Pacific, WWII and War

Last week, I binge watched the Pacific on hotstar. Once I realized that the series is heavily inspired by the book With the Old Breed: At Peleliu and Okinawa, I obsessively read the book as well. I am a defence and aviation enthusiast, so I keep watching these shows and read a lot of books.

The TV Show has a lot of gore. Limbs falling off, soldiers dying left and right, living and fighting around the dead bodies of other soldiers. All this gore is probably real – this is how war really is.

The gore does not become very apparent in the book, but it does capture the fears, the physical and psychological hardships and trauma that a soldier has to endure.

Surviving even a single campaign is hard. If my understanding is right, the war planners planned for attrition rates of 1/3 in the Pacific theatre and as much as 1/2 in some campaigns and scenarios. That’s a lot of wounded and killed.

The life of a soldier is hard. It’s hard for any of us to look at the kind of gore they face – not just the enemy but own friends, civilians – including children. If you think about modern protracted wars – Iraq, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Kashmir, North East of India – these would definitely be hard and have a dehumanizing effect on the soldiers and combatants. That just makes things worse.

Understandably, the trauma and brutalization faced by non-combatant civilians who live in such areas is going to be just as bad, if not worse.

Wars should end swiftly. They are not worth dragging. Wishful thinking maybe.