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Thursday, December 16, 2010

"Police Action"

I remember it being called a 'police action' because many of us still thought that, if the people had not declared the war through their representatives, the war was illegal. We did not call people in power criminals. My memory is not perfect and I may not have all this just right.

The winners of WWII, Russia and the US, divided Korea between us. Russian forces occupied the northern part and US forces the southern. I don't remember anyone consulting the Koreans. Powerful people in the US, fearful of the power of our ally, began calling parts of the world communist or non-communist. They told us that the norther part of Korea was bad, communist.

The Russians seemed to have had less interest in Korea than we did. They seemed more interested in consolidating their power closer to home and were a bit neglectful of their duties of occupation. Most of us were pretty busy at home too, catching our breath and beginning to feel the peace. But, we were told, Chinese were bad, communist, too.

Some Koreans wanted to be whole again. They felt divided and conquered. They were not pleased to be occupied. But we had a good reputation. They knew that as democrats we valued the people and justice for the people. In June of 1950 armed Koreans from the north crossed into the south in a bid to unite their country. Americans knew about uniting; they knew about civil war too.

But it seemed that some people in the US were not sympathetic. The US, with the help of the UN, got 17 countries(I just checked)to help stop the Koreans from uniting. Most of the leaders of those 17 counties were please not to be dominated by Japan or Germany, felt some loyalty to the US, if not the cause. Americans were the good guys. However, they were pleased when the US leaders said that the could get US personal to do most of the bleeding; that US citizens would agreed to be taxed for the costs  of a 'police action.'

We did good and moved our troops across the north right up to the Chinese border and seemed ready to cross it. The Chinese, remembering that we had been calling them bad, asked us to back off. We had just won the greatest war and were not ready to 'back off' for anyone. China was sill suffering from their part in the war and were broke, still had something to fight with, including a lot of willing Chinese. They backed us out of China, across the north and back into what has come to be called South Korea.

Not completely up-beat, but better than The Black Death.

Home work: Why didn't Russia stop us from going into the north? Why did we give we give up our war powers? How ready should we be to have our young bleed even if we have made them pros? 


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