Political thriller looking at the effect the war on terror has on a disparate group of Americans. When West Coast University students Arian (Derek Luke) and Ernest (Michael Pena) make the bold decision to join the army in the war on terror, their idealistic professor, Dr. Malley (Robert Redford), is both moved and distraught. As Arian and Ernest fight for their lives on the killing fields of Afghanistan, they become the tie that binds together two stories on opposite sides of America. In California, an anguished Dr. Malley attempts to reach a privileged but disaffected student (Andrew Garfield), who is the very opposite of Arian and Ernest. Meanwhile, in Washington the charismatic Presidential hopeful, Senator Jasper Irving (Tom Cruise), is about to unleash a shocking revelation to a probing TV journalist (Meryl Streep). As the complex, interweaving drama progresses, the characters' fates become inextricably linked.