The author (Jay) expressed his shock reading stories of the South Koreans dodging the military draft and he anted up his disgust on his Korean pals who served in KATUSA during his military service in the Korean peninsular.
In addition, he declared that he would not hesitate to serve his own “adopted” country USA if he were called upon, as Jews around the world headed to Israel when the neighboring Arab countries invaded their homeland.
The author was proud of his fellow American soldiers, many of them just barely out of high school, who were serving their country thousand of miles away in a foreign country than his native Korean counterparts who kvetch all the time during their 28-month military service.
First of all, the author distinguished himself as a Korean-American who has very much concerned over the future of his native Korea.
Assumption is that the author had crossed the Pacific Ocean on the back of his parent when he was a Korean toddler—this means he involuntarily or unconsciously crossed the Rubicon—and came back voluntarily and consciously as an adult thoroughly wrapped himself up in the American flag, such as outfitted with GI uniform and brain full of imperial mentality, but still, unfortunately, the same Asian countenance with slit eyes and yellow skin.
The author may be a bilingual in Korean and English, in which he may not necessarily have a claim to be a Korean-American, or he might be forced to admit his ethnicity because he cannot hide his Asian face with the GI fatigues.
The essence of the ethnicity should not be based solely on the complexion and genealogy of a person, but with emphasis on what and how a person perceives on the both side of his ethnic coin.
There are thousands of the second-generation Koreans in the US who cannot understand Korean language, culture, and history and do not or would not like to realize their ethnicity until they face the mirror every morning before setting out for work.
It is a moot point whether a person, who holds an Asian complexion with full brain of the American virtues, can be judged or viewed as a hyphenated ethnic American.
The author appears to be showing clearly his extremely tilted view from American side of coin over the Korean side…American soldiers are serving their country thousands miles away in foreign countries for the protection of their friendly nations from the enemy threat and the author is one of them to answer his “adopted” country’s call to serve a patriotic duty.
However, the fact of the matter is that a majority of American soldiers is not serving in the army for the patriotic reason but of the economic necessities, or other societal factors, and it is not unfair to say that the author must have joined or forced to join the Army because it was a Hobson’s choice.
In the South Korea, the military service is mandatory and without the completion of the service, a person is deprived of employment and benefit and ends up in a clink.
On the contrary, the military services in the United States has been one of the safety net to absorb young kids who fall off after school or troubled members of the minority group, especially young black men, who can’t find the livable job in the tough neighborhood.
It is no surprise to hear that many black soldiers stationed abroad with family subsist with the government largess like food stamps and other privileges like duty-free PX. For the US government, it is cheaper to keep a bunch of young Americans (211,000 all over the world) in foreign countries under the guise of protection rackets because the host countries pay for American bases on their own soil as watchdogs, and for the US military it is fiscally insupportable to find the replacement sites for current overseas military facilities in the US.
As for the author’s case, it would be safe to assume that he joined Army, volunteering in the forward bases in South Korea, because a. he failed in his academic records for the advanced study, b. he failed to find a job, c. he was in a social distress…what this means is that enrolling the army would be the last thing to do as a Korean-American unless he is a wacko braggadocio who wants to display a hopelessly infantile macho sexuality aiming at his native compatriot.
The author’s parent might not be supportive of providing him for college tuition, dormitory or other incidentals as 99 percent of Korean parents assume all the cost of schooling their kids, compared to American counterparts who barely help out their children completing academic achievement.
The cock sure thing here is that he never went to the South Korea for patriotic reason to serve his adopted country USA, and he does not need to be shameful about it because not many Americans are as patriotic as he says.
The former President Clinton evaded to be drafted in the army during the Vietnam War and went to England studying under the Rhodes scholarship. George W Bush hid behind the wings of the National Guard in Texas with the help from his blue-chip family background, avoiding the combat duty in the Vietnam War.
Only small guys like the author jumped on the bandwagon of propped-up patriotic jingoism and got back in body bags or showered with toxic chemicals in return for dubious medals and felt proud of themselves as patriots.
Thousands of young Americans fled to Canada during the Vietnam War, not because they are not patriotic, but they believed that they become patriotic not joining a horrible and unjust war.
The author praised Jews responding for the call to save the state of Israel, in which civil war has massacred thousands of innocent Palestinian babies, women, and civilians, and denied Palestinians a life to live in their own land, and many Jews around the world do not return the call from the Jewish State because they do not believe it is patriotic to do so.
The author complained that his Korean pal in the KATUSA (Korean Augmented Troops to the US Army) believes serving in the military is tantamount to wasting time.
The KATUSA unit first came into being in the 1950s during the Korean War, when US needed more soldiers to make up their loss of armed forces. At the US request, Korean soldiers were forcibly subscribed and located in US 7th division and KATUSA saves US military over $100 million (in 1990s standard) annually.
During the peacetime, members of KATUSA function as errand boys, dispatchers, or deliverymen serving their masters like the author, and many unit soldiers who were university graduates build up strong animosity against the American soldiers who treat them as boys.
KATUSA is one unique favor to the Occupier by the South Korean government whose presidents do whatever asked to do showering US soldiers with the provisions of fresh bodies of young women and KATUSA boys. (Estimated number of South Korean women officially registered in 1995 as “club woman” for US military bases: 18,000.
Clubwoman is a euphemism for prostitute and these women have to carry the registration card with health stamp by the government health clinic, in which they are permitted officially to sell their flesh to their occupiers for money. In this sense, clubwoman is valued more as a wage earner than comfort women who were forced to serve Japanese soldiers pro bono during the WWII.)
It has been a norm since 1950s in the South Korea that only poor and powerless conscript serve in the harsh environments of front line along the DMZ and rich and powerful enjoy reserve duty in the vicinity of big cities. As in the US during the Vietnam War, many young draftees facilitate every available scheme to avoid or shorten the military service and only the suckers waste time in the army while others sip orange juice in the café.
When the society does not accommodate the rule of universality in serving country and ask only poor and powerless to do the service, the sense of sacrifice the author demands is not fair and untenable and eventually there is no one to respond on call for service.
As expected, the prosecutors in the South Korean government have failed to dig up the draft scandal and ended the investigation with some small guys to charge for the bribery. Laws are like cobweb; strong enough to detain only the weak, and too weak to hold the strong.
Finally, the author emphasized that he would not hesitate to serve his “adopted” country, USA, if called upon, and reminded his native Koreans that Koreans have no rights to criticize American soldiers until they get their act together.
Strangely, the author never mentioned about his military service in South Korea as a Korean-American, although there are rampant incidents of racial disturbance among ethnically diverse soldiers in the Army.
In one of the news report from Seoul, there were many racial conflicts between Negro and white American soldiers stationed in South Korea, and a gang of drunken black soldiers rioted on the street of Itaewon’s hooch town where white MPs bludgeoned black solders whose caps display the logo of NFL (Nigger For Life).
During the World War II, black American soldiers fought against the Axis in totally segregated unit and in naval ship they were only allowed to serve as KP (kitchen police as a cook or hamburger flipper).
In Korean War after President Truman abolished the military segregation, the Blacks form their own battalion under black officer’s command and they were not allowed to share the mess hall with White soldiers.
Following is the Black Draftees prayer in 1943:
Dear Lord, Today
I go to war:
To fight, to die.
Tell me, what for?
Dear Lord, I’ll fight,
I do not fear,
Germans or Japs.
My fears are here
The Army jimcrows us
The Navy lets us serve only as messmen
The Red Cross refuses our blood
The employers and unions shut us out
We are disfranchised, jimcrowed, and spat upon
What more Hitler could do than that?
How long would an adopted patriotism of the author last in his life span?