Tussle over MacArthur highlights split over U.S.
Create Post
Results 1 to 6 of 6
  1. #1

    Cool Tussle over MacArthur highlights split over U.S.

    Tussle over MacArthur highlights split over U.S.
    By Choe Sang-Hun International Herald Tribune
    THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 15, 2005

    INCHEON, South Korea For nearly five decades, this harbor city west of Seoul has commemorated the U.S. general Douglas MacArthur with a five-meter statue on a hilltop Freedom Park. With one hand in a hip pocket and another holding a pair of binoculars, the general gazes across the shore where his troops landed at dawn 55 years ago Thursday, repelled communist invaders and made him a national hero in South Korea.

    These days, MacArthur's statue looks over a new battle unfolding around it. And experts say the outcome of this struggle between the young and the old and between the left and the right in this boisterous Asian democracy could have far-reaching implications for relations between Seoul and Washington.

    On the landing's anniversary on Thursday, 3,000 veterans, mostly retired marines, gathered before the MacArthur statue vowing to protect it with their lives, local news reports said. Separately, Incheon officials and legislators remembered the war dead by setting flowers adrift on the Incheon channel.

    Last Sunday, 4,000 young South Koreans crowded before the statue, calling MacArthur a "symbol of foreign occupation" and demanding that his statue be toppled. During the rally, which followed similar protests in recent weeks, they hurled eggs and wielded bamboo sticks at police officers guarding the statue. Dozens were hurt.

    On the other side of the hill, hundreds of aging Korean War veterans, many wearing uniforms with insignia of their old units and carrying South Korean and U.S. flags, marched uphill to "take out the Reds" and defend a "symbol of our alliance with the Americans and a hero who saved our nation from communism." When the police stopped them, they threw dirt and shook their walking sticks.

    In the South Korea of today, it appears that MacArthur has never died and he has never faded away. Alive enough by way of his statue, he has become the focal point of a deepening ideological and intergenerational conflict over the U.S. military role in modern-day Korea.

    Activists on either side of this gulf are relatively small in number, with a majority of South Koreans remaining indifferent to the statue dispute and generally supportive of the presence of 32,500 U.S. troops in Korea, experts say. But it is revealing of a fundamental cleft in South Korean thinking. And if the uproar is a measure of a working democracy that the Americans can claim to have helped build, it also epitomizes the challenge facing Washington and Seoul as they try to reshape their alliance.

    "Any American who watches Korea in Washington will watch closely how it will unfold," said Peter Beck, a Seoul-based Korea expert for the International Crisis Group, referring to the statue dispute.

    In fact, the strife has become such a hot potato that President Roh Moo Hyun, who was once accused of pandering to nationalism for votes, has intervened to defend the statue. In late August, he warned that removing the statue would "gravely hurt the pride of the American people and their view of our country."

    "We must keep the statue as it is and respect it as part of our history," Roh told reporters Wednesday in New York, where he is attending the annual session of the United Nations General Assembly. "What's important is that we should say what we want to say as an independent country and cooperate in mutual respect."

    Confident of their country's economic success and free from Cold War propaganda and memories of a hot war that had shaped their parents' perspectives, young South Koreans of today tend to be increasingly nationalistic, skeptical of U.S. motives and eager for "Koreans-together" cooperation with North Korea.

    To a core group of liberals and radicals, the United States is no longer the country that once saved South Korea but rather an international bully whose hard-line policy on North Korea is a bigger threat to peace than the North's nuclear weapons program itself. To them, the MacArthur statue is a symbol of American intervention and a hurdle to reconciliation between the two Koreas.

    On the other side, an older population, most notably war veterans and people who fled the North during the war, clings vigorously to an alliance with the United States.

    "It reflects how divided ideologically our society has become," said Kim Sung Han at the Institute of Foreign Affairs and National Security.

    Such a divide has been evident here for years, but it became sharper with Roh's election in 2002. Roh, who has often enough been accused of dividing his country, once said he would not "kowtow to the Americans." He later said if it were not for the Americans during the war, he would have ended up in a communist prison camp by now.

    Today in Incheon there are few signs of the war that ended half a century ago. The mud flats where MacArthur's troops splashed ashore have now turned into a gateway to Seoul, one of Asia's most prosperous capitals. Mammoth freighters ply the treacherous channel where U.S. warships had to navigate. Giant derricks stand on what used to be sea walls U.S. marines had to scale.

    "We shall never forget what he and his valiant officers and men of the UN Command did for us and for freedom," says the inscription at MacArthur's statue, built with Incheon citizens' donations in 1957, on the seventh anniversary of the landing.

    Incheon people remember visiting the statue to pay respect in groups when they were schoolchildren. In the 1970s, there was even a shaman who worshipped the general as her god, according to historians. In a 1998 survey, MacArthur was chosen by Incheon teenagers as the figure who represented their city the most.

    But as anti-American sentiment has spread in recent years, especially after the deaths of two teenage girls struck by a U.S. armored vehicle in 2002 and, again, following the war in Iraq, the police have reported that eggs and litter have been pelted at the statue.

    "We don't need the statue of a foreign general standing on our soil. It is a symbol of unwanted foreign military presence," said Yoo Byung Kyu, 28. "I don't think the American military presence has done a lot of good for our country. They have been here not so much for us as for their own American interests."

    A few meters off from Yoo, Lee Yong Taek, 76, bowed to the statue. "The youngsters are victims of a North Korean plot to divide our society and make it communist," Lee said. "It's sad that they don't realize that we have built our economy on the sacrifices of 43,000 American soldiers and all the other UN soldiers who died during the war."


    From a military point of view, MacArthur's Incheon landing was the greatest amphibious assault after D-Day at Normandy. The landing reversed the tide of the war.

    For South Korean veterans, the struggle over the general's statue reflects their determination to keep him very much alive in memory. This week, a national association of retired marines vowed to post guards at the statue round the clock.

    Ellie


  2. #2

    MacArthur

    The "modern" South Koreans of today had better remember General of the Army Douglas Mac Arthur and General Chesty Puller and all of the other American Marines, Soldiers, Airmen, and Sailors who saved their ass back in the 1950's because once again their butts are in line to get kicked once again by their neighbors to the north. It has only been around 55 years or so since they were in their rice paddies on their knees begging for American help and these young jerks in Korea today, like the young people in other countries whose butts the Americans saved, still continue to insult these brave men and women from America who died and were wounded and saw their buddies wounded and killed fighting for these jerks so that they could live in freedom for these past 55 or so years. How soon these SOB's forget the lessons of history. Shame on all of these young jerks.

    Semper Fi!!!

    Jule Spohn
    Sgt - USMC - 1960/66
    Marine Security Guard at the AmEmb in Seoul, Korea 1962 to 1965




  3. #3
    Marine Free Member pi 53's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    North Huntingdon -Irwin
    Posts
    17
    Credits
    10,425
    Savings
    0
    The younger Korean generation has no idea of all the suffering that existed during the
    war! 37,000 young Americans KIA ,the country destroyed and starving. There were no cats or dogs left as the starving people ate them all. I was with H&S Btry 3/11/ 1st Div and when we pulled garbage disposal detail, the women and children
    waiting to unload and eat the garbage. I'm sure they eat steak now!
    Semper Fi Sgt. Rudy Kardos


  4. #4
    Just like in everything else I believe this fits.

    "Opinions are like azzholes, everybody's got one."

    I have to admit that I am skeptical of our politicians motives. So for them to be would be completely natural.

    To a core group of liberals and radicals, the United States is no longer the country that once saved South Korea but rather an international bully whose hard-line policy on North Korea is a bigger threat to peace than the North's nuclear weapons program itself. To them, the MacArthur statue is a symbol of American intervention and a hurdle to reconciliation between the two Koreas.
    I don't know what they think reconciliation is going to bring them. While the South may be saying econciliation the North will be saying reunification for the purpose of subjugation. I think these people are the type of idealists that think of reconciliation (I'm not typing that f'ing word again) as rainbows and butterflies.

    Such a divide has been evident here for years, but it became sharper with Roh's election in 2002. Roh, who has often enough been accused of dividing his country, once said he would not "kowtow to the Americans." He later said if it were not for the Americans during the war, he would have ended up in a communist prison camp by now.
    Not entirely sure what kowtow to the Americans means, but that's neither here nor there. I don't really see how these two sentences are related. In one they're talking about not essentially "bowing" to us now, in the present day, and in the other he is speculating on what might have been had we not stepped in 55 years ago.

    "We don't need the statue of a foreign general standing on our soil. It is a symbol of unwanted foreign military presence," said Yoo Byung Kyu, 28. "I don't think the American military presence has done a lot of good for our country. They have been here not so much for us as for their own American interests."
    It's really kind of ironic if you think of it. His freedom to criticize the presence of that statue was given in part by that man. If that was a statue of "Lil Kim Jong" he wouldn't have that right. It's sad too that he is one year younger than me and he has NO FVKING IDEA WHAT HIS FREEDOM COST OTHERS!!

    I want to thank all of those who served in Korea. Your sacrifice has not gone unnoticed or disregarded by this young Marine.

    Thank you, next up for the soap box...


  5. #5
    Hello Top Kardos. Many of them were still eating garbage when I was in Seoul from 1962 to 1962. My, oh my, how this younger generation of Koreans have forgotten where their parents and grandparents came from.

    As far as kow-towing to the Americans, the Koreans, and all the rest of those in the other third world cess pools, kow-towed to the Americans in the past and they will kow-tow to the Americans once again in the future when their miserable butts are on the line and the Americans have to come in once again and save them. Those of us Marines, and other service men and women, who are old enough to have served during the Second World War, Korea, and Viet Nam know from whence we speak. You won't hear any of the politically correct BS from us that you now hear from the current occupant of the White House and those in the Halls of Congress. We still call a spade a spade.


  6. #6
    Marine Free Member pi 53's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    North Huntingdon -Irwin
    Posts
    17
    Credits
    10,425
    Savings
    0

    Thumbs up The Korean debacle

    Quote Originally Posted by Jule Spohn View Post
    Hello Top Kardos. Many of them were still eating garbage when I was in Seoul from 1962 to 1962. My, oh my, how this younger generation of Koreans have forgotten where their parents and grandparents came from.

    As far as kow-towing to the Americans, the Koreans, and all the rest of those in the other third world cess pools, kow-towed to the Americans in the past and they will kow-tow to the Americans once again in the future when their miserable butts are on the line and the Americans have to come in once again and save them. Those of us Marines, and other service men and women, who are old enough to have served during the Second World War, Korea, and Viet Nam know from whence we speak. You won't hear any of the politically correct BS from us that you now hear from the current occupant of the White House and those in the Halls of Congress. We still call a spade a spade.
    Amen Sgt. Spohn Semper Fi Sgt. Rudy Kardos


Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Posting Permissions

  • You may not Create Posts
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts