Were US wars in Korea and Vietnam almost genocidal?

In North Korea about a million civilians were killed mostly by US Air Force. In Vietnam, USA tried to avoid similar civilian casualties, but about a million civilians were killed in Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia – mostly by USA.

In the late 1960s, there has been an enormous anti – war protest in US and most people empathized with Vietnam. Hippies were especially active and many of them abused soldiers returning from Vietnam. In modern wars US tries to minimize civillian casualties.

Previous generations of Americans before 1960s deeply felt that lives of foreigners and even ethnic minorities are worth much less then the lives of white Americans. Today such views are rightly a relic of the past.

Some cites for your assertions would be nice.

And even if those numbers were true, it would not amount to genocide-- either actual or “almost”.

The pre-Vietnam presumption was that the citizens of nations we were at war with supported their governments, and that while indiscriminate civilian massacre was wrong, the enemy’s citizens were presumed hostiles. Trying to “rescue” the enemy population has been spectacularly unsuccessful.

No, I don’t think so. We were signatories to The Geneva Conventions before both the wars in question, and civilians are not presumed to be hostiles that could be killed indiscriminately.

Your definition of “genocide” is wrong. You could have mentioned all the Japanese killed in the previous war–in incendiary bombing raids, even before Hiroshima & Nagasaki. But plenty of white German civilians died, too–let’s not forget the role of the RAF…

Plenty of non-“Hippies” protested the war in Southeast Asia. Abuse of returning vets was extremely rare. In fact, some Vietnam vets grew their hair out & joined the protests.

Remember, too, who won the war in Vietnam. What are your sources, since you don’t remember those days?

Do you have a source that supports the bolded portion? It might be true, but I would be very surprised if were.

Including hippies or the abuse of returning veterans in this thread is pretty much irrelevant. “Hippies,” (however one defines them), were hardly the prime movers in the change of attitude of the general public regarding the war. And while some soldiers were abused, (and some soldiers blew off steam by retaliating), the more serious “abuse” of returning veterans, rather than the occasional mocking or even spitting, was the way in which they were ignored as people tried to forget that the war ever happened.

The effort to minimize civilian casualties has as much to do with the increased accuracy of modern weapons as anything else.

Such views are hardly a relic of the past as any review of blogs or letters to the editor from the period around the revealing of the Abu Ghraib scandal or the attack on Fallujah would demonstrate.
It is probably true that more people are interested, today, than in the past, in not simply killing all non-Americans and letting God sort them out, but that has hardly become a standard or uniform American belief.

= = =

Now, is there a specific topic you wished to debate? Or should I move this thread to the IMHO forum?

Those damn hippies… Vicious bastards, willing to punch your lights out if you just glanced at them.
Made very good night-club bouncers though.

At that time even US citizens who were not white were not held in high esteem.

Modern attitude is totally different – after enormous changes that took place in 1960s and '70s.

And? It’s an odd war where the enemy is “held in high esteem”. War is hell, or so they say.

In Korean War and in the previous air war in Japan, USA purposefully bombed and killed civilians. In modern wars every incident of civilian death is investigated.

Perhaps – I do not know.

In modern war they are. In the past, US society was very racist, and disregard for civilians is one of the worst forms of racism.

Still no cites for the claims in the OP, huh?

The wars against Germany and Japan were regarded as “total wars” in which the civilian population was considered to be a part of the war machine, producing matériel‎ for the armed forces. The war on the Korean peninsula was not viewed in the same way. While several incidents of civilian massacres have been claimed (with greater or lesser supporting documentation), there was never a general agreement among the allies to bomb civilian population centers.

Civilian deaths are investigated, now, because the people dying are the people we are supposed to be defending. The situations differ, not because of some great wave of human compassion sweeping the U.S., but because the particulars of the battles are different.

This is the Great Debates forum. If you do not have an actual debate in mind, perhaps I could move this thread to the In My Humble Opinion forum.

The wars weren’t genocidal, as much as the Koreans and Vietnamese suffered in them, and as many Koreans and Vietnamese died. The goal wasn’t to exterminate either group, but to support our allies in what was, in effect, a civil war, after they were invaded by the other side in the war. We may have killed a lot of people, but didn’t have genocidal intent.

Sometimes there’s an unofficial change of the ROE when enemy combatants don’t wear uniforms, so you can’t tell the combatants from the civilians. How is a civilian working in a munitions factory contributing to the war effort all that different than a civilian fire hardening bamboo stakes to make punji sticks?

This is one of the most idiotic OP’s I have ever read and that is saying a lot. Not only are your assumptions completely unfounded, you also seem to also have an astounding lack of knowledge regarding the circumstances that lead up to both of those wars.

The U.S. was fighting communism and the threat of Soviet takeover of most of Asia at the time. Don’t smirk, it was a very real threat at the time and we are lucky it ended as well as it did. There was no intentional or casual genocide involved at all. I have no idea where you are getting that idea from.

The two wars played out in different ways. Korea split into North Korea and South Korea partially thanks to U.S. involvement. South Korea today is an up and coming power (ever hear of Samsung?) while North Korea still constantly threatens to put us on the brink of WWIII unless Dennis Rodman can intervene and save us all from their Great Leader. Meanwhile most of North Koreans citizens are held captive and on the brink of starvation.

Vietnam admittedly did not work out that well in the short or long-term but there was no intention of genocide there either. I am not even certain you know what that term means. That was also a fight set up to keep Soviet expansion at bay. You can argue the merits of it all you want and you will get plenty of detractors because hindsight is 20/20 but there was never any intention to take over the country let alone engage in widespread killing of its civilians.

Genocide isn’t about numbers. Genocide is about intent, purpose and motivation. The US might have been careless, callous or even a little eager about civilian deaths in both wars, but there wasn’t any drive to utterly destroy every last Korean or Viet-Namese for having the wrong genes/culture/religion/whatever.

Pretty much. “Genocide” has been over-used and mis-used until the word is taffy.

Kind of like “Decimate”.

Nonsense. Just look at the American reaction to the huge Iraqi casualties and the far smaller American casualties due to our attack on Iraq; major outrage over the American casualties, complete disdain for the lives of Iraqis. And disdain for the lives and welfare of non-whites in this country is rampant; with the proliferation of so-called “stand your ground” laws and the like you can practically hunt black men for sport if you choose.

In answer to the question in the OP, no and no.

America is a land of foreigners, a substantial number of whom could trace their lineage to Germany and Italy in the 1940s. You may remember the Supreme Commander Allied Forces Europe was named Eisenhower. Germans and Italians are generally considered white, yet Americans had no problems dropping bombs on the civilians in either countries cities. If your argument is that the lives of foreigners with whom America is at war with are valued to be less than the lives of Americans by Americans, I hate to break it to you but that’s how wars work and have always worked for every country on the planet and still do today. The lives of the enemy are clearly not as important as the lives of one’s countrymen, your country is actively trying to kill them and vice versa.

It may make you feel better and superior to previous generations to think we value the lives of civilians in war more today than we did in the past, but you’re deluding yourself. Up until the end of the Cold War NATO and the Warsaw Pact were quite prepared to incinerate each other’s civilians on a scale that would make WW2 look like a brushfire war. The USA and Russia are still prepared, ready, and willing to do it to each other today.