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Study War No More
Peace Poems and Service Songs by H. Paul Shuch

Selling Out the Pueblo
Lyrics Copyright © 2011 by H. Paul Shuch
sung to the tune of Greenland Fisheries (traditional)

Author's Note: The USS Pueblo was a US Navy vessel that was boarded and captured by North Korean forces on 23 January 1968. My previous song Balad of the Pueblo tells the official version of that international incident, a story which I helped to propagate throughout 1968 and thereafter. Forty years later, I wrote this sequel, which I now invite you to read as well. As I am offering no documentary evidence to back up either version of the Pueblo story, you are welcome to believe what you wish.

I have sung you the tale I wrote in 'sixty eight,
The day that the Pueblo crew went free.
Can truth be told, though it's now four decades old?
Were they off course, not far out to sea -- And not so innocently?

The Panmunjom Armistice of 'fifty three
Capped American troops permitted there,
Just to guard our back. But, should we be attacked,
All bets were off, I swear - If anyone should care.

I arrived at Osan late in 'sixty seven.
The Korean War had never ended.
But our interests there, and in VietNam, I swear
They had to be defended - so battle plans were amended.

In January, a commando raid
From the North struck at the heart of Seoul.
Park Chung-hee demanded an American response,
That's when the plot began to roll - the plot was on a roll.

In just three days, a US Navy ship
Was cruising north, into harm's way
It was seized by a gang, with the blessing of Pyongyang
On a well-known, tragic day - a well-remembered day.

From Suwon, fighter planes were scrambled, but
They were quickly ordered back to base.
Was the ship sold out? I have very little doubt.
Were we saving lives, or saving face? -- We always must save face.

The captain insisted, to his dying day,
That his ship was twelve miles out to sea.
My Commander in Chief said that's the way it was.
His word should be good enough for me. Johnson never lied, did he?

In a week or two, fourteen thousand new
Troops were brought in from the USA,
While as many Koreans shipped out to VietNam.
"Coincidence," they say - at least, that's what they say.

We pawns on the SEATO chessboard now
Were positioned well, but hardly seen,
In one line north, along Parallel 38,
And another south, at Seventeen - at Parallel Seventeen.

When the books were written, they defined the truth,
And no one dared to question why.
But I was there, the entire eleven months.
I'll remember the Pueblo and the lie - Until the day that I die.

at Osan AFB, 1968

The author on Command Post duty at Osan AFB Korea, during the capture of the USS Pueblo

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