Search This Blog

Monday, February 17, 2014

Why Is North Korea So Crazy?

My extensive reading on the Manhattan Project and World War II has lead me into the peripheral area of the Korean War. I am reading this after I have read some articles on the White House pondering whom to next kill with a drone strike...

And I ponder the long term effects of barbarous wars that had an outcome different from Japan's unconditional surrender.

History News Network
George Mason University 

Bombing Civilians: An American Tradition

The cease-fire that ended the Korean War followed a crescendo of bombing, which was then taken as proof that airpower was as decisive in limited wars as it had been in total war. The cities and towns of central and northern Korea had been leveled. In what Bruce Cumings has called the “final act of this barbaric air war,” North Korea’s main irrigation dams were destroyed in the spring of 1953, shortly after the rice had been transplanted. “The subsequent floods scooped clean 27 miles of valley below. . . . The Westerner can little conceive the awesome meaning which the loss of [rice] has for the Asian—starvation and slow death.”   
By 1952, according to a UN estimate, one out of nine men, women, and children in North Korea had been killed. In the South, 5,000,000 people had been displaced and 100,000 children were described as unaccompanied. “The countless ruined villages are the most terrible and universal mark of the war on the Korean landscape. To wipe out cover for North Korean vehicles and personnel, hundreds of thatch-roofed houses were burned by air-dropped jellied gasoline or artillery fire,” Walter Sullivan, former New York Times Korea correspondent, reported in The Nation. J. Donald Kingsley, head of the reconstruction agency, called Korea “the most devastated land and its people the most destitute in the history of modern warfare.”   
Freda Kirchwey, in an essay for The Nation, tried to explain the general indifference of the American public to the destruction:
We were all hardened by the methods of mass-slaughter practiced first by the Germans and Japanese and then, in self-defense, adopted and developed to the pitch of perfection illustrated at Hiroshima and Nagasaki by the Western allies and, particularly, the Americans. We became accustomed to “area” bombing, “saturation” bombing, all the hideous forms of strategic air war aimed at wiping out not only military and industrial installations but whole populations. . . . A deep scar was left on the mind of Western man, and, again, particularly on the American mind, by the repression of pity and the attempt to off-load all responsibility onto the enemy.
Kirchwey thought that this repression explained the lack of protest “against the orgy of agony and destruction now in progress in Korea.” Nothing the North Koreans, Chinese, or Russians had done “excuses the terrible shambles created up and down the Korean peninsula by the American-led forces, by American planes raining down napalm and fire bombs, and by heavy land and naval artillery.” And now Korea, “blotted out in the name of collective security, blames the people who drop the fire bombs,” which might seem unfair to the military mind but was inevitable:
For a force which subordinates everything to the job of killing the enemy becomes an enemy itself. . . . And after a while plain horror displaces a sense of righteousness even among the defenders of righteousness, and thus the cause itself becomes hateful. This has happened in Korea. Soon, as we learn the facts, it will overtake us here in America.
“The American mind,” Kirchwey was certain, “mercurial and impulsive, tough and tender, is going to react against the horrors of mechanized warfare in Korea.” ,,,


No comments: