Air & Space Smithsonian - - Front Page - STEVE ACETO Asheville, North Carolina

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.


read­ers asked

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


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