Why the U.S. Army Should Leave Korea
“‘It’s been 60 years since we went to war in Korea,’ said Paul. ‘Why do we have to have troops there?’
“‘North Korea!’ yelled a heckler.”
Proceeding against the advice of my cardiologist, I must concede that for once, Ron Paul is actually on to something. The ground component of U.S. Forces Korea, which costs U.S. taxpayers billions of dollars a year to maintain, is an equally unaffordable political liability on the South Korean street. We should withdraw it. Every Saturday night off-post brawl is a headline in the muck-raking Korean press, for which the American soldier is inevitably blamed, and for which angry mobs perpetually demand renegotiations of the Status of Force Agreement to give Korea’s not-even-remotely-fair judicial system more jurisdiction over American soldiers.
Let me first state that I disagree with most of this post and I’d even say that the author is wrong or misleading in a number of his statements. However, one thing that unnerves me is his opinion as an American expat in Korea (really military, but the rant is the same). For years, I’ve heard the same complaints from other expats in Korea: the muck-raking press (I love that he used that term), the unfair legal system (or entire system), and a general lack of appreciation for “the way Americans saved South Korea from the Northern hordes.”
Whether you believe with these points of view or not (surely most are ignorant), this is what 1000s of American expats are bringing home with them. And, unlike the popular notion of expats in Korea, many will return home and end up in positions where they are decision-makers/influencers. While this has colored GIs view of Korea for a long time, they where mostly shielded by base life. What is more concerning is how the huge number of late 1990s expats will influence American mindshare. If the all too common perceptions of this author are any indication, there may be trouble down the road.