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US intervention in Korean War justified — at first

COLUMNIST JAMES Carroll got it wrong when he wrote that US intervention in the Korean War was a “foundational mistake” (“CIA’s poisonous legacy starts with who we are,” Op-ed, Dec. 22). The United States was right to intervene, with UN support, to thwart the invasion of South Korea by the North Korean army in June 1950. Captain John C. Hastie, my older brother, was among the troops sent to rescue South Korea.

The major mistake came later in 1950 after North Korean troops were pushed back across the border. US forces, supposedly in hot pursuit of the enemy, invaded the north, an action that provoked intervention by the Chinese army and a stalemate that lasted 2½ years.


My brother, still on the front lines in November 1950, and by then deep into North Korea, was wounded and captured the day that the Chinese began a massive offensive. During the bitterly cold winter, John succumbed to dysentery, malnutrition, gangrene, and pneumonia, one of too many still-grieved, needless deaths.

Cornelius Hastie
Jamaica Plain