Thursday, December 8, 2016

Which Way the Trolley: The Korean War as "just war."



This article is a spiritual and historical reflection into the American wars of the Cold War, Part I examines the Korean War, and part II the Vietnam War. Many younger Americans may not be aware that the British successfully fought a Communist insurgency in Malaya, 1948-1960, and the French fought the First Indo-China War, 1948-1953, which is described in part II. They were all "hot wars" of the Cold War, but I do not have the space to adequately record in this article. Within this discussion I will also deal with the difficult moral issue of civilian casualties in wartime, not called "collateral damage."  

For the sake of transparency, let me state that this is written from the perspective of Christian “just war” theology that goes back to St. Augustine, and ultimately to St. Paul’s understanding of the state in Romans 13.  Christian just war theory was masterfully articulated by the theologian Reinhold Niebuhr in the 1930s and extremely influential in the period under discussion (see below). For a more recent articulation of the just war theory one should consult Nigel Bigger’s work, In Defense of War. [1]

In this essay I take a positive view of about America’s Cold War wars as just wars. I do not apologize for, or disguise this viewpoint.  I believe within a few decades and as the history of the Twentieth Century becomes clearer, the American role in these wars will be viewed more positively and they are now.

In the Twentieth Century American governments did three things that were both positive and helpful for mankind. First, America fought wars that were mostly for the benefit of others. Of course self-interest was important, but the majority of the benefit was for the freedom and survival of others. One of our smaller wars, the air campaign and intervention in the former Yugoslavia, had absolutely no self-interest involved, and was entered into to prevent the massacre of the Muslim minority by the Serb majority.[2]  On its two major wars, America could have remained neutral in both. Our entry into World War I was opposed by many, including most Pentecostal Believers who were almost universally pacifists. Two decades later many persons believed it would be foolish to involve ourselves in opposing Hitler. The American hero and aviator, Charles Lindbergh advocated this position and many believed him.
But in historical perspective, both wars were important in countering the attempt of Germany and its racist expansionism from becoming the predominant power in Europe and then on the planet. In World War I, Imperial Germany had not yet morphed into the vulgar and Pagan manifestation of Hitler’s Nazism. But the seeds were there, as in its Germanic contempt for the Slavic peoples. This disdain dated as far back as the Middle Ages and the Teutonic Knights. It was manifested in the treaty of Brest-Litovsk in 1917 when Germany triumphed over Russia. (The treaty was annulled one year later with the defeat of Germany by the Allied powers).  The definitive countering of Germanic imperialism took place at high cost to Americans in World War II. Not waging that war might well have resulted in a disaster for the whole of mankind.

Image result for General George marshallSecond, and a major, and indeed, unprecedented event, was in the positive and merciful occupation of our enemies, specifically Italy, Germany and Japan. In these countries the military was disbanded, war criminals prosecuted and some executed (after generally fair trials).[3] The population was treated with respect and without vengeance, and democracy and economic recovery stimulated. Under the Marshall plan large amounts of American money was spent as seed money to aid in the reconstruction of our devastated European allied as well as our former enemies. This was a manifestation of Christian ethics on a global political scale. There was also self-interest, as by 1948 it was obvious that Soviet Communism would be an advisory and a restored Germany and Japan could be assets. But that does not negate the Christian and sacrificial elements of these policies.

General Marshall, chief of staff in WWII, and later Secretary of State under President Truman

The third major event, and the main topic of this essay, was the opposition, containment and ultimate destruction of Soviet Communism. Like racist German imperialism, it could have been a world dominating force. But the success of the NATO alliance in Europe, and the wars of containment in Asia prevented that from happening. This opposition to Communism is currently belittled and destructively misinterpreted by the Marxists professors still dominant in the history and sociology departments of our own universities. Their awful revisionist, posturing and destructive mythology will probably linger on until revival comes to the universities and a spirit of repentance is manifest. 

One is struck by the similarities of praise and data avoidance about Stalin’s regime by American Leftist of the 1930s with the present generation of American Leftist who ridicule our Cold War efforts while lauding the Chavez and Maduro regimes in Venezuela as it impoverishes its people in a mantel of Marxist/Populist corruption.[4]

Which way the trolley?

 Let me set the stage for this discussion with a story that is currently in use in academic ethicist and philosophical circles as an aid to discuss hard ethical choices. It is really a parable, though not called so in scholarly circles. There are several varieties of this, and they all involve a trolley or train coming to a junction with certain choices that have to be made.[5] This is my version:

Jane rides the city trolley often and sits in the front where the view is best. On her normal route there is a downhill slope that comes to a “Y” junction, with the trolley going right naturally, but it can go left if a lever is pulled. On this particular day as the trolley begins its downhill decent the conductor slopes over dead of a heart attack. She sees the oncoming Y junction. To the right a van sits on the tracks with a broken axel and she can see it is filled with children. To the left one child is playing on the tracks and unaware of any danger, since the trolley normally goes to the right.
Jane has watched the conductor pull the lever to make it go the left and knows how to do that, but she does not know how to apply the brakes. She only has seconds to decide. She can, 1 – do nothing, as this is not her responsibility. Or she can 2- pull the lever to the left and kill one child to save many others.
If she does nothing no one but God will know she could have saved the children in the van. If she pulls the lever to the left she will be an “instrument” of killing one child, and perhaps even be sued by the parents.[6]
World War II as the background for the Cold War:

Now to our issue, our hot wars during the Cold War. The Cold War wars not only have a history, but also have a historical background. That is, those historical events that influenced the leaders of the United States make the ethical (or unethical) choices to bring America into, and prosecute, these wars.
Specifically, World War II molded and informed the actions of the Korean War. “The War” ended less than five years earlier and was almost universally supported by American as necessary. Christian support for World War II was motivated by the blatantly evil nature of the Nazi regime and the atrocities that the Japanese were committing upon the Chinese – there was a pro-Chinese lobby led by American Christian missionaries to China that helped inform the public on this.

More important perhaps was the popularity and influence of the theology of Reinhold Niebuhr (1892-1971). Niebuhr, professor at Union Theological Seminary in New York, was the most widely read and influential Protestant theologian of his generation. In his classic work Moral Man and Immoral Society, he argued against pacifism and for the necessity of the state to use force to limit injustice, conquest and tyranny.[7] His arguments were a revision and elaboration of Christian “just war” theology. For Niebuhr, war was a tragic necessity and never completely successful. Man’s sin nature would ensure that mistakes would be made in the course of the war or in the peace process. In fact, nothing would be definitively just until the Second Coming. Yet inaction and pious pacifism would lead to catastrophe (as in Jane not pulling the lever). Niebuhr’s view on war and the use of force were contested strongly by other theologians when it first came out in 1933, as many were disillusioned by the failed peace treaty after World War I. However, as the tragic history of World War II unfolded, his arguments seemed self-evidently true to most Christians.[8]

This book can be purchased HERE, or downloaded for free HERE.

The War and civilian casualties:

World War II was also a war in which both sides inflicted tremendous civilian casualties on their enemies without much thought or restraint. One prominent ethicist who studied the issue believes that the mass killing of civilians in WWII by the Allied air power was a “drift” into that policy, not something intended or carefully thought out.[9] 

Image result for German zeppelin posterBy way of president, in World War I (1914-1918), the Germans had bombed London with Zeppelins and bomber aircraft, and that campaign included an incident when a hospital was hit causing many casualties. Further, the Germans had pounded Paris with a high tech, long range canon that also caused considerable civilian casualties, including many who died when a church roof was hit and collapsed. The Allied powers were not guiltless. The British navy imposed a blockade on Germany which caused great hardship and starvation to German civilians. British and French aircraft had bombed the industrial Ruhr  - with little effect but some civilian casualties. A British bomber force of large four engine bombers was at the point of beginning its bombings campaign on Germany as the war ended.

World War II began (1939) with the Germans bombing Polish, Belgium and Dutch cities to force those governments into immediate surrender – it worked in the case of the Netherlands. The bombing of cities continued in the Nazi air “Blitz” over the United Kingdom.[10] This was pictured in the 1940 movie, Mrs. Minever, in which a village on the outskirts of London received sever damage and civilians died. In the last scene, the Anglican priest gave a sermon amidst his damaged church and eloquently proclaimed:

"The homes of many of us have been destroyed, and the lives of young and old have been taken… Children, old people, a young girl at the height of her loveliness? Why these? Are these our soldiers? Are these our fighters? Why should they be sacrificed?
I shall tell you why. Because this is not only a war of soldiers in uniform. It is the war of the people, of all the people. And it must be fought not only on the battlefield but in the cities and in the villages, in the factories and on the farms, in the home and in the heart of every man, woman and child who loves freedom… This is the People's War. It is our war. We are the fighters. Fight it then. Fight it with all that is in us. And may God defend the right."[11]
The public was being educated to the fact that “modern” would include many civilian casualties as a matter of course.

Mrs Miniver poster.gif

In fact, British investigating teams examining the bomb damage in their cities learned that losing a home or family member was very demoralizing, and could paralyze and confuse the war industry work done by the survivors. When the British built up their own bombing campaign against Nazi Germany, they purposely bombed residential neighborhoods in an attempt to do similarly and break German morale.[12]

The British came closer to winning the war than most people know. In 1943 the industrial and port city Hamburg was attacked by both British and American bombers.[13] This caused a fire storm with hurricane force winds that spread and consumed the city. Perhaps 40,000 persons, almost all civilians, died in the attack. The Nazi leadership was thrown into temporary disarray and Hitler commented to his inner group that if other fire-storms came to major German cities he would have to sue for peace. That did not happen again although the British tried many times and suffered heavy air crew losses in the process.[14] Although Berlin never experienced a fire storm such as Hamburg, by the end of the war it was transformed into rubble by multiple British, American and Soviet bomber raids.

 Berlin in ruins Image result for bombed out berlin

The Royal Air Force was responsible for most of German civilian casualties of the war.[15] The American Air Corp in Europe attempted to avoid bombing civilian areas directly and tried, with its famous Norden bomb sight, to target war production facilities or railheads.  But the bomb sights were, in fact, very difficult to use properly, and the American bombing campaign resulted in many unintended civilian deaths.[16]

Yet, throughout the war there were many instances of American airmen attempting to avoid unnecessary civilian deaths. One such instance was related to me by an Anglican priest, Fr. Muntean (1924-2013) who was a navigator and assistant bombardier on B-24s, and was on 30 missions in and out of Hitler’s “fortress Europe.”[17]  Just after D-day his squadron was on a mission to destroy a Nazi fuel depot in Paris. There was cloud cover over the target as they reached the bomb release point, and the commander ordered the planes to go around for another attempt, and thus avoid French civilian casualties. On the second attempt there were more clouds, and he ordered another go-round. In the meantime, the German ant-aircraft gunners, knowing the exact approach and altitude of the bombers, shot down two bombers (ten crew members each). As he related this story he remarked that had the squadron been over a German site they probably would have guessed and let go the bombs on the first run. But the incident demonstrates that sometimes the American airmen tried to keep civilian casualties down, even with heroic measures.[18]

Ironically, post-War intelligence studies showed that the War could have been won at least a year earlier than it was if the Allies had bombed the German electric grid and fuel production facilities – its industries would have been totally paralyzed.

To use the trolley parable, Churchill, Roosevelt, and their air force generals had pulled the lever to the left, knowing they would kill many for the sake of saving many more, and prevent the enslavement of the world under Nazi tyranny and the execution of its genocidal goals.[19] We now know for a fact that the defeat of Nazi Germany, although was too late to save European Jewry, prevented the enslavement and destruction of the Polish and other Slavic nations.[20] The Japanese Empire, though not specifically racist or genocidal, acted with almost equally barbarous treatment of civilians in the territory it conquered, as any Chinese or Korean would relate even to this day.[21]

But this is not to say that the Allied leader were morally guiltless. The least that can be said is they did not try hard enough to find other tactics to employ their air forces. In fact, Winston Churchill believed that the punishing air campaign against Germans civilians was necessary to dissuade any future ambitions towards global conquest.[22] He had lived through Germany’s surrender in 1918 and its subsequent rearmament and new aggressions under the Nazis regime. He did not want a “threepeat.” In 1944 the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Church of England’s highest prelate, pleaded with Churchill to stop the bombing of German cities and negotiate for Germany’s surrender on less than total terms, but Churchill rebuffed that appeal.[23] 

Similarly, President Roosevelt could have done something to stop the fire-bombing of Japanese cities, which created tremendous civilian casualties, more even than the two atomic bombings. Secretary of War Stinson was against the fire bombings, but did not press General Curtis Lemay, commander of the American B-29 fleet, on the issue. Earlier, Roosevelt forbad the use of poison gas in the invasion of the island of Iwo Jima which was garrisoned only by Japanese Army personnel.[24] He did not want to let that monster out again after so much damage had been done by mustard and other gases in World War I. So Roosevelt could have stopped or modified the air campaign against the Japanese.  All of this affirms Niebuhr’s insights from the 1930s that even just wars will be fought in sin drenched ways and with moral misjudgments. 

Korean War:

Image result for Korean War

The first American Cold War war was the Korean War (1950-1953). It was called a “police action” by President Truman to avoid a direct “in your face” challenge to Joseph Stalin, and the possibility of triggering a nuclear war with the Soviet Union. Avoiding a war with the Soviet Union was to be one of President Truman’s constant concerns throughout the Korean War and the cause of his famous dispute with General MacArthur. Truman also decided, on the military’s advice, not to use atomic bombs to stop the initial the North Korean attack.[25]  Rather, Truman reinforced American units on the Korean peninsula until the attack was repulsed and United Nations troops (80% American) could go on the offensive. Truman’s actions also resulted in an unfortunate precedent of having a full blown war without a formal declaration of war. U S. Presidents had taken military actions before without war declarations, as in the naval war with France (1799-1801) but never about such a large military confrontation.

Image result for one minute to zero movieThe Korean War was fought with assumptions from World War II about the unavoidability of civilian casualties. At the beginning of the war, as American and South Korean forces were retreating from the Communists North Koreans, the latter injected troops into the streams of civilian refugees heading south. They re-assembled and ambushed American units from behind. Soon this resulted in several ugly incidents of American forces shooting into refugee groups to avoid these ambushes and causing many casualties.[26] Leftist groups still make much about these incidents.

After the first months of the war, the US Air Force achieved total air superiority over Korea. The North Korean and Chinese troops adapted to this by moving only at night, and became expert in camouflage and hiding supplies and troops in towns and villages.  The US Air Force responded by making rubble of the said Korean towns and villages. The capital of South Korea, Soul was fought over several times and many civilian casualties resulted in this also.

We need not examine the details of the military campaign. But only note that after several years of fighting the truce line was established close to the original line that demarked North and South Korea before the war begun. This division created a “laboratory” in which one could examine what happens when one part of a country is divided into a communist state with a Communist, centrally controlled economy, and the other follows a free market pattern and is governed democratically.[27]

Korea 60 years after the trolley lever was pulled:

The South Korean economy began to flourish after 1960 and became one of the Asian “Economic Tigers,” along with Hong Cong, Taiwan, Malaysia and Singapore. South Korea is the 13th largest economy in the world. It has a robust export sector of well-made products and major companies spread all over the world (I drive a Hyundai). In fact, South Korea’s astounding economic growth and general prosperity was a major factor in convincing the Chinese Communist leadership that their classic Communist, state run economy, would never bring prosperity, and they turned to free enterprise as their model.

Spiritually, South Korea has become increasingly Christian, with the percentage of Christians recently surpassing Buddhism (the traditional religion in Korea) and growing to over 30% of the population. This is the fruit of free Christian churches functioning and evangelizing in a free society. Korean Christianity is known for its enthusiasm of prayer and fasting. Many Korean Christian go to special “prayer mountains” where they use their vacation time in Spartan cells in prayer and fasting. Korean Churches often have vigorous missionary outreaches that place missionaries in many foreign counties and have produced several martyrs in Muslim counties.[28]

By all measures, South Korea is a free, democratic, prosperous and spiritually fruitful country.

But North Korea has developed in an altogether different and negative path.  Its founding dictator, Kim Il-Sung, established an absolute tyranny now in its third generation – a Communist monarchy. It was initially a copy of Stalin’s Communist command economy, and it retains many of its essential elements.

However, Kim’s “cult of the personality,” modeled by Stalin, reached new heights (or rather, lows) in Korea. For instance, and every school has a special auditorium where only Kims’ propaganda may be presented.[29] There is no free press or any human rights in North Korea - only the will of the ruler. North Korean society is heavily stratified according to perceived degrees of loyalty to the Kim family. Those deemed most loyal live in the capital, and live in relatively luxury. Those less loyal or suspect to any degree live in poverty.[30]

The deceased founder of North Korea’s “People’s Republic” is now worshiped as a god. Many in Korea talk to their dead leader as a Christian talks to Jesus. In fact, many sociologists now rank the Kim family’s syncretic mix of Marxism, Confucianism, Christianity and its cult of the personality as a religion, not a political system.[31]

Rather than prosperity, North Korea has suffered economic hardship and recurring famine. Most of it brought on by the necessary relationship between a non-market, state controlled economy and communist ideology. The famine of 1994 - 1998 was particularly harsh with perhaps three million persons dying of hunger or hunger related illnesses.[32] Hundreds of thousands have died in prison camps and forced labor “gulags” for the most minor of political infractions, as in not mourning sufficiently for the passing of founder Kim’s death.

Like most communist countries, North Korea has had great difficulty in producing quality goods, and thus has a poor export sector.[33] The exception is North Korea’s military training sector, which it hires out to various Third World countries to gather needed foreign exchange.

Image result for korean peninsula at night satellite
 “The two Koreas at night. Can you tell which is the “Communist workers’ paradise?”]

We should note here that the Korean War was mostly devalued and constantly mocked by the hugely popular and very funny TV series M*A*S*H. The shows, which ran eleven seasons consistory implied that the war was a waste, producing only carnage. The vocal patriots who were anti-Communist were portrayed as jerks. In one episode, a North Korean MIG fighter pilot lands by mistake in an American airbase and is paraded as a defector. After stating that the war was based on the mistakes of politicians, he flied back to North Korea. This is a gross distortion of not only the war, but of a real incident in which a North Korean pilot actually defected to South Korea after much planning and danger.

The Korean War as trolley parable:

Truman pulled the lever for the track that led to the child, not to the stalled van. That is, he made war on the North Koreans, assuming that some civilian casualties would result, but more persons would ultimately be spared from massacre and loss of freedom.

He did so because, like most Americans, he was informed of the facts of past and recurring Communist massacres and genocides.  He and informed Americans knew about the forced Ukrainian famine of 1932-1933 which killed four to five million Ukrainians, the fearsome purges which decimated Soviet Russia, largely destroyed its Christian heritage, and made that unfortunate country into a tyrannical torture/terror state. Thus for Truman and most of the American public, Communism was a moral evil that was similar to Nazism, and there was a similar moral imperative to oppose it.

In 1947 he proposed the “Truman Doctrine” in reference to Greece and Turkey. In his initial policy declaration, he promised those countries economic and military aid in resisting Soviet pressure and Communist insurgencies. Greece in particular was in immediate danger of falling to communist insurgents. Those insurgents were being supplied mainly through Yugoslavia, already a Communist state.

The peoples of a number of countries of the world have recently had totalitarian regimes forced upon them against their will. The Government of the United States has made frequent protests against coercion and intimidation, in violation of the Yalta agreement, in Poland, Rumania, and Bulgaria. I must also state that in a number of other countries there have been similar developments.

I believe that it must be the policy of the United States to support free peoples who are resisting attempted subjugation by armed minorities or by outside pressures.

I believe that we must assist free peoples to work out their own destinies in their own way.[34]

This was the public opening of the Cold War. Truman was buttressed in his confrontation of Communism by the overwhelming support of the American people. Christians in America understood that Communist regimes systematically persecuted Christians, and anti-Communism and American Christianity were firmly allied.[35] Reinhold Niebuhr, then at the height of his popularity and prestige, propagated his insights about the necessity of the use of force to counter evil to the post-War struggle against Communism in print and in the media.[36]

Image result for Book Crusade in EuropeIn fact, fighting Communism was seen as a crusade. Its purpose was to help other people as well as safeguard ourselves from a hostile Communist world in the future. General Dwight Eisenhower, the celebrated Allied commander in Europe in WWII (later two term president) wrote an influential memoir in 1948 of the European military campaign against Nazism called, Crusade in Europe, which spelled out the idea of the recent just war against the Nazis as a crusade.[37] In the 1950s most Americans regarded the struggle against Communism in the same way.

Opposition to the Korean War was a decidedly minority opinion led by leftist American academicians and intellectuals. Many of these were in denial of Stalin’s genocides and purges, and still considered the Soviet Communism (and its North Korean ally) a way to prosperity and social justice.[38] For this minority, Communism and its ideology offered hope in a better, more equal future, and an elaborate intellectual structure that claimed to be “scientific.” Its illusion worked splendidly as long as the facts were not checked.[39] 

Truman and his generation were further informed by witnessing the debacle of Munich agreement between Hitler and Neville Chamberlain (the British PM) a year before the outbreak of World War II. They witnessed Chamberlain attempt to avoid war with Hitler by sacrificing a part of Czechoslovakia, but wound up only in delaying the war while strengthening Hitler’s army. Thus Truman’s generation understood that not going to war could be moral cowardice (in the trolley parable, Jane not pulling the lever).

That is not to say that Truman automatically decided on war. He and his advisors considered sending American troops to reinforce Chang Kai-Check and his Nationalist Chinese Army in their fight against Mao’s Red Army (1946-1949).[40] Truman assisted the Nationalist Army with arms and supplies – all short of American troops. But the better equipped Nationalist Army was corrupt at its officer corps, exhausted from fighting the Japanese, and was consistently outfought by the Communists peasant troops who were much better motivated by the mythologies of a promised land reform and socialist paradise.

Truman’s decision not to send an American ground army into China probably avoided a long war what would have been a Vietnam type war writ large.[41] Today, that decision is mostly viewed as the wise course of action. On the other hand, Mao and his Chinese Communists proved to be the largest mass murders in history, killing perhaps 45 million of their own Chinese people.[42] That tops both Stalin and Hitler. A U.S Army intervention in 1948-1949 might have prevented that great genocide.

To summarize; as far as we can tell, and in regards to Korea, Truman proved to have taken the morally mature and ethical course by making war, and may have saved several millions of lives in South Korea by preventing the complete conquest of the Korean peninsula. South Koreans were not incorporated into the idolatrous, soul-destroying cult of the Kims. Americans paid a high price in terms of killed wounded and treasure spent, but reaped a harvest of a free, prosperous society, with tremendous Christian spiritual vibrancy.[43]

Between Korea and Vietnam:

Dwight Eisenhower was elected to the presidency in 1950, and carried forward and strengthened the anti-Communist foreign policy that had already developed under Truman. Eisenhower’s secretary of State, John Foster Dulles, was passionately anti-communist, and spent a great deal of his time forging alliances around the Communist borders of China and the Soviet Union to prevent their further expansion.[44] At the beginning of the Eisenhower administration there was some discussion of not only resisting Communist advances with defensive alliances such as NATO, but even of “rolling back” Communist regimes in Eastern Europe that had been forced on the countries by the advancing Soviet Army.

The Hungarian Revolution of 1956 (now almost forgotten) was an opportunity to do just that, but Eisenhower chose not to intervene when the Soviet Army counter-attacked and destroyed the new non-Communist government. This was partly because the Anglo-French invasion of the Suez Canal made our support of one invasion and opposition to another seem hypocritical, and of course, the ever present shadow of a Soviet nuclear response to an American incursion. Ironically, after the fall of the Soviet Union documents revealed that the Soviet Government was prepared to withdraw from Eastern Europe had the United States mobilized and threatened to inject troops into Hungry. 

(Next installment The Vietnam War)


The noted Pentecostal scholar Dr. Jon Ruthven wrote a very positive review of my latest book, Agnes Sanford and Her Companions: The Assault on Cessationism and the Coming of the Charismatic Renewal. You can access it HERE.

The book may be purchased on Amazon, either print or inexpensive Kindle HERE You can purchase the print version at a discount from the publisher HERE

My wife has written a funny and inspiring story of how she transited from a cessionist and Baptist to a Spirit-filled Believer. The book has many stories of our three decades of ministry together.  It may be purchased HERE.

Watching God Work: The Stuff of Miracles by [DeArteaga, Carolyn Koontz]

[1] (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013). See my review of this important work in Pneuma Review. Posted October 12, 2015.
[2] In gratitude, many Muslims have concocted bizarre conspiracy theories of how this war really benefited us and the Israelis.     
[3] The good work the American Army occupation did in Italy is mostly forgotten today, but it was recorded in the movie, “A Bell for Adano” (1945) which was about a civil affairs unit in Italy and based on a Pulitzer Prize winning novel by John Hersey of the same name. The movie was still used as a training aid when I was in an Army reserve civil affairs unite after my service in Vietnam (1972).
[4]Pedro Lange-Churion, “Venezuela and the Silence of the Left,” Counterpunch. Note that Counterpunch is a self-identified Leftist journal. Posted may 20, 2016.
[5]There is now considerable literature on the trolley parable, including a Wikipedia entry. Also, see Judith Jarvis Thomson’s, The Trolley Problem,” 94 Yale Law Journal 94 (1985)1395–1415.
[6]A similar moral dilemma was presented in one of the most popular of the Star Trek TV programs, “The City on the Edge of Forever,” (episode #28). Dr. McCoy stumbles into time travel and winds up in New Your City in the 1930s. He falls in love with a lovely social worker named Edith who runs a mission for the poor. McCoy saves her life from a traffic accident but that act vastly changes history. In fact, the Star Ship Enterprise disappears.  What happened was that Edith lived on to be the leader of a pacifist movement that postponed America’s entry into WWII. As a result, Hitler got the A-bomb first and conquered world. The earth descended into dark ages, and among other consequences, the Enterprise could not have been created. The situation is remedied as Captain Kirk arrives and explains the situation. The accident scene is represented and Dr. McCoy allows Edith to die without intervening. The Star Ship Enterprise reappears. 
[7] Reinhold Niebuhr, Moral Man and Immoral Society: A Study of Ethics and Politics, (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1932). It is still in print, but also available online as a free PDF download.
[8] For a summary of Niebuhr’s seminal work, see: Matthew Burke’s review, “Moral Man and Immoral Society,” First Things. Posted, March 1, 2000.
[9] A fair, thoughtful and well researched discussion of how the Allied leaders drifted into the concept of “total war” in which civilians were fair game is found in the work by George Cotkin, Morality’s, Muddy Waters: Ethical Quandaries in Modern America (Philadelphia, University of Pennsylvania, 2010.) Chapter 2, “The Sky That Never Cared.”
[10] Berlin was bombed by British bombers before the Nazis retaliated and began bombing British cities.
[11] “Mrs. Miniver (Film),” Wikipedia. Sourced October, 11 ,2016.
[12] See the excellent Wikipedia article, “dehousing.”
[13] Hamburg was where the fearsome Tiger tank, the best in the world, was being manufactured.
[14] German night fighters were extremely effective, and even towards the end of the war were inflicting up to 25% shoot down rate on British night bomber formations. See Johnen Wilhelm, Battling the Bombers (New York: Ace, 1958).
[15] Total German civilian deaths caused by the Allied air campaign have been estimated at approximately 600,000. Surprisingly, this is about 100,000 more than the total for Japan, produced by the American Air Corps, including the casualties caused by both Atom Bombs. See Cotkin, Muddy Waters, 48-49.
[16] An infamous case was the bombing raid on the Erla Motor Works in the town of Mortsel, Belgium. The factory was producing engines for the German war machine, but from the 24 bombers attacking, only two bombs landed on target and the rest missed and demolished the adjacent neighborhood killing almost 1,000 civilians.     
[17] He was lucky (Divinely protected?). The “shoot-down” rate of the Eight Air force bomber crews was 80%. Of course many of these bailed out and survived.
[18] The 1990 movie “Memphis Belle,” about the first bomber crew in the Eighth Air force to cycle through 25 missions in and out, shows a similar incident.
[19]Reece Howells, the famous Pentecostal intercessor, whose prayers (possibly) helped turn the Battle of Britain, said that the victory of Nazi Germany would have ruined God’s plan for our planet. That radical theology, that man’ freedom to sin and God’s unwillingness to overturn the natural course of events unless his saints pray, is strange but has a ring of truth. See Norman Grubb, Rees Howells Intercessor. (Ft. Washington: Christian Literature Crusade, 1967).
[20]The Nazis had begun the process by systematically gathering and exterminating the Polish intelligentsia, and planned to reduce the Poles to illiterate surfs under the German “master race.” Jürgen Matthäus, Jochen Böhler, Klaus-Michael Mallmann: War, Pacification, and Mass Murder, 1939: The Einsatzgruppen in Poland (Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield, 2014).
[21] The sexual slavery of thousands of Korean women for the Japanese Armed forces has been covered by the media in recent years, yet that is only the tip of the iceberg of Japanese atrocities in WWII.
[22] See an insiders’ view of how Churchill managed the British bombardment of German cities in C. P. Snow’s Science and Government (New York; Oxford University Press, 1961).
[23] Churchill was also constrained from negotiating with the Germans by previous agreement with Roosevelt and Stalin.
[24] Cotkin, Muddy Waters:  44
[25]The United States in June of 1950, when the Korean War began, had many more nuclear weapons than the Soviet Union. But the US military had analyzed the two nuclear explosions over Japan and saw that the nuclear bomb used over Nagasaki, although more powerful than the Hiroshima bomb, was much less destructive in its effect. This was due to the surrounding mountains which absorbed the shock wave of the bomb. Korea was a largely mountainous region, and nuclear bombs there would be similarly limited, especially when used against a sprawling army column that could stop or change direction.
[26]This was accurately, if dramatically, pictured in an early Hollywood picture about the Korean War, “One Minute to Zero” (1953) starring Robert Mitchum. In one scene an American officer is forced to call in artillery on a civilian group that was infiltrated with North Korean soldiers. Ironically, the South Korean units that fought in the Vietnam War were merciless in retaliation when harassed or shot at by the Viet Cong. The Viet Cong learned quickly not to mess with Korean troops unless they absolutely had to. 
[27] South Korea, after a decade of dictatorship in which its legislature was powerless, became what its constitution promised – a working democracy with competing political parties. These have shown the ability to cede power and regain it again, which is a marker of real democracy
[28]As in all things spiritual, it is impossible to quantify which factor was most important in the formation of the robust state of Korean Christianity. One major factor was that Protestant missionaries in the late Nineteenth Century instituted the “Nevius plan” of church growth in which Korean converts were trained as pastors and quickly given governance over their own churches and the missionaries receded into the background as support. On this, see my article “The Rev. John L. Nevius: The Holy Spirit Gives a Lesson in Chinese,” Pneuma Review. Posted May 10, 2014.
[29] See the gruesome details, if you wish, in Charles Armstrong’s, The North Korean Revolution, 1945–1950, (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2013).
[30]Robert Collins Marked for Life: Songbun, North Korea’s Social Classification System (Washington, D.C.: Committee for Human Rights in North Korea, 2012) 119, available at
[31] Thomas J Belke, Juche: A Christian Study of North Korea’s State Religion (Bartlesville: Living Sacrifice, 1999) See also the brief article on this from at
[32]Hagard, Stephan and Marcus Noland, Famine in North Korea: Markets, Aid and Reform. (New York: Columbia University Press, 2007).
[33] The reason for this is that communist ideology despises the “bourgeois,” the middle class persons who usually manage and supervise quality control. At the same time communism glorifies the “worker” as morally perfect (and thus cannot be fired for laziness, etc.). This is not often noted in the literature on Communism, and was brought to my attention by an engineer from the Check Republic who visited me at my station at GE. He described what a pleasure it was to work at a company where quality control was so high a priority and related that at his former company in communist Czechoslovakia no one could be fired, and shoddy goods were produced and shipped out constantly.
[34] President Harry S Truman’s Address Before a Joint Session of Congress, March 12, 1947, At:
[35] Jason W. Stevens, God-Fearing and Free: A Spiritual History of America’s Cold War (Cambridge: Harvard University, 2010).
[36] Ronald Stone, “An Interview with Reinhold Niebuhr,” Christianity and Crisis, 29 (March 19, 1969) 50.
[37] Dwight Eisenhower, Crusade in Europe, (New York: Doubleday, 1948).
[38] John Earl Haynes, and Harvey Klehr, In Denial: Historians, Communism and Espionage (San Francisco: Encounter Books, 2005).
[39]Marxism was a “pseudo-science” masquerading as a science to garner the prestige of science. I examine this in my work, Agnes Sanford and Her Companions: The Assault on Cessationism and the Coming of the Charismatic Renewal (Eugene: Wipf and Stock, 2015) Chapter 6, “Science as meaning and hope in non-Christian Europe.” I based my insights on this issue on the work of the famous philosopher of science, Karl R. Popper.
[40] For a romanticized view of Mao and his Red Army in the Leftist “denial” tradition, see the book that was immensely influential in the 1960s, Anthony Harrigan’s, Red Star Over China (London Gallancz, 1937), reprinted various times. In contrast, a realistic and de-mythologized view of Mao can be seen in the new work by Juan Chang and Jon Halliday, Mao: The Unknown Story (London: Jonathan Cape, 2005).
[41] See my blog on conspiracy theories where I discuss the right wing conspiracy theory that “Truman lost China to the Communists,” in my blog, “The Sinfulness and Destructiveness of Conspiracy Theories.”  Posted July 6, 2015.
[42] Ilya Somin, “Remembering the Biggest Mass Murder in the History of the World,” The Washington Post. Posted August 13, 2016.
[43] Thankfully, there has not developed a pro-North Koreans apologetic among Leftist intellectuals to the degree that there was a pro-Stalin apologetic. To the contrary, under the rubric of “human rights violations” Western intellectuals and the press has been realistically critical of the Kim dynasty and its atrocities. See Andrew J. Nathan, “Who is Im Jong-un?” New York Review of Books. Posted, August 8, 2016.
[44] The Dulles family was among the most distinguished in government service. John Foster Dulles’ brother John served as chief of the CIA for many years, his sister Eleonore worked for the State Department in a highly successful career, especially in implementing the Marshall Plan for the economic recovery of Europe. John Foster Dulles’ son Avery converted to Roman Catholicism, became a distinguished Jesuit theologian, and eventually a Cardinal of the Catholic Church. See Leonard Mosley, Dulles: A Biography of Eleanor, Allan and John Foster Dulles and His Family Ne, (New York; Dial, 1978).