No Gun Ri

Today, the day after Memorial Day, the DNT had two stories that converged for me.

The first was a long Washington Post story about how returning vets find Americans generally clueless about the conditions in Iraq. The story itself says this is just an echo of past wars. I heard about it during and after Vietnam. The movie “Best Days of our lives” hinted at this truth after World War II and my Grandfather surely felt it recuperating in the hospital after World War I.

Entertainment about cops and murderers can fill up an entire night of throw away television programing which can be forgotten after the nightly news. Ten months of killing of being killed in a war zone is much different.

Robert E. Lee the peerless Confederate General said: “Its a good thing that war is so terrible or we should grow too fond of it.” Maybe that’s true for the Generals and politicians. I’m not so sure if that’s true of the soldiers or civilians in a war zone.

The other story was about No Gun Ri an incident that took place in 1950 the year I was born. When I looked for it on the Internet I found it first on two South Korean newspapers above another story about how the Koreans are making a movie of the incident/incidents. Apparently there was an official American policy to shoot any Korean approaching American lines because the Americans couldn’t tell the difference between refugees and infiltrators. Even though we saved the South Koreans from the fate of North Korea they are taking a harsh view of our military  necessity fifty-seven years ago. I wonder how the Iraqies will feel about us fifty years from now?

When the story first surfaced in 1999 the U.S. military denied it then described it as a case of soldiers panicking. Its always easier to blame the grunts (look at Lyndie England) but the policy came from the top; from the General Lee’s of the Korean War.

Meanwhile, the folks back home are too busy stuffing their face with empty calories to bother worrying about the people defending them abroad or so the returning soldiers seem to think.

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