"The issue, of course, was courage. How to behave. Whether to flee or fight or seek an accommodation. The issue was not fearlessness. The issue was how to act wisely in spite of fear. Spiting the deep-running biles: that was true courage. He believed this. And he believed the obvious corollary: the greater a man's fear, the greater his potential courage."
(Going After Cacciato p. 101. Dell Publishing, 1978.)
O'Brien's concluding sentence of that paragraph seems to me especially prevalent in these times.
The passage comes after they have found Cacciato. They slipped down a hole in the road on the way to Paris. They seem to come to a village afterward which they proceed to raze to the ground. It seems the soldiers are completely obstinate in their destructive path, as they convince themselves, in their soiled pride, that its is only a means to even up the score in the theater of war