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From Our Home Page Archive
Home Page as originally published in
— This Month —
The Korean War's Impact On The Outcome Of War
Part 4 America Between The Wars –
- - - - -
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The Korean War's Impact On The Outcome Of War
– or –
After 60 Years, It's Time To Recognize How Much The Korean
War Changed America
What should be expected as the outcome of a war? In the old
days… WWI and WWII, a victory was required. Since then the
situation seems to have become muddled. From a stalemate at
the end of the Korean War, to a negotiated withdrawal in Vietnam
(one that left the enemy in charge), to a declaration of
victory in Iraq that only saw the resulting nation switch
sides to partner with America’s worst nemesis (Iran), to God
knows what will happen when we leave Afghanistan next year,
it seems that the whole reason for going to war has become
untidy and confusing, as has the expected outcome.
Consider the pseudo chest thumping and amateurism that was being
displayed by Washington with regard to the threat of pin
prick missile shots at Syria. Thank God that seems to be
fading from the scene. Even so, what was the threat of half
a dozen missiles being shot at Syria supposed to accomplish?
Was it supposed to be a precursor to a war of some sort, a
war without a plan, or was it supposed to be something else?
What was the expected outcome supposed to be from the use of
the force being proposed? Was America supposed to come out
of the exercise as a victor of some kind?
And what about the effectiveness of such an exercise? When
someone uses kinetic devices on a place where
civilians are sure to be killed, shouldn't they be able to
state in advance what the expected result will be? What
kind of damage were these weapons supposed to accomplish?
Was it thought they would cause such extensive damage that
the effort would forever dissuade Assad from using chemical
weapons again? Or was the plan that they would not cause any
damage, and therefore somehow scare the pants off of Assad? If you
will forgive the crude analogy here, Kerry’s promised
“unbelievably small, limited kind of effort" missile shots
would have been the equivalent of you, my neighbor, raping my
daughter, after which I in return then marched forth with
righteous indignation to the center of your front lawn, and
once there, with fume and vigor, proceeded to fire Roman Candles at your
house. Roman Candles as a response to rape? Really?
Don’t confuse politics with logic here, this is not a
discussion about the efficacy of the foreign policy of
Kerry-Obama (shouldn’t it be the other way around?) but a
question of what everyone expected the outcome to be from
the action they were proposing. Our interest in this article
is with what America expects the outcome of war to
be when it enters into it, not whether the decisions that
lead to war are the right ones or not.
To see how the outcome of war has changed, as well as
America’s expectations as to what war can accomplish, one
need only look to the legacy the Korean War passed on to us.
Again, we are not talking about the fighting that took
place, the heroism of the men, or the politics behind how
the war ended, but instead how what America was willing to
accept as an outcome of war went from being the total defeat
of the enemy on the battlefield to a partitioned
- - - - -
On the night of July 27, 1953, the final payload of bombs to
be dropped over North Korea was sent on its way. Inside these 250-pound bombs
however there were no munitions.
Instead there were thousands of cherry blossom leaflets
printed in Chinese. The message on them was simple: Go home.
The war is over.
But how did America get to the point of dropping “Go Home”
announcements? If we look into that, we might learn more
about why war today, especially the threat of it, has become just one more political tool
of the Washington elite… one whose effectiveness has been
eroded over the years to the point that politicians use it
with nary a thought of war's original intent and purpose, or
the outcome it is supposed to engender.
The Korean War
This past July 27 America should have celebrated the fact
that 60 years have passed since the Korean War ended. But it
Oh, it’s true there were some celebrations and remembrance
ceremonies, but the nation as a whole pretty much ignored
the event. President Obama at least went to the extent on
July 27 of praising the American soldiers who fought in the
Korean War as heroes, stating that they “deserve[d] better”
than what they were given when they came home. He said that
they deserved “perhaps the highest tribute we can offer our
veterans of Korea…” and that we should give them this
tribute by now doing “what should have been done the day you
As to what that tribute should be, he suggested
that Americans pause “in our hurried lives” and let these
veterans “carry us back to the days of their youth and let
us be awed by their shining deeds.” 
Part 4 - America Between The Wars
MUTE radar sounds, click speaker icon above.
In July we began a series of articles
that looked at the state of the American military between
World War I and World War II. This is the fourth and
concluding article in that series. Our interest has been in
how the U.S. military went from being essentially a 19th
century one to a 20th century one, and as we have said in
the past, the best in the world at that. What we have found
along the way was that much of the improvement in the U.S.
military came about because of the actions of the U.S. Army
Signal Corps. Nearly single handedly the Signal Corps put
into effect programs that pushed not only the military but
American business to a higher level of effectiveness and
productivity than had ever been attained
Included in these programs were
efforts to develop newer and more modern methods of
research, design, manufacturing, better methods for quality
control, a push to standardize systems, development of
better means for testing, more accurate and standardized
approaches for measurement, better means of production, and
much, much more. Across the board, all of these were
designed to raise the quality and reliability of the goods
and services America produced.
But this wasn’t enough, in addition to
putting in place better processes the Signal Corps
recognized that if truly better war fighting materials were
to come to the military, more and better alliances needed to
be built between the nation’s military and its civilian
business counterparts. And so the Signal Corps went about
setting up new research and development laboratories, as
well as new partnerships with academia, new training
programs for the men in the sister branches of service that
would use the new systems being developed, new methods for
logistics control, and even an early form of just in time
(JIT) inventory control to assure that whatever turned out
to be needed on the front lines in the next war would end up
getting where it was needed, when it was needed. The changes
the Signal Corps brought to how American industry operated
were revolutionary, so revolutionary that we posit that they
formed the root factor that made America the superpower it
To prove that this technological,
management, process and production revolution accomplished
its goals, we have looked over the past few articles at its
impact on mundane technologies. In our second article in
this series we looked at its impact on wire communications,
merely as a way to show how even the most basic of
technologies could be improved via the application of the
traits listed above. Last month we focused on the then
emerging field of radio and showed how Signal Corps efforts
broadened the base technology such that it found usage in
everything from voice communications to landing systems.
This month we conclude our effort to prove our point that
the Signal Corps launched American industry into the 20st
Century even while the world was still mired in the 19th, by
looking at radar.
RADAR, a common item today used for
everything from weapons targeting to automatically parallel
parking cars, was beyond the imagination of most people in
the late 1930s, including many in the U.S. military. Yet
surprisingly, research on it had been going on for many
Heinrich Hertz gets credit for the first research on it,
showing in the late 19th Century that radio waves could be
reflected by metallic objects. The term itself, RADAR, was
coined by the Signal Corps to refer to the equipment it was
developing for the Navy, and stood for radio detecting and
RADAR grew out of the Signal Corps’
efforts to develop radio navigation systems for its then
fledgling Army Air Corps. It was a natural extension of the
technology into a parallel area of use. Where radio
navigation used radio signaling to detect a target and
either fly to it or away from it, radio detecting and
ranging was intended to find objects that had not yet been
Most of the improvements in
development of the technology took place in 1937. The first
functioning RADAR system the Signal Corps produced was
called the SCR-268. It went through several iterations, with
letters such as "b" being appended onto the number 268 to
designate interim improvements. Later, in May of 1937, two
more "improved" versions, the SCR-270 and SCR-271, were
announced. These were supposed to address mobile and fixed
RADAR needs, but as we will see they proved to be more
problematic than anyone expected, especially as the actual
needs of those that used RADAR in the field began to change
as World War II got underway. As a result, the basic SCR-268 became
the workhorse of World War II.
This page last updated 1 October 2013.
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Posted 1 September 2013
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Continued from left column...
The SCR-268's antenna system was based on dipole elements
arranged in three groups, each in front of a passive
reflector. Overall, the antenna system was about forty feet
wide and ten feet high. The entire system could be rotated
around its axis in both azimuth and altitude.
When in use,
three radar operators sat at consoles mounted on the
pedestal just below the antenna’s cross-arm. Each had their
oscilloscope. One tracked the azimuth, the next
elevation and the third helped determine range. Pointing the antenna was
through rotation of a series of large hand-wheels. Accuracy
was less than ideal, covering a sector in the sky of about
9-12 degrees when a target was spotted. This meant that
searching at maximum range proved too inaccurate for
targeting purposes, because a span of 9 - 12 degrees in
azimuth and elevation covered most of the sky by the time
full range distance was achieved.
To overcome this problem
later versions of the SCR-268 redesigned the antennas so
that they could have two directions of higher sensitivity.
These levels of sensitivity were referred to as "lobes." By
using this technique, both lobes could be displayed, each
slightly separated from the other, on the oscilloscope’s
display screen. By adjusting the antenna until the returns
from each lobe were equally strong, the overall accuracy of
the azimuth and elevation of the target could be reduced to
near one degree.
Range accuracy was 200 yards, plus or
minus. To make the system more useful one set of
"repeaters" sent the directional information to a
searchlight so that it could automatically track the target,
while another repeater sent both directional and range
information to a gun that could be laid on the target. While
not accurate enough for actually locking on to the target in
question, when used in combination with the gun's existing
optical equipment (which could be used at night because of
the co-existence of the searchlight in this tripartite
weapon system) the gun could be fine tuned to the point of
Finally, the radar system was mobile... or should we say
requiring four “tractor” units to get it from one place to
another. Two towed the radar base and the antennas, a third
pulled the K-34
trailer power van and the fourth another van that
converted the power provided by the power van to high
voltage, for use by the radio equipment itself. Yet while it
was portable, it was a heavy system, weighing in at 82,315
pounds. Even so, the Signal Corps had accomplished a
masterpiece in technological development when it created the
In terms of its development of RADAR, through dint of determination the Signal Corps
pulled into its sphere of influence all manner of American
capability from research to manufacturing, overseeing
through the whole process each step along the way until a
functional, viable RADAR based weapon system came out the other end… a
weapon system badly needed by both the Artillery Corps, Army
Air Corps and the Navy.
Is That An Enemy Out There Or Not?
We’ve spotted something trying to sneak through
the wires out along the perimeter again. But we're not sure
if it's the enemy or not. You might want to do the IFF on
this one, and decide for yourself.
It appears that the researchers at The Kinsey Institute
(Indiana University, Bloomington) have been awarded a
two-year grant to study the medical accommodation needs and
care of transgender service members in the U.S. military.
Excuse me? Did I read that right? They’re trying to
understand what kind of medical accommodations and care
transgenders should have in the military? And they are using
our tax dollars to do that? How about this instead: why are
they even in the military?
Now I know that times have changed since when I joined up
and I had to swear that I wasn't gay, but has it changed
that much? Does the military now sign up people with gender identity
Not being an expert on this topic, I'm not sure what the
line of differentiation is between gay, bi-sexual,
transgender, and those who are classified as having gender
identity issues, but it does make me wonder why the military
needs to be involved in this area at all.
Look, no one in this world should harbor any grudge, bad
feelings, or otherwise have any antipathy towards gays,
lesbians, transgenders, or anyone else with an other than
heterosexual sexual identity, except of course if they
happen to be into animals. As the Pope said, “Who am I to
judge?” He’s right, it’s not up to us to judge... except for
the animal part that is.
These are all good people, with most probably being
fundamentally better than this author will ever been.
But that’s not the point, we’re not talking about how good
their souls or intentions are, we’re talking about whether the
U.S. military needs them to accomplish its mission, and if
not, what it owes to them when it finds them in its midst.
With little doubt, as fellow travelers on this earth, it is
up to us to help troubled people as much as we can... and my
apologies to these transgender people if they don't consider themselves troubled... but if they're
not, then why do we need to research what needs to be done
to help them? Help in the form of understanding, empathy,
kindness, compassion and forbearance as fellow human beings
makes sense. But letting them into the military and then changing the
military to accommodate their emotional, physiological, psychological
or pathological needs, that seems a little extreme.
From this former soldier’s perspective, the military should
not be a halfway house for troubled souls. It is not the Red
Cross. It is not a therapy center whose purpose it is to
help people who come into it with extant problems figure out how to deal with them.
Having said that, let us make it clear: our view is that
if you are a member of the military and because of the duties you perform in it you acquire emotional, identity, or
other problems, then without doubt it is the military’s job
to help treat you. If the military caused the problem, then
the military owns the problem. But it seems to this author
that the military should not
be marching the streets of America looking for recruits that
already have troubles in need of treatment, and then asking
them to join.
According to the people who requested the funds to do the
above mentioned study, "Some research findings and clinical
observations… [suggest]… that the rates of veteran status
among the transgender community may be elevated compared to
the general public. You can even see cases in the media,
like Kristin Beck 'Warrior Princess,' a former Navy SEAL,
interviewed on the 'Today' show, and soldier Chelsea
(Bradley) Manning, recently convicted of leaking classified
documents to WikiLeaks; there seems to be an ongoing
connection between the transgender community and U.S.
Like we said, it looks like these people are starting to
come through the wire out along the perimeter. You might
want to take a look at this and decide if these folks are
friends coming back from a LRRP or the enemy in disguise.
In the mean time, if you see any other strange things coming
through the fence, let us know.
The Peacock Speaks
Peacock he may have been, but when he
wasn't strutting his feathers he was a damned good soldier.
With every moniker he could have from Big Chief to Dugout
Doug and the Gaijin Shogun, Mac had more nicknames than most
generals, and most of them fit him to a T. Unafraid of
controversy, MacArthur seemed to court it, walking headlong
into any fracas just as though he was storming a shore on
one of the Philippine islands he loved so much. The Korean War fracas however
proved to be his undoing.
In our column at left we talk of how
the way in which the Korean War ended changed how
politicians today see the purpose and result of war. With
the partitioning of Korea, the seed was set that made world
leaders begin to find it acceptable to end a war on terms
that satisfied the needs of the proxy powers behind the war,
rather than the needs of the nation on whose soil the battle
was fought. If MacArthur had lived long enough to see how
this would affect America in Vietnam, Iraq, and our thinking
today, he might have wept with sorrow.
To MacArthur there was only one way
to end a war: defeat the enemy on the battlefield so that
not a drop or vestige of any resistance or strength
remained. Once so done, occupy the defeated country and use
that occupation to offer magnanimity and generousity
aimed at helping to rebuild the country until its people
could reassert free and reasoned rule over their country again.
An approach that said more of the
times in which he lived than today, what MacArthur failed to
realize was that the Korean War was not a war like other
wars. The protagonists may have been North and South Korea,
but the real power behind the war was the U.S., Soviet Union
and China. For the fact is, the Korean War was the world's
first but certainly not its last war where proxies went at
it through the arms and blood of smaller nations.
What MacArthur failed to realize was
that in proxy wars, unlike in normal wars, the proxy players
can never really engage each other in combat, and so only
one of them takes the field while the other fights through
his proxy. For if they both took the field, then a
post-nuclear age world war would break out that might
obliterate the earth.
And so, as the modern age dawned
during the time of the Korean War a mechanism had to be
found whereby in a proxy war once one proxy fighter had
proven their ability to gain the upper hand over the other,
they could offer the losing proxy fighter a graceful way to
exit the war. As we now know that mechanism turned out to
be 'partition'... the partitioning of the underlying country
by the proxy fighters, as a declaration that the war is
being ended on mutually acceptable terms short of the need
for one proxy fighter to annihilate the other.
MacArthur was an old school fighter.
To him war was war. In his time you fought to win. Little
did he know that with the end of World War II would come an
end too to the idea that great powers should ever face each
other again on the battlefield. From that point on, great
powers would fight through underlings... tin pot dictators,
tyrants, despots, the Taliban, Moslem radicals, communist
hangers-on, freedom fighters, rebels, Shi'a, Sunni, North
Koreans, or whatever or whomever was available to take to
the battlefield while the proxies argued their case for
imperial control over the country in question behind closed
With MacArthur's farewell speech
above you are hearing more than just his personal words of
good bye. You are hearing a good bye being said to a time
and age of warfare that will likely never return again... a
time when truly great powers faced each other across a
battlefield and fought to the end.
Truman got it. He got the fact that
the times had changed and great powers would not confront
each other on the battlefield again. That's why he fired
Mac when he wanted to nuke China. Mac never got it... and so
he did what he had to do... fade away, peacock feathers and
October's Crossword Puzzle
Join 2 and 3 word answers together as one complete word.
answer key to this month's puzzle,
see icon at bottom of page
 Obama says Korean War veterans ‘deserve better’, The
Desert Sun, Sunday, July 28, 2013, Page A4.
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text click here.
 In talking of the issue of partition, we are of course
speaking of wars during the modern era. In earlier times
when Kings and Emperors ruled empires it was quite normal
for two competing kings or rulers to agree to partition the
countries that they had fought over, or even swap one
territory for another, at the conclusion of a war. One can
see an example of this in the Seven Years War (1759 - 1788)
where in the Treaty of Paris that concluded the war
between England, France and Spain, France lost Florida to
England, though it gained Louisiana west of the Mississippi.
During these imperial times rulers felt that the countries
and peoples they coveted control over were nothing more than
savages and had no right to be involved in the decision as
to what was best for them as regards which European empire
would rule over and receive tribute from them. By the time
of WWI and WWII this kind of thinking was thought to have
passed, although from the time of the end of the Korean War
until today it seems to be creeping back again.
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