Truman followed Big Mac’s advice, and allied troops continued advancing toward Manchuria. As early as October, 1950, American forces began taking Chinese prisoners, a chilling omen that Mac wrote off as a few straggling volunteers from China. So it shouldn’t have been a surprise when in November, 1950, Chou En-lai made good on his promise and the unbelievable happened: the Chinese attacked on all fronts with over 300,000 troops, sending the once-successful mostly-US forces into a full-scale retreat, and whole course of the war was drastically altered. The ant-like swarms of Chinese engulfing our troops and equipment made their poor weapons a non-issue. A war which should have been over in the first few months dragged on for decades, and rages still.
But Big Mac already knew that dealing with the Chinese Communists (ChiComms) was fated. He threatened to bring out the heavy artillery, in this case and at this point in time, the Atomic bomb. Truman, forever traumatized by the necessity of using the bomb in WWII and the horrors of the aftermath, would never bring himself to justify using it again. This is not necessarily a good thing, for the same rationale for its initial use was still valid in the Korean War: that of saving the lives of American soldiers. But Truman was convinced that the Soviets would use it as an excuse to retaliate with the nukes they’d obtained less than a year earlier and five years ahead of schedule, thanks to the Rosenberg’s treachery. This would not have happened; Stalin and Mao hated each other virulently. In fact, to this day there is no love lost between Russia and China, which is why they have no problem using each other for their own self-serving purposes. The USSR never would have used the bomb for the sake of China…they would have blustered publicly but celebrated in Vodka-drenched behind-doors parties privately.
So Truman refused to ever use the bomb on China, emboldening them to stay involved to the point that they were willing to lose tens of thousands of lives a month so long as they could stick it to the most powerful nation on earth.
Big Mac was stunned. He had promised at Wake Island not to publicly speak about bombing China, but he considered Truman’s behavior in Korea to be two-faced, given his use of the bomb in WWII to save troop lives, and a betrayal of his soldiers in the current war, whose lives were just as valuable. He threatened China with the bomb if they didn’t back off, causing Truman to fire America’s General in April, 1951. Many believe that is what cost Truman the election in 1952…Korea’s continued fighting and the removal of the one man most Americans believed could win the war. MacArthur’s greatest victory and greatest defeat had both occurred in Korea, within weeks of one another, and gave the Korean War one of its lesser-known nicknames: the 3 General War (Big Mac was followed by Matthew Ridgway, and after that came General Mark Clark, who was at Panmunjom on July 27, 1953.)
General Omar Bradley later wrote to Big Mac, chastising him for disobeying a direct order from the Commander-In-Chief. Mac responded with heart-felt, pure truth: Brad, if we don’t get the China problem under control now, they will be the biggest problem confronting our grandchildren at the turn of the century.
The man was prophetic indeed…
So now I understood why we were involved in Korea, and how what should have been a quick win has dragged into a six-plus decade war with nuclear overtones. I next turned my attention to the generation who had fought there. While they had overlapped with the WWII generation, there was also a fresh crop of young men who had been children, impressionable and ever-watching, during those trying times. Studying those who shaped this time in history brought me to an opinion that didn’t really surprise me: the men at the genesis of the Korean War are the finest this country has ever produced.
Born during the Depression and raised during WWII, they had the maturity at 20 that my generation would not see until we were well-entrenched in our mid-30’s. These were men who simply did their duty and came home. They were able, for the most part, to get married, hold down jobs, become educated, and raise children without whining. They were “real men,” in every noble and deserving aspect of the word. This doesn’t mean that they didn’t suffer; all men in war suffer. It’s impossible to escape the trauma of a war. They had nightmares, saw horrors they never forgot, cried a river of tears for lost friends, lost innocence, lost freedoms. But it’s in spite of this “normality” of war that they were able to be strong, noble, and directed, and nobility with purpose never allows anything to get in its way.
We have lost such men due to the emasculation that our embrace of Political Castration (never call it “correct,” for that is calling wrong right and evil good) has caused. I am sorry for this, have rejected it, and have taught my sons and all who would listen to do the same. We fear words now, and energy expended raging over what words we can and can’t use—in a nation of free speech, no less! —sucks our vigor and leaves us utterly wasted and impotent by the time actions are called for. We are now an easily conquered people; the mere fear of being accused of being racist, sexist, or some random “phobe” is all it takes to stop us from standing for truth. This must not be in a land of Constitutionally-founded free speech; either words are free with the applicable responsibility or they aren’t. We must not accept the confusion and unavoidable destruction that the policing of words, which leads to the mentally ill and inexorable idea that we can control thoughts, has wrought on every society in history that has accepted this curse that begins with the control of actions, then words, and always at last, thoughts. ‘Tis the mathematical pattern of history, and we are not above the laws of math. And this pattern has proven, again and again, that the difference between a free people and slaves is free will. The minute we seek to control any God-given right we are in the territory of evil.
When it comes to Korea, some say it was a worthless war. Well, let’s look at it the way the average person sees it. The 38th parallel was drawn up after WWII and that was where it basically ended up in 1953, after the active years and all that fighting and death. See? Useless. Period.
O.K. But there is something that most don’t realize about that war. While everyone else agreed to leave North and South Korea separate—temporarily, of course (when has that ever worked when one of the parties involved is totalitarian?)—communist North Korea was seething over the loss of the south. They couldn’t leave the agreement in place, given the afore-mentioned goals of all Marxist-Leninists, and the Soviets and Chinese were only too happy to use Korea, and each other, for their own purposes. North Korea took matters into their own hands, as all totalitarians inexorably do, and tried to force a reunion, commie style. This is what so alarmed us, and demanded action of any nation who cries sovereignty. That commie forces could so arrogantly defy the agreement and try to snatch more and more incensed Republic leaders and freedom-lovers everywhere.
Now to learn how we actually won the active fighting part of the Korean War.
For the first time since the advent of Communism, America stopped that infamous aggression in its tracks. The message was loud and clear: blatant militancy would not be tolerated, and they were pushed back to where they had begun—behind the 38th parallel. While the north would remain hard-line communists, they could not deny the loss, though they will always continue to try with the lies of brainwashing and propaganda. They had not managed, no matter how hard they had fought, to gain one more inch of territory. That is what you call a victory of the Republic. It is time to give this glorious generation their due. They did what was right and won. God bless them, they won.
The problem that has dogged us since that war is obvious: the lack of well-defined goals, which means you can’t make a well-defined plan, and the idea of “limited war” is a total bastardization of the purpose of the military. The military is not designed for babysitting another country. Their job is what it has always been: to win wars, free peoples, and stop evil through armed might. They are the last line of defense, the solution to a problem that diplomacy has failed to solve.
So once again we learn that we tend to learn precious little from history, and are therefore doomed to repeat it. Korea began as a noble purpose that took a wrong turn and wasn’t given the ability to right itself. It was a war with one hand tied behind its back by Congress. In spite of this handicap, however, the war achieved its eventual goal: stopping the commies right where they had begun. But the still-divided Korea remains an active ulcer to this day, for the reasons outlined above, obviously. It is the only war in our history for which a peace treaty was never signed, meaning that technically North Korea is still at war with South Korea, who remains our ally. Approximately 30,000 American military personnel remain stationed there, most along the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), the most heavily guarded border on earth.
Men in war are the true rare breed. It’s true that men who see war become as anesthetized to acts of bravery and heroism as they do to mutilation and death; after all, war always gives us both, and both are part of the job description. Warriors know this. All in all, these are men who do their best under the absolute worst circumstances imaginable so the rest of us won’t have to.
How can I not be eternally grateful for such Godly willingness to pay my share for my freedom? How can anyone not be grateful?
Keep the faith, bros, in all things courage, and no substitute for VICTORY.