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Editorial 15 December 2001

Project Boundaries

George F. Drake, Ph.D.

In our first editorial remarks we attempted to delineate the goals of this project. Here our intent is to make clear what we are not trying to do, i.e.; we want to put boundaries around the project.

First of all let me respond to those who have written or commented that we should also point out how many of these orphans are the result of US bombs and bullets that killed their parents. Inevitably some are but there is absolutely no way to know the extent to which such is the case. I leave it to others to document the killing of civilians, North or South Koreans, effected by US troops. And when such documentation is presented I am sure the US media will give it headlines, as they have done in the past, and ignore the love, compassion and humanitarian aid given to the children (and other refugees) by the US forces.

The time frame of our study is from June of 1950 through the end of 1954. We extend it beyond the armistice (27 July 1953), as the social situation of the refugees and homeless was still dire for a long time after the end of hostilities. During 1954 the number of children in orphanages in Korea was still increasing at about 1,000 per month, a clear indication that the problem was severe even though the killing had stopped.

There has been extensive criticism of US military aid to the orphans as being short term and lacking a long-range commitment. Various officials on the scene in Korea during this time commented that when the US troops leave Korea the orphanages would close and the children put out on the streets again! We will take a look at this problem of developing a long-range answer to the issue of homelessness and hunger for the tens of thousands of children still wandering the streets and for the over 50,000 in orphanages. Our primary concern, though, is documenting what the servicemen and servicewomen did do not what they (or the military services) did not do. Individual servicemen cannot be faulted for not developing a national institutional structure to address this problem. That is the responsibility of governments.

We, the US servicemen and women who served in Korea during the war, did not save all the children in need. We know that. That is why this web site is dedicated "to those we could not save." We also admit that we were not alone in this work. There were numerous voluntary agencies and church organizations also at work trying to address the problems of survival for the homeless and starving children. We are using the archives and reports of such organizations to place what the servicemen and women did in a larger perspective but this project does not intend to document the full involvement of those agencies in the humanitarian aid to the children during this time frame. We are focusing on documenting what the US servicemen and women did for the children of Korea 1950-1954. This is a large enough task in itself.

EDITORIAL-2, 15 December, 2001

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