One of the first speaking engagements I had, after my unwarranted and improper suspension, was before a Korean War Veterans Group in Wilmette, a suburb north of Chicago. The press covered my talk and some of the veterans, while condemning my views as too radical, denounced in print my suspension as imposed by then President Richard Yanikoski. Yet I was heckled throughout my talk with rude, unprofessional behaviour by several of the veterans. The next year I was invited for a return engagement and did so under calmer and more respectful circumstances. I am grateful for having those speaking venues.
In any event, I raised the issue of No Gun Ri, a town about 100 miles southeast of Seoul in South Korea, in which there was deliberate, sustained slaughter of desperate refugees seeking safety and security behind American lines. They either minimized or disputed the massacre there.
Yet on July 26, 1950 South Korean refugees fleeing from combat were shot down by American imperialist forces in the south. We know now that such action was condoned by civilian war criminals such as Ambassador John Muccio. The Associated Press which received a Pulitzer Prize in 1999 for their initial reporting recently revealed the following memorandum from Amb. Muccio to then Assistant Secretary of State Dean Acheson:
“If refugees do appear from the north of U.S. lines, they will receive warning shots, and if they then persist in advancing they will be shot.”
Estimates range from 100 (U.S.) to 400 (Korean survivors) killed at No Gun Ri. I tend to favour the latter figure since one cannot trust the U.S. to be honest when it is caught in the act of cruel and despicable brutality. Most of the victims were, of course, women and children and hundreds more refugees were killed in this manner during the Korean War (1950-1953).
The massacre at Haditha is part of a process of brutalisation and inhumanity that results from decades of war and successful propaganda that any military operation is to defend our freedom. The military and the civilian leadership that authorises this conduct represents one of the most serious and sustained violations of international law of any nation in modern history. The U.S. needs to see Haditha as symptomatic of an immoral nation whose sole goal is military and economic domination of the planet. We do not stand for peace, democracy and freedom; we stand for violence, authoritarianism when convenient, and the perpetuation of elite status for America’s rulers who are beneath contempt and will not fool me or my students when I walk into the classroom. These issues will be discussed and debated in a manner that is open, direct and forthright.