Endless Atrocities: The US Role In Creating The North Korean Fortress-State

Paul Atwood, a Senior Lecturer in American Studies at the University of Massachusetts Boston, provides a concise summary of the history that informs North Korea’s “relations with the United States” and “drives its determination never to submit to any American diktat”.

Excerpts from Atwood’s summary are here used as a framework, with other sources where indicated.

Atwood notes it is an American “myth” that the “North Korean Army suddenly attacked without warning, overwhelming surprised ROK defenders.”  In fact, the North/South border “had been progressively militarized and there had been numerous cross border incursions by both sides going back to 1949.”

Part of what made the US’s ultimate destruction of Korea (which involved essentially a colossal version of one of the cross-border incursions) “inevitable” was the goal of US planners to access or control “global… resources, markets and cheaper labor power”.

In its full invasion of the North, the US acted under the banner of the United Nations.  However, the UN at that time was “largely under the control of the United States”, and as Professor Carl Boggs (PhD political science, UC Berkeley) puts it, essentially was the United States. (28)   While it is still today the world’s most powerful military empire, the US was then at the peak of its global dominance – the most concentrated power-center in world history.  Almost all allies and enemies had been destroyed in World War II while the US strategically preserved its forces, experiencing just over 400,000 overall war-related deaths after Germany and Japan declared war on the US, whereas Russia, for example, lost tens of millions fending off the Nazi invasion.  Boggs further notes that as the UN gradually democratized, US capacity to dictate UN policy waned, with the US soon becoming the world leader in UN vetoes. (154)

In South Korea, “tens of thousands” of “guerrillas who had originated in peoples’ committees” in the South “fought the Americans and the ROK” (Republic of Korea), the Southern dictatorship set up by the US.  Before hot war broke out, the ROK military “over mere weeks” summarily executed some 100,000 to 1 million (74) (S. Brian Wilson puts the figure at 800,000) guerillas and peasant civilians, many of whom the dictatorship lured into camps with the promise of food.  This was done with US knowledge and sometimes under direct US supervision, according to historian Kim Dong-choon and others (see Wilson above for more sources).  The orders for the executions “undoubtedly came from the top”, which was dictator Syngman Rhee, the “US-installed” puppet, and the US itself, which “controlled South Korea’s military.”  After the war, the US helped try to cover up these executions, an effort that largely succeeded until the 1990s.

At a point in the war when the US was on the verge of defeat, General Douglas MacArthur “announced that he saw unique opportunities for the deployment of atomic weapons. This call was taken up by many in Congress.”  Truman rejected this idea and instead “authorized MacArthur to conduct the famous landings at Inchon in September 1950”, which “threw North Korean troops into disarray and MacArthur began pushing them back across the 38th Parallel”, the line the US had “arbitrarily” drawn to artificially divide Korea, where there was “overwhelming support for unification” among the country’s population as a whole.  The US then violated its own artificial border and pushed into the North.

China warned the US it would not sit by while the its neighbor was invaded (China itself also feared being invaded), but MacArthur shrugged this off, saying if the Chinese “tried to get down to Pyongyang” he would “slaughter” them, adding, “we are the best.”  MacArthur “then ordered airstrikes to lay waste thousands of square miles of northern Korea bordering China and ordered infantry divisions ever closer to its border.”

It was the terrible devastation of this bombing campaign, worse than anything seen during World War II short of Hiroshima and Nagasaki that to this day dominates North Korea’s relations with the United States and drives its determination never to submit to any American diktat.

General Curtis Lemay directed this onslaught. It was he who had firebombed Tokyo in March 1945 saying it was “about time we stopped swatting at flies and gone after the manure pile.” It was he who later said that the US “ought to bomb North Vietnam back into the stone age.” Remarking about his desire to lay waste to North Korea he said “We burned down every town in North Korea and South Korea too.” Lemay was by no means exaggerating.

Lemay estimated the US “killed off” some “20% of the [North Korean] population.”  (For comparison, the highest percentage of population lost in World War II was in Poland, which lost approximately 16.93 to 17.22% of its people overall.)  Dean Rusk, who later became a Secretary of State, said the US targeted and attempted to execute every person “that moved” in North Korea, and tried to knock over “every brick standing on top of another.”

Boggs gives many examples of mass atrocities, one taking place in 1950 when the US rounded up “nearly 1,000 civilians” who were then “beaten, tortured, and shot to death by US troops”, another in Pyongyang when the US summarily executed 3,000 people, “mostly women and children”, and another when the US executed some 6,000 civilians, many with machine guns, many by beheading them with sabers.  He notes this list, just of the major atrocities, “goes on endlessly.” (75)

When Chinese forces followed through on their threat and entered North Korea, successfully pushing back US troops, Truman then threatened China with nuclear weapons, saying they were under “active consideration.” For his part, “MacArthur demanded the bombs… As he put it in his memoirs:

I would have dropped between thirty and fifty atomic bombs…strung across the neck of Manchuria…and spread behind us – from the Sea of Japan to the Yellow Sea- a belt of radioactive cobalt. It has an active life of between 60 and 120 years.

Cobalt it should be noted is at least 100 times more radioactive than uranium.

He also expressed a desire for chemicals and gas.

In 1951 the U.S. initiated “Operation Strangle”, which officials estimated killed at least 3 million people on both sides of the 38th parallel, but the figure is probably closer to 4 million [“mostly civilians” and “mostly resulting from US aerial bombardments” in which civilians “were deliberately targeted” (54, 67-8), as were “schools, hospitals, and churches” (65).  Estimates for the death toll also go “much higher” than 4 million (74)].

Boggs notes US propaganda during this time period (the US was a world leader in eugenics scholarship and race-based “legal” discrimination) dehumanized Asians and facilitated targeting and mass executions of “inferior” civilians: the “US decision to target civilians … was planned and systematic, going to the top of the power structure. …no one was ever charged…”  Some in the US forces, such as General Matthew Ridgeway, claimed the war was a Christian jihad in defense of “God”.  (54-5)  Analysts at George Washington University, looking at US contingency plans from this era to wipe out much of the world’s population with nuclear weapons, determined a likely rationale for the US’s doctrine of targeting of civilians is to “reduce the morale of the enemy civilian population through fear” – the definition of terrorism.

Atwood continues:

The question of whether the U.S. carried out germ warfare has been raised but has never been fully proved or disproved. The North accused the U.S. of dropping bombs laden with cholera, anthrax, plague, and encephalitis and hemorrhagic fever, all of which turned up among soldiers and civilians in the north. Some American prisoners of war confessed to such war crimes but these were dismissed as evidence of torture by North Korea on Americans. However, none of the U.S. POWs who did confess and were later repatriated were allowed to meet the press. A number of investigations were carried out by scientists from friendly western countries. One of the most prominent concluded the charges were true.

At this time the US was engaged in top secret germ-warfare research [including non-consensual human experimentation] with captured Nazi and Japanese germ warfare experts, and also [conducting non-consensual human experimentation on tens of thousands of people, including in gas chambers and aerial bombardments, with mustard gas and other chemical weapons,] experimenting with Sarin[, later including non-consensual human experimentation], despite its ban by the Geneva Convention.

Boggs notes the US “had substantial stocks of biological weapons” and US leaders thought they might be able to keep their use “secret enough to make a plausible denial”.  They also thought that if their use was uncovered, the US could simply remind its accusers that it had never signed the 1925 Geneva Protocol on biological warfare. (135-6)

A 1952 US government film made to instruct the US armed forces on the US’s “offensive biological and chemical warfare program” says the US can “deliver a biological or chemical attack … hundreds of miles inland from any coastline” to “attack a large portion of an enemy’s population.”  The film shows US soldiers filling bio/chemical dispersal containers for “contamination” of enemy areas, and then a cartoon depiction of US bio/chem weapons agents being delivered from US ships, passing over Korea, and covering huge swathes of China.

Boggs notes “the US apparently hoped the rapid spread of deadly diseases would instill panic in Koreans and Chinese, resulting in a collapse of combat morale”. (136)

Atwood adds that as in the case of the Rhee/US mass executions of South Koreans, Washington blamed the evident use of germ warfare on “the communists”.

The US also used napalm, a fiery gel that sticks to and burns through targets,

…extensively, completely and utterly destroying the northern capital of Pyongyang. By 1953 American pilots were returning to carriers and bases claiming there were no longer any significant targets in all of North Korea to bomb. In fact a very large percentage of the northern population was by then living in tunnels dug by hand underground. A British journalist wrote that the northern population was living “a troglodyte existence.” In the Spring of 1953 US warplanes hit five of the largest dams along the Yalu river completely inundating and killing Pyongyang’s harvest of rice. Air Force documents reveal calculated premeditation saying that “Attacks in May will be most effective psychologically because it was the end of the rice-transplanting season before the roots could become completely embedded.” Flash floods scooped out hundreds of square miles of vital food producing valleys and killed untold numbers of farmers.

At Nuremberg after WWII, Nazi officers who carried out similar attacks on the dikes of Holland, creating a mass famine in 1944, were tried as criminals and some were executed for their crimes.

Atwood concludes it is “the collective memory” of the above “that animates North Korea’s policies toward the US today”.

Under no circumstances could any westerner reasonably expect … that the North Korean regime would simply submit to any ultimatums by the US, by far the worst enemy Korea ever had measured by the damage inflicted on the entirety of the Korean peninsula.


2017-04-26

About the author:

Robert J. Barsocchini is an independent researcher and reporter whose interest in propaganda and global force dynamics arose from working as a cross-cultural intermediary for large corporations in the US film and Television industry.  His work has been cited, published, or followed by numerous professors, economists, lawyers, military and intelligence veterans, and journalists.  He begins work on a Master’s Degree in American Studies in the fall.

Boggs references: Boggs, Carl. The Crimes of Empire. London; New York: Pluto; Palgrave Macmillan, 2010. Print.

Source: Counter Currents

Save

Save 

RELATED POSTS
The United States as Destroyer of Nations
In the aftermath of the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003 – an invasion which many Iraqis believe left their country in the worst condition it has been since the Mongol invasion of 1258 — there was much discussion in the media about the Bush Administration’s goal for “nation-building” in that country.   Of course, if there ever were such a goal, it was quickly abandoned, and one hardly ever hears the term “nation-building” discussed as a U.S. foreign policy objective anymore.The stark truth is that the U.S. really has no intentions of helping to build strong states in the Middle ...
READ MORE
The Ultimate War Crime: America’s “Global War on Terrorism”
The Islamic State is not only protected by the US and its allies, it is trained and financed by US-NATO, with the support of Israel and Washington’s Persian Gulf allies.  Al Qaeda Affiliated Entities are “Intelligence Assets. Instruments of US Intelligence. The Global War on Terrorism is a fabrication used to justify a war of conquest. The Jihadist terrorists are “Made in America”. They are instruments of US intelligence, yet they are presented to public opinion as “enemies of America”.IntroductionThe Obama administration has embarked upon the ultimate war crime, a Worldwide military adventure, “a long war”, which threatens the future of humanity. The Pentagon’s global military design is ...
READ MORE
The Six Day War – Myth and Reality
The Six Day War of June 1967, a series of battles fought by the armed forces of the state of Israel against a combination of Arab armies, is one of manifold significance. From a military standpoint, it presented a model strategy of how to prosecute and win a war waged on several fronts.The stunning victory also created a sense of euphoria among communities in the Jewish Diaspora: Among American Jews, a segment of Jewry David Ben Gurion viewed with disdain because of their failure to migrate en masse to Israel, a new sense of commitment in both emotional and financial ...
READ MORE
The Killers from the Oval Office
“The essential American soul is hard, isolate, stoic, and a killer. It has never yet melted” D. H. Lawrence, Studies in Classic American LiteratureIndividual U.S. Presidents come and go, but the Oval Office is reserved for the Killer-in-Chief. If, as these war-mongers like to say, “the buck stops here,” then our latest incarnation of a “leader,” Donald Trump, has in a few months accumulated enough guilt to last endless lifetimes. There are no excuses. While the headlines scream distractions from the bloodbath, Trump and his “team” are slaughtering innocents in Iraq, Syria, Yemen, and countless other places off the American public’s radar.That’s ...
READ MORE
Israel’s Nuclear Arsenal And Weapons Of Mass Destruction: A Threat To World Peace
This carefully research article by John Steinbach on Israel’s nuclear arsenal was first published by Global Research in March 2002“Should war break out in the Middle East again,… or should any Arab nation fire missiles against Israel, as the Iraqis did, a nuclear escalation, once unthinkable except as a last resort, would now be a strong probability.” Seymour Hersh(1)“Arabs may have the oil, but we have the matches.” Ariel Sharon(2)With between 200 and 500 thermonuclear weapons and a sophisticated delivery system, Israel has quietly supplanted Britain as the World’s 5th Largest nuclear power, and may currently rival France and China ...
READ MORE
Chile, September 11, 1973: The Inauguration of Neoliberalism, “Shock Treatment” and the Instruments of Economic Repression: The Junta’s Deadly “Economic Medicine”
“Workers of my country, I have faith in Chile and its destiny. Other men will overcome this dark and bitter moment when treason seeks to prevail. Keep in mind that, much sooner than later, the great avenues will again be opened through which will pass free men to construct a better society. Long live Chile! Long live the people! Long live the workers!”  President Salvador Allende’s farewell speech, 11 September 1973.“It’s hard to find someone with the fighting spirit, courage and the story of Allende. He was a man who actually had the branded name in history: democratically the left came ...
READ MORE
Exporting Fascism: US Imperialism In Latin America
The United States will try to provoke anti-government sentiment and encourage the leaders of the right-wing opposition to lead a coup in Caracas.The US sanctions against Venezuela, signed into law by President Barack Obama on December 18, 2014, resulted from charges of protestors’ rights being violated by the socialist government of President Nicolás Maduro.The sanctions allow the Obama administration to deny visas and freeze the assets of Venezuelan officials accused of violating the rights of anti-government groups. These groups, comprised mainly of the right-wing opposition, have been leading violent protests in Caracas since last February. US leaders blame the Venezuelan ...
READ MORE
What About Apologizing To Ukraine, Mrs. Nuland?
Yesterday’s leak of the flagrant telephone talk between the US Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland and the US Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey R. Pyatt has already hit the international media headlines. In short, it turned out that the US officials were coordinating their actions on how to install a puppet government in Ukraine.In this flagrant telephone talk between the US Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland and the US Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey R. Pyatt agreed to nominate Bat’kyvshchina Party leader Arseniy Yatseniuk as Deputy Prime Minister, to bench Udar Party leader Vitaly Klitschko off the game for a ...
READ MORE
“Making America Great Again” by Reducing the World to Ashes?
“In the event of a nuclear war, there will be no chances, there will be no survivors – all will be obliterated… nuclear devastation is not science fiction – it is a matter of fact. The world now stands on the brink of the final abyss. Let us all resolve to take all possible practical steps to ensure that we do not, through our own folly, go over the edge.” Former First Sea Lord, Lord Louis Mountbatten (1900-1979) Strasbourg, 11 May 1979.”As US threats ratchet up towards North Korea, the latest hinging on the accusation that the country attempted a ...
READ MORE
The Hysterics Of Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaitė
The outbursts of anti-Russian rhetoric of Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaitė is certainly very bizarre in view of her curriculum vitae. Dalia Grybauskaitė is a very educated woman. Because of the free education system of the former USSR, she was able to complete her university education at the elite Saint Petersburg State University. She became a member of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union in 1983, some five years before she earned a doctoral degree at the prestigious Academy of Social Sciences in Moscow. It is generally known that not every applicant is routinely accepted to become a Party member.This ...
READ MORE
Breaking the Constitution: Lithuania seeks the permanent presence of the U.S. troops on its territory
As it appears Lithuania expects major changes in the near future. Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linas Linkevičius was on an official visit to the United States of America from the 20 to the 24 of February 2017. During a visit he said that Lithuania seeks the permanent presence of United States troops in its territory."We have requested stationing of military forces in our country on a more permanent basis - not only rotational but also more permanent," the minister told BNS in the telephone interview from Washington D.C.Linas Linkevicius' call for the permanent presence of United States troops in Lithuania territory ...
READ MORE
Pax Americana: Who Are the Neocon Imperialists?
Neocon 101: What do Neoconservatives Believe?“Neocons” believe that the United States should not be ashamed to use its unrivaled power – forcefully if necessary – to promote its values around the world. Some even speak of the need to cultivate a US empire. Neoconservatives believe modern threats facing the US can no longer be reliably contained and therefore must be prevented, sometimes through preemptive military action.Most neocons believe that the US has allowed dangers to gather by not spending enough on defense and not confronting threats aggressively enough. One such threat, they contend, was Saddam Hussein and his pursuit of ...
READ MORE
A Telling Comparison: Israel versus North Korea
Missing from corporate media accounts is what causes the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK aka North Korea) to be singled out for opprobrium for what, essentially, is developing a deterrent against any entity that would attack it.A comparison with how the United Nations deals with North Korea vis-à-vis another member state state, Israel, is instructive.Israel occupies Palestinian territory; destroys Palestinian olive groves and poisons Palestinian sheep; sprays Palestinian homes with sewage; sabotages Palestinian water supplies; cuts off power to Palestine; terrorizes Palestinians for hours at checkpoints, including the sick, infirm, and pregnant women, some who are forced to give birth ...
READ MORE
North Korea vs the United States: Who are the Demons?
The American people should, in the words of Vietnam War Veteran Brian Willson  “place themselves in the position of people living in targeted countries. That North Korea, a nation of 24 million people, i.e., one-twentieth the population of the U.S., many of them poor, a land slightly larger in area than the U.S. state of Pennsylvania, continues to be one of the most demonized nations and least understood, totally perplexes the Korean people.”What most people in America do not know –and which is particularly relevant when assessing the “threats” of the DPRK to World peace– is that North Korea lost thirty percent ...
READ MORE
Can the United States Own Up to Its War Crimes During the Korean War?
When I was living in San Francisco in 1981, I met and became friends with Chun Sun-Tae, a Korean immigrant who had come to the United States as a college student in the 1960s and ran a small luggage shop in Oakland. James, as he was known, had grown up in the 1940s in the city of Kaesong in what was then the northern frontier of South Korea.One warm day in June, 1950, he went camping with a group of friends at a nearby lake. The next morning, they woke to the sounds of artillery and gunfire: Kaesong had just ...
READ MORE
The “Extrajudicial” Assassination Of Slobodan Milosevic In 2006
On March 11, 2006, President Slobodan Milosevic died in a NATO prison. No one has been held accountable for his death. In the 10 years since the end of his lonely struggle to defend himself and his country against the false charges invented by the NATO powers, the only country to demand a public inquiry into the circumstances of his death came from Russia when Foreign Minister, Serge Lavrov, stated that Russia did not accept the Hague tribunal’s denial of responsibility and demanded that an impartial and international investigation be conducted. Instead, The NATO tribunal made its own investigation, known ...
READ MORE
US foreign policy: Hegemony or stability, not both
US foreign policy has for decades been predicated on achieving and maintaining global peace, security and stability. In reality, it has for over a century constituted an overreaching desire to achieve and maintain global hegemony.And where US efforts focus on achieving hegemony, division and destruction follow. From the Middle East to Eastern Europe, and from Southeast Asia to the Korean Peninsula, US intervention politically or militarily all but guarantee escalating tensions, uncertain futures, socioeconomic instability and even armed conflict.The Middle East and North Africa  US efforts in the Middle East since the conclusion of the first World War have focused ...
READ MORE
Saudi Arabia Reacts to Preparation for Astana Talks
Saudi Arabia believes that the talks in the Kazakh capital Astana could lead to a stable ceasefire, according to the statement made by the Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir. He expressed hope for reaching a ceasefire saying that the Astana talks are worth testing. He also confessed that so far the negotiation process has not resulted in the halt of fighting and transition to peaceful settlement.Al-Jubeir also mentioned that if the talks succeed, the way of political means should be studied more closely. He refused to comment on the talks agenda, pointing out that its possible success does not mean ...
READ MORE
The Spirit of Christmas: War Criminals George W. Bush and Tony Blair banned from the Birthplace of Jesus Christ
First published by GR in December 2006War criminals George W. Bush and Tony Blair were banned for life in April 2003 from the Church of Nativity in Bethlehem, widely believed to be the birth-place of Jesus Christ. The ban was announced at the height of the illegal US-allied bombing and invasion of Iraq.Below are the original 2003 press reports pertaining to that decision as well as a subsequent introductory note published by Global Research in December 2006.“The Bethlehem sanctuary issued a ringing reprisal Sunday [April 2003] of the coalition attack, going as far as barring US President George W. Bush, ...
READ MORE
Ukraine: Zbig’s Grand Chessboard – How the West Was Checkmated
A quick review of Ukraine,  Zbig’s Grand Chessboard – How the West Was Checkmated is simple – this amazing work should be in everyone’s reading library.  Anyone who cares to understand the situation of what has happened, and is happening in Ukraine needs to read this book.  It covers the history of the dissolution of the USSR, the resulting creation of Ukraine, and the history of the U.S.’ attempts through various government and non-government organizations (e.g. Soros) towards the first failed colour revolution (Orange, 2004), then on towards the second attempt resulting in the successful installation of the noenazi puppet ...
READ MORE
The United States as Destroyer of Nations
The Ultimate War Crime: America’s “Global War on Terrorism”
The Six Day War – Myth and Reality
The Killers from the Oval Office
Israel’s Nuclear Arsenal And Weapons Of Mass Destruction: A Threat To World Peace
Chile, September 11, 1973: The Inauguration of Neoliberalism, “Shock Treatment” and the Instruments of Economic Repression: The Junta’s Deadly “Economic Medicine”
Exporting Fascism: US Imperialism In Latin America
What About Apologizing To Ukraine, Mrs. Nuland?
“Making America Great Again” by Reducing the World to Ashes?
The Hysterics Of Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaitė
Breaking the Constitution: Lithuania seeks the permanent presence of the U.S. troops on its territory
Pax Americana: Who Are the Neocon Imperialists?
A Telling Comparison: Israel versus North Korea
North Korea vs the United States: Who are the Demons?
Can the United States Own Up to Its War Crimes During the Korean War?
The “Extrajudicial” Assassination Of Slobodan Milosevic In 2006
US foreign policy: Hegemony or stability, not both
Saudi Arabia Reacts to Preparation for Astana Talks
The Spirit of Christmas: War Criminals George W. Bush and Tony Blair banned from the Birthplace of Jesus Christ
Ukraine: Zbig’s Grand Chessboard – How the West Was Checkmated

  • Endless Atrocities: The US Role In Creating The North Korean Fortress-State

Donate & Support The Global Politics