“THE COLDEST WINTER,” by DAVID HALBERSTAM

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There are certain professions that the risk of getting yourself killed is much greater than most other professions, such as a soldier, a covert CIA officer, FBI field agents, police officers, and firemen. Making such a statement is obvious, and when I hear of any of these courageous human beings getting killed I am saddened, but I understand that the profession they chose, or in the time of war was chosen for them, I take some comfort in the fact that possibly getting killed was something much more likely to happen, and they understood that.

What I cannot accept, is when a leader (be it the president or a five star general) sends soldiers to their death without any qualms but simply to satisfy his ego… Without any knowledge of the enemy or the terrain and will not listen to his advisors or intelligent agencies because he doesn’t like to be second guessed by anyone, including the President of the US, The joint Chief of Staff, and The Department of Defense… That to me is treason and that is exactly what General Douglas MacArthur was guilty of, during the Korean War.

David Halberstam’s, “The Coldest Winter,” is one of the best, if not the best book I have read about the Korean War, or as it was up to recently called, “The forgotten war.” The war where thousands of US soldiers, as young as sixteen, were killed senselessly, in bitter cold conditions, fighting a North Korean army and as many as 500,000 Chinese solders who MacArthur refused to admit were in the country until it was far too late.

MacArthur, who never spend a night in Korea during the time he was in charge, but stayed in the comfort of his Tokyo headquarters, where he routinely called the Chinese ‘Laundry soldiers,’ and refused to acknowledge how good and disciplined the Chinese performed as soldiers.

“The Coldest Winter,” is a thorough examination of the Korean war and how as a nation, we allowed our military to degenerate and the defense budget to be cut to one-fifth the size it was at the end of World War II, and how the soldiers we originally send over to stop the North Korean advance into the south were ill-prepared, poorly supplied, and lacking the right clothing and yet they managed to hold off assault after assault and never get pushed off the peninsula. This is a heart wrenching book that any real student of American history should read. Highly recommend.

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