Hannibal loves it when a plan comes together. The warrior’s pleasure in contemplating his warlike deeds requires success & survival; it shows that victory delivers peace & that is part of his claim to justice. The art of war requires taming beasts which would otherwise grow wild & savage. – The Mexican drug-lords our heroes fight first cannot tell with whom they are playing. Our heroes are incomprehensible to barbarians, because they are not noisy enough.
Face learns this art of war. That it can be taught & exercised proves it is knowledge. – But would Face abandon the private life? They are the secret part of the army… & is there any reason to return? The problem, Face knows, is more fundamental than the army abandoning them; & the government betraying them. The real problem is that they did not see it coming. Let us say briefly that all are tolerated in America, except sometimes the excellent.
Hannibal is nearly cremated when he escapes jail; he emerges anew, an outlaw, having finally learnt that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. Apparently, our conventions had blinded us & Hannibal both. Now his eyes are open. Murdock’s two stints in a mental hospital suggest not even the army knows crazy from great anymore – when they spring Murdock, the image of an incoming car turns into an incoming car. Meanwhile, Face turns jail into a luxury: He arouses the women & his army connections help the guards, who serve him willingly. His pleasure dome recalls what he sacrificed to become an Army Ranger. America does not seem grateful…
B.A. loses his warrior spirit in jail. He discovers tolerance & compassion. He becomes a liberal. This unnecessary twist in the plot suggests that the real problem is that America does not love her warriors anymore. Hannibal takes him seriously. He knows the man had been told he was a horror even from youth; he knows that the humiliation of a court martial, dishonorable discharge, & imprisonment removed the moral support of fighting for truth, justice, & the American way; – but he proceeds to turn the man’s mind into its proper course.
The case for America is made in this conversation, if unconventionally. Hannibal, a great deceiver, does not rely on deception; it would be easy, but useless. He knows he must appeal to man’s love of his own. He knows this requires abstract ideas in a democracy. Lies are required in order to teach self-knowledge. He turns the man from equality, the general idea of the liberal regime, to the predicament of manliness: War is justified, because men may fight in a manly way in the cause of peace.