Monday, May 25, 2009

News on "The Chosin Few" documentary

I have great admiration for Korean War veterans. Well, anyone who lays their life on the line to protect others, but there's a special place in my heart for veterans of the so-called "Forgotten War," an immense feeling of gratitude.

I can respect that some may have differences over whether or not US forces should remain in South Korea (I've stated my own view many times: Ending the continuously effective and successful Pax Americana in Northeast Asia will likely lead to eventual war that would not only lead to hundreds of thousands if not millions of deaths, but will also cost lots of American treasure and eventually probably American lives).

But what really bothers me is those who feel — because of the vocal fringe that demonstrates regularly against the US military or, worse, because of some vengeful hostility against their hagwon boss or racist neighbor or someone — that the US should never have entered the Korean War in the first place. If "we should've let them get taken over" or "let 'em die" is part of your argument, you are the one with the problem.

Such petty vindictiveness also desecrates the sacrifices made by tens of thousands of soldiers who laid down their lives and the many thousands more who also endured torturous conditions of war on the Peninsula from 1950 to 1953.

Simply put, not enough is done to recognize that. I'd hoped that as the fiftieth anniversaries of events from the Korean War came along, there would be a move by Hollywood to push for movies along the lines of Saving Private Ryan. There are epic films to be made of the Inchon Landing (below), the Pusan Perimeter, the Battle at Heartbreak Ridge, and many other places.

Indeed, for Hollywood, the Korean conflict is "the Forgotten War." Other than M*A*S*H and a handful of movies made during or around that actual war, it has largely been ignored.

And this is why I have been intrigued and encouraged by news, courtesy of the Orange County Register, of a documentary slated for release next year, about the brave men who fought and died in the Battle of Chosin Reservoir, also known as the Frozen Chosin (bottom).

The documentary makers came to Orange County and interviewed twenty-five of the OC vets of the battle, an epic encounter along the lines of Iwo Jima, some say.

If you have time this Memorial Day, go and thank a vet — of any war — and ask them a question or two about their experiences. And next week, when it's no longer Memorial Day, do the same thing. And the following week, too, if you can.

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