A great link to whats has been going on is http://jetiranger.tripod.com/BLOG/
Please read the following article from his site today.
US Congress Speaks Out on MacArthur Statue Debate
The MacArthur Statue controversy has now taken a new twist with the US Congress now weighing in on the controversy and they are voicing their displeasure of the Korean government's handling of this situation:
Members of the U.S. House Committee on International Relations on Thursday protested at calls in Korea to topple a statue of U.S. general Douglas MacArthur in Incheon. Their protest came in a letter to President Roh Moo-hyun signed by committee chairman Henry Hyde and others.
The letter said but for the 1950 Incheon landing led by MacArthur, the Korea of today would not exist. If attempts to damage the statue continued, it would be better to hand it over to the Americans, the signatories said.
Needless to say Mr. President the Congress of the United States and the American people would never subscribe to such a description of a hero who led the allied forces which liberated the Republic of Korea twice, first from the yoke of Japanese colonialism 60 years ago this summer and secondly through the brilliant execution of the Inchon landing 55 years ago this month. Our critical bilateral alliance was forged in the crucible of Inchon. The common sacrifices, goals, and achievements which sprang out of Inchon form, in our opinion, the continuing basis for our alliance. We presume that the government of the Republic of Korea shares this view of the critical importance fo the Inchon Landing and the leadership of General Douglas MacArthur.
Reading in between the lines of this paragraph the Congressmen wanted to remind President Roh that America did in fact liberate South Korea twice and that Inchon is the symbolic representation of the liberation given to Korea through American intervention and that by denying Inchon and MacArthur you deny the US-ROK alliance as well. The last part about presuming that the Korean government shares these views is, I believe, the Congressmen trying to call President Roh's bluff. President Roh has spoke out before that the protests are straining US-ROK relations but he has never condemned the ideology that the hate groups stand for.
It appears to me that the Congressmen want to know if President Roh believes General MacArthur is someone who helped liberate Korea or if he believes the general is a war criminal. President Roh has been trying to dodge this question because he knows MacArthur helped liberate Korea, but he doesn't want to say it because then he would be denying the revisionists beliefs of his own political party and would give the appearance that he is giving in to American demands, which is something he has vowed not to do during his election campaign. It would be interesting to see the response to this letter; to see if President Roh actually confirms that MacArthur helped liberate Korea.
Here is another passage I thought was very well written:
In the chamber of the US House of Representatives, directly behind the speaker's podium hang two portraits. On one side is that of a foreign friend, a soldier who came from a far to assist in the common cause of American independence. That portrait is of the Marquis de Lafayette. For more than 200 years his memory has been implanted deep in the hearts of the American people. We would hope that General MacArthur is so remembered in the hearts of the South Korean people.
I wouldn't call Lafayette "implanted deep in the hearts of the American people", because many Americans don't know who he is, but many Americans do know that the French did aid the US in winning our war for independence from the British even if they don't know the name of the Frenchmen who was a trusted friend and officer for George Washington's Continental Army. However, people that do study history and know who Lafayette was cannot deny that he and the other Frenchmen who came to America to fight the British were directly responsible in helping the US colonies achieve independence no matter what the current bilateral relationship between the two countries stands at today.
I tend to think that the Statue of Liberty stands as another great example of the US appreciating the shared history between the US and France. The Statue of Liberty was a gift from France that reprents the friendship between the two countries that was originally forged in blood, just like the US-ROK alliance. No one would ever dream of tearing down the Statue of Liberty to deny this shared history due to poor bilateral relations today.
I want to clarify that I think these hate groups can protest all they want but they don't have the right to assault people and destroy property and get away with it. I also think that when they spread blatant lies and propaganda concerning the shared history of the US and Korea, that the Korean government has a responsibility to state their stance to something that clearly effects the very credibility of the US-ROK alliance. When the government doesn't voice strong opposition to these hate groups it only gives these people more credibility with the public and encouragement to continue their violent activities.
So on this note, I have to dispute the Marmot's belief that the MacArthur statue controversy is a domestic debate within Korea that the US Congress shouldn't have intervened in. I tend to think that if the Korean government would have clearly stated their opposition to the hate groups from the beginning instead of making vague statements and arrested those that provoked violence and property damage, then the US Congress would have never gotten involved in the controversy to begin with.
With the Korean government taking no firm action and with the Pyongtaek land deal issue to relocate US forces away from the DMZ still waiting to be completed due to anti-American protests, I believe the Congressmen felt they had to make a stand on this issue to test the resolve of the Korean government to defend the US-ROK alliance. So as I stated before, the focus of the Congressional letter when you read between the lines is not really addressing the physical well being of the statue; it is addressing what the statue represents. Does the Korean government believe in the US-ROK alliance and are they willing to really publicly defend it?
If the Korean government is not willing to strongly defend what MacArthur represents then why should the US government believe that Korea would support the US in the up coming land deal in Pyeongtaek or more importantly with any hostilities with the North Koreans? Especially with the nuclear crisis still brewing. This is what makes the MacArthur statue more than just a Korean domestic matter. It is a test of the resolve of the Korean government to continue the US-ROK alliance in it's current form. Or am I reading to much into this and the Congressmen just want a new statue to put up at the US Capitol building? Well, you be the judge.
With this in mind, I have to give huge props to the House International Relations Committee for finally standing up against the ridiculous disinformation, violence, and anti-Americanism being preached by the hate groups here which the Korean government does little to respond to.
Here is a list of the Congressmen responsible for the letter. If you are from their district I encourage you to drop them e-mail on their site thanking them for speaking out on this issue:
Henry Hyde (R-IL): Chairman of House International Relations Committee
Dana Rohrabacher (D-CA)
Ed Royce (R-CA)
Joseph Crowley (D-NY)
Eni Faleomavaega (D-American Samoa)
Once again thank you congress.