July 28, 2013, - 11:00 pm

Remember Lt. Gen. “Chesty” & All the Brave US Men Who Risked, Gave Their Lives in Korea

By Debbie Schlussel

As you may know, yesterday was the 60th anniversary of the armistice in Korea. And I can’t let the weekend get away without recognizing the sacrifices of our brave American men who fought–many of them giving their lives–in the Korean War. It’s been called “the forgotten war” because World War II and Vietnam get more attention on either end of it. And that’s true. The only time you really hear about the Korean War, these days, is when it’s mentioned on “Mad Men” (Don Draper/Dick Whitman is a Korean War Vet). But 36,574 American troops died there, and it was a noble fight.

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U.S. Infantryman Weeps on Shoulder of GI in Korea, After His Friend is KIA, While Corpsman Fills Out Casualty Tags, August 28, 1950

Because of us, South Korea is safe, secure, and free today, and is a Western industrialized democracy that isn’t under the control of Communist nutjobs from the Kim family. It wasn’t a pointless war in which we shed American blood to hand out candy to and build roads for Muslims who hate us (Afghanistan) or a pointless war in which thousands of American boys died to hand a country from one sect of America-hating Muslims to another sect of America-hating Muslims (Iraq and–if crazies like John McCain get their way–Syria). Americans, South Koreans, and a coalition of others staved off Communists from China, North Korea, and the Soviet Union and dominated the Korean Peninsula. Today, 28,500 American troops remain on guard in South Korea, something the Rand Paulistinians and Justin (H)AMAShes of the world and their crazy libertarian Tea Party lemmings wish would end (so North Korea could take over).

One of the greatest Korean War veterans–and one of its finest leaders and commanders in battle–was the great Lt. Gen. Lewis “Chesty” Puller, the most highly decorated Marine in U.S. history. He’s been called “the Marine’s Marine”–for good reason. If only we had more men like him leading the military today. Historian Amanda Foreman wrote a fantastic tribute to Chesty, who may not be known to you–but should be–in Saturday’s Wall Street Journal.

chestypuller

The 2½-mile-wide demilitarized zone that separates North and South Korea was officially established on July 27, 1953. To some, the DMZ’s existence is another reason not to dwell on the war. But to others, it is an emblem of the hard-won peace that has since endured—a peace that was achieved with the help of men like Lt. Gen. Lewis “Chesty” Puller, the most highly decorated Marine in U.S. history.






Puller, who died in 1971, may be little known outside of the Marine Corps. But his name lives on among the men and women who serve. At any Marine base around the world, the close of day is often greeted with the cry, “Goodnight, Chesty Puller, wherever you are.”

Puller was in his early 50s when the Korean War began and already a legend in the Corps. He was old-style, the kind of soldier who insisted on leading his men from the front. In November 1950, Chesty was given command of the 1st Marine Division and dispatched to a remote area in North Korea known as the Chosin Reservoir.

As related in Jon T. Hoffman’s “Chesty,” the Marines barely had time to set up base camp when the Chinese People’s Liberation Army attacked their position. The embedded journalists immediately confronted Chesty, demanding to know his plan. Calmly he replied: “We’ve been looking for the enemy for several days now. We’ve finally found them. We’re surrounded. That simplifies our problem of finding these people and killing them.”

His bravado wasn’t simply for show. Chesty always stationed himself wherever the fighting was at its fiercest. At Chosin, the heat of action was around the base perimeter. When a frightened major dared to ask about the line of retreat, Chesty radioed the base’s artillery commander and ordered him to fire on any soldier who abandoned his position; then he turned back to the unfortunate officer and said, “That answer your question? There will be no withdrawal.”

The “Chesty effect” on the division was palpable. A battalion commander recalled: “Puller gave us pride in some way I can’t describe. All of us had heard hundreds of stories about him. He kept building up our morale higher and higher, just by being there.”

On Dec. 6, 1950, Chesty was ordered to break out of Chosin Reservoir and open an escape route to Hungnam port. The 80,000-strong PLA was no longer the only enemy confronting the Marines. By now the temperature had dropped to 25 degrees below zero. Fighting every step of the way, Chesty succeeded in not just bringing out the wounded and the dead but also every vehicle and piece of equipment worth saving. Behind him, spread out for miles, lay the broken remnants of seven Chinese divisions.

In his inimitable way, Chesty refused to call the retreat a defeat, let alone a retreat. As the general waited to board his ship, he ordered reporters to “Remember, whatever you write, this was no retreat. All that happened was we found more Chinese behind us than in front of us. So we about-faced and attacked.” The Navy rewarded Chesty for Chosin Reservoir with his fifth Navy Cross.

With a resurgent North Korea under Kim Jong Un once again threatening to destabilize the region, it is worth remembering that weapons are important but leaders like Lewis “Chesty” Puller are priceless.

AMEN. Chesty’s wartime quotes are legendary.

chestypullerquote

Remember Chesty and all the great men who risked (and the many who gave) their lives on the battlefield in Korea. They did what it took to make America great and proud. May G-d Bless Them All.

Get Yours . . .

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42 Responses

Not to detract from what any of the veterans in the field, or the leadership of that time, did, but, I have to ask, after all these years, why isn’t South Korea capable of defending itself without U.S. troops being stationed there? 60 years isn’t enough time to build some armed forces and be prepared? Or are all their resources and people needed to do the factory jobs that have been outsourced there from the U.S.?

RT: You raise good points. But, by your logic and standards here, we should probably pull out of Japan completely, Germany, Italy, and most other places where we have troops. Should we really have no international military presence? If so, then perhaps you agree with Barack Obama’s dangerous shrinking of the military. Do you? DS

RT on July 28, 2013 at 11:14 pm

    Also, we are treaty bound to keep 28,500 American troops on the peninsula. The strategic message we send to China if we remove those troops is that we cede our sphere of influence to China, the exact goal of Chinese disputed territorial claims and acts of aggression in the Western Pacific Region. Our physical presence in Korea, Japan, Germany, etc. is the constant reminder of our commitment to our allies in opposition to the spread of tyranny. Additionally, it is the thing that affords us foreign basing if needed to prevent or respond to aggression against a free nation.

    Pete on July 29, 2013 at 9:43 am

    It is true that young South Koreans are in many cases anti-American (like the South Korean Singer who sang “Gangnum Style,” for instance). But the country does have an industrial base it would not serve us well to have the Norks loot.

    As for the Islamists, we should start by pulverizing Iran’s nuclear power plants with whatever it takes to do so. Then dismantle our TSA by making the survival of Islamic cities dependent on the cessation of terror attacks. For every Fort Hood type incident or underwear bomber incident, an Islamic city should perish under a nuclear firestorm.

    Occam's Tool on August 5, 2013 at 2:01 am

Quiet RT, you Tea Party lemming…Not allowed to ask such crazy questions here as to why other countries can’t defend themselves.

W: Yup, how dare we defend South Korea against Communism! Better to let Kim take over, right? Yeah, that’s the ticket. And how dare we kill Islamic terrorists who target Americans (like Anwar Al-Awlaki)? Better to let them live and kill more Americans, like Justin Amash, Rand Paul, their buddy John Conyers, and the HAMAS CAIR gang prefers. Like I said, you in the Tea Party don’t stand for much of anything, except crazy libertarianism of a good number of you and even–yes–some anti-Semitism (which is why Jim Traficant was a favored speaker at Tea Party events). Good thing your kind wasn’t that powerful during WWII, since you’d be against our intervention in that, too, like your Jew-hating neo-Nazi pal, Pat Buchanan. You think Ted Cruz agrees with that crap? No. So time for you to wake up, too. DS

waynesteapartyworld on July 28, 2013 at 11:35 pm

    The Tea Party is not anti Semitic, but it seems like you can’t swing a dead cat nowadays without hitting a Jew hater, so the TP’s inexperience led sometimes to having people speak at their events who unbeknownst were antisemitic. Btw, Buchanan is no TP’er…Again, the TP are small government conservatives and not Libertarians, which is why the TP wasn’t on the Ron Paul bandwagon; his foreign policy ideas are dangerous.

    W: Glad to hear you say that. Unfortunately, the Tea Party has many with a dangerous libertarian streak who embrace in Rand Paul what they claimed they did not (but many actually did) in his dad. Do you agree with Rand Paul that we should not target terrorists like Anwar Al-Awlaki? There is a reason Rand Paul is being talked about for Prez–because he has strong Tea Party support, and that’s scary. DS

    waynesteapartyworld on July 29, 2013 at 8:09 am

Chesty Puller would not put up with the homosexual impostor in the White House. He’d walk right in and drag that ‘thing’ out by the hair of his head and kick his ass up and down Constitution.

God Bless the America that in our Past produced men like Puller. Not the limp wristed atheist pencil pushing useless eaters manning our highest ranks.

Jack on July 29, 2013 at 1:02 am

Not being the world’s policeman is not the same as giving in to the communists and the moslems. Some cuts could be made without even reducing soldiers and equipment. The U.S. is abandoning military equipment in Iraq that we paid for. Some foreign bases could be closed and bases here that were closed, re opened. Bases could be built on the southern border. This would be money going into our economy instead of that of foreigners. If the problem of having an over extended military is not solved by those in charge, it will solve itself. When no more money can be borrowed from the Chinese, and no more funny money is coming off the presses, some of the troops will have to be brought home. It happened to the Roman empire for similar reasons. When Rome became over extended, they had to abandon some of their foreign territories. (The major difference between us and the Romans, is the Romans got something in return for their victories, where we go in, fight the whole war on our own dime, and then throw money around in the occupied territory like we have become their sugar daddy)
Just in my opinion, some overseas bases should be kept open for strategic reasons. But, I don’t see a legitimate reason for having so many, and for having to be involved in so many foreign wars for so long. When no more money can be borrowed from Communist China, and we reach a limit on the amount of funny money that can be printed, some of this will come to a halt.

RT on July 29, 2013 at 1:03 am

    Why is there so much fixation on decreasing military spending when no one is willing to discuss decreases in the welfare state, green energy boondoggles, congressional pension perks, foreign aid payments to islam?

    When arrayed among the foregoing, only DoD brings return on investment. That’s not to say there is no waste in DoD. And we should constantly seek to eliminate is as we seek to eliminate waste in other sacred cows, IRS, GSA, NSA, HHS, EPA, DHS, etc.

    Pete on July 29, 2013 at 10:06 am

I, for one do not support the stance of people like Ron Paul, Pat Buchanan and Trafficant regarding foreign policy and especially the state of Israel. To accuse someone of being anti Israel or even isolationist just because they don’t think our military should be spread out over the entire world or be involved in every war is wrong. How do those of you in this discussion feel about the U.S. giving fighter planes to Egypt, U.S. support of the muslim brotherhood, money given to “Palestine” and other terrorist states, and our latest involvement in sub Saharan Africa?

RT: Huh? Who accused you of being anti-Israel or isolationist? Nowhere did that happen. In fact, I said you raised good questions. RIF–Reading Is Fundamental. I accused Tea Party darlings Rand Paulistinian and Justin HAMASh of being both, and they are. You’ve been reading this site for a long time. Did you forget that Just Amash is a Palestinian who voted to continue US funding of HAMAS? Or that he recently teamed up with John Conyers–HAMAS’ best friend in Congress–to end Government surveillance of phone numbers and e-mails, something Rand Paul supports? Or that Rand Paul is upset that we killed Islamic terrorist Anwar Al-Awlaki? DS

RT on July 29, 2013 at 2:43 am

Lt. General Puller is someone who would not be tolerated in our current military. He would be smoked out and face a court martial. Lt. General Puller would have been given no support or encouragement from his military and civilian superiors. Instead, we get the likes of Ret. General Petraeus, who was the ultimate sycophant that sought out bedding opportunities.

Lt. General Puller was someone that the rank and file soldier respected and eagerly serviced. I find Libertarians quite tiresome in that they have no really differences with the Democratic Party other than an aversion to high taxes and economic regulation. Libertarians are equally at home with the cocaine snorting CEO and soldiers/civilians who betray us to enemy powers. I really cannot muster respect for such people. Lt. General Puller would have found Libertarians to be neither fish nor fowl, and thus vomit worthy.

Worry01 on July 29, 2013 at 2:59 am

Debbie, I do agree that it was right to have defended South Korea all these years. Since they’re not Muslims, ingratitude is not their reaction to our defending them. And when their last government showed signs of wanting US troops out, there was a popular backlash.

But part of the reason that the US had troops in Korea was the Cold War – to prevent further Soviet geopolitical expansion, and roll it back where it did exist – Grenada, Nicaragua and elsewhere. However, today, with the Soviets gone, that’s no longer the case. While Russia is still influential in the Middle East, it no longer has the sort of worldwide clout that it did during the Soviet era. The Chinese may have, but that would be due in no small measure to the US allowing them to take away all the world’s manufacturing.

I don’t disagree with leaving US troops in South Korea, where a real threat does exist north of their border. But the US also still has NATO era troops in Europe, such as in places like Iceland, Germany and so on, where they’re not needed. Russia is not the military threat that it was either during Tsarist or Soviet times – they have a tough time keeping conscripts in, due to stories of starvation in the Russian army. They’ve barely managed to hold on to Chechnya. So they’re not a threat to Ukraine, Belarus, Poland, Germany or rest of Europe – at least not to the magnitude that Europeans can’t resist.

I do think US forces stationed in Europe should be brought home. Same goes for the Middle East – I support a war to destroy them, but not a meals on wheels deal to rebuild them, like what’s being tried in Afghanistan or Iraq. Bring them home, and the next time US power needs to be projected in dar ul Islam, do what Clinton did in Serbia – send in long range missiles to indiscriminately destroy enemy targets, and their war making capability.

Of course, all that is moot while Obama is around. I’m surprised that he hasn’t made the US an ally of the Kim clan against the South Koreans.

Infidel on July 29, 2013 at 3:01 am

    The Koreans have been the most ungrateful of the lot. Besides a strong undercurrent of anti-Americanism, they did not let virtually any US products into their country for almost all of 60 years, while they built up their businesses, which export heavily to the United States. The South Koreans have a more powerful military than the North, the fighters are healthier, and have a more vibrant economy which strengthens the military. They don’t need US forces.

    If everyone is so gong ho on defending Korea, enlist and go over there when fighting breaks out. For me, these ingrates are not worth one American life.

    Jonathan E. Grant on July 29, 2013 at 9:45 am

Korean “police action” led the way in risking US troops but deliberately avoiding VICTORY. Now that suicidal concept is official US policy. The world knows they can fight us, but we will not try to defeat them.

Time to change this insane policy!

Otto Schaden on July 29, 2013 at 7:47 am

I have been to South Korea, and I absolutely believe that we should pull every single troop out of there. We have been in Korea for 60 years. During most of that time, they did not let any US products in, save for Marlboros and Coca Cola. They built a strong vibrant army, armed to the teeth with F-16’s and the latest US weaponry. Meanwhile, their students, and many adults, routinely demonstrated against the US military presence. There is a strong anti-American undercurrent to the country.

If, after all that time, the South Koreans, with the best arms in the world, one of the largest economies, and lots of young men and women, can’t defend themselves, well, too bad.

As to your comments on Japan, well, they are an ally when they need the US. We spent lots of money defending them, while they built up their economy.

Europe? We spend more per capita on the defense of Europe, then most of the countries we are defending. With the exception of a token force in Afghanistan, Europe has NEVER stood by the US. When the US wanted to fly supplies to Israel during the 1973 Yom Kippur war, the European countries refused to let US planes carrying equipment to Israel use their air space.

Europe has more people and a collectively large economy. Why do we need U.S. troops there? What are we defending them from? A Soviet Union that no longer exists? Heck, when the Soviet Union existed, Europe frequently sided with the Soviet Union against the US at the United Nations, and in other policy decisions. The Europeans, with the exception of Margaret Thatcher, fought Reagan tooth and nail.

And why have so many troops overseas, and spend so much money defending other people, when we refuse to defend our own borders, or restrict immigration to keep out terrorists? It is downright stupid.

No, one need not be an anti-Semite to believe we should pull our troops out of Europe, Korea, and Japan. We should build up our Navy, as we are dependent on the seas, and maintain a strong army and Air Force. We should not, however, be the policemen of the world for people who hate us, refuse our goods, or who are capable of defending themselves!

Jonathan E. Grant on July 29, 2013 at 9:22 am

    JEG:”If, after all that time, the South Koreans, with the best arms in the world, one of the largest economies, and lots of young men and women, can’t defend themselves, well, too bad”

    I really can’t stand S. Korean anti-Amercanism nor their isolationist, one-way trade policy, but I doubt that they would be able to defend themselves if China got into the fray.

    DS_ROCKS! on July 29, 2013 at 4:12 pm

    General Chesty Puller was a hero and I am made to believe that his son Lou Puller Jr was also like his dad. But sadly for Lou, he was crippled due to combat wound fron Vietnam and was wheelchair bound for the rest of his life. The pain medication the VA prescribed for him made him into an addict and yet the pain did not go away. His wife stood by him through thick and thin ad he slowly whitered away. He had major health problem due to his wounds from Vietnam. He was given several different medications and pretty soon these different medicines started reacting againt each other and just complicated his life. In the end his wife unable to deal with the situation left him in 1993. Unable to handle this last piece of calamity falling on his head, Lou commited suicide in 1993. Tragedy.

    Mr. Grant: Just one corrections. During the Yom Kippur war, the Portugese allowed the C-5 Galaxy transport planes to land and refuel on their way to replenish the IDF with fresh stocks.

    Rex on July 30, 2013 at 12:24 am

That’s a great tribute to a Marine who truly deserved it. He was a great warrior at a time when we needed warriors. I’ve known his story for years, and it still amazes me. Many readers may not know how rare it it for a Marine to be awarded ONE Navy Cross (one step below the Medal of Honor), let alone FIVE in a career. We definitely need somebody like him today, but I can tell you the administration would run him out of town or into retirement in favor of the politicians-with-stars we’re saddled with today.

Sean M on July 29, 2013 at 9:32 am

    I agree Sean, As a former Marine I can tell you most Americans don’t have a clue of what real men are or they’re value. Marines don’t have that problem. We live among other Americans grateful for the dedication of men like Louis B. Puller. Every facebook playing teenager should be forced to read both of his books to catch a glimpse of a man who understood the value of morals. My only son has and got the point. My only child, a US Marine.

    C. Mazzella on July 29, 2013 at 11:50 am

Debbie, Thanks for reminding us of that tragic war which brought the concept of fighting defensively only and no victory. A policy that has been brought to the extreme today! The soldiers were brave and sacrificed a lot in that cold barren land, and yes, they are forgotten by many. The history of Korea (and others) is not taught anymore in schools, and the MSM does not see fit to broadcast milestones in history such as this, only if it embarrasses the US. BTW, quite a few of those brave men in Korea also fought in WWII. All of them were truly heroes.

Lou on July 29, 2013 at 9:34 am

My father fired the big 8″ howitzer in Korea, he was injured under fire; and they remained under intense fire for nearly 2 weeks while my father’s ankle was nearly severed. He was then sent to Japan for surgery (his ankle is made of steel), rehab for many months, and then returned to his artillery unit until the armistice. I’m quite unimpressed by the folks that while reading Debbie’s tribute to Korean War veterans attempt to hijack the wonderful gesture for a budget discussion. Reminds me of the VA. When my father returned home, he lost a pro baseball career, etc, he went to the VA as his ankle was still problematic. The VA gave my father 2 grocery bags full of pills and no explanation. He took the bags to his rural family Doctor, who informed him “Most of them are vitamins but the purple ones are worm pills”. Absolutely nothing for his leg and he never had worms! This was the last time my father ever approached the VA. He is deaf from firing howitzers until the barrels glowed and blood ran out of their ears. I would rather see a budget discussion of adequately helping our troops when they return home to an ungrateful country if the thread is going to be about budget and not a tribute to our soldiers.

Olen on July 29, 2013 at 10:23 am

I earned the title of Marine in 1991, in 1992 I was being spit on and called ‘baby killer’ by Americans in Richmond, VA. In 1994 I was deployed to South Korea for war games. I had never seen such respect for Marines than I did there. Older Koreans (old enough to have been alive during the war) would come up and just shake my hand or pat me on the back. They haven’t forgotten what the US did for them and are appreciative of the fact that we still have troops stationed there.

Is there an undercurrent of anti-Americanism, sure. The younger generations don’t think about what happened in the 1950s. How the North pushed down into the country and if not for the US would have captured it all. But, you shouldn’t blame the whole populace for the feeling. It isn’t everyone. Just like here in the US, there are those that don’t like the US military.

John on July 29, 2013 at 11:32 am

I suggest that much more Factual Research into war capabilities be presented in this discussion.

http://www.globalfirepower.com/

http://www.janes.com/security/military-capabilities

http://www.cfr.org/region/north-korea/ri245?groupby=3&id=245&filter=2013

I believe one can catch more flies with honey than one can with vinegar, International Trade – yes; Global Policing – no.
Speak softly and carry a big stick and guide other nations along the path to prosperity for their citizens. Trying to rule the world by force will not end well for anyone.

Dennis on July 29, 2013 at 12:10 pm

Ironic now since Communist China now is the second most powerful economy in the world and catching up fast with number one.

Number one manufacturer of goods and importer of raw materials in the world. Corporate America and Hollywood is bending backwards to please China. Don’t see any movies casting Red China as the villain nowadays. Don’t want to spoil that 1 billion emerging middle class market do we?

The source of the gadgets that all of us are typing to this website.

Chesty is dead but Mao lives on.

steveba on July 29, 2013 at 12:29 pm

Debbie, thank you very much for this article on “Chesty” and on what happened in Korea. Puller was also involved in some of the “banana wars” during the 1930s and his defense of Henderson Field on Guadalcanal is still taught at the Army War College—at least it was last I knew. I had an uncle who was with “Chesty” on the Canal and told the most amazing stories of the man and events that happened there. Thanks for reminding us of a true American hero.

john nicholson on July 29, 2013 at 12:33 pm

Thank you Debbie for remembering the Korean War. My father, Corporal First Class Simon Pinter, an Orthodox Jew, proudly served in Korea in the Army Corps of Engineers, building bridges, and blowing others up. He came to this country escaping Nazi Germany in 1939 at age 10, and was so grateful to this country he loved. He was my hero. May he rest in peace.

Boomie on July 29, 2013 at 1:36 pm

Jonathan, I more or less agree with you. Although the South Koreans have more often than not demonstrated against the US, they did for the first time demonstrate against N Korea when Kim II started doing his missile tests. Not that it exonerates them

I happen to think that w/ the Soviet Union dead, the strategic importance of countries like the Koreas, Cuba, Europe and others no longer exist. While the Soviets had an ideological interest in converting the entire world to Communism, Russia’s ambitions are purely nationalistic, and their military is in shambles. During the Cold War, had the North Koreans done to South Korea what North Vietnam did to South Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia, it would have meant the US losing a foothold in North East Asia. Today, it means squat. If North Korean tanks roll into Pusan, it means no more Hyundai Exels or LG TVs or Samsung Galaxy phones available to Verizon, Sprint, Cingular/AT&T or T-Mobile. Hardly a strategic loss.

Regardless of how justified the arguments are on Korea, I’m still willing to accept that w/ the Kims being as bellicose as they always were, there is at least a case for having troops there, although I’m not at all opposed to pulling them out. However, I just don’t see any rationale for having troops in Europe. As you pointed out, even during the Cold War, much of Europe was strongly anti-US, w/ rare exceptions like Helmut Kohl and Margaret Thatcher. Still, it was important then to make sure that the Soviets didn’t have an empire from Lisbon to the Bering Strait. That’s no longer the case today.

If they are cutting defense spending, I want them to start in Europe – by pulling out of there completely, as well as out of every Islamic country that has US troops. The savings there will be much more than their nickel and diming the fighting power of the military at home. The navy should be built, have an SDI/Missile Defense Shield to protect us from foreign attacks, and have an optimal size air force – one large enough to defend the US.

Oh, and if one does that, make it clear that the US is not gonna police the world and countries that hate us. The next time a coup in an oil rich country in dar ul Islam happens, either buy the oil from the new regime, and if it’s an enemy regime, pulverize them and seize their oil. Aside from that, the US has nothing to lose – nor gain – from regimes collapsing, countries getting overrun by their enemies or things of that kind.

With the end of the Soviets, the Monroe Doctrine might be well worth making the official policy once again.

Infidel on July 29, 2013 at 2:27 pm

Why have troops in Korea? China. The North Korean army, big as it is, would most likely be repulsed by the South. Who benefits? The Chicoms. With the South engaged Chicom shock troops, better equipped and trained than the North Koreans, overrun the South in days. Our presence prevents the Chicoms from attempting it. North Koreans are cannon fodder for the Chicom hordes. Most important to remember that Marxists, being atheists, believe that man is an animal without a soul.

CornCoLeo on July 29, 2013 at 2:36 pm

Sorry, screwed up the end of the emphasis tag. Should have been ‘any rationale….’

Infidel on July 29, 2013 at 2:36 pm

China does more trade w/ South Korea than w/ the North. Companies like Samsung, LG have major manufacturing in China, which the Chinese would lose were South Korea to get overrun. Besides, the US has little to lose if Korea falls.

Also, as Charles Krauthammer once pointed out, there is one trump card that the US has that the Chinese fear – Japan. China has always hated and feared Japan, and the last thing that they want is the WWII conditions demilitarizing Japan to be lifted. If the US arms Japan, or even has a few aircraft carriers east of Japan, China would get nervous. They have their history w/ Japan, and the last thing that they want is for Japan to get militarized again. B’cos they remember what happened the last time that was the case – China got their head handed to them on a platter, and had it not been for WWII, the Chinese would all be speaking Japanese today.

So, no, there are no strategic reason to remain in Korea. In fact, those reasons expired in 1991.

Infidel on July 29, 2013 at 2:42 pm

There are a couple of problems with universal pullouts of the type some commenters are suggesting. Apart from the confluence of this approach with the approach of leftists who want to destroy this country, such a pullout will strengthen an isolationist political dynamic. While that may not be the intention of some of these commenters, the dynamic is still unleashed.

This can be dangerous in a political climate where things can change very rapidly, without notice or pre-knowledge. Examples are the so-called Arab Spring, and the demise of the so-called Soviet Union. Mass transport of troops and materiel is not always accomplished at the push of a button.

There is also the political impact of such pullouts. They will almost certainly be seen by our enemies and potential enemies as signs of political weakness, and encourage aggression. Our enemies will be right, because if such pullouts actually occur, the motives of those advancing the pullouts will be varied, and will certainly include, prominently, those who want to appease our enemies, even if that is not the intention of the commenters here.

Little Al on July 29, 2013 at 3:20 pm

The flip side of the coin is – what is the goal of having US troops stationed abroad? Which US interests are served by it? If the US had troops in a friendly, allied country, there would be a point to it.

From the examples above, the implosion of the Soviet Union was an event that made it easier to make the case to pull US troops out of a continent, where the vast majority of the people were and are opposed to their presence there. Similarly, the Arab Spring events were an illustration of why US troops should never have been in those countries. The flip example would be the Iraqi takeover of Kuwait in 1991, which necessitated Operation Desert Shield. However, today, the Kuwaitis are as anti-US as the rest of the Arabs & other Muslims, so it’s actually hard to make the case that the US shouldn’t have simply endorsed Saddam’s takeover of Kuwait and worked w/ him on not attacking Israel.

As for the US enemies, who are they? We’re now not talking about the ‘Death to America’ crowds in Ramallah, Cairo, Lahore or Beirut, and nor are we talking about ‘US, out of Europe’ crowds in Paris, Rome, Frankfurt or Manchester. We are talking about hostile governments, like Iran, Pakistan and North Korea, or terrorist organizations, like al Qaeda, Hizbullah, Hamas or Lashkar e Toiba. Let’s deal w/ them one by one.

First of all, US troops being pulled out of Europe won’t send any signals to anybody, since the US doesn’t have enemies in Europe capable of threatening it. For South Korea & Japan, the case can be made either way, but for the time being, I accept any decision for US troops to be left there.

However, in the Islamic countries, like Afghanistan or Iraq, it’s a no win situation. If these were pluralistic societies whose populations were friendly to the US, like countries in South East Asia, I would accept that there was a good case for US troops being there, be it to prop up friendly regimes or prevent coups from turning them into Maoist dictatorships, like Nepal. But the people of these countries are innately anti-Infidel, no matter why the Infidels are there. Afghans, for instance, had the greatest reasons to be grateful to the US for helping them drive out the Soviets, but in return, not only did we get 9/11 – today’s Afghan government that we supported in coming to power now supports rehabilitating the Taliban. Pakistan, who kept telling us that they are our ally, w/ no insignificant help from us ourselves, hid Osama not in their ‘Wild West’ but in a city near their capital that’s run by their military. Iraq, whose Shit(e) (in a manner of speaking) population had every reason to thank the US for getting rid of Saddam, was only too happy to follow that up by becoming a puppet of Iran and a part of the new Shiite crescent running from Teheran to Beirut. Saudi Arabia, which would have today been Baathist Arabia had it not been for Operation Desert Shield, fulfilled Osama’s dreams by getting the US to withdraw their troops out of there in the run up to the invasion of Iraq. We pretend that Qatar is our ally, but they are just as busy financing al Qaeda. We pretend that we have allies there, but really don’t.

It doesn’t make sense to have US troops in any Muslim country – sooner or later, the same thing that happened to the US marines in Beirut or the US envoy in Benghazi could happen to them. If US troops have to be in any country in the region where they can quickly get to where they need to be, that country would be Israel. Of course, it’s tough to do that when one has people completely bought by the Arab Sheikhdoms running things in Washington – from James Baker to Barack Obama. However, pulling US troops out now, and pulverizing them later if needed – w/ JDAMs, Bunker Busters, Smart Bombs, Cruise missiles, ICBMs and what have you – is the way to project strength in a way that leaves our enemies under no illusions of what we mean, while not keeping our troops in the midst of people that hate us.

Infidel on July 29, 2013 at 4:19 pm

I guess Dick Cheney’s wise words of the 80s and 90s have been lost; defense is not based on actuality but on potential. Looking at it that way, our list of potential enemies is larger than that in your 4:19 comment. Without doubt it includes Russia and China, and also includes, as I mentioned, the extremely rapid political changes which have characterized the last few decades. (While I do disagree with Dick Cheney on many issues, he was absolutely right about this.)

I was not making the comment about the changes to suggest that all such changes are adverse. Some are and some aren’t. The point is that there is the potential for them to be adverse, and with economic instability increasing, the potential, not only for such changes, but for adverse changes, is increasing. I hope we won’t be caught flatfooted as we were in WWI and WWII. Whenever we try to predict the exact scenario of how adversaries will threaten us, we always turn out to be wrong, because there are things that haven’t been foreseen. Hopefully we can learn from that.

I am glad you provisionally accept troops being left in Asia, but Europe and the near-East are tinderboxes, waiting to explode. The argument about pulling out of Europe has been made for many years. Its most prominent conservative proponent was probably Irving Kristol in the mid-and-late 20th Century. If that had been done, even in the 80s, Western Europe might well be Communist today.

Some withdrawal from Europe was justified after the end of the Cold War. But taken too far, it will, as I mentioned, send exactly the kind of political message we don’t want to send, and quite likely leave us unprepared for the instant political changes characteristic of our era. Enemies in Europe or near Europe? Again, potential is key.

And, as a regular contributor, I’m sure that you agree that the emphasis on saving money should be on entitlements, farm handouts, transportation handouts, and the like, and the unnecessary military expenditures which verge into entitlements.

Little Al on July 29, 2013 at 4:55 pm

Oh, I agree on cutting not just farm subsidies, but also eliminating the department of education, the arts, PBS and a whole bunch of Leftist pet projects. I was commenting here just on what can be cut in terms of the military: other things are OT here.

I’m glad that you agree that the end of the Cold War justified troops being withdrawn from Europe. I think a complete withdrawal, accompanied by arming the armies of Eastern Europe, would have been a better plan. Some of this has to be done w/ Russian co-operation as well, although I agree that they have often made a mess of several situations, especially after Putin came to power.

For the Middle East, I do think that the US should have a forward base in Israel, something in Diego Garcia, but little else. Anything happens that needs military intervention, just lob missiles from there to whichever target needs to be hit – from Teheran to Tripoli. Note that the US also has stupid foreign policies to accompany its projection of force, which doesn’t work in tandem. A good example being Uzbekistan, which initially allowed the US to have a forwarding base in that country, but which yanked it after the US supported an attempt by Jihadis to embarrass the Tashkent regime.

Infidel on July 29, 2013 at 5:36 pm

    Very interesting conversation, Infidel, Little Al, Jon, et al.. I’m no military expert, but I do not see why withdrawing forces first from Europe poses a risk to our deterrence posture. Little Al’s comment is especially interesting in this regard:

    “such a pullout will strengthen an isolationist political dynamic. While that may not be the intention of some of these commenters, the dynamic is still unleashed. This can be dangerous in a political climate where things can change very rapidly….”

    This is a good argument for not supporting a net pullout. It seems to me that we already know the most effective way to project force flexibly: a navy force headed by an aircraft carrier. Given rapidly changing circumstances, why on earth do we need our men in, e.g, Germany?

    As for Korea, the Korean Supreme Court has already decided that Seol cannot be moved, despite the military justification. So much for the Korean’s doing their part to mitigate their damages.

    Why are we still sitting there? Might our reluctance to decapitate the North Korean regime have anything to do with us being sitting ducks? And really, how many more decades do we have to “protect” what is now a First World economy that has never been forced into pacifism (like Japan)?

    Of course we all agree that there is no point in having an enduring presence in any Muslim country–except as invaders. And we should only invade to seize oil wells–an idea that I have advocated since 1980. If we had done that, we could have controlled the global oil supply and prevented extreme price hikes. All that money would not have flown into Muslim coffers. And we would have no serious jihad problem now. For in fact, jihad needs to be funded, and that is why it accelerated as a lagged effect of the Arab/Persian nationalization of American and European oil fields.

    skzion on July 30, 2013 at 7:43 pm

We need more great men like Chesty. Note that the Officers of the IDF have a tradition of leading their troops into battle.

PaulaMalka on July 29, 2013 at 5:51 pm

Debbie,

Thanks!

Good to see an article about a real hero as opposed to a meaningless celebrity who thinks they are a hero. The term hero is used far to much to describe various personal acts which does not define the act of heroism. If you give blood at a blood bank you are considered a hero. While giving blood is a generous act it does not nor it should meet the criteria of a heroic act. Speaking of the Korean War, another hero is Gen Matthew Ridgeway. Ridgeway assumed command after Macarthur was sacked by Truman. From what I have read about the war, Ridgeway was a true hero. He was Paratrooper, Commander and well respected by his troops.

BTW

Good night Chesty wherever you are.

Peter on July 29, 2013 at 6:58 pm

I am glad that you brought out Lt. General Puller for review. He was someone that we shall never see again in our military. I am glad that he did not live to see gays in the military and unisex uniforms. In the face of what Lt. General Puller accomplished, I am crimson with shame for what we have become.

Worry01 on July 29, 2013 at 8:32 pm

I am ashamed at what we have become too. My father was a career Jarhead, knew Puller as well as an honorable assortment of now legendary Marines. They don’t make them like that anymore. I saw a [then] recently released POW remark on LIVE TV how all he could think about was getting back home to chase women. Later, the Commandant of the Marines called him to congratulate the young man and his “Marine Spirit”. Today? he would be admonished for sexual harrassment. Times change, but not always for the better.

#1 Vato on July 29, 2013 at 10:16 pm

OOrah Debbie! Pretty much most people have said what I wanted to say about Lt.Gen. Puller, as he and his kind are near-extinct like the Bengal Tiger in today’s military. There are maybe a few that are still hanging on but they see the writing on the wall. To speak the truth and be sacked or keep quiet and see your Corps go PC. I served under Field officers and Staff NCOS that would make Lt. Gen. Puller proud but sadly they retired in disgust or were forced into retirement around when I finished mg enlistement.

As a sidenote, I am really starting to think twice about General MacArthur’s sacking, seems if he was allowed to fight the war as he wanted, the US would not be having to deal with the Kims like we are not.

Mario on July 29, 2013 at 11:30 pm

skzion, I completely agree w/ ya. Except that during the Cold War, it would have been impossible to conquer & seize their oil, given Soviet support to Iraq, Libya, and a number of other countries in the region.

Post 1991, however, that should have been done. And definitely post 9/11. I can understand people being ignorant about Muslims in 2000, but now not. In fact, 9/11 should have been followed by a wholesale invasion of Arab countries, not just Afghanistan – countries like Saudi Arabia, Emirates, Kuwait, so that their money would stop going into funding the Jihad. After all, Islam was throughout the Middle East since the 7th century, but it was not until the 90s that they really started getting rich w/ the $20T that has transferred to them since the 70s. Confiscate that cash, and use it to fund research into alternate energy sources that make oil obsolete. And then give them back. Once the cash is no longer there, there will be none of that to give the various Jihadi organizations from the Philippines to the US.

Infidel on July 31, 2013 at 4:27 am

Our strategic interests now lie in the Middle East and Asia. Pulling troops out of Europe may therefore be useful, so we can deploy our troops in areas needed with more time for training and rest.

Occam's Tool on August 5, 2013 at 2:03 am

However, killing terrorists overseas is ALWAYS a good idea. Unless we can capture them and squeeze them for data, instead.

Nor do I favor shrinking our military. But the days where Europe mattered are coming to a close. Our fight is with Islamists and totalitarian Asian governments that support them. Russia is DYING.

Therefore, rather than have our troops in AfPak serving term after term abroad with subsequent deterioration in effective status, let’s have more troops available to rotate there, so rest, refitting, and training can occur.

Occam's Tool on August 5, 2013 at 2:07 am

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