be here. Are you guys hungry?
Freddy, why don't you grab a couple of people, go to the back of the kitchen,
and peanut butter? Guys, I've gotten entire pieces of legislation through
apples and peanut butter. I'll be back in a little bit.
Josh exits the mess.
CUT TO: INT. A DARKENED OFFICE ROOM - NIGHT
A man, clearly of Arab decent, sits by a window, smoking a cigarette.
5:22 PM, OLD EXECUTIVE OFFICE BUILDING.
Out in the HALLWAY, Ron Butterfield and four other Secret Service men walk
the room where the man is. The man continues to smoke, until he hears the
to the room rattling behind him, and he tosses his cigarette out the window. A
Service agent kicks in the door, gun drawn for firing. The agents hurry into
and the man looks startled.
Secret Service, don't move!
Show us your hands. Do it now.
The man puts his hands up. He is clearly frightened.
Are you Raqim Ali?
Stay calm. I'm Special Agent Ron Butterfield of the United States Secret
Keep your hands over your head and step away from the window. We're going
to ask you
END ACT ONE
* * *
FADE IN: INT. LEO'S OFFICE - NIGHT
Leo and Ron Butterfield enter. Ron waits for Leo to close all the doors
Five hours ago, Khuram Sharif was taken into custody while crossing from
Vermont. There was a warrant for his arrest in connection with an attempted
LaGuardia. Turning State's evidence over to the U.S. Attorney, he named
coconspirators. One of whom was Yaarun Nabi. A preliminary check in the NCIC
five aliases. One of which was Raqim Ali. There are three Raqim Alis. One's
designer in Spokane. Another is a caterer in Los Angeles.
Who's the third?
He works in the White House.
Leo is surprised, almost speechless.
It was only a matter of time, huh?
CUT TO: INT. DARK OFFICE - NIGHT
The Raqim Ali that works in the White House is seated at a table. Several
agents are around,
one of whom is asking him questions.
Have you ever heard of Khuram Sharif?
Yes. He was arrested in connection with an attempted bombing of one of the
New York airports.
I think he may have also been arrested once in Patterson, New Jersey.
Patterson means something to you?
I was born there.
Where did you go to school?
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. I have a Bachelor's degree in Applied
Leo suddenly walks in with Ron. He looks at Ali.
You know who I am?
Of course I know who you are.
Leo nods to the agent.
CUT TO: INT. WHITE HOUSE MESS - NIGHT
Toby is now in front of the group of children.
Kill them all. Yeah.
All the Islamic Extremists?
No, no. I mean everyone. You're all bothering me. I want to be left
alone. Clearly, the only
way that's gonna happen is to be alone. So I'm sorry, but I'm gonna have to
let you all go.
[pause] Except the Yankees and the Knicks... and the Yankees and the Knicks
are gonna need
someone to play, so keep the Red Sox and the Lakers... and the Laker girls,
and The Palm,
and we'll need to keep the people who work at The Palm. That's it though. The
Red Sox, the Knicks, the Lakers, the Laker girls, and anyone who works at
The Palm. Sports,
Laker girls, and a well-prepared steak. That's all I need... Sometimes,
I like to mix it up
with Italian... and Chinese. All right, you can all stay, but don't bug
me. You're on
probation. Don't forget. I was this close to banishing you.
This is Toby Ziegler, and actually, he's in charge of crafting our message
to the public.
And today, that message is?
Don't bug me?
My choice, sister. And by the way, there's nothing wrong with a religion
whose laws say a
man's got to wear a beard or cover his head or wear a collar. It's when
violation of these
laws become a crime against the State and not your parents that we're talking
about lack of
choice. [looks at the visual aid, reads] "Islamic Extremists is to Islamic
as KKK is to
Christianity." That's... that's about right. That's a good religious
analogy. What's the
political analogy? What's an analogy using governments?
They don't have a government.
They have the Taliban. They have the government of Afghanistan.
The Taliban is not the recognized government of Afghanistan. The Taliban
took over the
recognized government of Afghanistan. And there's your political analogy.
What do you mean?
When you think of Afghanistan, think of Poland. When you think of the Taliban,
think of the
Nazis. When you think of the citizens of Afghanistan, think of the Jews in
A friend of my dad's was at one of the camps. He used to come over to the
house, and he and
my dad used to shoot some pinochle. He said he once saw a guy at the camp
kneeling and praying.
He said, "What are you doing?" The guy said he was thanking God. And my
dad's friend said,
"What could you possibly be thanking God for?" He said, "I'm thanking God
for not making me
like them." Bad people can't be recognized on sight. There's no point in
Actually, we already covered that.
It's worth covering twice, don't you agree?
A girl raises her hand to get Toby's attention.
Pinochle's a card game?
[pause] Yeah, I've changed my mind again. Kill them all.
No, all right.
What was the first act of terrorism?
[to Josh] What was the first act of terrorism?
I could answer, but I think he's asking you, man.
[sighs] I-I know it's not new. I know in the eleventh century... I'm gonna
pronouncing this, in the eleventh century, [sighs] secret followers of
who were taught to believe in nothing and dare all, carried out these very
swift and very
treacherous murders of fellow Muslims, and they did it in the state of
Sam walks in behind, looking around.
As a matter of fact, young men between 12 and 20 were given hashish, and uh,
smuggled into a...
I really don't know what they call it, they were smuggled into a kind of
pleasure garden complete with concubines. They were told this was paradise,
and that the
Master's Angels would carry them back if they carried out murders of the
Ah, temptation. I have named thee, and thy name is woman.
This is Sam Seaborn, Deputy Communications Director. Now, don't be frightened
when I tell you
that in this room, Sam is the knowledgeable terrorism expert. The good news
is in this
government, we have some extremely knowledgeable terrorism experts.
I heard I was needed, I came.
We were talking about Al-, am I pronouncing this right? Al-Hassan
Yeah, from the eleventh century.
By the way, the Arabic name for their secret order has survived until
today. Can anybody guess
what it was? Their Arabic name. [points to a boy] You know.
Assassins. That's right.
Yeah, we don't call on him.
[to Sam] What's going on?
There's supposed to be a meeting at Treasury.
I had a 6:00 on the Hill, now I'm stuck here, you know, talking with
who can't vote.
You know a lot about terrorism?
What are you struck by most?
It's 100% failure rate.
Not only do terrorists always fail at what they're after, they pretty much
always succeed in
strengthening whatever it is they're against.
What about the IRA?
The Brits are still there. The Protestants are still there. Basque extremists
have been staging
terrorist attacks in Spain for decades with no result. Left Wing Red Brigades
from the 60s and
70s, from the Bader-Meinhoff gang in Germany to the Weatherman in the
U.S. have tried to take
over capitalism. You tell me. How's capitalism doing?
What about non-violent protest?
What about it?
Well, it worked for Gandhi.
Yeah, it did. Who else did it work for?
The Civil Rights Movement.
Yeah, but weren't we terrorists at the Boston Tea Party?
Nobody got hurt at the Boston Tea Party. The only people that got hurs was
some fancy boys
who didn't have anything to wash down their crumpets with. We jumped out
from behind bushes,
while the British came down the road in their bright red jackets, but never
has a war been
so courteously declared. It was on parchment with calligraphy and "Your
highness, we beseech
you on this day in Philadelphia to bite me, if you please."
Can I go back to what you were saying at the beginning?
About it being 100% ineffective.
They're still doing it anyway.
They're not frustrated by the failure?
Well, what do you call a soceity that has to just live everyday with the
idea that the pizza
place you're eating in can just blow up without any warning?
CUT TO: INT. DARK OFFICE - NIGHT
Leo is now seated across Raqim Ali, doing the questioning.
Can you tell us about the wire in your backpack?
My apartment is in an older building. It's for my computer. I needed the
older telephone wires
so I could upgrade the M-waves on my motherboard.
You're an expert in circuitry and wiring?
My father works for the phone company.
I want to talk about the applied mathematics degree.
What are you doing working for a White House staffer secretary?
I-... What do you mean?
We don't do a lot of math around here.
Well, my interests shifted, I became interested in policy.
You're aware that the intelligence agencies routinely recruit top
out of M.I.T. and train them to be cryptographers.
And those cryptographers are the ones who, on a daily basis, code and decode
between the White House, the State Department and the Pentagon.
Leo puts on his glasses, picks up the papers on the table and looks at
them. A moment later,
he takes off his glasses and looks up at Ali.
Last year, your father made a contribution to something called the Holy Land
Were you aware of the contribution?
Mr. McGarry, I understand the need for these questions, and I hope you notice
cooperating, but if you drag my father into this pitiful exercise, I'm afraid
I don't think you understand the seriousness of what's happening right now.
He puts on his glasses again and looks down at the papers.
I don't think you do.
Leo looks up at him for a second, then down to the papers again.
END ACT TWO
* * *
FADE IN: INT. THE MESS - NIGHT
The conversation continues. C.J. is now part of it.
No, no, no, no. You walked into quicksand.
You don't talk to C.J. about the CIA.
You just don't do it.
C.J. has a bizarre affection for the intelligence community that we just
Bizarre? How about right?
This song is called, "The CIA, Our Maligned Little Brother."
We need spies; human spies. Spy satellites are great if you're trying to
whether or not Kruschev's put missiles in Cuba. But if you want to overhear a
conversation over Turkish coffee in Khyber Pass, you need a spy. You guys
great a great job after college and serve your country? Study Arabic,
Chinese and Farsi.
Maybe this'd be a good time for a chorus of "Our Maligned Little Brother,
C.J. Cregg, ladies and gentlemen.
You know the way to do this without tapping some phones?
What about illegal searches? What about profiling? Do you know what Benjamin
He said, "Hey, look, I've invented the stove."
He said, "They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary
deserve neither liberty nor safety."
What's your name?
[to C.J.] I'm on it.
Well, I don't think we're talking a little temporary safety and it's not
like we need to
search high and low for clear and present danger.
Well, what would you say the point of fighting terrorism is?
It's to insure freedom, Pokey. I don't need the brochure.
I think you do cause during times of great crisis and threat, America has
measures before and I think maybe you've forgotten just how affective they've
Can you name some?
[points at C.J.] I want her to name them.
[quickly] The blacklist.
Look, I talk civil liberties as seriously as anybody, okay? I've been to
and we haven't even talked about free speech yet and somebody getting lynched
patriotism police for voicing a minority opinion. That said, Tobus, we're
have to do some stuff. We're going to have to tap some phones and we're
going to have
to partner with some people who are the lesser of evils. I'm sorry but
have armies and navies. They don't have capitals. Some of these guys we're
going to have
to walk up to them and shoot them. Yeah, we can root terrorist nests but
some of these
guys aren't going to be taken by the 105thn armored tank division. Some of
are going to be taken by a busboy with a silencer. So it's time to give the
agencies the money and the manpower they need. We don't hear about their
Guess what? The Soviets never crossed the Elbe. The North Koreans stayed
38th parallel. During the Millennium? Not one incident. Do you think that's
the terrorists decided that'd be a good day to take off? Not much action
End of song.
CUT TO: INT. DARK OFFICE - NIGHT
You were arrested two years ago?
Yes, and the charges were dropped.
You were arrested for holding a rally without a permit.
I had a permit. It hadn't processed. And the charges were dropped.
What were you protesting.
The presence of U.S. troops in Saudi Arabia.
What exactly is your concern with our troops in Saudi Arabia?
Saudi Arabia is home to two of our holiest mosques. Mecca is there. How
like it if I camped outside the Vatican with a stockpile of M-16s?
I'd like it fine if you were there to protect the Vatican.
We sent our troops down there to make sure our friends didn't cross the
and seize Saudi territory.
You mean Saudi Oil?
Yes, we have oil interests in the gulf. So does the rest of the world.
You sent an army composed of women as well as men to protect a Muslim dynasty
women aren't even allowed to drive a car.
Maybe we can teach them.
[stares at Leo in anger and disbelief] Anyway, that's what I was protesting.
You went to Edison High School in Patterson, correct?
On December 3, 1994, someone called in a bomb threat to the school.
Yeah, I remember that there were bomb threats. I remember that there were
more than one,
but I don't remember the exact dates.
According to your transcripts, police questioned you.
Yeah, it's on my school transcript 'cause I wasn't arrested.
So what did they ask you?
They asked if I called in a bomb threat, which I didn't.
Do you know who did?
It was a couple of football players that didn't want to take a chem final.
So it was a couple of football players but they called you in anyway?
It's not uncommon for Arab Americans to be the first suspected when that
sort of thing
I can't imagine why.
No, I'm trying to figure out why anytime there's any terrorist activity,
assume its Arabs. I'm racking my brain.
I don't know the answer to that, Mr. McGarry, but I can tell you it's
Well, that's the price you pay.
(angry) Excuse me? The price for what?
(to the agent) Continue the questions.
END ACT THREE
* * *
FADE IN: INT. THE MESS - NIGHT
Toby walks out of the mess. Charlie stands in a doorway at the back of the
his arms crossed, and watches as C.J. speaks to the students. She's seated
on a stool
at the front of the room. Josh is leaning on the counter next to her, and
standing by the coffee area.
There's nothing more American than coalition-building. The first thing John
always did was put together a posse.
That's a hell of an example, C.J.
Shouldn't you be finding ways to provide aid and comfort for our boys in
You know, they may need some comforting right now. When this crash is over,
get in some fishnets and head to a bar.
A student raises his hand.
Where do terrorists come from?
Where do they come from?
Everywhere. Mostly they come from exactly where you'd expect: places of
and despair. Horribly impoverished places are an incubator for the worst
kind of crime.
Which is the same as it is right here.
Everyone turns to look at Charlie.
Same as it is here. I live in Southeast D.C. If you don't know the area,
or South Central L.A., Detroit, the South Bronx. Dilapidated schools, drugs,
Gangs. Gangs give you a sense of belonging, and usually, an income. But
give you a sense of dignity. Men are men, and men'll seek pride. Everybody
a badge to wear. "I'm the Deputy Communications Director." "I made Presidential
"I know the answer. I'm going to Cornell." You think bangers are walking
around with their
heads down, saying, "Oh man, I didn't make anything out of my life. I'm in
No, man! They're walking around saying, "Man, I'm in a gang. I'm with them."
A door to the mess is opened and several Secret Service agents walk into
The staff all stand as Bartlet and Abbey casually walk in, escorted by other
They stand next to each other at the front of the room.
Good evening, Mr. President.
[whispering] Everyone, stand up.
The students all stand, albeit belatedly.
[to C.J.] What the hell's going on?
Sir, this is a group of high school students from Presidential Classroom.
Bartlet nods and gestures to the students to sit back down.
You women seem bright and lovely. The men? Disturbingly dense.
The students laugh quietly.
Ignore him. God knows the rest of us do.
Charlie walks between the tables where the students are seated, toward the
front of the room.
Excuse me... [to Charlie] Weren't you coming down to get me some apples and
We're out of apples, sir.
Bartlet nods good-naturedly.
[to students] So, we're stuck here, huh?
Well, I live here.
[laughing] Yes, sir.
[to C.J.] I'm going back to my office. Nice meeting you all.
[to Bartlet] I'm gonna stay here a few minutes.
Bartlet turns to leave as a student asks him a question.
[turns around] Yeah?
Do you consider yourself a man of principle?
[gently] I try to be.
Well, don't you consider...I mean, I know they're our enemy, but don't you
there's something noble about being a martyr?
[pauses, considers the question] A martyr would rather suffer death at the
an oppressor than renounce his beliefs. Killing yourself and innocent people
a point is sick, twisted, brutal, dumb-ass murder. And let me leave you with
thought before I go searching for the apples that were rightfully mine:
we don't need
martyrs right now. We need heroes. A hero would die for his country but he'd
rather live for it... It was good meeting you all.
Bartlet leaves and Charlie follows him out, along with most of the agents.
Thank you, Mr. President.
Thank you, sir.
CUT TO: INT. OUTSIDE THE DARK OFFICE - NIGHT
Several FBI agents are standing in the hallway outside the meeting room
where Ali is
being interrogated. A Secret Service agent is standing next to the door,
which is closed.
A second agent approaches and whispers a message to the agent at the door. The
agent opens the door and enters the DARK OFFICE to confer with Ron. The
stands in the doorway, waiting. Ali glances around nervously as the agent
Ron. Ali is being questioned by a third agent who is seated on the table
across from him.
Why were you in Uzbekistan?
It was my Russia trip. I went there with some friends after graduation.
Could you tell me about the Islamic League of Allston?
It used to be my mosque.
The agent who entered the room speaks quietly with Ron and then leaves. Ron
agent who has been questioning ALI confer with the agent who delivered the
We found him.
[to the other agent, who is nodding] I'm fine.
Ron quickly leaves with the agent who delivered the message.
Mr. Ali, you're free to go. Thank you.
Ali sighs heavily as everyone leaves, except Leo, who sits motionless in
and stares at Ali. Ali gets up to leave and is almost out the door when he
turns and walks back toward Leo.
You know what, Mr. McGarry? You have the memory of a gypsy moth. When you
President and the President's daughter and about a hundred other people --
by the way -- were met with a hail of .44-calibre gunfire in Rosslyn, not
only were the
shooters white... they were doing it because one of us wasn't.
Leo stares blankly ahead and only looks up as Ali leaves. Leo's expression
slightly, a hint of sadness on his face.
CUT TO: INT. THE MESS - NIGHT
Abbey is sitting at the front of the room. Josh is sitting in a chair by
his arms crossed.
How did all this start?
How did what all start?
Sarah... God said to Abraham, "Look toward the heaven and number the stars
shall your descendants be." But Abraham's wife, Sarah, wasn't getting any
and God wasn't coming through on His promise... I was very young when I had
I was very, very, very, very young. I was barely even born yet when I had
Josh and the students laugh quietly. Abbey glances over at Josh, who is
smiling at her.
Anyway, Sarah was getting older, and she was getting nervous because she
any children. So she sent Abraham to the bed of her maid, Hagar, and Abraham
had Ishmael. And not long after they did, God kept His promise to Sarah,
as He'd always
intended to, and Abraham and Sarah had Isaac. And Sarah said to Abraham,
"Cast out this
slave woman with her son, for the son of the slave woman will not be heir
with my son
Isaac." And so it began: the Jews, the sons of Isaac. The Arabs, the sons
But what most people find important to remember is that, in the end, the
two sons came
together to bury their father.
I think most people also find it important to remember that the whole thing
about 73 million years ago.
[walks in] Excuse me, ma'am. We're clear.
Well, that's that then. It was good talking with you guys. Hang in there.
Abbey stands up and leaves, along with several agents. Josh sits down in a
the front of the room.
Well, all right. That's it then.
Can I ask one more question?
Do you favor the death penalty?
But you think we should kill these people?
You don't have the choices in a war that you do in a jury room. But I - I -
wish we didn't have to. I think death is too simple.
What would do instead?
I'd put 'em in a small cell, and make them watch home movies of the birthdays
and weddings of every single person they killed, over and over, every day,
for the rest
of their lives. [clears his throat] And then they'd get punched in the mouth
at bedtime. By a different person, every night. There'd be a long list of
but that's all right. We'll wait...But listen, don't worry about all this
We got your covered. Worry about school. Worry about what you're gonna tell
when you break curfew. You're gonna meet guys, you're gonna meet
girls... [looks at Billy]
Not so much you, Fred.
The students chuckle weakly.
Learn things. Be good to each other. Read the newspapers, go the movies,
go to a party.
Read a book. In the meantime, remember pluralism. You want to get these
people? I mean,
you really want to reach in and kill them where they live? Keep accepting
more than one
idea. Makes 'em absolutely crazy.
The students are all listening very intently.
Josh stands up and shakes hands with the students and Marjorie as they file
See you later. Okay.
Thank you. Thanks a lot. It was fun. Don't steal anything on the way
Billy is one of the last to leave.
Billy. [gestures for him to wait] Listen...
Josh waits for the others to leave. Billy looks up at Josh expectantly.
Nothing, just...just keep doing what you're doing.
[almost whispering] Okay.
Okay. [They shake hands.] See you.
Billy leaves, carrying his jacket. Josh turns, his hands in his pockets,
and watches Billy leave.
CUT TO: INT. ALI'S OFFICE - NIGHT
Leo walks slowly inside. Ali is working at his desk.
[solemnly] Good evening.
Ali looks up.
[stiffly] That's the price you pay... for having the same physical features
That's what I was gonna say.
[quietly] No kidding.
I'm sorry about that. Also about the crack I made about teaching Muslim
women how to drive.
Ali looks down, taking this in. Leo, nervously, stiffly, his eyes wandering
a bit, searches
for the correct words.
I think if you talk to people who know me, they'd tell you that... that was
you know? We're obviously all under, um... a greater than usual amount
of... you know.
And like you pointed out, with the shooting and everything...
A long silence falls between them. Ali looks up and searches Leo's face.
Yeah. [nods slightly] All right. Well, that's all.
Leo turns slowly and walks out into the hall. Ali turns back to his desk
working. Leo hesitates, then turns around.
Ali turns to look at Leo. The opening notes of "For What It's Worth" by
[softly] Way to be back at your desk.
They stare at each other for a few moments. Leo turns and leaves. Ali turns
slowly back to
There's something happening here
What it is ain't exactly clear
There's a man with a gun over there
Telling me I got to beware
I think it's time we stop, children, what's that sound
Everybody look what's going down.
There's battle lines being drawn
Nobody's right if everybody's wrong
Young people speaking their minds
Getting so much resistance from behind
I think it's time we stop, hey, what's that sound
Everybody look what's going down.
DISSOLVE TO: END TITLES.
FADE TO BLACK.
* * *
The West Wing and all its characters are a property of Aaron Sorkin, John
Production, Warner Brothers Television, and NBC. No copyright infringement
Episode 3.00 -- "Isaac and Ishmael"
Original Airdate: October 3, 2001, 9:00 PM EST
Transcribed by: The Vault
August 5, 2002