In a war there are many moments for compassion and tender action. There are many moments for ruthless action – what is often called ruthless – what may in many circumstances be only clarity, seeing clearly what there is to be done and doing it, directly, quickly, awake, looking at it.
…It’s impossible for words to describe what is necessary to those who do not know what horror means. Horror. Horror has a face … and you must make a friend of horror. Horror and moral terror are your friends. If they are not, then they are enemies to be feared. They are truly enemies.
…And I remember … I … I … I cried. I wept like some grandmother. I wanted to tear my teeth out. I didn’t know what I wanted to do. And I want to remember it. I never want to forget it. I never want to forget.
…You have to have men who are moral … and at the same time who are able to utilize their primordial instincts to kill without feeling … without passion … without judgment … without judgment. Because it’s judgment that defeats us.
…I worry that my son might not understand what I’ve tried to be. And if I were to be killed, Willard, I would want someone to go to my home and tell my son everything – everything I did, everything you saw – because there’s nothing that I detest more than the stench of lies. And if you understand me, Willard, you will do this for me.