Category: Opinion

Opinion letters
by Various Authors

These stories are controversial and need to be answered.

Protest Vs. Alleged U.S. Killings

.c The Associated Press

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) - Waving signs and chanting, a South Korean student group rallied in downtown Seoul on Sunday, demanding that the United States punish those responsible for the alleged mass killings of civilians by U.S. forces at the start of the Korean War.

It was the first public reaction from South Korea's largest student group, called Hanchongryon and known for its anti-U.S. views, regarding last week's news report on the alleged killings in July 1950.

``The U.S. government must punish people responsible for the massacre!'' a group of 40 students chanted, pumping their clenched fists into the air.

Last week, The Associated Press reported accounts by American veterans, corroborating those of South Korean villagers, that their unit killed a large number of civilians at No Gun Ri, South Korea, during the early days of the Korean War. The villagers say 400 died.

The AP also found once-classified documents showing that U.S. commanders ordered their troops to shoot civilians as a defense against disguised enemy soldiers.

At the rally in Seoul's main railroad plaza, the students demanded that the United States apologize to South Korea and the victims' families.

Riot police stood around the protesters but did not intervene. No clashes were reported.

``Americans are beasts wearing masks of human beings!'' the group said in a statement.

Hanchongryon has led violent street protests in the past, but its influence has decreased sharply in recent years.

The government outlawed the group because it supported the withdrawal of 37,000 U.S. troops based in South Korea as well as other key demands made by communist North Korea. The group says the U.S. military presence increases tension on the divided Korean peninsula.

Aging South Koreans who said they survived the killings said Friday that they would not allow anti-American sentiment to affect their search for the truth behind No Gun Ri.

They said they recognized the importance of friendly relations between Washington and Seoul and understood the valuable security role the United States plays in deterring threats from the communist North.

The two Koreas are still technically at war because no peace treaty was signed at the end of the 1950-53 Korean War. Their border is the world's most heavily militarized.

After the AP report, the U.S. and South Korean governments promised thorough investigations into the No Gun Ri killings. Both governments had previously dismissed the survivors' claims.

AP-NY-10-03-99 1325EDT

Putin Urges START II Ratification

.c The Associated Press

MOSCOW (AP) - President Vladimir Putin today called for quick ratification of the long-delayed START II nuclear arms treaty with the United States and even deeper cuts in the nations' nuclear arsenals.

Choosing a key nuclear weapons center for his first postelection trip, Putin said he had ordered defense and foreign ministry officials to step up consultations in parliament to prepare for the START II ratification.

``We are setting the task to free the world from piles of excessive weapons,'' he said in the city of Snezhinsk, known as Chelyabinsk-70 during Soviet times, a major nuclear weapons design and production facility 950 miles east of Moscow.

The 1993 treaty was ratified by the U.S. Senate in 1996, but Communists and other hard-liners who dominated the Russian parliament have balked at ratifying the treaty, saying START II would hurt Russia's security.

After a strong showing of pro-government moderates in December's parliamentary elections, the Communists lost control of the State Duma, parliament's lower house, and lawmakers are now expected to move faster toward ratification.

START II would halve U.S. and Russian nuclear arsenals to between 3,000 and 3,500 warheads each, and preliminary talks have already begun on the START III treaty that would envisage more cuts.

``Russia is holding and will continue talks on further cuts in the strategic offensive weapons,'' Putin said, according to Russian news reports.

In a speech to Snezhinsk workers, Putin said the nuclear weapons industry should find a reasonable way to convert to civilian production, avoiding ``thoughtless restructuring and layoffs.''

Over the past several years, thousands of workers at the center have repeatedly gone on strike to demand back wages, as once-lavish government funding has ground to a near halt.

Shrinking defense spending has also led to layoffs, and workers have found it difficult to find civilian jobs in cities like Snezhinsk, which have remained closed to outsiders for security reasons.

While moving ahead with nuclear weapons cuts, Russia must also streamline its nuclear deterrent force, Putin said.

``Our aim is to make our nuclear weapons complex more safe and effective,'' he said. ``We will preserve and strengthen the Russian nuclear weapons complex even though we don't plan to build it up.''

Putin also pledged to help market Russian nuclear technology worldwide, tacitly dismissing Washington's criticism of a deal to build a nuclear reactor in Iran.

``We will protect Russia's interests in global markets, and won't allow anyone to push Russia from those markets under the guise of falsely formulated values,'' Putin said when asked about prospects of cooperation with Iran.

Nuclear Power Minister Yevgeny Adamov said Iran has asked Russia to build three more reactors - a plan that would vex the Clinton administration, which fears that it would help Iran develop nuclear weapons.

Putin, who won Sunday's presidential election with promises to restore Russia's international prestige and military might and to revive the stagnant economy, offered no quick solutions and has yet to put forth a specific economic program.

Speaking to reporters today, he reiterated his support for free-market reforms while working to strengthen the state role in the economy. He said he was ready to invite representatives of different political parties into the new Cabinet, but said that wouldn't mean forming a coalition government.

After visiting Snezhinsk, Putin was scheduled to go to Chelyabinsk, the main city in the region, where he is set to attend a judo exhibition. Putin, a 16-year KGB veteran, is a black belt in judo."

This is an interesting development. It may auger well for world peace and a chance for Putin to get aid from the US.The next steps will be worth watching. Look for Clinton to jump on this one!

Yes, we need to admit that innocent people die in war.
by Richard R. Tryon

Had I been born about four years earlier, I could have been an officer in Korea giving the order to kill innocents to try to save my own men. Thanks to those who did it for me, I never had to serve in battle, even though I trained to do so.

This current article produced by By SANG-HUN CHOE for the .c The Associated Press
has now given the American public and the rest of the world an opportunity to show yet another example of American Imperialism at its usual worst! The young people being used to represent S. Korea are claiming that any surviving American veterans of the terrible slaughter of scores, hundreds or thousands of their ancestors should be brought to trial to suffer for the injustices wrought against these ancestors!

Why, pray tell, should these young people be heard and publicized? The answers are simple:

First, the slaughter of innocent women, children and old men is viewed as a dastardly crime and even the U.S. military code of conduct claims such to be the case.

Second, bringing up the story fifty years later serves a purpose to several kinds of people. Those who make a living by selling sensational stories find this sort of research to be their ‘bread and butter’. Properly managed, they can make themselves well known for revealing such terrible incidents whether true or not. The best part to them is that it will take time to sort out fact from fiction and this gives the story a longer ‘shelf-life’!

Third, those who always wanted all of Korea to be under the control of the communists of the north and who were almost able to achieve that objective, are always looking for ways to make the enemy look bad. To them the war is not over, it is just in a dormant stage.

Fourth, the American government will now be forced to launch a costly investigation to find out how and why such atrocities were never reported correctly and honestly.

Do you really want to know the answer? If so, all you have to do is study war in general and this one in particular to discover that people get hurt in wars. For every soldier who dies in hand to hand combat in the field, many more die for many other reasons. A goodly percentage of them are innocent of anything beyond having been in the wrong place at the wrong time!

Put yourself in the mind of the handful of American soldiers left to stop the invasion of the communist hordes from the North who came over the border without warning to capture S.Korea. They came because our American Secty. of State was stupid enough, or cunning enough, to tell the world in a speech to the National Press Club that Korea was outside of our ‘sphere of influence’ and concern in our battle to just contain Soviet communism. We wanted no part of any campaign to defeat it!

Former Ambassador William D. Pawley tried to advise President Truman that he would be sending American boys to fight a war in Asia within a year if he didn’t do something to undue the words of the State Department. Truman apparently didn’t understand the risk or was persuaded to the idea that none existed. So our meager forces that protected the almost non-existent S.Korean army, were asked to stop the N. Koreans who were attacking a nation of peasant farmers who could be forced to feed the North, if they could just become part of the communist controlled territory.

When our forces were sent reeling to the southern tip of Korea, to the port of Pusan and thence almost into the sea, their officers were scrambling for every possible way to avoid disaster. Is it surprising that they either discovered or were told that N. Korean soldiers were smuggling themselves through our battle lines mixed in with the identical looking S. Koreans? Is it surprising that forced to make quick decisions to avoid having to feed the refugees as well as sort out the enemy, a time consuming task for which no time or resource was available, is it surprising that such circumstances could breed both correct and incorrect actions? Basically in war, a soldier is placed in a position of putting his life on the line.

Unless the survivors memories were faulty or guilty of mistaken evidences, it is absurd for us to launch any investigation. It is far simpler to admit that in war terrible things happen that can’t be avoided unless nobody starts to fight. Why not accept that such atrocities happen, sometimes with malice and sometimes as accidents, but the blame belongs with the aggressors that made the war happen, not the mistakes of those fighting to avoid defeat. Of course, our men could have done such things in the heat of battle. So what? If the communists have their way, we will choose not to fight them the next time they choose to wage war with bullets, tanks, and planes for fear that fifty years later we will be asked to prove that we did not make mistakes!

If we had not been able to stop the N. Koreans or if we had not been there, we would not be reading about children of S. Korea being ‘brain-washed’ into working at ways to get headlines and publicity. In fact, those children would never have existed if we had not been there to save enough of their ancestors that they could be born! Instead of always wanting to thank the Americans for saving their country, some of these people are now searching for ways to ally themselves with the poor cousins of the North so that they can both condemn the interference in the affairs of Koreans.

I hope that we will not hold that anything more than a small, badly misled group is being used by the communists and fellow travelers today to make headlines in the war of the communists against their perceived enemies. Who are their enemies? Everyone that stands in the way of their dominance of the lives of those that they want to rule is an enemy. Yes, Had I been born about two years earlier, I could have been an officer in Korea giving the order to kill innocents to try to save my own men. Thanks to those who did it for me, I never had to serve in battle, even though I trained to do so.

Those who love freedom should never forget that and we will tell the sellers of such stupid research to stop selling us such drivel. If they want to show us how to fight a defensive battle in a situation like S. Korea in 1950, perhaps they can volunteer to take up a position in some hot spot so they can demonstrate how to defend with one eye always diverted to the rule book so as to avoid being criticized by innocent children fifty years later. I predict if they do so, they won’t live to tell about how they fought by the rules!

Previous Chapter


Next Chapter