Sat October 6, 2007
War veterans doubt Koreas will find peace
By Bryan Dean
Staff Writer

A group of Korean War veterans reuniting in Oklahoma City this week expressed skepticism over a plan by North and South Korea to sign a permanent peace agreement to formally end the war.

Leaders from the two Koreas sent special envoys to the United States and other countries to brief them on an agreement asking for multinational talks between the parties involved in the 1950-1953 war.

Members of the 1st Battalion, 7th Marines talked about the proposal Friday as they visited the 45th Infantry Museum in Oklahoma City. About 90 Marines, all of whom served in Korea, and 75 of their family members are attending a reunion in Oklahoma City that ends tonight.

Harold Mulhausen, of Oklahoma City is hosting the reunion. Mulhausen took a trip back to Korea in 2005 and said he came away doubting the countries will ever reconcile their differences.

"The Koreans have a longer memory than we do,” Mulhausen said. "The word over there was as long as this generation of Koreans is alive, they will never sign a peace agreement. They feel that the older generation remembers too much. There was lots of hatred and killing.”

Mulhausen said he wouldn't have a problem with the United States participating in a permanent peace agreement, but he is skeptical of the intent of North Korean leaders.

Other skepticism
The other Marines echoed Mulhausen's concerns.

Bill O'Mara of Albuquerque, N.M., said he believes the deal is a ploy by North Korean leaders to get U.S. troops out of the South, making it more vulnerable to attack.

"I don't think when you are dealing with people like North Korea that you can depend on them following through,” O'Mara said. "They will say whatever you want them to say if they think it's to their benefit. But I don't believe they are truly interested in peace.”

Some members of the group also fought in World War II and Vietnam. They expressed frustration that many fail to remember their sacrifices or the lessons learned from the war.

Al Wright, of Greenwood, Ind., said he doesn't have a problem with peace discussions, but he hopes those involved understand the stakes.

"We had peace talks back then and all they could come up with was a cease fire,” Wright said. "Politicians can talk. They don't care if someone has to go back over there and get shot again. I'm too old to go back to Korea, so I guess I'll have to send my grandson.”