Sunday, November 23, 2003

A Diamond Bullet

Gerard Van der Leun of American Digest provides the correct phrase from Colonel Kurtz's speech in Apocalypse Now,  incorrectly cited by Belmont in Like a Silver Bullet: it's a "diamond bullet". Better yet, he provides the full text of the Marlon Brando (who played Kurtz) monologue which describes the kind of tender, caressing cruelty which burned within our Marxist foes nearly forty years ago. It was the twisted saintliness which built every gulag as a purificatory monastery and saw the journey to Year Zero as a kind of Pilgrim's Progress. They called it strength, and Kurtz agreed. But then, Kurtz was mad.

"back there and they had come and hacked off every inoculated arm. There they were in a pile...A pile of little arms. 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. And then I I was shot...Like I was shot with a diamond...a diamond bullet right through my forehead...And I thought: My God...the genius of that. The genius. The will to do that. Perfect, genuine, complete, crystalline, pure. And then I realized they were stronger than we. Because they that could stand that these were not monsters...These were men...trained cadres...these men who fought with their hearts, who had families, who had children, who were filled with love...but they had the strength...the do that. If I had ten divisions of those men our troubles here would be over very quickly. 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. "

That spirit, the elusive spirit with many names, made another brief appearance in Saving Private Ryan, in the scene where the SS soldier whispers soothing, almost tender words into the ear of  Jewish soldier as he slowly plunges a dagger into his heart. Marx came closest to naming it when he said there was a "specter haunting Europe". Not its nightmares, but its dreams. And its name isn't Communism. It is Legion.