Sunday, July 28, 2013

The Forgotten War-Gangam Style.

As noted in National Review it is the 60th anniversary of ceasefire in the Korean War.    This war in a few short years cost about as many American lives as Vietnam did over a much longer period.  But the South survived.  When I was a boy you could still read Dondi comics about a Korean war orphan.   The strip ended a few years after  the most famous fictional story about the war did.  M.A.S.H.,_Farewell_and_Amen  At college we all watched that episode and I believe it was the most watched program ever to that time.

When I was young I worked wtih Korean war vets in New York but my best memory of one of them was John Melli who lived in Jersey City New Jersey.  I lived in the apartment above him and his wife Rose in a three level brownstone-type building.  He had in his living room a picture of   Frank "Boss" Hague of Jersey City and a bust of John Wayne. 

On many Wednseday's I would be invited downstairs for ice cream and to watch the lottery numbers come in.  Rose would give us bowls of ice cream and he would state with conviction "Sonny, tonight you will see me become a millionaire."  Inevitably the numbers would come up, he'd intone "Another mistake, get 'em next week." 

Today the most famous Korean war vet is Don Draper.   A different sort.

But the sacrfices of those men, allowed one of the poorest countries in the world in 1950 to be one of the richest in 2013.  South Korea was a visual spectacle of the difference between the Free World and Communism.  During the 1980's, as in the Phillipines authoritarian military aligned governments gave way to real democracy wtih even better economic results--all under the shadow of an impovirished, insane armed camp to the North.

There is no peace treaty between the Koreas.  Their is only a ceasefire.  It is broken routinely by the North who sinks or captures a ship or a soldier but has allowed South Korea to greatly add to the wealth of the world and to experience such peace that their most famous Korean is not named "kim" but "psy."

On the other hand, the North has a few admirers in the artistic community--NSFW-   and here  (also NSFW)  but other wise its pretty ronrey.

To allow a Communist victory in a cold war battle field and  doom millions to the mad, starvation causing rule of the Kims would have been a disaster.  It was, in part, prevented and the world should be thank ful.

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