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The Pentagon’s B-52 Message to North Koreans

North Koreans

In response to reports that North Korea had exploded a hydrogen bomb, the Pentagon recently flew a B-52 bomber over South Korea. Most Americans would think that that was just some innocuous show of force. In actuality, it was a highly provocative reminder that the Pentagon wanted to send the North Koreans of what the U.S. military had done to them during the Korean War.

While the North Korean people are classic examples of the results of government indoctrination, especially given the public (i.e., government) schools they are forced to attend as children, the fact is that they really do hate the United States. And no, it has nothing to do with hating America for its “freedom and values.”

Instead, the hatred is for the U.S. national-security state — the totalitarian-like apparatus that was grafted onto America’s federal governmental structure at the end of World War II. The hatred goes back to the Korean War and, specifically, to how the U.S. military waged it.

In an article entitled, “The Korean War: Forgotten, Unknown and Unfinished,” author H. Patricia Hynes, retired professor of environmental health at Boston University School of Public Health, and published at, wrote:

The US Air Force carpet-bombed North Korea with incendiaries and explosives, dropping 635,000 tons of explosive bombs and up to 40,000 tons of napalm. The destruction within North Korean cities and towns ranged from 40 percent to nearly 100 percent. War commander General Ridgway wanted to “wipe out all life in tactical sites, sites which became, in the merciless momentum of air war, every city, town and village. North Korea’s large dams, which provided irrigation water and generated electricity, were bombed, some at the onset of the rice-growing season. General MacArthur had boasted of a plan to win the war in 10 days: Drop 30 atomic bombs across the neck of Korea from sea to sea, leaving a belt of radiation between China and North Korea.

The US air war in Korea was so extreme as to be genocidal. General William Dean, as POW in North Korea, observed that “most of the towns and villages he saw were just “rubble or snowy open spaces.” Chief Justice William O. Douglas visited Korea in the summer of 1952 and avowed, “I had seen the war-battered cities of Europe; but I had not seen devastation until I had seen Korea….”

Not surprisingly, the North Korean people have never forgotten that massive napalm carpet-bombing campaign on North Korean towns and villages all across the country.

According to Wikipedia:

“Napalm is the most terrible pain you can imagine,” said Kim Phúc, a napalm bombing survivor known from a famous Vietnam War photograph. “Water boils at 100 degrees Celsius (212°F). Napalm generates temperatures of 800 to 1,200 degrees Celsius (1,500-2,200°F).”

When used as a part of an incendiary weapon, napalm can cause severe burns (ranging from superficial to subdermal), asphyxiation, unconsciousness, and death. In this implementation, napalm fires can create an atmosphere of greater than 20% carbon monoxide and firestorms with self-perpetuating winds of up to 70 miles per hour (110 km/h). One of the main anti-personnel features of napalm is that it sticks to human skin, with no practical method for removal of the burning substance.

Here is a pictorial depiction of what napalm did to countless North Korean towns and villages.

That’s not the only reason the North Korean people hate the United States.

Two years ago, a book entitled This Must Be the Place: How the U.S. Waged Germ Warfare in the Korean War and Denied It Ever Since by Dave Chadduck was published. Over the course of 392 pages, the books makes a virtually conclusive case that the U.S. military, despite denials from U.S. officials, waged a vicious germ warfare campaign against the North Korean people during the Korean War, doing everything they could to spread diseases like bubonic plague among the North Koreans. See this review of the book posted at by David Swanson.

And why not? Given that the U.S. military had just a few years before dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, why would they have any compunction about bombing North Koreans with napalm and fleas with bubonic plague? Don’t forget, after all, the mindset of the U.S. national-security state during the Cold War — the “war” that was used to justify converting the federal government into a national-security state. The Cold War national-security state mindset was: A commie is a commie and a gook is gook; no big deal to send any and all of them to the hereafter.

Of course, defenders of the U.S. national-security state might respond that war is hell. That’s true except for one thing: The Korean civil war was no more the business of the U.S. national-security state than Vietnam’s civil war was. The civil wars in both countries were for the Korean and Vietnamese people to resolve. One thing is for sure: The death and devastation would have been significantly less without the participation of the U.S. military.

There is another thing to consider: The U.S. government’s involvement in the Korean War, like its involvement in the Vietnam War, was illegal under our form of government. The Constitution, which is supposed to govern the actions of the federal government, prohibits the president and his military from waging war without a declaration of war from Congress. No such declaration was ever issued against either North Korea or North Vietnam. That makes the U.S. interventions in both wars, along with the massive death and destruction wreaked in both countries, criminal under our form of government.

Obviously, the Pentagon’s B-52 flyover is a powerful message, one intended to remind the North Koreans that the Pentagon is prepared to do it again. The flyover is also a message to the American people — reminding us that the U.S. national-security state branch of the federal government is still in charge and, if war breaks out in Korea again, intends to involve America in it, with or without the constitutionally required congressional declaration of war.

Jacob G. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation.

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