Government investigators digging into the grim hidden history of mass political executions in South Korea have confirmed that dozens of children were among many thousands shot by their own government early in the Korean War.
The investigative Truth and Reconciliation Commission has thus far verified more than two dozen mass killings of leftists and supposed sympathizers, among at least 100,000 people estimated to have been hastily shot and dumped into makeshift trenches, abandoned mines or the sea after communist North Korea invaded the south in June 1950.
The killings, details of which were buried in classified U.S. files for a half-century, were intended to keep southern leftists from aiding the invaders at a time when the rightist, U.S.-allied government was in danger of being overrun by communist forces.
The AP has reported that declassified U.S. military documents show U.S. Army officers took photos of the assembly line-style executions outside the central city of Daejeon, where the commission believes between 3,000 and 7,000 people were shot and dumped into mass graves in early July 1950.
Other once-secret files show that a U.S. Army lieutenant colonel reported giving approval to the killing of 3,500 political prisoners by a South Korean army unit he was advising in Busan, if the North Koreans approached that southern port city, formerly spelled Pusan.
The files show the U.S. command was aware in other ways as well of the organized bloodbaths.
The old lie was ....
Although at the time U.S. diplomats reported confidentially they had urged restraint on the South Koreans, there was no sign the U.S. military, with formal command over the southerners, tried to halt the mass executions.
After last month's meeting, embassy spokesman Robert Ogburn said the U.S. mission would not comment publicly on it.
File under ... never believe the government