6/2/08 - u.s. supports the khmer rouge

In today's excerpt - the U.S. backs the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia:

"Between 1975 and 1979 ... 1 to 1.5 million Cambodians, out of a population of 8 million were shot, bludgeoned, starved, or worked to death, or died of disease, in the most intense and awful attempt at social transformation history has ever recorded. It was also the mass murder that will prove hardest to explain to future generations, [and was based on the communist Khmer Rouge] thesis that cities and towns were inhabited by 'parasites' and should, therefore, be emptied out by 'mass transfer' in order to stimulate agricultural growth, since the 'parasites' could be used for farm labor. ...

"April 17, 1975, Day One of the Year Zero by Khmer Rouge reckoning, was the day that the Khmer Rouge occupied [the capital] Phnom Penh [and] in a matter of hours, prodded by heavily armed Khmer Rouge soldiers, many of them hardly more than children, the inhabitants of Cambodia's capital were marched out of the city in a broad river of humanity. Not Stalingrad, not Hiroshima, never before had a city been so completely emptied of its inhabitants. Within two weeks, Phnom Penh and several other major cities were empty: several million Cambodians had been forcibly evicted to the countryside. ...

"In Cambodia, 'base people' killed 'April 17 people': base people being those Cambodians who were rural, and April 17 people being those Cambodians who moved from the cities to the countryside only on April 17, 1975, when the mass transfers began. The base people showed no mercy, for in the minds of the Khmer Rouge leadership, the April 17 people—women, children, and babies too—were simply the slag of history. ...

"Because the Khmer Rouge forest children thought that all people who wore glasses were intellectuals, glasses were as deadly as the yellow star in Nazi Germany. Ninety percent of the country's medical doctors were murdered between 1975 and 1979. Babies were bashed to death against trees. ... Many thousands, perhaps more, of the 1 to 1.5 million casualties of the Khmer Rouge regime were executed by having their heads smashed in with hoes and shovels, since ammunition had to be hoarded for fighting fellow communists across the border, whose crime was that they were Vietnamese. ...

"However, because the Vietnamese communists were allied with the Soviet Union throughout the 1980s, the United States and its ally Thailand backed—of all groups—the Khmer Rouge, who were armed by China and were now fighting the Vietnamese occupation authorities."


Robert D. Kaplan


The Ends of the Earth: From Togo to Turkmenistan, from Iran to Campodia


First Vintage


Copyright 1996 by Robert D. Kaplan


barns and noble booksellers
Support Independent Bookstores - Visit

All delanceyplace profits are donated to charity and support children’s literacy projects.


Sign in or create an account to comment