ARMY HEAD SAYS ALL KOREAN WAR
ALLEGATIONS WON’T BE
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) – The United States will not
investigate "every firefight, every battle" of the 1950-53 Korean War, despite
allegations that U.S. forces killed unarmed civilians in dozens of incidents,
the head of the U.S. Army said Sunday.
investigators are already devoting extraordinary resources to the allegations
of a mass killing of several hundred refugees by U.S.
soldiers at Nogun-ri, South
Korea, in the early weeks of the
conflict, Army Secretary Louis Caldera said.
allegations became public, South Koreans have come forward with more stories of
alleged mass killings of civilians by U.S.
troops. In an interview with The
Associated Press, Caldera said it is not possible to investigate every incident
of the war in detail. He said all loss
of life was regrettable, but emphasized the need to establish whether civilians
were killed intentionally. "The question
is not one of going back to try to identify every incident in which someone
claims there was a loss of innocent lives," he said. "If you begin down that path, you’ll never
end because all war by definition is extremely violent."
"It is not
possible to go back and investigate every firefight, every battle,
that occurred during the three years of the Korean War," Caldera said,
citing the cruel and chaotic nature of war.
States and South
Korea began investigating what
happened at Nogun-ri after The Associated Press reported on the incident in
September, citing South Korean victims, American war veterans and U.S.
Since then, 37
other cases of alleged killings have surfaced.
Some South Koreans have said U.S.
jets strafed war refugees flooding South Korea’s
roads in 1950-51, and there are demands for compensation.
in Seoul on Sunday
with a delegation of 18 Army investigators and civilian advisors. He said his team was making "very good
progress" in reviewing U.S.
government archives, but he said they had not found anything "conclusive." He said the compensation issue will be
assessed once the investigation is complete.
In the AP
report, witnesses said a U.S.
Army unit killed a large number of civilians in and near a Nogun-ri railroad
bridge in late July 1950 as retreating Americans struggled to defend South
Korea against a communist North
declassified documents, U.S.
commanders ordered some units to attack people in civilian garb out of fear
that enemy soldiers were infiltrating South Korean refugee columns. Military law experts say such orders were