Nearly 8,000 American soldiers are currently in North Korea waiting to come home. However, U.S. and North Korean political relations are delaying their long awaited homecoming. These soldiers are not on active duty, nor are they being held hostage—unfortunately, these soldiers died on the field of battle during the Korean War, but their remains have never been found or recovered. Categorized as missing in action their families have no remains to bury and no closure as a result of their relative’s sacrifice in “The Forgotten War.”
These soldiers, whose bodies are entombed in the icy mud of 60 year old battlefields or under unmarked prisoner of war headstones, will remain in North Korea after the Pentagon announced that they would suspend recovery efforts in the isolated country. North Korea’s recent announcement that they would launch a satellite with a long range missile into orbit has caused concern amongst military leaders in the Pentagon resulting in the postponement of joint US/North Korean recovery efforts.
“We have suspended that effort because we believe that North Korea has not acted appropriately in recent days and weeks and that it’s important for them to return to the standards of behavior that the international community has called for,” said Pentagon Press Secretary George Little. In addition, the State Department has already announced that they would halt a new food-aid deal with the communist country.
Despite North Korea’s announced intentions, it seems highly unlikely that the country has the capability to launch a craft capable of escaping earth’s atmosphere. In 2006, for example, North Korea’s Paektusan rocket notoriously fizzled in a 2006 test over the Korean peninsula. Additionally, their Taepodong-1 missile, their longest range missile system, failed to deliver a North Korean satellite into Earth orbit during a 1998 launch. In light of North Korea’s failures, should the Pentagon play politics when it comes to the remains of fallen American soldiers? Shouldn’t the saying “no man left behind” rise above the noise of international politics?