Who Really Started the Korean War? by Justin Raimondo

Who started the Korean War should be of limited contemporary relevance. The fighting stopped in 1953, but a peace treaty was never signed, the US stations over 20,000 troops in South Korea and guarantees its safety, and North Korea has nuclear bombs and a leader with a tenous grasp on power. To understand the current situation, it’s necessary to understand the history of the Korean Peninsula, which includes who started the Korean War. From Justin Raimondo at antiwar.com:

Forget the Trumanite mythology

Originally published July 28, 2013

The sixtieth anniversary of the “end” of the Korean war saw President Obama attempt to rescue that classic example of interventionist failure from history’s dustbin. Addressing veterans of that conflict, he declared:

“That war was no tie. Korea was a victory. When 50 million South Koreans live in freedom, a vibrant democracy…a stark contrast to the repression and poverty of the North, that is a victory and that is your legacy.”

This is a fairytale: it wasn’t a victory, or even a tie: the US public was disenchanted with the war long before the armistice, and Truman was under considerable pressure at home to conclude an increasingly unpopular conflict. As for this guff about “democracy”: whatever the US was fighting for, from 1950, when the war broke out, to 1953, when it ground to a halt, democracy hardly described the American cause.

We were fighting on behalf of Syngman Rhee, the US-educated-and-sponsored dictator of South Korea, whose vibrancy was demonstrated by the large-scale slaughter of his leftist political opponents. For 22 years, Rhee’s word was law, and many thousands of his political opponents were murdered: tens of thousands were jailed or driven into exile. Whatever measure of liberality has reigned on the Korean peninsula was in spite of Washington’s efforts and ongoing military presence. When the country finally rebelled against Rhee, and threw him out in the so-called April Revolution of 1960, he was ferried to safety in a CIA helicopter as crowds converged on the presidential palace.

The mythology that has coagulated around the Korean war is epitomized by Obama’s recent peroration, a compendium of uplifting phrases largely bereft of any real history. When history intrudes, it is seen only in very soft focus. The phrase “Korea reminds us” recurs throughout, like the refrain of a pop song, but nowhere does this anonymous presidential speechwriter remind us of the origins of this war. How did it come about?

To continue reading: Who Really Started the Korean War?

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