This July 7, 2008, photo released by South Korea’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission shows human skeletons unearthed at a site in Gongju, South Korea. Shutting down its inquiry into South Korea’s hidden history, a century of human rights abuses, the commission will leave unexplored scores of other suspected mass graves believed to hold remains of tens of thousands of South Korean political detainees summarily executed by their government early in the 1950-53 war, sometimes as U.S. officers watched. In a political about-face, the commission, also investigating the U.S. military’s large-scale killing of Korean War refugees, has ruled the Americans in case after case acted out of military necessity.

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