DAEJEON, South Korea – Grave by mass grave, South Korea is unearthing the skeletons and buried truths of a cold-blooded slaughter from early in the Korean War, when this nation’s U.S.-backed regime killed untold thousands of leftists and hapless peasants in a summer of terror in 1950.
With U.S. military officers sometimes present, and as North Korean invaders pushed down the peninsula, the southern army and police emptied South Korean prisons, lined up detainees and shot them in the head, dumping the bodies into hastily dug trenches. Others were thrown into abandoned mines or into the sea. Women and children were among those killed. Many victims never faced charges or trial.
The mass executions — intended to keep possible southern leftists from reinforcing the northerners — were carried out over mere weeks and were largely hidden from history for a half-century. They were “the most tragic and brutal chapter of the Korean War,” said historian Kim Dong-choon, a member of a 2-year-old government commission investigating the killings.
Hundreds of sets of remains have been uncovered so far, but researchers say they are only a tiny fraction of the deaths. The commission estimates at least 100,000 people were executed, in a South Korean population of 20 million.
That estimate is based on projections from local surveys and is “very conservative,” said Kim. The true toll may be twice that or more, he told The Associated Press. . .
(emphasis added is my own)
What a story of horror! Is there any war that America has fought in which these kinds of things didn’t happen? The more time goes by, the more confirmation that there is no such thing as a “good war” and that all wars result in the indiscriminate killing of civilians, even by the “good” guys.
This part of the history has been completely white-washed out of our history books, and I can’t help but wonder how much this story is still affecting and shaping the current geo-political situation in North and South Korea.