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Thursday, May 23, 2024
HomePolicyWhere Are We On the 60th Anniversary of Korean War Armistice?

Where Are We On the 60th Anniversary of Korean War Armistice?

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FILE – In this July 30, 1953 black-and-white file photo, Commander-in-chief, United Nations Command, and U.S. Army Gen. Mark Clark signs the Military Armistice agreement at a base camp at Munsan-ni, Korea. Sixty years after it finished fighting in Korea, the U.S. is still struggling with two legacies that are reminders of the costs — political, military and human — that war can impose on the generations that follow. The first is the leading role that America still is committed to playing in defending South Korea should the 1950-53 Korean War re-ignite. (AP Photo, File)

To mark the 60th anniversary of the armistice that ended the Korean War, goose-stepping soldiers alongside columns of tanks and a variety of missiles poised on mobile V-2 launchers paraded through Pyongyang’s main square. One would never know from observing the Soviet-style march we are no longer in the height of the Cold War. It is truly a staggering testament to just how regressive – not progressive – collectivist policies are.

It is one of the few chances the world gets to see North Korea’s military up close. Although Pyongyang frequently uses the occasion to reveal new – even though rarely operational – hardware, there didn’t appear to be any new weapons in Saturday’s parade. In fact, in attendance, China’s vice-president chatted with Kim Jong-un, who did not even bother making a speech to his starving people.

In South Korea, where they actually have electricity, the anniversary was marked with a speech by President Park Geun-hye, an exhibit on the war’s history and a planned anti-North Korea rally. A South Korean symphony was to perform later in the day, displaying a cultural tolerance to the arts and productive creativity of the human spirit. There, of course, is no such tolerance in “progressive” North Korea.

Park vowed not to tolerate provocations from North Korea, but she also said Seoul would work on building trust with the North. Park said:

I urge North Korea to give up the development of nuclear weapons if the country is to start on a path toward true change and progress.

In what the Associated Press referred to as “a proclamation,” Obama said the anniversary marks the end of the war and the beginning of a long and prosperous peace. In the six decades since the end of hostilities, Obama said, South Korea has become a close U.S. ally and one of the world’s largest economies.

He added that the US-South Korean partnership remains “a bedrock of stability” throughout the Pacific region, and gave credit to the U.S. service members who fought all those years ago and to the men and women currently stationed there.

Many of those men never came home, and too many still were left behind. It is rightfully referred to as a “seemingly endless challenge of accounting for thousands of U.S. servicemen still listed as missing in action.” That mission, which competes for Pentagon resources with demands to also retrieve and identify MIAs from the battlefields of World War II and Vietnam, is beset with problems including bureaucratic dysfunction, according to an internal Pentagon report disclosed July 7 by The Associated Press.

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This undated family photo shows the plane Air Force lieutenant Gilbert L. Ashley, Jr., was flying when shot down over North Korea in January 1953. Gilbert was one of five members of the bomber crew who became prisoners of war after surviving their shootdown. (AP Photo/Family Photo)

Those thousands of servicemen deserved better than bureaucratic gluttony, corruption, and an outrageous revelation that said appropriated funds were used to give bureaucrats more vacation time and live the extravagant lives that those left behind never had the chance to live.

The Pentagon says there are about 7,900 MIAs, of which approximately half are thought to be recoverable if they would care to stop stuffing their faces and pockets. But as with any other big government attempt to function effectively, it is a massive failure. Unfortunately, with an issue such as MIA POWs, it is not just a matter of them not doing their jobs, or wasting budget appropriated funds. For the families of the servicemen, and the servicemen themselves, the cost cannot have a price tag attached to this failure.

It means everything, and has cost them everything.

Yet, Obama ended his speech, in which he called for better treatment of Korean War veterans, with a meaningless victory claim. “Today we can say with confidence that war was no tie. Korea was a victory,” he said. The U.S. has kept combat forces on the Korean Peninsula since the fighting halted with the signing of an armistice, or truce, and it still has 28,500 troops based in the South. How could that be considered an unequivocal victory?

The armistice agreement itself did not envision a long-term U.S. troop presence. It contains a passage recommending that within three months a high-level political conference be convened to negotiate the withdrawal of all foreign forces from Korea and “the peaceful settlement of the Korean question.” That has never happened, and neither has the safe return of our POWs.

The bureaucratic manufactured mystery of what happened to MIAs in North Korea runs deep, as do the emotions of MIA family members who have petitioned the government, searched military records and in some cases pleaded with diplomats to find answers.

“It’s that unanswered question that lingers year after year,” says Richard C. Thompson of Chestertown, MD., a distant cousin of Gilbert L. Ashley Jr., who was an Air Force lieutenant and 1 of 5 members of a B-29 bomber crew who became prisoners of war. Also, they survived the crash, they were held by the North Koreans after being shot-down over North Korea in January 1953.

Thompson and other relatives of Ashley and the other 4 airmen learned in the 1990s that they had been alive in the hands of North Korean captors after the July 1953 armistice was signed, but the men were never heard from again. “It’s a lingering melancholy,” Thompson says.

Beneath all of the charades and decorations, Americans need to ask themselves whether or not we are ready to have a deeper conversation. Where are we on the 60th anniversary of the Korean War armistice? Even if we have forgotten them, the families of the POWs certainly know where their loved ones are not.

Obama was right about one thing, although it is not original to point it out. He said:

Unlike the Second World War, Korea did not galvanize our country. These veterans did not return to parades. Unlike Vietnam, Korea did not tear at our country. These veterans did not return to protests. For many Americans tired of war, there was it seemed a desire to forget, to move on.

In academia and in pop-culture, the Korean War is known as “the forgotten war,” and the sacrifice of those who served equally unappreciated. However, it is wholly forgotten why we fought the war to begin with, the U.S. foreign policy of containment that was centered on keeping the destructive leftist ideology out of our Hemisphere.

In the 21st century we now fight against the leftist ideology within the Western Hemisphere, in fact, a leftist gave the speech recognizing those who have died and have been left behind fighting against his very ideology. Yes, indeed, a conversation we need to have about the dominos that are falling among our own ranks; a product of too much focus on dominos outside of our own vital interests.

God Bless all of those who served to protect us from the communist threat. I will leave you with a word from Senator Ted Cruz, whom of which, clearly has not forgotten:

Written by

Rich, the People's Pundit, is the Data Journalism Editor at PPD and Director of the PPD Election Projection Model. He is also the Director of Big Data Poll, and author of "Our Virtuous Republic: The Forgotten Clause in the American Social Contract."

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