"Ferrando believes in the violence of action. The enemy, he stared us down in Nasiriyah. But I wanted to show him today that some Americans won't back down from a fight. I can put it in terms of tactics or strategy, I could quote Boyd. The simple way to say it is that some people might reasonably fear these Iraqis running around trying to organize ways to kill us. I don't. And not because I'm a particularly courageous individual. I simply have a bigger fear. In my darkest hours, I sometimes fear that I will do something General Mattis won't like. Gentlemen... I have no such fears tonight."
Young Battalion guy, fucking Sixta, everybody grins. Godfather sits in their awe like that was profound or something, but really it's just the same shit: if on the one hand you have the inevitability of death and the gaping horror that death should and will inspire, and on the other hand you have the complete lack of culpability that results from following orders... Which one are you going to call your religion? They turn these guys into guns and show them how to put all that patriotic feeling and honor and duty and need to help everybody, how to put that up against the terrifying fact of futility: by letting go, and just letting the CO be God: by pretending that the grooming standard is more important as batteries for the NVGs. It's easier that way, for the person and also for the military force. It's not exactly leadership, but if everybody were doing it right, that wouldn't matter, and anyway the problem/solution here is more existential than anything else. If you're looking at the face of an Iraqi soldier with no qualms about dying horribly -- and with more righteous hate than the Corps could ever hope to inspire, and more pitbull rage than fat America would ever understand -- and the face of the General of 1 MEF: which one would you rather have setting the tempo?
Later it's nighttime. Ray wakes up Brad, or attempts to do so; he'll open one eye but not the other. "We have a mission. Search and rescue. One of the officers went out to take a shit, stepped over the berm and hasn't been heard from since." Brad rolls his one open eye. "An officer." Ray's tickled, as usual. "From H&S Company. He's probably just lost in the dark somewhere..." Brad stares at Ray for awhile, tired and uninterested in yet more bullshit, but eventually he stands up, and Ray and Brad climb up over the berm and into the dark together. "Fucking officers will be the death of us yet."