I'd like to suggest a correction. The "2 million killed by Pol Pot" figure is Western propaganda. The Khmer Rouge were monsters without a doubt, but the reality is this:
* The United States slaughtered somewhere north of half a million Cambodians from 1969-75 and utterly devastated the country.
* Roughly half-a-million to one million more people died from starvation and disease in the following period, due to this devastation.
* The American bombing's destruction of Cambodian society laid the foundation for the rise of the Khmer Rouge.
* Careful studies of the Khmer Rouge period put the number of executions in the range of 75,000-300,000. (This includes U.S. State department intelligence.)
* The 2 million figure comes from Jean Lacouture's review of Francois Ponchaud's Cambodia Year Zero, published in the New York Review of Books. Lacouture misread Ponchaud by an order of magnitude, and later withdrew his claim.
* The United States moved to support the Khmer Rouge and downplay their atrocities towards the end of the decade (when in fact they were at their relative worst).
Thus, Cambodia experience a full *decade* of mass murder, with the Khmer Rouge playing a role, but primarily at the hands of the Uncle Sam. The propaganda myth covers up this crime, one of the "most heinous in modern history", particularly when combined with the millions more killed by U.S. aggression in the region.
Quick overview: "Cambodia", The Noam Chomsky Reader, edited by James Peck
* Cambodia 1975-1982 by Michael Vickery
* Manufacturing Consent, chapter 6, by Edward Herman & Noam Chomsky
Anti american crap I say in the least by Tom Lane.
It doesn't matter if it was the Khmer Rouge or the Americans that killed those people. We're all human beings and sometimes I wonder how we can be cruel to our own people. Doesn't matter if you're American, French, Cambodian, Chinese or British, we're all the same people and killing each other is just like killing family or a friend in my opinion. If other people don't see it like that then the world will come to a very cruel and horrible end.
To whom wrote this. You are a utter moron. We have saved millions of lives worldwide by our activites in hostile countries. we have overthrown these genocide driven dictators at costs of our own men! The US of A is the most powerful, responsible country in the world, and if it wasn't for us the world would be in utter devastation. Anti-American crap is just a sign of ignorance!!!!!
your inability to realize the truth whoever you are mr. matt schubert, is the real sign of ignorance. it isnt 'anti-american crap' its the truth. the relentless bombing of cambodia by 'the most powerful responsible country in the world' (USA) devastated the country and did lay the foundation for the creation of the khmer rouge. so before you go preaching your patriotic B.S. check your facts.
Dear Matt and Dayna,
You are both idiots. First of all, Matt, it's you are an utter moron, not you are a utter moron. Second of all, Dayna, if you know Matt's name, you don't have to put whoever you are. Finally, I found this website to be informative and worth my time.
The U.S. may have supported the Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia while they committed these horrible autrocities, but the U.S. was unaware that it was the Khmer Rouge that was causing them.
they U.S. new just fine what was going on. its just another rape of nanking type of thing. the U.S. didn't approve, but they did nothing. whether that's our responsibility, i'll let you decide.
i wasnt saying anything about the U.S. and the cambodian genocide. i was stating that the bombing of cambodia by the U.S. sent cambodia into devastation which made many people there even welcome the Khmer rouge, thinking it would help them rather than harm them.
as far as the matt schubert, "whoever you are" thing, forgive my apparent ignorance o godly one. I only meant to say that I have no way of knowing WHO this person is. I was not referring to their name otherwise there would be no need for the "whoever you are."
Why is it that the US has helped the Bosnians from extermination, but not the cambodians or rwandans or others?
Im not trying to be an anti-american or anything so dont get all pissy, just wanna know what other people think.
The U.S not only helped create conditions that brought combodia's Khmer rouge to power in 1975, but actively supported the genocidal force, politically and financially. The U.S was secretly funding Pol Pots exiled forces on the thai border. The extent of this support $85 million, this wasn't revealed till 6 years later.
Pol Pot wasn't trialed, America supported him, kept him surviving, america didn't begin to speak of trialing Pol Pot, for the murderings, till a short period of time before Pol Pot had died, apparantly from a "heart attack", i wonder how the U.S knew it was almost his time to pass..
Even the so called "killing fields period" not found in history books, why is that, history is a lie, only because America creates it their way, to not in anyway make them look bad, and to make us believe what they want us to believe.. only the ignorant morons listen only to America's side of things, wake up to reality idiots, U.S isn't all that inocent.
just as all nations through history have turned a blind eye to atrocities when it is not in their interest to intervene and whips up public emotion when it is (present Iraq situation included), America did so with the Khmer rouge.
These claims that people expressing views or stating information which could be viewed as criticisms of America are the reason that these policies continue unopposed as people appear to have forgotten the need to ask questions and would rather be carried away on a tide of nationalistic rhetoric rather than fulfill their obligation as members of democratic nations to ensure that governments do represent them. This is not a purely American situation , I myself am British and have seen this within my own nation the most patriotic thing a person can do is question the policies of their nation where necessary to utilise the political freedom afforded them by democracy and so ensure that it continues in reality rather than in name only. It was only invasion by North Vietnamese forces which brought the rule of the Khmer rouge to an end.
Of course, the United States would never be involved in such an atrocity. We have just finished the fighting portion of Operation Iraqi Freedom, trying to free the Iraqi people from the horrors of genocide. And of course our involvement in China, Serbia, Chile & Uganda (in the 1970s) and Rwanda also shows how altruistic the USA really is. Americans contribute to genocide? Never.
I would like to suggest that we should stop blaming anyone about what had happened to Cambodia. First of all, I would like to say that Khmer Rouge regime was all over.Cambodians are free from Khmer Rouge. Now, the problem is that some Cambodians are prisoners of poverty, of malnutrition, and of illiteracy becuase of past actions made by Khmer Rouge. To tell a brief history, Khmer Rouge implemented a barbaric and uncivilized way of living in Cambodia.They destroyed schools,books,hospitals,water reservoirs, and other things related to a modern way of living. They want Cambodia to start from nothing. They killed lots of Cambodians. Now, I would like to ask you, who are the members of this Khmer Rouge group? Well, they are Cambodians too.These members ages from 15- 20 years of age. Some of them are illiterate.The leader of this Khmer group was also a Cambodian. He studied in Europe and he focused studying on Communism and Dictatorship. So it only shows that Cambodians are the one who punished their own blood, race, and culture.And to let you know,USA was the one who financed Khmer Rouge. Have you asked your self, can a single person ( Pol Pot) financed such strong group? Where did those deadly weapons used by Khmer Rouge came from? It's all from US! And to comment about the war in Iraq, I am not gonna believe that US gave Iraq its freedom. They just want OIL from Iraq 'coz it's the weakness of US' economy. They want to control Iraq's oil. We all know that USA is not rich in OIL and they have to import lots of oil.And why is it that USA is always the frontpage of every big happening in this world? They want to control the world! They dont want North Korea to continue its Nuclear weapon.Then why is it that US have lots of nuclear weapons? Are they saying that N. Korea have no right to have such weapon? Another comment is that Iraq was US allied before. US was the one who sold chemical weapons and other military weapons to Iraq. And after that without the knowledge of Iraq, US also helped Iran by selling some military weaponsto Iran. So it only shows that US really earned lots of money in that war and Iran and Iraq are the loosers. So, I guess, Saddam could not be blamed of his actions coz it was just he could not help realizing that US was a big traitor.
So, history really shows who is a traitor and who were the loosers. History also shows who can be trusted and who is honest.Now, we must realize that we are all people. We are all living things and we will all die. Even you are so rich, even you are a very powerful country, you have an end. Like what have happened to Russia. We must also realize that we are all equal, even you are Cambodian, American, Iraqi or whatever. After all, we wil die! So we better stop arguing, stop war, stop saying you are idiot, you are a moron, you are outcast, you are illiterate 'coz we are all equal, we are all human, and we will all die!
I lived in Cambodia as an expatriate over the course of one year. And I find these anti-American screeds to be repugnant as well as malignant lies.
I can definitively state that *every* Cambodian I met from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh to Kompong Som had lost one or more close family members to the KR. Brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, parents. At my job in PP, every Khmer employee had lost family members to Pol Pot. My working peer had agonizing back problems from his days as a slave to the KR. He told me that "every Cambodian who lived through it has permanent injuries to the body or the mind or both."
Not only that, but I had many lengthy conversations with Cambodians about the extent of the KR tragedy. Never, not once ever, did any Cambodian ever raise the issue of American "complicity" in Cambodia's misfortune, other than "Why didn't America help us?"
The poignant stories, the emotions, the despair for "my generation" (of KR survivors), and hope for the next, were constant themes in nearly every discussion I had with Cambodians. And I am talking about many dozens of discussions (it's not something you want to bring up every day).
Chomsky has been spewing his venemous lies since 1974, when he actually supported the KR as a "liberating" force. He's spent the last 25 years trying to explain how that's not really what he meant.
Anyone who gets their history from Chomsky would just as well believe the tortured "confessions" extracted from Tuol Sleng prisoners.
"Pol Pot wasn't trialed, America supported him, kept him surviving, america didn't begin to speak of trialing Pol Pot, for the murderings, till a short period of time before Pol Pot had died, apparantly from a "heart attack", i wonder how the U.S knew it was almost his time to pass.."
Well there's probably no point in arguing with a mind that harbors fantastic illusions, but did you know that:
(a) when Nate Thayer went to interview Pol Pot in Anglong Veng, there were no Americans keeping him "surviving," but only Pol and his KR cronies and a bunch of illiterate KR automatons?
(b) that one year after Pol's alleged "heart attack", one of his followers finally admitted to a reporter that he'd been injected with poison because he'd become a liability and frankly wasn't liked anymore by his KR compadres
(c) that even the most thoughtful historians disagree on the support received by the KR and from whom. However there is the messy fact that the single telephone line in Phnom Penh was hardwired to Beijing, and there is plenty of documentation on the ideological and diplomatic links between China and the KR. You think it's America that doesn't want a KR trial? Think again, it's China.
One has to be pretty committed to nebulous conspiracy theories to ignore these simple facts.
"Hey Pol, I've got an idea, man. Let's turn the country upside down and get real primitive. Evacuate all the cities, march everyone out to the country. And then start farming, man! Big time. And if anyone resists, let's execute them. In fact, let's kill a whole lot of people. I'm talking hundreds of thousands. Maybe millions. And do it real cruel-like. Bash their heads against trees, electrocute 'em, drown 'em in vats of cold water..."
does anyone know what this is from?! i really need to know!!!
Lola: that was just some satire that I made up.
Hedious actions attributable but to the desire of one man to be supreme and to those willing to ride on his coat tails and who supported him in spite of the attrocities.
This fellow Tom Lane reminds me of my childhood. My malleable young mind was soon persuaded to believe that the propaganda being fed to me was *the* truth.
Knowledge makes us free, obstinance makes us dangerous even to ourselves.
Life is but a constant change. Nothing remains the same. Even the mighty willow tree must bend in obeisance when affronted by the slightest winds.
This Noam Chomsky is but one more Muhammed Saeed al-Sahhaf - a reality spin doctor, another Barbara Walters, who said Fidel Castro's Communist Cuba was "one of the freest nations on earth."
A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to
get its pants on. The naive believe it.
Yes..., the U.S. *IS* the root of all evil and misery, and that is why so many long to reach its shores and drink of its freedom brews.
The Khmer Rouge is but another example of man's inhumanity towards man.
just some questions. why do you consider the US as the root of all evil? How do you know for sure? you see, corruption, inhumanity, and social disruptions do not know any race. IT IS EVERYWHERE!!!
i'm not preaching, sir, i just think that all of us should've realized that right from the start.
i am not an american, but that does not excuse me from lambasting other races.
I would rather admit that I really don't know much about Pol Pot or the Khmer Rough times supported by whomever or from wherever sources, because I am a new Cambodian of today generation experienced nothing about genocide time. Pol Pot has been educated in China, probably in ideological education, of what so called genocide. I will never forget his time of my Country's past history, but I just want to know why even a plenty of natural resource including rice, vegetable, bird etc of Cambodian during Pol Pot time, were given none to Cambodian but where and whom who have been contributed to? Was it China? or Whom? My parents had painful experienced from that time, given them only nothing to survive with no chance in lives, but starvation as slave labor wearing black suit working almost fifteen hours a day. Who behind this doubtful genocide in Cambodia? Who involved mostly in this plan? I strongly condemn those whom had made this destruction on my country and wish my people had been given fair for their pain and this forgivable plan.
hello, my name is gracie and i am yr 7 at school. we recently read a book about a girl called channneary growing up in the times of war in cambodia when it was invaded, and crossed the border to plc. I know that people have there right but this was a hidious thing to have happened and the people who say that it's not that bad obviously need to get a grip on life, and put it in perspective. thanku for your time.
Noam Chomsky is a well known Khmer Rouge apologist, and a fraud- a carpet bagger looking to make money off cheaply produced books exploiting the blood of millions of lost lives
Just one more point, the US bombing of Cambodia did indeed help the Khmer Rouge come to power.
But, it was China, I believe, that was the biggest supporter of the Khmer Rouge, and if any outside country is to blame, it is them. And, Vietnam did have a role as well, initially
But, indeed- real blame must fall upon the leadership of the Khmer Rouge themselves.
Communism is dead. It is an ideology that is decadent and unpure. It is not the answer to poverty in southeast asia.
I have just read a great book for school on this idea of Communism and the Khmer Rouge government. I highly recomend it to all long for a picture of what life is was and maybe still is. The book is called First they Killed My Father by Loung Ung
"Lola: that was just some satire that I made up."
Mike - It could actually have been an excerpt from Khieu Samphan's 1950's doctoral dissertation at the Sorbonne in Paris.
Samphan ("Brother Number 7") actually outlined the KR's disastrous agricultural and political plan in his thesis, though he neglected to mention the cultural and literal genocide that would make it truly operational.
"the US bombing of Cambodia did indeed help the Khmer Rouge come to power."
That is the repellent and unfounded mantra of Chomsky followers worldwide. And it is a lie.
I lived and worked in Cambodia for more than a year. I had educated and intelligent Cambodian friends. They blame Pol Pot and Pol Pot only for the KR years. Not Americans, not French colonialism, not the Vietnamese.
The only people who believe the crud you've asserted are Chomsky and his deluded, gullible children.
Well, that was my point that Pol Pot was responsible, as I stated in my post
But, the bombing certainly helped create a situation where the KR was able to come to power. I am not blaming the US, I am just saying that this was a factor
just like the demands on Germany made by the UK and France at the end of WWI helped the Nazis come to power, but I would say these countries are responsible for what the Nazis did!
THe US had no choice with Cambodia
otherwise risking an open front that
covers the whole of south Vietnam
If Cambodia wasn't appeased such
a war would be suicide for our armed
Now the Genocide by the Khmer rouge
for one kept the Cambodian from going
into Vietnam and cleansed their people
much like Malachi did for the jews.
This sort of cleansing goes beyond
my ethereal comprehension, yet it
has occured throught human history.
After reading over some of the written opinions, I am glad to see that people are paying attention. By the way most of you write this is the younger part of our society.
I agree with the post from above. I have been there I have seen the devestation. I have spoken with many natives who survived the genocide. If you think for a min. that the US had no involvement, go ask, see what planes they saw flying over.
This is just one fraction of deception that our goverments tries to hide. Thoes non-believers out there and also the ones who have an interest in things of this sort, I suggest traveling, not only will you find a less bias opinion but also you will get a clear cut picture of how little good the US has done for others.
Your American ancestors has wiped out more tribes, races, towns,cities,and countries than all the genocidal leaders combined. Before you get all defensive: American Indians, how many tribes were there how many are left? Hawaii, philippines, half of Mexico this is just an obvious few lands that were taken by force with thousands of natives left dead.
I agree with the Marshall plan, we should be the police force of the world. This country has potential to be great. In todays times and the past 50 or so years the Marshall plan only includes thoes who are economicaly viable to the US, if you have nothing for us we do nothing for you.
Last, take a historical look at how many leaders we have put into power then removed, how many countries have we trained to defend themselves then we had our weapons shot back at us? How long will this go on before history stops repeating itself. How many more lives, dollars for destruction, and lies will be given to the cause.
I would love for my native country to hold the same example to the world that they preach to us.When I travel I am embarrassed to say where I am from, primarly for the reason that out of the fifteen countries I have traveled to we,as Americans, haved bombed all of them indirectly or directly. Until the price of a life and right and wrong out weighs a dollar I am sad to say that there is more to come and this is just the beginning.
Courtnie, I have also read the book" First they killed my father" by. Loung Ung.
its depressing to think that one person can have such an impact on so many.
Hi I'm doing an essay on Genocide in Cambodia and was wondering if anyone knew or had a good site where I could find information regarding the Cause, Events and Results of the Genocide. Any information on any of the three will be greatly apreciated.
thanks for the info your site gave me. it has been helpful for my assignment.
except for azn-pryde and donald, i'll bet everyone else who posted here is white. it's usually white people who make stupid, xenophobic, self-important comments like these. it's also usually white people who refuse to accept the truth about realities in this world.....especially realities and truths that aren't dictated to them by FoxNews, MSNBC, CNN or any other corporate-owned media company. i mean, really....the corporation that brings you "stories" about "wonderful" america is the same corporation that sells you sugary cereals in grocery stores. think about it.
just because america has the money and weapons to basically pull its dick out and wave it around at other countries doesn't mean it's beyond reproach. is it really such a good thing that "we" have enough weapons and power to scare and intimidate other countries into submission? and then "we" actually pat ourselves on the back for it?? grow up, people.
kill the white people. btw, how do you keep your head from getting sweaty while wearing your tin foil helmet? Mine always becomes such a disgusting mess of perspiration. I won't take off, though. No sir. I don't want to give "the man" any opportunities to beam into my head with his thought-stealing satellites and turn me into some establishment-worshipping zombie.
Hey "September 19" yeah - you know who you are. The coward without a name... What in the wild wild world of sports are you talking about! You sound like a sophomore in college. Did you glean your half-witted rant from an afternoon spent taking bong hits while watching MTV?!?! The funny thing is... you come off sounding like a biggot! Take it easy.
btw... the brilliant satire of "Kill Whitey" sums it all up. Loser.
Wasn't this page created to give opinions about the genocide in cambodia? After reading some of these quotes, you would think its a chat line. Keep it to the point, why are you calling people names you don't even know?
What's sad is that a discussion on Cambodia has to become a discussion on the US.
It's sad that the US has to enter into every issue, and it takes away from the real problems in Cambodia
And, even if you are anti-US, this obession only increases US power.
All I have to say is that if in a discussion regarding Cambodia, we can only reflect something regarding the US, why don't we look at the really killers over history?
Why don't we look at Russia, who continues to kill wantonly in Chechnya? How about the colonialism of Europe- every country from Portugal to Germany have left loose ends that continue to kill, from Indonesia to the Congo?
it is hypocritcal not to consider thse things, and indeed- it was French colonialism in Indochina that is ultimately responsible for the Cambodian genocide, if you must blame anyone
I know this is a forum to discuss Cambodia, but the USA will again take part.
The USA is a bit like Marmite, don't u think? You either love it or hate it?! From this observation you have group (A) whom are absolutely devoted to America. They view the US as the freedom giving country of peace. Skeptic's of group (B) view the US politicians as hypocritical thieves. Excuse my generalizations, but you may fall into both categories, one or neither. I am sure you get the gist of my argument. No doubt many people's minds will be made up by the current glamorized superficial appealing mask, indeed even I fancy it sometimes. Regardless, of which view you will take i try and seek an objective view of the country's beginnings. Yes, like most country's in history, would you believe that White Americans were capable of committing horrific crimes? This may all be blaintantly obvious, but you'll be surprised when you come across the masses how many of them don't have a clue on how the US embraced slavery for thousands of years, stole from the natives of America etc etc. As humans, we have basic instinctual drives, the need for food, warmth, sex, greed etc. In short we play a game called the 'survival of the fittest'. After WW11 obviously there was worldwide economical depression. This is where sur of the fittest comes into play the notion of development, production & success. At this time white people were indeed ahead. For me there are hundreds of possibilities, one of them being 'mentality'. Whether it be an Eastern close knit, communal environment, or a Western, isolated, fox like independence. why our brains evolved in this manner i'll leave the rest to Darwin. Moving on then, when u have an understanding of the roots of history and the mentality/culture and religion of the peoples at the time it is easier for u to put contemporary politics into perspective.
Yes white American's had the ability to provide a lifelong economic stability & good for them. But the pathway was dirty, immoral, inhuman & degrading. Ok coming back to category (A) America brings freedom? Freedom for who? White Americans (its people). why intervene in Iraq & Bosnia? But not in other countries, i.e. Israel, Cambodia, Rwanda, and i can't even be bothered to go into any more. Again just like at the very beginnings of history, economical interest is the only real pursuit (could you blame them for wanting what every human desires?). They can pick and choose whom they want to give so called freedom too. We'll invade Afghanistan, where the pipe line will begin, through to Iraq .period. You all know right that there is enough money and resources in America alone to wipe out worldwide poverty! As humans we enjoy the idea of competing but hate losing or losing control, right?
Anyway, i have gone off the point somewhat. The Khmer Rouge regime headed by Pol Pot combined extremist ideology with ethnic animosity and a diabolical disregard for human life to produce repression, misery, and murder on a massive scale. As far as America goes, yeah they were there very much. After bombing the place to complete destruction, they left the foundations for the Khmer to practice communist politics. Come on guys how the fuck could they afford it?! America are very good at financing potential areas of economical interest, i.e. training Iraqi soldiers etc. Hey did they ever find their weapons of mass destruction?.
Anyway, politics will always leave a bitter aftertaste & its a depressing thought to know that history has in fact taught us fuck all. But remember guy's it is inevitable that another atrocity like Sep 11th will happen, but can you really see another form of justice?
Last note guys coz i am about to fall asleep here, no point insanely arguing about it till your blue in the face. Remember regardless of skin colour or class we are all equal, i mean why not, we all share the same desires, fears and needs, but you'll always admire those who reached the top and never question how they got there....
Look up Henry kissinger
Is Henry Kissinger a war criminal, fascist or just misunderstood
How Thatcher gave Pol Pot a Hand
New Statesman (UK)
17 April 2000
Almost two million Cambodians died as a result of Year Zero. John Pilger argues that, without the complicity of the US and Britain, it may never have happened
On 17 April, it is 25 years since Pol Pot's Khmer Rouge entered Phnom Penh. In the calendar of fanaticism, this was Year Zero; as many as two million people, a fifth of Cambodia's population, were to die as a consequence. To mark the anniversary, the evil of Pol Pot will be recalled, almost as a ritual act for voyeurs of the politically dark and inexplicable. For the managers of western power, no true lessons will be drawn, because no connections will be made to them and to their predecessors, who were Pol Pot's Faustian partners. Yet, without the complicity of the west, Year Zero might never have happened, nor the threat of its return maintained for so long.
Declassified United States government documents leave little doubt that the secret and illegal bombing of then neutral Cambodia by President Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger between 1969 and 1973 caused such widespread death and devastation that it was critical in Pol Pot's drive for power. "They are using damage caused by B52 strikes as the main theme of their propaganda," the CIA director of operations reported on 2 May 1973. "This approach has resulted in the successful recruitment of young men. Residents say the propaganda campaign has been effective with refugees in areas that have been subject to B52 strikes." In dropping the equivalent of five Hiroshimas on a peasant society, Nixon and Kissinger killed an estimated half a million people. Year Zero began, in effect, with them; the bombing was a catalyst for the rise of a small sectarian group, the Khmer Rouge, whose combination of Maoism and medievalism had no popular base.
After two and a half years in power, the Khmer Rouge was overthrown by the Vietnamese on Christmas Day, 1978. In the months and years that followed, the US and China and their allies, notably the Thatcher government, backed Pol Pot in exile in Thailand. He was the enemy of their enemy: Vietnam, whose liberation of Cambodia could never be recognised because it had come from the wrong side of the cold war. For the Americans, now backing Beijing against Moscow, there was also a score to be settled for their humiliation on the rooftops of Saigon.
To this end, the United Nations was abused by the powerful. Although the Khmer Rouge government ("Democratic Kampuchea") had ceased to exist in January 1979, its representatives were allowed to continue occupying Cambodia's seat at the UN; indeed, the US, China and Britain insisted on it. Meanwhile, a Security Council embargo on Cambodia compounded the suffering of a traumatised nation, while the Khmer Rouge in exile got almost everything it wanted. In 1981, President Jimmy Carter's national security adviser, Zbigniew Brzezinski, said: "I encouraged the Chinese to support Pol Pot." The US, he added, "winked publicly" as China sent arms to the Khmer Rouge.
The Cambodian training became an exclusively British operation after the "Irangate" arms-for-hostages scandal broke in Washington in 1986. "If Congress had found out that Americans were mixed up in clandestine training in Indo-China, let alone with Pol Pot," a Ministry of Defence source told O'Dwyer-Russell, "the balloon would have gone right up. It was one of those classic Thatcher-Reagan arrangements." Moreover, Margaret Thatcher had let slip, to the consternation of the Foreign Office, that "the more reasonable ones in the Khmer Rouge will have to play some part in a future government". In 1991, I interviewed a member of "R" (reserve) Squadron of the SAS, who had served on the border. "We trained the KR in a lot of technical stuff - a lot about mines," he said. "We used mines that came originally from Royal Ordnance in Britain, which we got by way of Egypt with marking changed . . . We even gave them psychological training. At first, they wanted to go into the villages and just chop people up. We told them how to go easy . . ."
The Foreign Office response was to lie. "Britain does not give military aid in any form to the Cambodian factions," stated a parliamentary reply. The then prime minister, Thatcher, wrote to Neil Kinnock: "I confirm that there is no British government involvement of any kind in training, equipping or co-operating with Khmer Rouge forces or those allied to them." On 25 June 1991, after two years of denials, the government finally admitted that the SAS had been secretly training the "resistance" since 1983. A report by Asia Watch filled in the detail: the SAS had taught "the use of improvised explosive devices, booby traps and the manufacture and use of time-delay devices". The author of the report, Rae McGrath (who shared a joint Nobel Peace Prize for the international campaign on landmines), wrote in the Guardian that "the SAS training was a criminally irresponsible and cynical policy". (snip)
im a 17 year old student and i will be representing Cambodia (Human Rights committee) in the upcoming MUN (Model United Nations) congress...Any hints to what i should augment on or preach about????? pls ppl help me out.... Thanks.......
i'm cambodian, and from the many, many stories that i have heard from my parents, grandparents, and great grandparents, the khmer rouge first began as a group of thieves, people that owed lots in debt, outsiders basically that were not wanted within the city limits because of their cruel and unusual acts. so these people had no other place to go, but into the jungles. according to an article i read, they started as a group of 3,000 but w/ the help of other communist leaders, built an army of nearly 30,000.
you know, many of my relatives died as a result of the khmer rouge, and i wonder all of the time, why and how does one bring themselves to kill in the way that the khmer rouge has. i mean, my parents, grandparents, and relatives have witnessed some of the most horrifing acts of torture ever. an example, and is not being made up is of my grandfather's brother who was overworked one day and then murdered. he was told to pull a wagon filled w/ salt or sugar, i'm not really sure, from one town to the next and then back. after he completed his task, they had him down, cut open his stomach, grabbed his intestines, and used it for food. and all the while making my grandfather watch as they torture his older brother to death.
you know, i don't want to blame the u.s. for failing to act because i just don't know the truth behind what really happened w/ the u.s., but i do wonder why my ancestors didn't receive any assistance from any of the neighborhing countries, i.e. thailand. but i do one thing for sure, is that the u.n. did approve the khmer rouge as the sole representatives of cambodia...makes you wonder, doesn't it?
you know, to all that wish to post to this horrific tragedy, please do so w/ some respect to those that died during this time - to all of my ancestors. don't be jerks to one-another, just post your own opinions about what happened, not about one another because i was quite ashamed to read some of the posts on this site. thanks.
Wow. A lot of black and white statements. The world is a gray place. Learn to live in the shadows.
Saphorn : fantastic comment. Much more sustainable than any of the previous "fuck you x" some have blatantly thrown in public.
I find this to be a fascinating issue; so many different opinions. Just as someone previously posted, it is hard to account for an entirely black or white argument on the subject. I think it would be safe to say that everyone has a realistic but incomplete point.
Wow. Pol Pot must be laughing in Hell. Never underestimate the gullibility of the American Left. Much like the Stalinists who defended the "reported" death and persecution of millions, radicals today have created a myth to defend the Khmer Rouge Communists. Get that you dopes. Pol Pot was a true communist in his mind and he intended to start a true marxist state. Check his own writings, order the books from the Yale web site. If in fact 2 million people did not die in cambodia, where are they? Did they just disappear? You wacko liberals remind me of David Irving's refusal to believe the Nazi Holocaust ever occurred. Get over it. Please take note on the following: Communism Kills. Friends dont let Friends go Marxist.
I am out.
In Reagan's Name We Trust,
Communism is good. It just hasn't been conducted proper like yet. Capitalizm kills mate.
did the U.S. really give money to support Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge?
Those who harbor animosity toward America will always find some way to excoriate it. Identifying those people isn't difficult - they're usually the ones who quote Noam Chomsky.
What's being overlooked by those who want to blame America first for the tragedy that took place under the Khmer Rouge is that hindsight is 20/20. America may have supported the Khmer Rouge in its infancy, but who knew then what the outcome of their regime was going to be? Keep it in perspective! Blaming America assumes that America could have or should have known the Khmer Rouge was going to go on a mass genocide spree. That could not have been foreseen, not even by the United Nations, which also gave official recognition to the Khmer Rouge.
Remember the adage "the enemy of my enemy is my friend". This is the only reason America supported the Khmer Rouge. America's goal in southeast Asia was to prevent the ascendancy of the North Vietnamese, a goal it had in common with the Khmer Rouge.
There are those here who no doubt didn't realize this. Others do, but simply don't care. Their only interest is to indict America for the Cambodian tragedy (along with any other historical tragedy). Put the blame where it belongs. It is the Khmer Rouge which is solely culpable for the Cambodian tragedy.
Cambodia is a perfect example as to why the adage "the enemy of my enemy is my friend" is completely false. The U.S. is at fault for this atrocity, and although we should have intervened once our government became aware of genocide, it is not the united states job to "protect" the world. We have a little known commodity know as the United Nations for that. That type of thinking is why the United States is percieved in such a negative light, TODD
OK, Ashley, if you contend that the "U.S. is at fault for this atrocity" won't you give us a short essay on your understanding of the situation in Cambodia between 1970 and 1979 and why it is you think the U.S. bears (apparently) the majority of the culpability. It seems to me from your vacuous posting above, you know very little about the situation other than what your America-hating university professor may have implanted in your head.
You say we should have intervened, yet the U.S. Secretary of State John Dulles offered assistance and protection to the Khmers, which was refused by King Sihanouk. It was the cacophany of protests from leftists in the U.S. that led to the United States' withdrawal from the region, and also precluded any possibility of a return. So, if there's any blame to go around, blame the naive students who knew little and cared little about what what happening there, but nonetheless protested America's involvement there.
American forces left Cambodia in June of 1970. The Khmer Rouge took power in April of 1975. That's a mighty long time, and a lot of intervening events, to still place the blame on the U.S. Maybe you should brush up on your history a bit, ASHLEY.
PS, Ashley, your suggestion of involving the United Nations is amusing since the United Nations (as noted in my January 10 posting) also gave official diplomatic recognition to the Khmer Rouge.
Perhaps you weren't yet born when all this occured so I can understand your lack of perspective, but even though many suspected the Khmer Rouge were unsavory characters, no one had any idea of the extent of killings until after the fact. Like I said, hindsight is 20/20.
People like Ashley have the gall to question why America would have aligned with the likes of Stalin in WWII. Hindsight has created some of the greatest political leaders of all time. Unfortunately, hindsight does nothing for the here and now. People that dwell in idealism (a la Ashley) instead of dealing with the harshness of reality never really have a clue of dialectical nature of global politics.
pol pot was definitel one of the worst in human history.to kill close to 2 million of his own people is horrific.im sure he is rotting in hell with hitler, stalin ,and who knows how many others .but thats where they belong!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I am doing research about Genocide in Cambodia for a speech in English... And after reading all this information and seeing the pictures, it made me cry. It's all so sad and i dont understand how some people dont even care about this at all. This was a major event in history and its so sad. I also dont understand how some people can kill almost 2 million other innoscent people and not fell guilty about it... its so sad. I wish people would pay more attention to this kind of stuff.
It is real interesting that some people place blame for the Khmer Rouges actions other places than the Khmer Rouge. Yes we bombed Cambodia and our enemy was there at the time moving without impunity while the liberals in the US would not allow us to fight a war to win. We had to play by rules the other side played to win. Hence the greatest tragedy in American History, the Vietnam debacle, and a great tragedy for Southeast Asia also. I do not remember what great economic importance Vietnam and Cambodia had for us and how much money the US gained from this War but do not think we were greatly enriched by it. As to the strange bedfellows that History makes we also supported the Viet Minh against the Japanese when they were led by Ho Chi Minh. The factors that led to the Khmer's rise are complex but their actions are inhuman and despicable and solely their own responsibility.
this piece of work works well Pol pot was one of the worst criminals in history and if the americans did help to fund his cause then we all have a right to be pissed off at their government so it's not that every1 who wrote in complaining about america was an anti american it's just that they may not of approved what america may have done to aid this creep i'm from the land of australia and i am proud of my land and i am proud to stand by with my country when it tries to aid others in need
What an amazing subject! The U.S. is truly one of the most powerful, giving, and responsible nations worldwide (if you don't believe me, check its foreign aid and market, and all of those peace troops). The Vietnam War is an extremely touchy subject for me, as it is for millions of others. I had an uncle who died fighting for southern Vietnam and my father and other uncle also fought for Southern Vietnam as Marines. They were risking their lives for the potential good of others (in the end). The U.S. entered a fight against people who had been fighting for freedom since the French first came in. With that said, I think every president was antsy to get the war over and done with which is where the bombing comes into account. As a military force we had never fought a war of this magnitude in those situations and conditions.
Before you go bashing America try and understand that it was a war and the American side was fighting blindly, (they fought against children who would hide their weapons in sacks and after the soldiers had passed they would open fire).
The U.S. has done many things wrong - Trail of Tears for one. But every other country has a past… and if you dig in deep enough you'll find history that the country is not proud of. This includes France, England, Russia, China, Japan, Cambodia, Rwanda, everywhere. So let’s not play the point and blame game.
Noam Chomsky has been vilified. All he has said about the US’s responsibility in Cambodia was derived from the State Department’s analysis. That is actually his MO on most issues. He takes the internal documents of the US government, Human Rights reports, and the media and comments on them. He has never been an apologist for the Khmer Rouge and has explicitly condemned their evil multiple times. He pointed out that the West exaggerated and lied about in their fervor over the KH and ignored a similar atrocity in East Timor which we actually contributed and exacerbated. He said the KH derserve condemnation but there is no reason to lie about it.
If I published a paper and said American GIs killed 4 people at My Lai and someone corrected me by stating GIs killed 400 people, and then are we to conclude the critic is pro-Vietnamese or anti-American?
hey i'm doing an essay on the killing fields and i was wondering wether anyone had any ideas as to how a conflict such as this can be resolved? ie. international intervention, agreements etc.
anything will help
ur all dumb and i have to agree with the person who said ur haveing a chat line so ppl keep it to the point i dont need my time wasted with ur crap about changing other peoples ideas just leave them be come on get real if someone is going to be dumb enough to say the all the white people make the mistakes then let them do that and get the crap kicked out of them when they wake up or are gotten up by the real world well anyway peace out kiddos!
The comment posted by jenna at January 6, 2004 04:28 PM..
"Did the U.S. really give money to support Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge?"
should also be asked as..
"Did the U.S. really give support to Hussein in the early 1980's?"... or
"Did the British in early 1800's really eliminate a whole race of people in Australia?"
"Did the Communist Stalin regime kill over 2 million of his own people including some of his family?"..
Unfortunately, yes. Like Pol Pot murdereous thugs, have, do and will continue to exist. Whether the U.S. supported them or not is beside the point.
I visited the Cambodian Killing Fields in 2000, and spent some time there viewing the stupa and reading plaques. I meandered away from my group and in a quiet part of the compound saw exposed cloth and bone barely a few inches from the surface. I bent down, touched it and said a small prayer to myself. I remember hearing childrens' squeals of laughter as they played in the distance.
After deciding to leave, the driver was quite persistent in attempting to take us to another local attraction- to have a go at shoooting an Ak-47, M16 or throw a grenade. After visiting Toul Sleng earlier and then the Killing fields, I can tell you we were not in any state of mind to do so..
Nothing speaks louder than experience and when, with your own eyes, see children with no legs or a man with no face because it's been burned off with napalm, you tend to think differently.
What's right, what's wrong and arguing who's the better country, I believe i irrelevant. At the end of the day, we ALL dip our cups and drink from the same well of blood.
I think this website is brilliant and I will tell eveyone to go on to it.
It will be a great help to everyone to do their projects on.
Agree. What a great travelogue this is!
I stumbled onto this site and encountered the great discussion. I don't know how anybody can legitimately claim to be able to pin-point the cause of the Cambodian holocaust or attempt to explain PolPot's reasonings for instituting what he instituted.
The sheer complexity of the politics between the US, China, Cambodia, and Vietnam and also the various factions within Cambodia that have been vying for power since the French let go of that area of the world makes it next to impossible to really untangle and uncover what went wrong historically.
There were some evil people, perhaps not all intent on DOING evil specifically, but things just spiraled out of control and there was nothing one person, one political faction, one nation, one superpower, or even a multinational organization could do about it.
My parents survived the atrocities there in Cambodia and everything I've learned about the history behind it I've dug up with my own bare hands. It's an extremely dirty job and the deeper you get.. the filthier the task becomes.
Please don't try to put this stain of history in the simple contexts of a history book. Ask questions. Do research. Like many other horrible events in history, some answers continue to come and some answers will never find the light of day. But we can all afford to educate ourselves and our posterity about the mistakes of our forefathers.
I could rant for days on this subject matter. Feel free to email me with any questions you might have. I'd love to start conversations on the topic that played a great deal in determining the kind of person I am today.
IAM FROM INDIA.I ACCIDENTLY CAME TO READ THIS TOPIC.I AM VERY SAD ON READING THIS.I CANNOT EVEN IMAGINE OF SUCH A HUMAN TRAGEDY.AS USUAL DEFINITELY IT IS DARK SIDE OF THE U.S COLONIAL PAST.I HATE UNCLE SAM.
The US is at fault in this situation but though all of this US bashing you forget About the Khmer Rouge and the millions of dead,abused, tortured, starved and those left in the "killing fields". I believe that human beings have a choice between good and bad , and pol pot and the khmer rouge chose the bad ,millions of people paid for someone else's choice.
Remember Mr pol pot died an old man comfortably in his bed , never prosecuted for the horrid deaths of the millions he ordered killed.
I think of the Pol Pot killings very disturbing. Just as in WW2 wew allowed the mass slaughter of jewish,African Americans, homosexuals,ect.. And,yet he was never persicuted.
sad very sad indeed!
Pol Pot died "of natural causes" before he could be persecuted in a world court... sounds suspiciosly like hitler's death..
nena is right. it sounds so much like hitlers death. but all things aside people, i have read that the u.s changes info to make it what they want us to belive. but look at the big picture folks. it was still wrong and everyone should know that!!!
I have a 2 year old son who is half american as his mom and half cambodian as his dad. His dad who is 27 survived the genocide as a child . He lost all his family and his extended family. He had witnessed his brother and baby sister being cut to the throat. As a young child who still vividly remembers is horrific. An american missionairy saved him by bringing him to a thai refugee camp. Regardless of who started it, who supported it, (although I have my own beliefs about it) nobody shouldnt have to die. These were innocent people and whats scary is we are going to continue to seeing more innocent people die for no reason at all. How am I going to teach my son the value of life, the respect that everyone deserves when most other people rather destroy others. IT just doesnt make any sense. I wish for peace and acceptness. I admire my sons father for his forgiveness to america and to cambodia. He hopes one day to find his family history and build a new one. May God Bless the World.
omg the world is messed up i learned so much in just one web site looking up a khmer Rouge project.
China supported and was the primary funder of the Khmer Rouge, not the US. The US's failing was not getting involved to remove this murderous regime. Pol Pot was a Maoist and wanted to start over with a perfect communist society - thus the genocide. The argument that the US bombings of Cambodia during the Vietnam conflict were what contributed to the rise of the Khmer Rouge are very weak. The problem wasn't the US - it was a madman backed by communist money and ideals. It is scary that so many of you have such a distorted and inaccurate view of history. I'd suggest that before you comment you actually go visit the country and learn about what happened first hand - from people who lived through it. I spoke to many people in Cambodia and none of them believed the US was backing the Khmer Rouge - but many told about China backing Pol Pot.
It is truly unfortunate that a forum to discuss a country that suffered so much as a nation, has been trivialized into a US bashing forum. Forget the US. Read as much as you can about the timelines - they are incredibly complicated and there is plenty of intrique to go around. Form your own opinions, but do more than vent about it.!
The focus, empathy and effort should be for those left behind in this terrible blot on history. Today's Cambodians (and friends of Cambodians) need to rebuild the country and their pride. They are a great and resilient people, but they need help to improve their lot - regardless of who you blame on how they got there. Blame doesn't improve their lives. It may make you as a person feel better about it, but it does not help the situation at hand.
Having visited Cambodia more than 10 times, the focus for all of us should be on how to help Cambodia help themselves. How to rebuild the once great nationbuilding state of the khmers.
Listening to Cambodians talk about these atrocities and looking for a person other than Pol Pot to pin them on is a ridiculous exercise. Focus on the tradegy and what can be learned - not just by Cambodians, but by all people.
Those condemning the US for this (and every other problem in the world) it's not new and it's getting tired - that's simply easy to do. The US has a large profile and it's easy to take shots at it. It is not, however, productive to this dialog.
Don't dimminish the loss that the world and Cambodia experienced with the ideaology of a madman - in modern times!
Great Travelogue - and generally a good discussion!
We, as Americans, are so blessed to have access to a great abundance of information with which to formulate our own views of history. The Cambodian people in general, especially those who went through the genocidal regime, didn't have a clue about what was going on within their local spheres let alone whether the US or China were the ones pulling the strings.
The mysterious entity of "Ankar" first brought about the suffering and then it was the mysterious "Pol Pot" to blam for it all... other than those two names, those who were suffering didn't know squat about why things were unraveling like they were. It was the ultimate "keeping-people-in-the-dark-so-you-could-abuse-them scheme.
I am a Cambodian-American that was born soon after the fall of that terrible regime. Read my post above for my previous comments on this subject. God bless ya'll.
Almost pointless to add to such a long thread but:-
1. The Americans bombed Cambodia and killed hundreds of thousands of people.
2. Then the Khmer Rouge came to power, probably as a result, and killed hundreds of thousands of people.
3. Then the Vietnamese invaded and removed Pol Pot, in the process killing hundreds of thousands of people.
4. The Chinese AND the Americans then continued to provide financial support to the Khmer Rouge, perhaps because they wanted to counterbalance the Vietnamese.
5. Chomsky didn't kill anyone, however he did compare Cambodia to East Timor (where hundreds of thousands of people were killed by Suharto), pointing out that there was a lot of publicity about the first, but next to nothing about the second, which was perpetrated by a close US ally. (He said he thought the Khmer Rouge might prove to be a liberating force in 1972, BEFORE they came to power and people found out what they were really like.)
Now answer these questions:-
a) How many lives did America save in Cambodia and how?
b) Which of the aforementioned instances of mass murder could ordinary people in America have taken action to stop via the democratic process?
c) Which of the aforementioned instances of mass murder could CHOMSKY have tried to stop, via the democratic process, by publicising them?
Oh, and question d). If the Americans had not bombed Cambodia in the first place, would any of the subsequent events have occurred?
"The USA is the most powerful, responsible country in the world" is a very stupid statement.
Why they in Vietnam war when Vietnamese won at independent war against French? They worried about "Domino Affect" (don't tell me about protecting South-Vietnamese crap). Indeed US gov claimed "won" Vietnam war when China and Soviet went to conflict (poor 3 mil VNese and 50,000 American killed for this "victory"). Cambodian were another victim of "Cold War" - when their beauty & peaceful country once called "Switzerland of Indochine" was destroyed by vietnam war. Who supported for pro-USA Lon dol take over prince Norodom Sihanouk? From that period, Cambodian fell into bloodied war(so called "Dirty War" for USA).
Again someone said USA support Khmer Rouge because "enemy of enemy"? What is the most powerful, responsible country? What is responsibility with
Khmer Rouge's victimes? Responsible country crap crap: 1st USA don't want to unpleased China who support for Khmer Rouge (support for their murder too) 2nd revenge for their lost in Vietnam war.
USA GOV ONLY ACT FOR THEIR OWN BENEFIT.
listen, i dont know much about the isssues with the khmer rouge and pol pot in cambodia, but ive been doing my dudiligences.
all of this *America is the most powerful and responsible country in the world* stuff makes me laugh. I mean, ok, the most powerful, but responsible, uh....nah. I mean, look what they've gone and done in Iraq. i know they thought what they were doing was the right thing, but i mean...come on.
I mean how can americans quote the above, when half of them hate george bush, and are anti-american? seems kinda....wierd to me.
did you know that only 5% of the american population owns and uses their passports? so just how detached is america from the rest of the world when the majority doesn't even know where new zealand is. that is what you call ignorance.
i'm studying the Khmer Rouge in social studies and have recently taken a great interest in the cold war, especially the establishment of the republic of china and the cultural revolution.
by the way, the film farenheight 911 is a major propoganda and a hypocrisy unto itself. i'm not saying that i don't support michael moore but the information in that film was worded carefully to create a parallel universe almost. mike moore has one goal in mind and that is the demise of the bush campaign three months before the election.
but i have no right to say this, since anything that puts the us in a bad light is completely fine with me.
To the comment posted by Tom Lane on February 23, 2003. Yes we did kill many during that war. But we had to. It was either Us or them. I am well aware that this is very sad to say, but thats how its. When you have chilrden comming up to you and asking for help and they have bombs straped to their chests,It's us or them. People like Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge are evil. They are at the same level as Stalin and Hitler. Our troops went over there believeing in what they did. And We as Americans did not stand by their side and stand up for their moral.Instead we choose to call them murders and rapist. I like to think of it as... If i were there I would be praying for the Americans to come and help, even if it meant losing my life but my children or other people got to live, that is the better bargin. War is nither bad nor good. It is just simply that.War. Sad and depressing.
Emily, your views on moral reasoning for 'war' is both naive and very ignorant.
Firstly, the discussion is based on the Cambodian genocide, so who are you referring to when you state: its 'us vs them'?? If your referring to Vietnam, well I think its time you, like your nation has, admit your country made a mistake.
North Vietnam was fighting a war for nationalism before America imposed its cold war tactics.
Its obvious that people like Pol Pot and his regime are evil, no-one will dare deny that, but this discussion is who gave him assistance, military and financially, to corrupt and murder his own people?
Personal experiences in Cambodia have allowed me to understand the unimagined circumstances which occured, and I recommded each one of you stray from bias history books and do so too.
Yet the underlying reality is, history is history and we need not to sit here arguing whos to blame for the camboidan genocide. Instead use such atrocities to devolep future international policies to prevent them occuring again.
At this stage with America's 'superpower' control, its seems unlikely. Instead of finger pointing and blaming various groups, we need collective support across the UN, to allow international peace!
Lastly, destruction derives from poverty, history will tell. Couldn't the billions spent on international military advancementss, be better spent??
If Pol Pot ws such a great "super Power" in Cambiodia at that time then why is it that he was not given a proper burial place in cambiodia? All he was given was 2 sticks crossed over each other.
Why is it that the only thing people seem to focus on is whose fault it is? It's irrelevant. It changes nothing about what happened.
Learn from history. Don't argue about it.
I dont agree with anything that went on in Cambodia, I think it was very wrong and disterbing. But History is History and the only thing we can do is learn from it and move on.
Of course it was wrong and the Americans have to be the dumbest country there is, ohhh no they supposedly have a weapon so lets destroy everything there is around them. How will this solve anything, it won't all it does is cause more death and anguish to a country that is already poor and has little to no resources, so its bullshit what the Americans are attempting to "Help" the other countries.