The Pacific

David B. writes:

HBO’s The Pacific begins tonight. I subscribed to HBO a few days ago in order to see it. I think the DVD will come out fairly soon but I couldn’t wait.

LA replies:

Do you think that it will reflect Tom Hanks’s view of the war in the Pacific? When I first saw the ads about a week ago, on bus stops in NYC, I was intrigued by the idea of a (more) realistic portrayal of perhaps the most savage war in history. But now that we know that Hanks is a knee jerk America hater, I’m much less interested in seeing it.

David replies:

I’ve been keeping up with this for over a year. I don’t think the series will reflect what Hanks has been saying in interviews. The surviving veterans who have seen it are very complimentary of the series. The previews I have seen (I’m an amateur WWII historian) look to be on target. One of my uncles was a Marine at Tinian, Saipan, and Iwo Jima.

Again, I really think this series is a good thing and a valuable correction to the two Eastwood films.

LA replies:
Veterans, as well as most patriotic Americans, are likely to be won over by the factually correct aspects of it, while missing the larger, subversive message which I suspect is there. According to what I’ve heard, The Pacific is like Saving Private Ryan, which I take to mean that it focuses on the exploits and sufferings of individual soldiers in their individual units, without reference to the war they were a part of. Saving Private Ryan reduced World War II to the need to save one soldier’s life. Since liberals hate war, and don’t believe in any larger truth, it is only in such personalistic terms that they can relate at all positively to World War II.

Also, the movie showed Private Ryan, returning to Normandy as an older man, as a pathetic figure broken by guilt. Why? Because another man had died during the mission to save him. Since, according to director Steven Spielberg, there was no meaning or purpose in WWII other than saving Private Ryan, therefore there’s no truth higher than Ryan, and therefore Ryan’s own existence has no sanction. He’s guilty for existing.

Which is the paradoxical message of liberalism. On one hand, liberalism says that there is no truth external to or higher than the self and its desires. The human self is the ultimate value and source of values. But if the human self is the ultimate value and source of values, there is nothing external to the human self—such as the truth that existence is good—that says that the human self is good. By making the self and its desires the highest thing, we don’t elevate ourselves, we reduce ourselves to a package of desires. And why should any package of desires exist?

David B. writes:

The first episode of The Pacific was a good introduction. There are 10 one hour programs, once a week. I would prefer to see two hours each week instead of one.

Jon W. writes:

The following excerpts are from the end of the article, “A Fight To The Death,” by Hugh Ambrose,” appearing in our local Sunday 3/14 newspaper, The Fresno Bee. Here is a link to the full article. My comments are inside brackets in bold-faced font.

Across the hot coral of Peleliu and the fertile valleys of Okinawa, Marines ran toward enemy guns. Casualties on both sides skyrocketed. So did the hatred. Since the Japanese couldn’t win, Gene wrote, they “killed solely for the sake of killing, without hope or higher purpose.” Wounded enemy soldiers cried for help, but when an American got close, his adversary would detonate a grenade to kill one last Marine. Gene’s unit began shooting injured Japanese troops in the head.

Gene grew to hate the enemy for choosing to battle so viciously to the death. By matching their fanaticism [So it’s “matching their fanaticism” when taking the only measure possible to save your and other troops’ lives from those who would kill you for your act of mercy] he and his friends were losing their humanity and peace of mind. It scared him. America would win, but what would that victory look like? [Is this last sentence a paraphrase of the sane but conflicted soldier’s account, as I assume, or Ambrose’s voice?]

Fortunately, the war did not end with vengeance but compassion. [Ambrose approves the outcome and route to it here. Yes compassion can be extended as deemed to be earned along the way, if applicable, but, otherwise, it must await the achievement of victory using all means available and necessary against warring power. Victory means the vanquished fully accept final and lasting defeat.] By helping to build a free Japan and showing that friendship and stability can be born from [“from?” or “after”] brutality, America also won the peace. This is the proud heritage of the brave men—like Gene and Sid—who fought in the Pacific. Today, as the U.S. is once again at war with an implacable enemy willing to fight to the death, it’s a lesson our leaders should remember.

Hugh Ambrose is a historian and was a consultant on the documentary Price for Peace, for which Steven Spielberg and Stephen Ambrose were the Executive Producers. He was a consultant to his father on his books, and is also serving as the historical consultant on The Pacific miniseries. Ambrose is also the former vice president of the national World War II Museum and has led battlefield tours through Europe and along the Pacific Rim.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at March 14, 2010 08:47 PM | Send

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