I think it is interesting how the government was not willing to recognize Korea as a war It was a “police action,” which many would argue is a war nonetheless. I can’t help but think about how the veterans of the Korean War felt, knowing that their service in what they thought was a war, was considered nothing but a “police action.” I would imagine they must have felt used, wondering why they sacrificed for a nation that did not view the veterans service in as high regards. I think it was a good idea for the United States government to decide to bring back the bodies of dead soldiers. I never understood the point of burying the bodies overseas. I mean, the soldiers were Americans, why should they not be given a proper burial in the country they were fighting for? Also, I think by bringing the soldiers’ bodies back, their families could maybe have a bit more closure, or as much closure was possible.
I loved the idea of a War Museum, like Eisenhower proposed. I am not sure I understand why there was so much delay and controversy over the museum. Rockefeller put a lot of time and effort into planning the project, and came up with some really great ideas. Unfortunately, lack of leadership and arguments among agencies caused the project to fall apart. I think it was interesting how artistic ability began to flourish over the whole idea of creating a national war monument. It was also interesting how they used artistic ability to counter the culture of communism. Through encouraging artistic ability, people could express themselves and “could best serve their nation.” (Page 164)
I knew communism was a fear on every American’s mind during this time. During and after the Cold War people were on edge and once Vietnam occurred, the United States government did not want a communist regime to have any chance of gaining power anywhere. This caused a paranoia in America, with the US Government involving themselves in anything that may have dealt with communism. Vietnam was a direct result, with the government intervening to try and eliminate the Vietcong forces and diminish any possibility of the Vietcong gaining power in South Vietnam. While I think it was great the U.S. was on top of international affairs and had good interests in mind, I cannot help but think the communist paranoia was a bit extreme. (McCarthyism for example) It also may have been the cause of some rash decisions right before and during Vietnam.
I think it is interesting how this excerpt spoke of not only the Vietnam War sparking protests, but the Civil War as well. When I think about protests, my mind automatically reverts to Vietnam, not the Civil War. During the Civil War, many men protested strongly against being drafted. Also, this reading spoke about the Green Berets and how a movie was made after them. The movie, starring John Wayne, actually portrayed the soldiers as heroes. Many times, we have seen movies and television being used as anti-war propaganda, like the one video we watched in class on Tuesday. I think that after Vietnam and what people thought about it, the movie may have been a good thing, maybe increasing support for the veterans. Reading about the MIA soldiers was sad. I cannot imagine what those families of the MIA soldiers went through, not knowing whether or not their son, husband, or brother was alive or dead. I can imagine it was heart-breaking to say the least. It angered me to read about how North Vietnam would not help account for those soldiers missing; they left it up to the United States. Yes, it was our nation’s responsibility but North Vietnam could have been more cooperative.
I also think the federal government could have taken more initiative. They so easily came to the conclusion that there were no more living POWs. By saying that, the government admitted defeat. It should have been one of the government’s top priorities to find the POWs, whether they were alive or not. It was the government who sent these soldiers over to Vietnam and now it simply did not want to deal with them. Once again, we see the recurring theme of the government trying to take short cuts and shirk responsibility towards veterans, to whom they owe so much for the sacrifices they made. It just angers me that this happens every time but in this case especially because the government is not even willing to go and find their lost men.
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