Gladys and Billy were an impoverished couple living on M.L. King Blvd. in Dallas. We met during 1989-1992 to consider their family issues. After a half hour of talking about intractable problems, I sheepishly suggested we go down the street for a milkshake. Suddenly family problems would be superficially minimized by sweet milkshakes. Both are buried in peaceful Dallas cemeteries now. Peace at last.
Billy’s alcoholism began in the 1950’s when he was sent as a young Texan by General Douglas MacArthur with a victim group of 5,000 US paratroopers to be dropped behind “enemy” lines on the Yalu after thousands of Chinese troops entered the “Korean conflict.” MacArthur’s design was to have the brave paratroopers kill Chinese forces from the rear and quickly “stabilize” an undeclared war at the Yalu. Congress never declared war in Korea setting a precedent of mindless militarism for the USA.
Billy was one among only 14 survivors of the 5,000. Rather than neutralize Chinese soldiers who entered the battle on the Yalu from above, thousands of US paratroopers descending very slowly were slaughtered themselves when MacArthur’s daring tactic suddenly evolved into ruthless target practice for entrenched Chinese soldiers as Billy described the bloody military debacle.
There were other patrons in the Dallas fast food restaurant when Billy rose, then proudly lifted his shirt to reveal a row of bullet wounds from his right arm pit, across his stomach down to the shattered left hip bone. Skilled surgical work by military doctors put Billy back together and released him to Gladys. No amount of alcohol would liberate Billy from the nightmarish Yalu river experience.
General MacArthur was not demoted for the Yalu chapter which could be described as a suicidal venture on the part of 5,000 young men. Truman fired MacArthur for insubordination after the haughty West Point graduate wanted to carry combat across the Yalu into China.
No truce was declared in Korea, leaving North and South Korea divided since 1953. During this peaceful 70-year interval, exotic animals have emerged in the demilitarized zone, now visited as a nature park.
History’s worst mass suicide occurred in 68 AD at the fall of Gamala on the Golan Heights when 5000 members of the Jewish revolt jumped to their deaths from a cliff rather than surrender to Romans.
MacArthur’s dispatching nearly 5000 troops to death on the Yalu will be kept from history books. Billy and all of his brothers have been returned to Earth, with honors, leaving stories for relatives to share.
The USA has encircled China and the Korean peninsula with 400 bases. A Pentagon spokesman in March 2017 crudely described this Asian formation as “a perfect noose.”
A US aircraft carrier and nuclear submarine entered the Korean peninsula area in April 2017. Will the vanquished General MacArthur remind military planners, history’s third use of nuclear weapons will exceed nearly 5000 mauled by Chinese near their border in Korea plus 5000 victims at Gamala?
Nuclear warfare is suicidal for life on Earth in peril. Check the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists clock.