Let no more civilians through

Thursday, December 3rd, 2020

This Kind of War by T.R. FehrenbachThousands of Korean refugees in January 1951 were pouring southward, streaming through U.N. lines, T. R. Fehrenbach explains (in This Kind of War), and with them came disguised NKPA:

Muñoz, like all the old hands, had grown wary of infiltrators.

One day he ordered his roadblocks, “Let no more civilians through.”

A sergeant, a recallee who had had to leave his new business and was understandably bitter about it, said, “Captain, I’m not about to shoot civilians.”

Muñoz put hard black eyes on this man. “Sergeant, I realize you’re new. We’ve had experience with this. Some of these ‘civilians’ have inflicted casualties on us, and unless you want to be killed, you’d better watch it.”

One night, while on roadblock guard, the sergeant disappeared. Muñoz figured some “civilians” had probably thrown his body into the deep snows along the road. In spring, thousands of skeletons were found all over the roadsides of Korea, but few of them could be identified.


  1. Altitude Zero says:

    The fact that the Communists infiltrated terrorists behind US/ROK lines by concealing them in crowds of refugees is one of those bits of history that everyone knew fifty years ago, but has been tossed down the memory hole since. Books like Feherenbach’s are valuable for reminding us of how history has been rewritten in since the seventies.

  2. Kirk says:

    I wouldn’t say that it’s been rewritten so much as it simply isn’t being taught, discussed, or researched honestly.

    The South Koreans are mostly to blame, here–Their left wing has been engaged in a program of steady demonization about the war, blaming American troops for “killing civilians”, when it was generally cases like this, and/or the Koreans themselves. The then-government didn’t argue with them, because they’d rather have blamed Americans than refute the claims by telling the truth, which was that the ROKA killed just as many or more of the civilians than Americans did. Hell, a lot of the time, the ROKA was disdainful of American “soft-heartedness” when it came to counter-guerrilla action and dealing with these infiltration tactics.

    South Koreans are, on the whole, pretty self-delusional when it comes to their history. Take the whole “comfort women” thing with regards to the Japanese–The Koreans blame the Japanese for the whole thing, when the reality was that what the IJA did was to contract with Korean pimps and madams to provide the prostitutes, and those pimps and madams went out and found the girls by hook or by crook.

    Same thing was going on thirty-forty years later, with regards to the “bar girls” in establishments catering to GIs. The girls would be from poor peasant farming families, whose parents were indebted to the local landlord/moneylender, and then they’d be taken as “debt payments”. After the ’88 Olympics, when the economy took off, that stopped and the Korean pandering industry had to resort to recruiting from the Philippines. By the time of my second tour over there circa 2000, the majority of the bar girls were Russian expats recruited under similar circumstances, and held in virtual slavery.

    Koreans can whine all they want about “sex slaves” and “comfort women”, but the reality is that they’re mostly the ones who did it to themselves, and then went on to perpetuate the sorry industry on others.

    As well, take a guess which ethnicity of the Japanese Empire had the worst reputation for atrocities in WWII, and who had the worst record as POW guards? Yeah; Koreans.

    I like the Korean people, but they have a few “issues” with regards to historical honesty. Kinda like my Irish cousins–Most of whom did more to aid the Brits than anyone would like to admit, and who went on to make absolutely great Imperial lackeys who took it all out on others across the Empire.

    In honesty, none of these people deserve the slightest bit of pity. Korea is often likened to Asia’s Ireland, and that’s largely true–The population is similarly scholarly, equally fractious and unable to get their shit together, and they’ve been victims of their neighbors because of it. They’re also perpetual victims who won’t take responsibility for their own faults, and who love blaming others for their problems. In some regards, I love both countries… In others? They can largely go screw themselves, especially when they wax on and on and on about how they’ve been done wrong.

  3. Altitude Zero says:

    There’s a lot of truth to that, Kirk. I’ve heard that the ROK soldiers in Vietnam did things that made MyLai look like a community social – and of course, the Viet Cong out-did everyone when it came to atrocities.

    If there’s one thing that gets me about the modern world, it’s the whining and victimization contests that everyone seems to engage in these days. Actual bragging, swaggering, chest-beating national chauvinism is far preferable to this sick stuff, and far less irritating. And yeah, as someone of part-Irish heritage, I can say that we’re some of the worst.

  4. Lucklucky says:

    How many Vietcong massacres appeared in Western media? That tells much about Western journalism.

  5. Kirk says:

    Western media has been effectively Communist-controlled since about the 1930s. The evidence is inarguable, when you know what to look for.

    The mass media is corrupt, and populated by the sort of creatures we all made fun of in high school. Intellectually, they’re almost all from the left-hand side of the bell curve, and I’ve found that most whores have better morals, in that there are some things that even a whore won’t do for money.

    You can’t trust anything you read, even the bare-bones facts. If it comes from a single source, it’s almost certainly a lie. Multiple sources? Might be true, but you can’t trust any of the “interpretations” provided. Reporters and editors lie with a faculty that is hard to believe, and they’ll do it with such seamless verisimilitude that you’ll be hard-pressed to even notice it.

  6. Gavin Longmuir says:

    Kirk: “Koreans can whine all they want about “sex slaves” and “comfort women”, but the reality is that they’re mostly the ones who did it to themselves …”

    Koreans are not alone in that. One almost never hears any acknowledgement from the “Reparations” crowd that people who actually enslaved the Africans in Africa and sold them to the English slave ships were … other Africans. Sometimes from different tribes, selling off their captives instead of killing them; sometimes from their own tribe, getting rid of the less productive members of the tribe.

    What was done was done. There are lessons we all can learn from the past, but there is no value in anyone whining about what happened to distant ancestors. A baby girl born at the time of the Korean war is now likely to be a great-great-grandmother, if she is still alive. Time marches on, and we need to be concerned about our increasingly uncertain future, not the past.

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