8/04/2008

Civilian Casualties in Korean War



This report, which came out yesterday about alleged US atrocities during the Korean War, is more than disturbing. It’s downright disgusting…and scary. I know accidents in war happen. Collateral damage is unavoidable. But, if this latest report is true, there needs to be a thorough examination of our interaction with civilians when we go to war. We need to take another look at rules of engagement. If the U.S. Army suppressed documents that proved there was a deliberate action against civilians, heads should roll. What really bothers me is that some US. Servicemen have confirmed that there was a deliberate action against Korean civilians huddled up in a cave. I find that difficult to believe. But, when your own troops are verifying it, you have reason to pause. You have to dig deeper into what really happened. I can’t fathom any reason why any US. Commander would order an air strike on civilians unless he had intel they were enemy troops (as this news report details). This isn’t the first time US atrocities in the Korean War have come out. In 2001, details of the No Gun Ri incident came to light where US troops were alleged to have fired on and killed Korean civilians. Again, no determination was made as to whether this was intentional or if for some mystifying reason our troops couldn’t tell the difference between unarmed civilians and enemy troops.

But, even if it is determined that troops intentionally and with malice killed civilians in the Korean War, I’m not certain reparations will or should be made. This is a slippery slope we started on with paying Japanese-Americans because of internment during WWII. An apology was certainly forthcoming. But, in the hysteria of the Pearl Harbor attack, mistakes were made. If the U.S. government were to start paying for every mistake made since 1776, we would become a bankrupt country (we’re nearly there now thanks to “W”). We could start by paying reparations to Native Americans who were subjected to near annihilation by the U.S. Army if we are going to continue going down this road. We might as well pay reparations to the survivors of Nagasaki, since we already knew what the atomic bomb would do to civilians after Hiroshima. We might as well start paying reparations to the survivors of the Dresden, Germany nighttime firebomb attack since Dresden was proven to have no intrinsic military value. And then we have the whole reparations issue with African-Americans over slavery. Once this starts going, there’s no going back. It may already be too late since we started with reparations with the Japanese-Americans.

I’m not sure what the answer is when our troops do wrong in a country they are trying to save. It seems we have learned nothing from our experiences in Korea and Vietnam. But, this news article mentioned above is very disturbing. It warrants further investigation.

2 comments:

Oh... I was just stopping by your blog and the picture caught me because it was so familiar to me.. And instantantly I found why.. I am from Korea so...
Well, I don't know since I was not even born when the war happened.. But, I know many reports about those issues.. As long as we were not there, how can we know the truth? But, I hope there's no war any more in any place.. No matter what it is not justified to kill innocent people.

soyun, I agree we weren't there during the war. But, too many reports are coming out about US troops who did not follow the rules of engagement in war. It's troubling to me personally since I was in Vietnam. Thanks for your comment.

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