Tuesday, April 10, 2012

No Massacre at Gun Ri?

I have written a number of articles on military history and military affairs for Listosaur.com, but none of them caused the kind of reaction my last one did.  I wrote about 5 massacres perpetrated by American troops stretching from the Spanish American War/Filipino Insurrection to the Vietnam War.  "Massacre" is a very loaded word and I resisted the use of the word for some of the incidents in conversations with my editor, but he gets the final word.

Many people have hear of the My Lai Massacre during the Vietnam War or the Massacre at wounded Knee at the end of the Indian Wars.  While the My Lai case is a pretty clear-cut case of atrocities, the others are a lot less clear.  A little research shows there are several versions of events with different sets of facts and motives.  The No Gun Ri incident during the Korean War is one example: A number of South Korean civilians were killed in the midst of some heavy fighting in July 1950, but it gets complicated after that.

One reader contacted me to say I was basically white-washing the cold=blooded murder of innocent civilians by U.S. troops.  He did not provide any good evidence, but he was passionate that Americans were at fault.  He seemed to completely discount the idea that the troops accidently killed civilians in the chaos and confusion of war and as the Communists were infiltrating the ranks of the civilian refugees to advance the American lines.  The deaths of civilians in war is always a tragedy, but a massacre?

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