CHESTER HILL, PA-In the wake of an artillery barrage between North and South Korea, Korean War veteran Harold Howell, 78, expressed annoyance today, noting that policymakers and the general public are far more reluctant to engage in hostilities with the government of North Korea than they were during his time in the armed forces. Howell further stated that in his day, the idea of not going to war with North Korea was absolutely unheard of, as was the newfangled notion of diplomatic resolution.
"I'm kind of disappointed that people today are concerned with 'moderation' and 'treading carefully,'" said the Bronze Star recipient. "Specifically that those people apparently didn't exist 60 years ago."
"And some out there have the nerve to say, 'Well, we'd better be careful, because we don't know how China will react.' Yeah, we could have used a bit more of that reasoning in '50."
Howell, who was deployed to Korea in 1951 at the age of 19, served two tours of duty, was wounded twice, and was decorated for heroism under fire. The veteran would go on to manage a steel factory in Pittsburgh after being repeatedly denied his lifelong dream job of teaching whenever potential employers were informed about his military service.
"Not that I'm saying we shouldn't do something about North Korea," emphasized Howell, "That place is a serious problem, but I find it slightly irksome that none of the proposed solutions involve sending young men to fight a three-year war only to restore status quo ante bellum, because frankly, that was the only option that was even under consideration when I was drafted."
"That and nuking most of Asia. Nobody was really on board with that one," added Howell.
Howell, who still has pains in his left leg from shrapnel wounds received in action, and struggled with alcoholism in the years following his discharge, says that more than ever he is depressed by the farsightedness and temperance of world leaders who were not in power during his time in combat.
"I hear people say they're worried about a nuclear war. I can assure you no such reservations existed when I was in the service-going to war with an ally of a country that had just acquired the atomic bomb was perfectly hunky-dory for us," recalled Howell.
"And today the U.N. is all high and mighty, condemning this, that, and the other thing-well, I remember when [the U.N.] was more about blowing the hell out of pinkos and less about keeping track of food shortages," said Howell adamantly noted.
The septuagenarian conveyed particular annoyance with the sinking of the South Korean ship Cheonan last March, believing such an act to be an unambiguous declaration of war.
"I mean, if the commies had dared sink a South Korean ship in my day, I would've been back on the 38th parallel faster than blinking. I guess these days quagmires and high causalities aren't politically correct anymore-which kind of makes me wish I wasn't born when they were."
Howell concluded by expressing his thoughts on yet another American institution of old vanishing thanks to the inexorable march of progress and rationalism.
"To think that a generation of young people will be robbed of the chance to watch their best friend die in their arms, live in constant terror and fatigue, and return home wondering how they can ever readjust to normal life-actually makes me kind of happy, to be honest."
"Well, the one's who don't end up going to Afghanistan or Iraq, anyway."