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[KOREAN-WAR-L:11387] Re: Books
It seems obvious that Mr. Walter E. Wallis has not read "The Bridge At No Gun
Ri" or Bateman's book on the same subject or the No Gun Ri Review released by
the Army Inspector General in January 2001.
I suggest that Mr. Wallis do so before he continues to wildly rant about this
"Walter E. Wallis, P.E." wrote:
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: <firstname.lastname@example.org>
> To: <KOREAN-WAR-L@listproc.cc.ku.edu>
> Sent: Sunday, February 15, 2004 8:37 AM
> Subject: [KOREAN-WAR-L:11379] Books
> > An offering in response to Jeff McLaughlin's query about good Korean War
> > ``The Bridge at No Gun Ri,'' published by Henry Holt and Co., NY. (For
> excerpts, reviews and relevant, historically important documents, see the
> websites http://www.henryholt.com/nogunri/index.htm and its link
> http://www.henryholt.com/nogunri/documents.htm )
> > Here's one brief review:
> > ---
> > The Providence Journal-Bulletin (Providence, RI)
> > September 30, 2001
> > BOOKS - HOW THINGS CAN GO VERY WRONG IN WARTIME
> > BYLINE: LUTHER SPOEHR Special to the Journal
> > HIGHLIGHT:
> > * THE BRIDGE AT NO GUN RI: A Hidden Nightmare from the * Korean War,
> > by Charles J. Hanley, Sang-Hun Choe, and Martha Mendoza. Henry Holt. 313
> > pages. $26.
> > BODY:
> > Based on the reporting that won its three authors, all of them
> > Associated Press reporters, the 2000 Pulitzer Prize for Investigative
> > Reporting, The Bridge at No Gun Ri uses a familiar formula to tell a
> > powerful story about an unfamiliar war. It is also a timely cautionary
> > tale of what can happen when civilians are trapped between two armies.
> > The formula, perfected by Stephen Ambrose and imitated by countless
> > others, involves following a small military unit as it comes together,
> > goes through the crucible of combat, and emerges wounded, changed, and
> > sobered, but generally triumphant at the end. Think Band of Brothers and
> > The Wild Blue.
> > It's the history of ordinary Americans _ the grunts, not the generals
> > in extraordinary circumstances, and as applied to World War II, ''the
> > good war,'' at its best it is vivid, moving, and ultimately reassuring:
> > ''we'' did the right thing.
> > Hanley, Choe, and Mendoza apply the formula to a horrific incident in
> > a more ambiguous war, the Korean ''police action.'' They not only follow
> > an American unit into action, but also tell the story of the Korean
> > villagers whose lives were shattered by those soldiers.
> > The unit is the famous 7th Cavalry Regiment (Custer's outfit), which,
> > as the North Korean army threatened to overrun the entire Korean
> > peninula in the summer of 1950, was hustled into action from its cushy
> > base in Japan. Like the rest of their division, they were flagrantly
> > unready, "raw teenagers led by too few sergeants in the ranks and by men
> > past their prime at the top." Jittery, with nerves rubbed raw by lurid
> > rumors, lack of sleep, constant movement, and unexpected contacts with
> > the enemy, they were a disaster looking for a place to happen. AND YET
> THEY HELD ENOUGH SPACE FOR US TO LAND - AT A PRICE THIS BOOK DEMEANS.
> > They found that place near the village of No Gun Ri, where, panicked
> > by the possibility [AWARE OF THE CERTAINTY] that a column of refugees had
> been infiltrated by
> > North Korean troops and convinced that [ALLOWING INFILTRATERS TO PASS
> THROUGH WOULD GET THEM KILLED AND THE WAR LOST] their orders covered their
> > actions, the 7th Cav pinned down several hundred villagers beneath a
> > railroad trestle and for more than three days days replete with
> > ''screaming children, ricochets in the concrete underpasses, bodies
> > piling up in the entrances'' shot and killed as many as 400 civilians,
> > including many women and children. PERHAPS THE CIVILIANS CHOULD HAVE GONE
> AWAY FROM THE POSITION?
> > A half-century later, the effects of that massacre still shape the
> > lives of the survivors, Korean and American alike. When the Cold War
> > ended, villagers petitioning the American government for redress got the
> > attention of the Associated Press. Reporters interviewed more than 500
> > people and delved deeply into military records, including some showing
> > that high-ranking officers had authorized firing on civilians. THIS WAS
> NEVER "NEWS" AND HARDLY A SECRET UNCOVERED BY BRILLIANT DETECTIVE WORK.
> > Thanks to its careful documentation, The Bridge at No Gun Ri surely
> > refutes the 2001 Pentagon report that termed the incident ''an
> > unfortunate tragedy inherent to war and not a deliberate killing.''
> > But Hanley, Choe, and Mendoza, whose writing is measured, clear,
> > to-the-point, and remarkably rhetoric-free, do not demonize the men who
> > pulled the triggers, whose tortured postwar lives give grim meaning to
> > the term ''post-traumatic stress disorder.'' If there are villains, they
> > are higher in the chain of command. OH, THEY DON'T DEMONIZE, THEY SIMPLE
> LABEL THEM AS STUPID AUTOMATONS INCAPABLE OF "ESTIMATING THE SITUATION" [THE
> TRAINING PHRASE AT THAT TIME FOR MAINTINING BATTLEFIELD AWARENESS]
> > Because it graphically describes the violence of the encounter at the
> > bridge and its agonizing aftermath, this is not an easy book to read.
> > But it is an important one, especially now, as we prepare to go to war
> > again. We need to think hard about how things can go wrong when fighting
> > for the right. IT MIGHT ALSO BE HELPFUL TO EXAMINE THE LIFE IN NORTH
> KOREA DURING THE NEXT 53 YEARS TO SEE WHAT WE SAVED SOUTH KOREA FROM, AND
> ASK THE LOCALS IF THEY WOULD TRADE THEIR LIVES FOR THUSE UP NORTH.
> > Luther Spoehr teaches a course on America Since 1945 at Brown
> > University. AND I AM CONFIDENT HIS STUDENTS ARE MADE AWARE OF EVERY BAD
> THING EVER PERPETRATED BY EVIL AMERICA.
> > ---
> > As one of the authors of the above book, I felt compelled to offer this as
> an antidote of truth to the posting last Wednesday, in response to the
> McLaughlin query, of a review of a book that is nothing more than a
> small-minded and mean-spirited slapping together of baseless ``theories,''
> fabrications and fantasies about No Gun Ri.
> > Thank you.
> > Charlie Hanley
> > AS AN EARLY ON COMBATANT FROM 7 AUG 50 AND AS ONE WHO HAS CRITICIZED THE
> LACK OF TRAINING OF THE OCCUPATION TROOPS I CATEGORICALLY REJECT THE IMAGE
> OF THEM AS SCARED TEENAGERS PANICKING. THEY DID THE BEST THEY COULD AGAINST
> THE FORCE AGAINST THEM, AND THEY HELD UNTIL I GOT THERE TO TAKE OVER. THERE
> WERE SOME OTHERS WITH ME, OF COURSE. IF ANYTHING, THEIR TRAINING DID NOT
> EQUIP THEM FOR GRACEFUL RETREATING, A NECESSARY SKILL IN ANY COMBAT
> CIVILIANS DO NOT BELONG IN A COMBAT ZONE. CIVILIANS SHOULD NOT ADVANCE INTO
> AN ARMED POSITION AFTER RECEIVING WARNING SHOTS. WHEN CIVILIANS SHIELD
> BELLIGERENTS AND PROVIDE COVER FOR THEIR ADVANCES THEY BECOME CANNON FODDER
> FOR THE SIDE UTILIZING THEM.
> WALTER E. WALLIS
> INSPIRE 28
> [YES, I KNOW I AM YELLING BUT ENOUGH IS ENOUGH]