I don't know how to say this, but I'll try. In a fight, a combatant must
not be allowed sanctuary. If he can attack from sanctuary, there is no way
to defeat him. And he is free to kill at his convenience. In war, a
general must be allowed to pursue those who retreat to keep them from
regrouping. If he isn't allowed to do this, he is being forced to make
targets of his men with no recourse.
A ground war is about occupying ground. In Korea, the enemy wanted the
ground we were occupying. Korea was never intended to be an 'all-out' war -
which is what you are describing. The intent was to kick them out of
territory that they had occupied, not start another world war.
MacArthur was tasked with holding a defensive position, and allowed to take
whatever measures he felt necessary to do that - but not occupy territory
beyond that line. The Chinese were not attacking us from "sanctuary"
[strawman alert], but were trying to reoccupy territory we had denied them.
MacArthur continued to send patrols beyond his line, attack 'targets of
opportunity', and generally bloody the Chinese army whenever he had the
Which makes a better target to an army advancing on-line: a soldier in a
fortified bunker, or one lying down in the tall grass?
This is what Reagan did in Lebanon and why we lost 277 Marines there in
that truck bombing. The factions fighting us could attack at will be we
were effectually forbidden to return fire which would have entailed going
and getting whoever was shooting at us. Instead our troops were confined
to an indefensible position on an airport runway. This is little more than
murder of ones own troops.
What Reagan did in Lebanon of completely different that what Truman _and_
MacArthur did in Korea. Apples and Oranges. Not sure what the airport
comment is in reference to.
In any case, if Truman wasn't going to let MacArthur win the Korean War
even if it meant following Chinese combatants across the Yalu, he should
never have sent our troops over there. When China attacked us we were at
war with China, weren't we? Well, if China wants to attack us, we must
defeat them. What we did was dishonest and a betrayal of our fighting men
in the field. Don't we owe something to our fighting men in time of war?
Don't we owe them the support to let them win? The military should be
subject to civilian leadership, but that leadership needs to be loyal to
the troops. If it isn't, then it is a traitor and betrayer. Which just
about sums up what I feel about Truman. He betrayed our armed forced, and
deserves to be remembered as one of the blackest villains of our national
Define "win" John. No battle plan ever survives first contact with the
enemy. We went into Korea with a limited plan; do not allow the Communists
to take over Korea. When the Chinese entered the battle the scope
completely changed . Truman was not willing to throw us into another
full-scale war with all of the negative impacts it would have at home. The
Korean war needed to stay within the initial scope of denying the
Communists all of Korea. We were not there fighting for our very existence,
but the right of a separate people to have a chance at democracy. Following
MacArthur's plans would have been a far _greater_ betrayal of our country
than what we ended up with. We owe it to our fighting men, and now women,
to ensure that their sacrifices are not wasted on egotistical empire
building. MacArthur was a brilliant tactician, but in many ways he was more
interested in his legacy than what was right for the country. Truman had
his own problems, some of which were created in dealing with the mess
Roosevelt left him, but betrayal of the military was not one of them.
MacArthur shouldn't have disobeyed his civilian leaders. He should have
resigned his commission. As it was, he humiliated himself and let Truman
win the argument. Truman was scum. MacArthur should have quit and then
taken his plea to the American people. Not that they would have paid any
attention to him. The average voter in this country is a vile as Truman
was. They don't care how dishonorably their government acts. They don't
even seem to understand that in a democracy we are responsible for the
actions of our government.
A military officer who disobeys a superiors orders (unless they are
illegal) is not fit to be an officer. Truman, as Commander-in-Chief, was
responsible for more than just the army in the field; he was also
responsible for putting the country back together, and taking care of all
of the dirty deals Roosevelt had started. As Commander-in-Chief he had
every right to expect MacArthur to take care of the one small part of the
overall picture he was tasked with. By taking his argument into the public
sector MacArthur showed that he could not be trusted to obey orders. Had
Truman followed MacArthur's plan, the Korean war would have escalated into
another world war, and we would have been forced to use nuclear weapons.
Far more soldiers would have died, and there was no way of knowing what the
final outcome would eventually be.
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