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I was the commanding officer of the 609th Ordnance in 1968/69. My understanding (although I have not read the book - mea culpa) is different from what is described
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"Sex among Allies: Military Prostitution in U.S. Korea Relations" by Professor Katharine H. S. Moon. New York: Columbia University Press, 1997.
Review by Rhonda Tintle, Ph.D.
As of 2012, Prof. Moon is a Professor of Political Science at Wellesley College. (Katharine Hyung Sun Moon)
Sexual use of Korean prostitutes by the South Korean and United States governments shaped South Korean culture.
Korean prostitutes during the U.S.-Korea War shaped images of Korea’s culture.* Six million soldiers from the United States served in Korea between 1950 and 1971. During the same period, over one million Korean women worked in camptowns near U.S. military bases in South Korea. Then these women were referred to as sex providers. Professor Moon, in her book Sex among Allies, more appropriately refers to these women as prostitutes. South Korea’s leaders propagandized Korean prostitutes as personal ambassadors to Americans. South Korea’s officials cast Korean prostitutes as patriots who provided the U.S. military with comfort, thereby encouraging the U.S. army to stay in South Korea. The South Korea government used Korean military prostitutes as a negotiating tool. Before the U.S.-Korea War, Korean culture stigmatized women who had intimate relations with foreigners. During the U.S.-Korea War, South Koreans accepted the institutionalization of prostitution because it protected normal Korean women from U.S. soldiers. Conflicts about Korean military prostitutes played a crucial role in the U.S.-South Korea liaison. The relationships between soldiers from the U.S. and Korean military prostitutes reached a critical point during the early 1970s when South Korea’s rulers feared the withdrawal of U.S. troops due to implementation of U.S President Nixon’s morally motivated Doctrine.**
Prof. Moon interviewed current and former prostitutes in Korea to ensure that "the voices of living Korean comfort women of the many U.S. camptowns will be heard" (16). Sex among Allies contains disturbing case studies about the economic and social conditions that led Korean women into military prostitution. Moon explains the daily work lives of Korean women during the U.S.-Korea War. Korean military prostitutes suffered severe physical abuse not only by Korean pimps and Korean club owners, but also by Asian and American customers, as well as South Korean government authorities and Korean medical practitioners. Nevertheless, the prostitutes have goals, dreams, and a surprising level of political savvy. Prof. Moon gives agency to Korean military prostitutes, encouraging their collective memory and their oral histories.
In the early 1970s there was a U.S. crusade to close the camptowns in South Korea. This campaign involved several conflicting groups: 1) U.S. military officials enforcing the U.S. anti-prostitution policy; 2) U.S. military enlisted men and U.S. military officers who contended that paying for sex with Korean women was a soldier’s right; 3) black U.S. soldiers who complained that they were being discriminated against by South Korean pimps because black soldiers received sex services from inferior quality Korean prostitutes, and 4) career U.S. military officers in South Korea who did not want to retreat from the North Koreans and China.
Ultimately, Korean prostitutes suffered before and after the U.S.-Korea War. Eventually, military officials on both sides demanded regulations in camptowns in order to reduce the high rate of sexually transmitted venereal disease among soldiers. By 1971 widespread venereal disease motivated U.S. military personnel to demand that Korean prostitutes have identification. Private Korean-owned medical clinics charged Korean military prostitutes for identification cards, sold the women treatments for venereal disease, and provided abortion services.
Prof. Moon, a political scientist, has written a model work of international history. Her archival