View Full Version : Military heroes killed in later wars
March 1st, 2004, 04:13 PM
Got this idea from an online article I read couple yrs back on Hollywood's depiction of MOH winners (both awardees such as Tom Custer, Joe Marm, Randy Shughart and Gary Gordon, and denied applicants like Dick Winters), which hypothesised that the killing and mutilation by the Sioux of the younger Custer, a decorated ACW hero, at Little Big Horn, was equivalent to Audie Murphy, after winning his MOH in WWII, later being killed and mutilated by the Commies in Korea, or Alvin York, as America's most famous WWI MOH recipient, later being captured in the Philippines during WWII and beheaded by the Japs during the Bataan Death March. Now, WI such scenarios had actually occurred ? How would the American public have reacted to the outrageous defilement of such national heroes, and what would've been the impact on US military actions ?
March 1st, 2004, 07:19 PM
I don't think it would have made too much of a difference in either conflict. It is hard to see how the Korean War could have been fought with less restraint (what restraint was used originated in politics, not care for the Communist enemies' wellbeing). I mean, we're talking about a theater commander advocating the use of strategic nuclear weapons, turning over POWs to their mortal enemies, and condoning extralegal executions while the other side, basically, did the same, only more so (except for the nukes). You don't get much tougher than this.
As to WWII, what more exactly were the United States to do to Japan? Try to see which part of the ashes of Tokyo will still burn? Invade two or three more island outposts? Build more aircraft carriers? Short of moves so distasteful to the public they would have to be kept secret (such as publicly torturing POWs to death), they did everything there was. A dead American hero would have made for a great Capra film and no end of propaganda opportunities, but I don't see how it could have changed anything.
Of course, the question becomes much more interesting if applied to otherwise minor conflicts. What would happen if, say, the Pathet Lao execute a highly decorated US soldier? What if Castro catches a US Navy patrol craft 'in Cuban national waters' and hangs the crew? Especially if the commander is some would-be JFK from a Senate dynasty? Or imagine the FARC get lucky and nab the most senior US advisor in country, then send a tape of the interrogation, people's trial and execution to CNN? IIRC the Hizbullah did that with a CIA officer in the 80s. Lots of people went 'it's the risk spies take' and shrugged - what if he'd been a three-star general or MOH winner instead? There's potential for escalation here.
vBulletin® v3.8.4, Copyright ©2000-2013, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.