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The price of failure in the Korean War

By Bruce Walker
web posted December 6, 2010

The bellicose Communist regime in North Korea may soon plunge the world into a real hot war.  Its evil rulers threaten Seoul with thermonuclear destruction and brute force is the only card that Kim Jong Il and his lesser thugs have to play.  The hungry, tormented slaves of this vast concentration camp live, perhaps, closer to the Hellish world described in Orwell's 1984 than any people in human history.  North Korea offers nothing good to the rest of the world at all.  We have bribed its leaders just to leave mankind alone, but our bribery has failed. 

Sixty years ago, Kim Il Sung, the Communist dictator of North Korea, launched an unprovoked attack on South Korea.  This aggression was supported by Russia and China (the Soviet Union provided MIG pilots; the Chinese provided masses of "volunteers") and the entire peninsula became a battlefield.  The fighting ended in a ceasefire, leaving what we have today, an uneasy armistice of a divided nation.  This was not inevitable.  We had the power to defeat Korean and Chinese communists and, if push came to shove, to even threaten the fledging fiend of the People's Republic. 

US soldiers during the Korean WarAfter the loss of so many American lives in the "Forgotten War," surely our dead soldiers deserved something better than a ceasefire as their memorial. The Korean War could have ended, as MacArthur and others wanted, with a united Korea as part of the free world.  This Korea would not have been perfect in the beginning, but like South Korea, Taiwan, and Japan, it would have evolved into just the sort of nation we want:  a peaceful, democratic, free, prosperous ally.  This Korea would not have acquired nuclear weapons or threatened the world with war.
 
But these benefits would only have been the public blessings of a united and free Korea.  The Eyes of God, which see hidden tortures and hears lonely screams, perceives five decades of deliberate starvation, torture, thought control, and imprisoned souls, the bitter fruits of that vast Gulag we call North Korea.   Dr Rummel, who has made a study of "Death by Government," places the democide of the Korean people by the Communist regime at 1.6 million plus 1.4 million murdered by Communists during the war…just through 1987.  What is goodness if it is not ending the agony of these millions? 

A prime good in our victory over Nazism was the liberation of death camps and concentration camps filled with hungry, terrified Jews, Poles, gypsies, homosexuals, Christian clergy, and all other "undesirables."  A prime good in our victory in the Cold War over the Soviet Union was emptying the Gulag and freeing hearts and minds of those hundreds of millions trapped across the Evil Empire.  That was the vital sort of goodness we left unclaimed in the Korean War. 

Worse than our weakness in the face of deep but at that time weak evil, Americans casually pretended that the starved, tormented subjects north of the 38th Parallel were not oppressed at all.  Morally hideous programs like M*A*S*H portrayed patriotic Americans who thought Communism was evil and that our war against was noble as nasty gnomes and vain buffoons.  The unspeakable crimes committed by the dark armies of Kim Il Sung against the Korean people and American G.I.s were never mentioned at all.  Captured enemy soldiers, unlike the clownishly portrayed American patriots of M*A*S*H, were ordinary and decent men, incapable of the atrocities which were thoroughly documented by many sources during and after the armistice ended the fighting. 

Imagine a film or a television program in which Americans who see goodness in fighting the Nazis are shown on screen a fools or knaves or worse.  Imagine a film about Nazism which ignores, utterly, the Holocaust.  Imagine such a production which presented those who dismissed condemnations of Nazis as super-patriotism.   Voila!  You have the topsy-turvy moral universe of M*A*S*H.  War is horrible, but as Nazi camps and the Gulag and North Korea remind us, the peace of Hitler or Stalin or Kim Il Sung is even worse. 

Do we want a world safe from dangerous regimes like North Korea or Iran?  Do we wish to end the unthinkable cruelties, like the Holocaust, which are committed each day as a matter of state policy in place like Cuba and North Korea?  Then there is only one solution:  end these evil realms; replace the odious overlords with decent people; then let these lands evolve naturally into ordered liberty.  The "bad guys" in M*A*S*H were really the good guys.  Seoul may soon be radioactive.  Why?  Because sixty years ago, we failed to conquer an blatant, terrible evil when we could, and now it has grown into a deadly viper. ESR

Bruce Walker is the author of a new book Poor Lenin's Almanac: Perverse Leftists Proverbs for Modern Life.

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