W∆R ON TOT∆LITY
I take it differently. The extreme and over-the-top deaths are meant to underscore the reality of the war in contrast with how easy and effortless the propaganda commercials make it look. It is a commentary on how we look at war today. We consider ourselves vastly superior to our enemy, but we still see limbs blown off, beheadings, and so on. It is a reality that military intelligence understands but never tells the recruits or young people. Instead, they see bad comedy where little children are dressed as soldiers, as if it is childs' play.
We're not disagreeing here. My point is just that these people are pawns. "Necessary casualties." This is just what they do - and the higher-ups (the Carls [that's NPH's character's name, right?]) accept that people are going to die because THE CAUSE IS JUST. Maybe I've got my head too far up modernism's ass because of my studies, but it reminds me a great deal of great moments of war satire in, say, A Farewell To Arms
or this excerpt from Jacob's Room
So we are driven back to see what the other side means--the men in clubs and Cabinets--when they say that character-drawing is a frivolous fireside art, a matter of pins and needles, exquisite outlines enclosing vacancy, flourishes, and mere scrawls. The battleships ray out over the North Sea, keeping their stations accurately apart. At a given signal all the guns are trained on a target which (the master gunner counts the seconds, watch in hand--at the sixth he looks up) flames into splinters. With equal nonchalance a dozen young men in the prime of life descend with composed faces into the depths of the sea; and there impassively (though with perfect mastery of machinery) suffocate uncomplainingly together. Like blocks of tin soldiers the army covers the cornfield, moves up the hillside, stops, reels slightly this way and that, and falls flat, save that, through field glasses, it can be seen that one or two pieces still agitate up and down like fragments of broken match-stick. These actions, together with the incessant commerce of banks, laboratories, chancellories, and houses of business, are the strokes which oar the world forward, they say. And they are dealt by men as smoothly sculptured as the impassive policeman at Ludgate Circus. But you will observe that far from being padded to rotundity his face is stiff from force of will, and lean from the efforts of keeping it so. When his right arm rises, all the force in his veins flows straight from shoulder to finger-tips; not an ounce is diverted into sudden impulses, sentimental regrets, wire-drawn distinctions. The buses punctually stop. It is thus that we live, they say, driven by an unseizable force. They say that the novelists never catch it; that it goes hurtling through their nets and leaves them torn to ribbons. This, they say, is what we live by--this unseizable force.|
Again, we're not disagreeing here - I'm just seeing the violence as legitimately ridiculous, which makes the same sad, sick point.