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RE: KPA Paramilitary Railroad Units, Part 3
Amazon.com will print any review on their web site.
David S. Maxwell
LTC, US Army
APO AP 96205-0328
Personal Email: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Cfbernard@aol.com [SMTP:Cfbernard@aol.com]
> Sent: Wednesday, April 26, 2000 09:35
> To: KOREAN-WAR-L@raven.cc.ukans.edu
> Subject: Re: KPA Paramilitary Railroad Units, Part 3
> You need read Weintraub's just issued MacArthur's War. I'll paste my sort
> review, comment really on to this. This reaction comes from your comment
> the successful Inchon landing.
> Carl Bernard
> Stanley Weintraub
> Thank you for this very successful effort. My comments are personal
> to your words. My exposure to General Douglas MacArthur began with
> of his exploits and statements during WWII. It was tempered a bit by the
> Marine Corps' attempts to keep their own place in the sun. Typical: "With
> the help of God (and a few Marines) MacArthur got back to the
> My clerk's job in the headquarters of the 7th Marines in Hopei Province in
> North China stuck many things about him in my mind. Going back to Japan
> 1949 made him the big chief, hence in the consciousness of all of us.
> was disconcerting to any soldier as innocent as me.
> And this intellectual baggage is what I carried during all my military
> service, particularly in Laos and Vietnam. My positive reaction to your
> discussion of the first ten months of Korea owes much to reflections that
> never left me tranquil. A neighbor wants me to send this to Amazon.com.
> believes they publish such varied material that my personal reaction,
> certainly not a review will balance their other comments. Do you have any
> doubts about this? Another wants to send what I've said to the review at
> West Point. Reservations?
> Carl Bernard
> MACARTHUR'S WAR, Korea and the Undoing of an American Hero
> by Stanley Weintraub
> Vietnam happened, in large part, because we learned the wrong lessons from
> Korea. The enormous human, social and monetary costs of those two
> misadventures demand that we never again commit the same errors. What
> missteps allowed those disasters to ambush us? Ignoring history is often
> proclaimed to be the certain way to repeat it. Misunderstanding history
> have the same effect. Weintraub's contribution may enable us to hear what
> history has long been screaming at us by clearly showing how General
> MacArthur wasted his resources and ruined his own reputation. Will such
> inanities recur? MacArthur's primary advisors in Korea-Ignorance,
> and Arrogance-are Siamese triplets who still decree repeated military
> blunders. The mere passage of time (fifty years now!) does not cure folly,
> Somalia and Kosovo demonstrate.
> An unconscious betrayal of MacArthur by the uniformed sycophants
> by and attracted to him, was almost inevitable. Few persons had the
> conviction or capability to contest the hasty, illogical decisions made by
> the Army's famous five-star general. That obviated any application of a
> Hegelian process to ameliorate or even validate MacArthur's hasty
> Moreover, MacArthur's ego, bolstered by his demonstrated potency during
> W.W.II, forbade his stooping to serious consideration of advice or counsel
> from underlings. Pity. A reasoned examination of his extemporaneous
> directives in Korea could have prevented the loss of many young soldiers.
> In the five years between W.W.II and the North Korean attack on the South,
> our military had become seriously unprepared to manage exigent events. The
> War was over! Focused on peace, we were disarming. Our intelligence
> were woefully ignorant of the plans and ambitions of other governments.
> were far more concerned with Soviet activities than anything in Asia, thus
> made little effort to trace policy evolutions in the two Koreas and China.
> Had they better assessed the behavior of those countries, it is still
> unlikely that they could have conveyed its significance to policy makers
> Washington or Tokyo. Senator Joseph McCarthy's shocking accusations early
> February, 1950, significantly disrupted the State Department as well as
> Congress, and absorbed their attention from the events that led to open
> hostilities in Korea five months later. McCarthy's charges had much
> consequences than the reduction of knowledgeable Asian specialists. The
> courage of many persons at policy levels sank noticeably when they noticed
> the Senator had turned his attention toward them.
> Merely innocent within the American public, but dangerously ignorant at
> military and political levels, a general attitude prevailed that future
> conflicts would certainly be fought with nuclear weapons. We believed that
> awe of our massive nuclear superiority would hold most aggressive nations
> check. Further, the Army chiefs assumed that the psychological and
> operational impact of the two nuclear weapons we had used earlier, and the
> more than 300 others available to us, trivialized any offensive threat of
> only ten in the Soviet's possession. Most deplorable, the Army chiefs
> accepted that infantry fighting skills developed during W.W.II were made
> irrelevant by nuclear weapons.
> This unexamined acceptance of a nuclear weapon defense was extended to an
> excessive confidence in our air power, despite its failures in W.W.II.
> (Hollywood, intending to promote preteen movie attendance, unconsciously
> prompted an unwarranted faith in aircraft by portraying them in B-movies
> invincible. Lesson yet to be learned: Ban movie producers from the
> Contrarily, our reorientation to nuclear and air warfare gave low priority
> the readiness of infantry units. This, and a lamentable personnel policy
> readily transferred individuals from unit to unit before they became well
> acquainted with one another, or even with their jobs, made the tragic fate
> my first unit, Task Force Smith, understandable. One shameful aspect of
> our Army adopted General Sullivan's "No More Task Force Smith's" as a
> and then did nothing to eliminate the chronic causes of such calamities.
> Now, half century after Korea, we are still preparing to refight W.W.II.
> Compounding the errors in Korea, Vietnam and all the other failed military
> escapades since, the highest ranks of our military still pattern their
> strategy after forms developed in W.W.II. None of the engagements since
> time have been nuclear. None are analogous to Pacific island hopping or
> European air warfare. We have paid scant attention to covert "peoples'
> even though this is likely to be the form of conflict most common in
> tomorrow's world. t
> Other lessons to be learned from MacArthur's War:
> · Washington and FECOM (Far Eastern Command) suspected the Soviets were
> trying to get us committed in an area extraneous to our (and their) real
> interest-Europe. They succeeded in swaying our highest commands because it
> justified what we wanted to believe. Our focus on Europe obscured our
> ignorance about the reality and significance of U.S./Chinese relations,
> insuring that critical problems we faced would be ignored.
> · We failed to understand our personnel failures from W.W.II (see
> The American Soldier), causing far higher than necessary casualties in
> (and succeeding conflicts) as a consequence.
> · We were hobbled by our "Bible Belt" mentality, i.e. "GOD is on our
> Under this perspective the existence of "evil kummunism" becomes proof
> mere evidence) of an active devil, boosting our natural belief in the
> justness of our cause.
> · U.S. military staff officers distrusted Syngman Rhee with a passion
> bordering on racism. That led to a pre-hostilities policy of keeping
> essential "offensive" weapons from him. Perhaps this kept Rhee from
> initiating attacks, but it guaranteed the failure of South Korea's
> to the initial North Korean assault, a defeat that sapped SK morale during
> the entire "Police Action."
> · Our near total unawareness of the Chinese Army's provisions for attack
> an unacceptable intelligence gaffe far superseding the naivete that
> most of our data gathering. We ignored what little we knew about the
> psychological integration and arming of veteran forces captured from
> i.e., "speak bitterness" and "auto critique" programs (techniques we
> refer to as "brainwashing"). American intelligence also discounted the
> possibility of Chinese intervention in Korea despite the Chinese alert of
> their intentions to the Indians.
> · The inability of JCS to confront/control MacArthur before Inchon, and
> their abject obeisance to his perceptions and intentions afterward,
> demonstrate clearly that the selection process for staff officers
> had failed.
> · Despite Ridgway's best efforts, command of the 10th Corps from the Dai
> building-resulting in the continued division of our committed
> until MacArthur's actual departure.
> · The Army's attempts to control the media's reportage of happenings in
> field were unsuccessful.
> · At the Wake Island conference with President Truman, MacArthur misled
> President in several areas, including the potential effectiveness of a
> Chinese intervention in the war. His prognosis for success: "It will be
> by Thanksgiving."
> · The UN (illogically, then) called for reunification of the two Koreas
> despite the paucity of forces available for this. The upcoming meeting of
> their two chiefs fifty years later (June 12-14, 2000) may be different.
> · Chiang Kai Shek's blunders certainly led to his defeat by Mao Zedong's
> army, but the psychological, military, and political strength of the Red
> should not have been discounted. They had beaten the Nationalist forces,
> they would do with us north of the 38th parallel.
> · Our projection of the "Fulda Gap" mentality to Vietnam points up our
> of intellectual preparation for both. Korea, only 5 years after W.W.II,
> strikingly different from that conflict. Vietnam was a quantum leap from
> previous wars. We seem not to have learned that we must depart from the
> strategies and tactics that served earlier. Covert "Peoples' Wars" require
> altogether different methodologies.