55 years ago the Korean "War" officially ended with an armistice signed by North Korea, China, and the UN (the United States). The official date was July 27, 1953, but notice that South Korea was missing from the signatory list.
Fast forward those 55 years to now and nothing has really changed. The DMZ or demilitarized zone still exists and potentially hostile forces look at each other with guns loaded from across the expanse of the 38th parallel.
The Korean War has often been called the "Forgotten War" here in America because it gets lost between World War II and Vietnam.
Why we shouldn't forget Korea -
55 years after war in Korea "ceased", the United States is still there. North and South Korea are still split at the 38th Parallel. 38,000 some U.S. servicemen lost their lives during the conflict to get right back to the status quo. Was it worth it? I can't answer that since I wasn't there. ( VetEd Note: Any Korean Veterans feel free to chime in by emailing me or submitting to the forum)
Korea shouldn't be forgotten, though, because it is not an isolated case. After World War II, the USA continues to station troops in Germany and Japan among other nations.
Korea as a model? – Surely Not?
Do you think that Iraq and/or Afghanistan will be any different? Do you think it should be different? In reality the U.S. should absolutely consider having a presence in these countries for a very long time unless we're getting free oil from Iraq and free poppies from Afghanistan. In each of these countries, we have committed men and/or materiel to stopping the madness of each country's so-called leaders in the past. Think Persian Gulf War in the early 90's for Iraq, and CIA support of the Mujahedeen in Afghanistan during the 80's.
…And here we are embroiled in each country yet again; whether due to our lack of foresight or our lack of fortitude. We need to think about the long approach in these situations, i.e. the Korea approach and the Germany approach and the Japan approach.
The U.S. must be prepared for an end state in Iraq and Afghanistan that is completely different from the one ideal that we may want.
Just look at the Korean War. It shouldn't be forgotten, as it may serve as the model of the future.