The Things They Carried
War is hell, but that's not the half of it, because war is also mystery and terror and adventure and courage and discovery and holiness and pity and despair and longing and love. War is nasty; war is fun. War is thrilling; war is drudgery. War makes you a man; war makes you dead. […] You admire the fluid symmetries of troops on the move, the harmonies of sound and shape and proportion, the great sheets of metal-fire streaming down from a gunship, the illumination of rounds, the white phosphorus, the purply orange glow of napalm, the rocket's red glare. […] You hate it, yes, but your eyes do not […] any battle or bombing or raid or artillery barrage has the aesthetic purity of absolute moral indifference – a powerful, implacable beauty – and a true war story will tell the truth about this, though the truth is ugly. (How to Tell a True War Story.85-6)
And in the end, of course, a true war story is never about war […] it's about love and memory. It's about sorrow. It's about sisters who never write back and people who never listen. (How to Tell a True War Story.106)
[Norman] could not talk about it and never would. The evening was smooth and warm.
If it had been possible, which it wasn't, he would have explained how his friend Kiowa slipped away that night beneath the dark swampy field. He was folded in with the war; he was part of the waste. (Speaking of Courage.123-124)