The deliberate and fatal abuse of the young American student held captive for 18 months brings back memories of the 1950s. Otto Warmbier made the mistake of stealing a Communist propaganda poster and it cost him his freedom and eventually his life.
My experience with Korea goes back more than 65 years. After Navy service in World War 2, I continued in the active reserve to help pay my way through college. At graduation time, I was notified that my Reserve Naval Carrier Air Group had been called up. I served two more years of active duty during the Korean War.
Without warning, North Korean forces invaded South Korea in 1950. They immediately began systematic murder of civilians and captured ememy soldiers as they swept south. This prompted President Harry Truman to intervene with US military. The North Korean cruelty continued, and their atrocities included torturing and murdering Americans captured in battle.
Finally, after more than three years of bitter war, a cease fire was signed, and surviving American POWs were eventually released. All had been severely abused and subjected to the cruel Communist methods of torture and brainwashing. Many were forced to sign ridiculously false confessions denouncing the US.
Some of us who served in that now-almost-forgotten war called the North Koreans gooks. It was a label that reflected their brutish methods and disregard for human life. The latest example of torturing and sending home the dying young man only reenforces the true meaning of today’s North Korean gook mentality.