By covering both the nuclear option and the conventional strategic bombing campaign of the Korean War, “War Within a War” (June/july 2015) brings needed perspective to the current U.S. relationship to North Korea. Perhaps the United States has forgotten, but the bombing campaign is not at all forgotten by North Korea. It still strongly influences that nation’s civil society and its relations with the United States. North Korean citizens consider the American way of war from the air relentless. North Korea was rebuilt with the help of China and other Communist bloc nations, but visible scars remain in the form of bridge skeletons, bunkers, and monuments to the great damage and the “great leap” required to rebuild cities, infrastructure, and cultural sites. Most significantly, unlike Japan and Germany, North Korea has no narrative of guilt or even shared blame for the conflict to mitigate bitterness against Americans. The regime insists that the war was initiated by the United States and South Korea, and that the bombing campaign was an unprovoked act of aggression.
Certainly, the U.S. strategic bombing campaign must be judged in the context of actions on both sides, not least of which is North Korean aggression, which visited comparable destruction and civilian suffering on South Korea, as well as brutal treatment of our POWS and civilian detainees.
In every instance that combat develops, as well as in the period afterward, Americans must carefully consider the memories and legacy of our way of war. “War Within a War” referred to aircraft commander Max Kinnard. This is likely the Captain Max Kinnard with whom I flew many times from 1967 to 1982 for World Airways. In your article, Robert Sorensen, Max’s copilot in the B-29 , cites Kinnard
Police Action as a generous commander. That indeed was Max, a quiet gentleman with a wry sense of humor, a great pilot always willing to share flight segments.
I think he felt it part of his duty to subtly teach without being pedantic. With Max there were never dramatics, just quiet, even-tempered efficiency.
about the June/
July cover. The
was not altered.
The F/A-18 had
been flying for
nearly an hour, practicing for an
airpower demonstration. Read how
the photographer got the shot at