Korean War veteran sees path to peace in conflict with North Korea

Volney Warner wants to avoid war, despite believing the U.S. would win.

Outgunned and outmanned, Warner’s unit once grabbed a couple of abandoned Russian T-34 tanks out of a ditch to get some armor at the front of the infantry column, until Air Force tank-busters told them it was a bad idea.

If another war breaks out on the Korean Peninsula, the U.S. military will have no need to scrounge enemy tanks. Now there are stealth bombers, F-35s and all manner of sophisticated weaponry giving a clear advantage to the U.S. and South Korea.

"Obviously, as the president has in fact announced, if a war starts we could win that war," Warner told Ganyard. "What we have to do that might be unacceptable to many other countries and many other people, but I think it goes without saying that we could win that war. The real question is whether we’re politically apt enough to go ahead and figure out how to not have that war."

Many Americans may not realize it, but the Korean War isn’t officially over. The armistice signed in 1953, which established the demilitarized zone, was simply a ceasefire. The state of war is one reason North Korea justifies its continued pursuit of nuclear weapons. Warner sees an opportunity.

"I think the big thing that we have forgotten about the war is that it still exists," said Warner. "In my personal opinion, one of the best things that we can do on a political note would be to go ahead and talk to North Korea on that issue and try to formally end the war with North Korea."

"Thirty-four thousand names on a wall is a high price to pay," Warner says. "As a soldier, whether it is in Vietnam or anywhere else, when I see walls with names on them, I think about, 'Could there be a better solution?' and 'Do we have the capability in this country to come up with it?'"

Among those who gave all nearly 70 years ago in Korea were 41 members of Warner’s West Point graduating class.