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Posted on Jan 22, 2007 in Armchair Reading, Front Page Features

No Gun Ri: War Crime or Tragedy of War?

Armchair General


Robert Bateman’s article "No War Crime at No Gun Ri" (ACG January 2007) elicited a stinging rebuttal from Charles J. Hanley, one of the AP reporters who broke the original story in 1999 of this Korean War incident. While ACG stands by the principal point of Bateman’s article (and the official US Army Inspector General report) which is that this incident — whatever exactly happened — was a tragedy of war and not a premeditated war crime as alluded to in the original AP story, we encourage our readers to examine all the information we are making available on this July 1950 incident and judge for themselves.


We’ve collected the following information on this special web page:

1. ACG January 2007 issue article, "No War Crime at No Gun Ri" by Robert Bateman [PDF link]

2. Charles J. Hanley’s email to ACG’s Editor in Chief (December 23, 2006) [PDF link]

3. Hanley email attachments:

a. Original AP article "War’s hidden chapter: Ex-GIs tell of killing Korean refugees," published September 29, 1999 [PDF link]
b. AP article "Ambassador’s 1950 letter says U.S. set policy of shooting refugees," published May 30, 2006 [PDF link]
c. Letter from US Ambassador John J. Muccio to Assistant Secretary of State, Dean Rusk, July 26, 1950 [PDF link]
d. 7th Cavalry Regiment, S-4 Journal entries, July 27-30, 1950 [BMP link]

4. Author’s response to Charles Hanley’s email (#2 above) by Robert Bateman [PDF link]

5. US Army Inspector General "Report of the No Gun Ri Review," the results of the official Army investigation of the incident, released in 2000. [Web link]

NoGunRi_book_cover.jpgAll parties agree that something terrible happened near No Gun Ri on July 26, 1950, and that a number of South Korean civilians were killed by US soldiers of the 7th Cavalry Regiment. But, did their actions represent a war crime – deliberate acts of murder, possibly ordered by their superior officers making a deadly interpretation of instructions meant to control the crowds of refugees fleeing the North Korean invasion? Or, was this the tragic result of a panicked response by inexperienced, poorly-prepared troops, flung into a confused, overwhelming situation and reacting to events that had rapidly spun out of their control?

Read the information, then YOU be the judge. Follow the link and join in the discussion on our forum.