A Letter of Protest to Commander, US 2nd Infantry Division
Photo: US troops used clubs, water hoses, dogs and other crowd-control methods to fight off the marchers. One reporter was almost choked to death. Courtesy - Tongil News and Ohmynews.
To: Commander, the US 2nd Infantry Division:
At about 10:40 AM of June 13th, an armored vehicle belonging to your US 2nd Infantry Division crushed dead two innocent young girls, Shin Hyo Soon and Sim Mi Sun, both residents of Hyochon-ri, Kwangjuk-myon, Yangju-goon, Kyonggi Province.
We believe this incident was not an accident caused by a driver mistake. It was caused by your long-standing practice of safeguarding American vehicles at any costs with little respect for the life of the Korean people. This practice is an affront to the dignity of the Korean people. Your casual attitude regarding this wanton murder of two young Korean girls is in line with your practice of disrespect for Korean lives.
You have completely ignored and suppressed the just demand for accurate facts on the incident by the bereaved families and civic groups. Your so-called 'investigation' of the incident made at 8 PM on June 14th was a sham. The bereaved families were a mere 30 min of advance notice and the 'result reaffirmed' that the driver did nothing wrong. There was no expression of regret or sorrow for the dead teenagers.
We have some questions for you:
At the briefing held on the 19th, the 'joint' US and Korean fact finding team evaded these key questions and reiterated your line of "no fault". This briefing was nothing but a sham to whitewash this incident. It is clear to us that your only intent to suppress the facts of this incident and move on as business as usual as if nothing has ever happened.
On June 15th funeral, your officers told the bereaved family members and the civil groups that you would meet with them in person at the end of the funeral. However, when the funeral was over, your officers about-faced and claimed that they had promised no such meeting with you. We could not but interpret this action by your officers as an shameless to speed up the funeral and put it behind for fear that the funeral might have triggered incidents unfavorable to you.
At the June 19th briefing, your officers admitted, in an apparent attempt to cool down the situation, that you would personally apologize to the victims' families and that not only the driver of the death vehicle but also those senior officers who had ordered him into an exercise at a place unsuitable for armored cars were at fault. There was no mention of any punishment of the guilty. Your officers left the briefing hurriedly even while the victims' families and friends were demanding more information. Your officers restricted new coverage of the briefing and attempted to silence the voice calling for justice.
Instead of prosecuting all guilty parties according to your laws, you have acknowledged only that the driver was at fault and have nothing about the guilty senior officers or what, if any, you plan to do with the guilty. You say you have not received any request for criminal proceedings from the Korean Justice Department. We can hardly suppress our angered at your stone-walling actions and inactions for justice. You are trying to squash the dead girls once more with your shameless deep-six attitude. You belittle the Korean people and drive stakes through the hearts of the victims.
Once again, we implore you for justice: admit your guilt in the death of Hyo Soon and Mi Sung and do what is right - be totally responsible for their death and come clean. More specifically, we demand:
1) .You, the commander of the 2nd IF as well as the commander of the US troops in Korea and the US ambassador to Korea make a public apology to the bereaved families and the Korean people using major news media.
2) Form a joint fact finding commission with active participation of the victims' families and civic groups for the purpose of getting to the truth, nothing but truth.
3) Let the Korean court prosecute not only the guilty driver but also the his superiors.
4) Compensate the victims' families without any further delay.
5) Erect a memorial for the victims at the site of their death as a gesture of your apology.
6) In order to prevent similar incidents in the future, stop using Hyochon-ri and its neighboring roads and close down your training fields nearby..
Joint Committee to Address the Killing of Shin Hyo Soon and Sim Mi Sun (The two junior high school pupils run down by an American armored car.)
June 26, 2002.
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