Another week, another entirely new examination of war. This time we got a double-shot as we examined the notion of the innocents caught in the middle of a battle they didn't necessarily ask for, as well as the hard toll that prolonged warfare can have on the soldier's soul.
We've watched Eugene Sledge go from a frustrated young man, eager to serve his country and rid the world of evil, to the man he was in this ninth hour. A man on the edge of a certain darkness. He could either fall over the edge and be perhaps forever lost, or claw his way back.
Those of us who've never been a part of war have no real appreciation or comprehension of just what it is to survive something like this. This week, 'The Pacific' gave us a pretty clear idea of where post-traumatic stress comes from in veterans.
From the beginning we have the desensitization of the marines to the death and carnage around them. The early sequences looked like a traditional war movie, with the marines making maneuvers across the terrain, establishing and fortifying their positions. But they were doing so in a sea of dead bodies, and it was as if the bodies weren't there.
There was a time when Eugene Sledge was horrified at the carnage, but more than anything we saw his descent into cold acceptance. When you're starting to make "Snafu" look like a beaming ray of sunshine, you've sunk pretty low. Sledge's crossroad came in the house. He was still numb to humanity when he and Snafu simply stared at the crying baby, lying next to its dead mother.
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