As a kid in Ireland of the 1960’s cowboys were endemic. We watched western films (in the days before movies) and western TV shows. We played cowboys and indians from morning to night, galloping on imaginary horses, shooting with hurleys or cap guns. In this world the greatest of the cowboys were the cavalry and the greatest of the cavalry were General Custer and the 7th Cavalry. Everyone loves a massacre like Little Bighorn.
Then you grow up a bit and you learn that Custer was defending the wrong people, and the Indians were subjected to a Government sanctioned genocide to clear land for white settlers.
Then you grow up some more and hear about the Korean war, how the legendary 7th Cavalry spent three days in July 26th-29th 1950 slaughtering innocent Korean refugees at Nogeun-ri. They then covered up the facts and tried to bury the incident. But the news leaked out in 1999 and Bill Clinton issued a statement of regret to the families of the Koreans. Not an apology. The three-day massacre was described as “an unfortunate tragedy inherent to war and not a deliberate killing“. American troops were ordered to shoot on sight any Korean refugees fleeing the front line to make their way south. The top brass were afraid some of them might be North Korean infiltrators. But then you have to ask… why all the subsequent lies and cover up?
Korea was probably the last time the USA engaged in an honest war. They entered that conflict with good intentions for the Korean people to save them from Communist oppression. Looking at North Korea today there are many who might consider No Gun Ri an acceptable price for the freedom of South Korea.
Since Korea the USA has not engaged in a military intervention that delivered benefits to the local people. Cuba, Chile, Vietnam, Salvador, Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Somalia. The Americans leave it all worse than when they arrived.
Please America, don’t send in the Cavalry!