And Justice For All

 

The killers of my maternal grandmother’s cousin are still alive and kicking, living just a walk away from most of grandma’s relatives. On November 16, 2018, 39 years after the Vietnamese forced them out of power, two Khmer Rouge senior leaders, Nuon Chea, aka Brother Number 2, and Khieu Samphan, its head of state, were sentenced to life imprisonment by the UN-backed tribunal for genocide against the Cham and Vietnamese minorities during their reign of terror.

Chea, who is already 92, and Samphan, 87, pleaded not guilty and are already serving life sentences for crimes against humanity from previous verdicts. The new verdict for Nuon Chea also includes crimes committed at S-21, the Khmer Rouge’s notorious prison where more than 20,000 people were tortured and killed; among them were two of my maternal great-uncles.

Prosecuting the surviving Khmer Rouge leaders was never even talked about until Prime Minister Hun Sen forced it. The Khmer Rouge were never mentioned in the Paris Peace Accords, which gave the UN authority over Cambodia. Furthermore, the regime still retained Cambodia’s seat at the UN until 1982 even when it became clear that it had committed mass atrocities. During its occupation, the UN had never attempted to capture a single Khmer Rouge leader and end the civil war. Even by 1997, there were still parts of Cambodia that were not safe to travel because of Khmer Rouge guerrillas.

After a lengthy negotiation which started at the request of the Cambodian government in 1997, on June 6, 2003, the UN and the Cambodian government signed an agreement to set up trial proceedings against the Khmer Rouge senior leaders.

To start, the tribunal, formally called the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, was problematic. It was set up as a mixed UN-Cambodian court, where every international judge and prosecutor was paired with a Khmer counterpart. Once again, the court was set up to try the Khmer Rouge senior leaders, those responsible for the worst crimes committed. In that sense, the killers of grandma’s cousin are nonentities, not even worth mentioning. But then there is Im Chaem, who oversaw the killing of tens of thousands of people as a Khmer Rouge mid-level official in the northwestern zone from 1977 to 1978. In 2015, the tribunal charged her with crimes against humanity, including mass murder, extermination, and enslavement. But in February of 2017, the tribunal’s judges dropped the charges against her.

The Cambodian government has always fought any efforts to prosecute anyone beyond the Khmer Rouge senior leaders. Hun Sen, himself a former Khmer Rouge cadet, often warned that more trials would potentially lead to civil war and chaos. The case of Im Chaem is not an isolated one. Meas Muth, the Khmer Rouge naval chief, was charged with genocide of the Vietnamese minority, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and homicide. The charges against him are likely to be dropped as well.

After the sentencing of Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan, the Cambodian government declared that there are no more Khmer Rouge leaders left to stand trial and that the process has ended. Fifteen years and nearly $300 million later, the tribunal convicted three men, the third one being Kaing Guek Eav, aka Duch, who ran S-21. Two other defendants, Pol Pot’s sister-in-law, Ieng Thirith, and her husband, Ieng Sary, died of old age during the trial.

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  1. Gumby Mark (R-Meth Lab of Demo… Coolidge
    Gumby Mark (R-Meth Lab of Demo…
    @GumbyMark

    I find it hard to comment in any meaningful way other than to observe the heartbreaking disparity between the enormity of the crimes and the pitiful response to them.  

    • #1
  2. Nanda Panjandrum Member
    Nanda Panjandrum
    @

    This is, indeed, a burden to carry, LC…Justice delayed and justice denied.  Infuriating and saddening, all at once.  Thanks for helping us stay aware of life beyond our borders!

    • #2
  3. WillowSpring Member
    WillowSpring
    @WillowSpring

    I can’t add anything, but thanks for the report – as sad and infuriating as it is.

     

    • #3
  4. James Gawron Inactive
    James Gawron
    @JamesGawron

    LC,

    I am not an expert on the trials that you have presented to me. I read the article Disagreements and design flaws at Cambodia’s Khmer Rouge Tribunal. This reminded me of Debra Lipstadt’s recent book The Eichmann Trial. Lipstadt’s contention was that the original Nuremberg Trials had been conducted by the Allied victors of WWII just after that end of the war. They were ultimately more interested in putting a proper political end to the situation than giving the Jewish survivors a true sense of Justice. The Eichmann Trial, on the other hand, was conducted by the State of Israel 15 years after the end of WWII. Lipstadt suggests that this was a much truer recognition of the suffering of the survivors and their need for Justice. Strangely, the roles are reversed here. The Cambodian Government is the one rushing to end the trials and get out from under bringing anyone to Justice. The UN people are the ones pushing for the trials and the convictions.

    I read the article The Bucolic Life of a Cambodian Grandmother Accused of Mass Killings. This suggests that real Justice will be completely impossible and has already been largely subverted.

    Did she know all the crimes she was accused of: the murder, the slavery, the extermination? “You don’t need to ask me. You know it,” she shot back. “If you know it, you know it.”

    At that moment, her husband arrived. Nob Nhem, 78, still wears the all-black uniform and red checked scarf of the Khmer Rouge, for whom he was also a district chief. He rarely speaks, but every time he appears, his family grows silent.

    “I need to tend to my cows,” Grandma Chaem said, and slipped away.

    We are living in a stupid country that spends an endless amount of journalistic energy on the tearing down of statues. Meanwhile, the perpetrators of one of the major genocides of the century are allowed to slide quietly out of the hands of Justice. Where are the protestors? SJWs only take on pronouns and statues.  Mass murderers are out of their league.

    Justice for All. Justice for Nobody. Sorry LC, I’m not much help here.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #4
  5. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    If you want meaningless gestures too far after the fact to have meaning, call on the UN.

    I’m sorry, LC.

    • #5
  6. James Gawron Inactive
    James Gawron
    @JamesGawron

    LC,

    I read your post A Visit to Pol Pot’s Secret Prison

    On July 26, 2010, Duch was found guilty of crimes against humanity, torture, and murder. He was sentenced to 35 years imprisonment by the UN-backed tribunal prompting my grandmother to say, “They killed us, but we can’t kill them.”

    Your grandmother is right and the UN-backed tribunal is wrong. There is a place for capital punishment and if this isn’t it I don’t know what would be.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #6
  7. Zafar Member
    Zafar
    @Zafar

    Lidens, do the still have a following? Is that why they’re still living safely so long as the Cambodian Govt does not act?

    • #7
  8. Doug Watt Moderator
    Doug Watt
    @DougWatt

    James Gawron (View Comment):

    LC,

    I read your post A Visit to Pol Pot’s Secret Prison.

    On July 26, 2010, Duch was found guilty of crimes against humanity, torture, and murder. He was sentenced to 35 years imprisonment by the UN-backed tribunal prompting my grandmother to say, “They killed us, but we can’t kill them.”

    Your grandmother is right and the UN-backed tribunal is wrong. There is a place for capital punishment and if this isn’t it I don’t know what would be.

    Regards,

    Jim

    Exactly this. A friend of mine who was a homicide detective had a sign on his desk. The sign stated; “The only reason some people are still alive is that it’s against the law to kill them.”

    I’m not sure why justice would even be considered the goal of the UN in what you describe in your essay. Justice should have been the concern for the surviving victims, not for the murderers.

    • #8
  9. CarolJoy Coolidge
    CarolJoy
    @CarolJoy

    In the early 1990’s, my son and I had the great good fortune to be neighbors to a young Cambodian family in a townhouse quad in California. The stories the adults in the family told us kept me awake some nights. The family also lost one child during their time in a refugee camp, due to simple antibiotics not being available in large enough numbers to keep many sick children there alive.

    Why our nation voted on the side of the Pol Pot forces at the UN, I have never ever understood. I see this  holocaust as being so catastrophic on the one hand, and so non-comprehensible on the other.

     

    • #9
  10. LC Member
    LC
    @LidensCheng

    Zafar (View Comment):

    Lidens, do the still have a following? Is that why they’re still living safely so long as the Cambodian Govt does not act?

    Most of the former Khmer Rouge cadres, top officials and guerrilla fighters and their families live in their last stronghold in the northern part of the country. They all maintain that they were unaware of any monstrosities committed by the regime. Also, after the Khmer Rouge were driven out, the country was rebuilt by victims and killers and their descendants. Victims and killers live side by side. Many people don’t want to go searching in the past or even talk about it because they might not like what they find. My mom’s cousin was married (under duress) to a Khmer Rouge regional officer, which was why his entire family survived. Another of mom’s cousins was married to a Khmer Rouge collaborator (also under duress and after they killed her father). So this is a taboo in Cambodia. Some people don’t want to admit that there are Khmer Rouge members in their family.

    • #10
  11. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    CarolJoy (View Comment):

    In the early 1990’s, my son and I had the great good fortune to be neighbors to a young Cambodian family in a townhouse quad in California. The stories the adults in the family told us kept me awake some nights. The family also lost one child during their time in a refugee camp, due to simple antibiotics not being available in large enough numbers to keep many sick children there alive.

    Why our nation voted on the side of the Pol Pot forces at the UN, I have never ever understood. I see this holocaust as being so catastrophic on the one hand, and so non-comprehensible on the other.

     

    That reminds me:  I am perhaps not up-to-date, but do leftist documentary makers still blame the whole business on Richard Nixon? 

    • #11
  12. James Gawron Inactive
    James Gawron
    @JamesGawron

    LC (View Comment):

    Zafar (View Comment):

    Lidens, do the still have a following? Is that why they’re still living safely so long as the Cambodian Govt does not act?

    Most of the former Khmer Rouge cadres, top officials and guerrilla fighters and their families live in their last stronghold in the northern part of the country. They all maintain that they were unaware of any monstrosities committed by the regime. Also, after the Khmer Rouge were driven out, the country was rebuilt by victims and killers and their descendants. Victims and killers live side by side. Many people don’t want to go searching in the past or even talk about it because they might not like what they find. My mom’s cousin was married (under duress) to a Khmer Rouge regional officer, which was why his entire family survived. Another of mom’s cousins was married to a Khmer Rouge collaborator (also under duress and after they killed her father). So this is a taboo in Cambodia. Some people don’t want to admit that there are Khmer Rouge members in their family.

    LC,

    You are much younger than I. All this means is that my experiences are a little different than yours. Take the cinema for example. The movies when I was young didn’t have all the special effects. Sexuality was never explicitly shown. However, far more serious subject matter was directly addressed in cogent dialogue without constant cinematic embellishment. Sometimes this could get to the heart of certain subjects much faster and with much more clarity. Of course, sometimes it was just Hollywood oversimplifying a subject or even exploiting it. You tell me.

     https://youtu.be/RFPL5B7-eGY

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #12
  13. Henry Castaigne Member
    Henry Castaigne
    @HenryCastaigne

    Hopefully there will be justice in the next life.

    • #13
  14. LC Member
    LC
    @LidensCheng

    James Gawron (View Comment):

    LC (View Comment):

    Zafar (View Comment):

    Lidens, do the still have a following? Is that why they’re still living safely so long as the Cambodian Govt does not act?

    Most of the former Khmer Rouge cadres, top officials and guerrilla fighters and their families live in their last stronghold in the northern part of the country. They all maintain that they were unaware of any monstrosities committed by the regime. Also, after the Khmer Rouge were driven out, the country was rebuilt by victims and killers and their descendants. Victims and killers live side by side. Many people don’t want to go searching in the past or even talk about it because they might not like what they find. My mom’s cousin was married (under duress) to a Khmer Rouge regional officer, which was why his entire family survived. Another of mom’s cousins was married to a Khmer Rouge collaborator (also under duress and after they killed her father). So this is a taboo in Cambodia. Some people don’t want to admit that there are Khmer Rouge members in their family.

    LC,

    You are much younger than I. All this means is that my experiences are a little different than yours. Take the cinema for example. The movies when I was young didn’t have all the special effects. Sexuality was never explicitly shown. However, far more serious subject matter was directly addressed in cogent dialogue without constant cinematic embellishment. Sometimes this could get to the heart of certain subjects much faster and with much more clarity. Of course, sometimes it was just Hollywood oversimplifying a subject or even exploiting it. You tell me.

    https://youtu.be/RFPL5B7-eGY

    Regards,

    Jim

    My last comment is, of course, anecdotal. Both sides of my family, distant family members, and family friends never talk about the war. I don’t want to generalize, but I’ve never got the feeling it’s a lack of direct dialogue in the country. My aunt and I were born after the war and we often try to ask questions. And nobody really wants to talk about it. I think the only reason my mom is more open to talking about her childhood during the war is because she’s spent over 20 years living in the US. And we’re finally hearing more stories now from my grandmother, the last of my grandparents, in her old age.

    • #14
  15. James Gawron Inactive
    James Gawron
    @JamesGawron

    LC (View Comment):
    And we’re finally hearing more stories now from my grandmother, the last of my grandparents, in her old age.

    LC,

    I like your grandmother very much. We call them Holocaust survivors. Your grandma & mother are both this kind of survivor. They should be honored and listened to. Usually, they are very modest and rarely speak out.

    They are a precious link to a first-person account of an important past. Too bad we have a generation wasting their time on junk celebrities & junk movies. Don’t get me wrong it is perfectly OK to have fun. However, it shouldn’t be all fun. We should take responsibility as best we can.

    Say hello to your grandma from me and wish her well.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #15
  16. Zafar Member
    Zafar
    @Zafar

    Justice is never free.  And while I don’t believe that one can have peace without justice, I find it hard not to empathize with people who know the price they would need to pay for it and find that price unbearable.  

    • #16
  17. ST Inactive
    ST
    @SimonTemplar

    In that sense, the killers of grandma’s cousin are nonentities, not even worth mentioning. 

    This line almost broke my heart.

    • #17
  18. SkipSul Inactive
    SkipSul
    @skipsul

    Zafar (View Comment):

    Justice is never free. And while I don’t believe that one can have peace without justice, I find it hard not to empathize with people who know the price they would need to pay for it and find that price unbearable.

    In the early days of Christianity this was definitely a question foremost in their minds: what should be expected of persecuted believers, and can they reasonably be expected to die for their faith?  Many early church controversies were about this matter.  Some of the issues at stake:

    1. There were many many stories of heroic Christian martyrdom.  Some believers, however, thought that martyrdom was the actual point and were going around with clubs to attack and provoke Roman soldiers into killing them.  This had to be denounced as a heresy.
    2. Others would proudly announce themselves as Christians during persecutions, but would then quail at the point of execution (especially if they had to witness friends or family, especially children, die painful deaths) and renounce their faith, and then ask for forgiveness later when the wave of terror had passed.  How do deal with those?  Early on, believers were encouraged to be brave, but seeing that so many could not (which is understandable) church elders moved instead to caution Christians to hide, or at least not volunteer themselves lest they failed at the test.
    3. Still other Christians took a very legalistic approach and insisted no mercy ever be given, nor communion restored, to those who had run away, or recanted under physical threat.  This too had to be denounced as heresy.

    In the end (as was finally settled at the 1st Council of Nicea) periods of penance were imposed, as both a compromise and a mercy, depending on both the nature of the persecution and the means of evading it.  They had to recognize that grace was necessary – not everyone, at the test, could be that brave.

    • #18
  19. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    SkipSul (View Comment):

    Zafar (View Comment):

    Justice is never free. And while I don’t believe that one can have peace without justice, I find it hard not to empathize with people who know the price they would need to pay for it and find that price unbearable.

    In the early days of Christianity this was definitely a question foremost in their minds: what should be expected of persecuted believers, and can they reasonably be expected to die for their faith? Many early church controversies were about this matter. Some of the issues at stake:

    1. There were many many stories of heroic Christian martyrdom. Some believers, however, thought that martyrdom was the actual point and were going around with clubs to attack and provoke Roman soldiers into killing them. This had to be denounced as a heresy.
    2. Others would proudly announce themselves as Christians during persecutions, but would then quail at the point of execution (especially if they had to witness friends or family, especially children, die painful deaths) and renounce their faith, and then ask for forgiveness later when the wave of terror had passed. How do deal with those? Early on, believers were encouraged to be brave, but seeing that so many could not (which is understandable) church elders moved instead to caution Christians to hide, or at least not volunteer themselves lest they failed at the test.
    3. Still other Christians took a very legalistic approach and insisted no mercy ever be given, nor communion restored, to those who had run away, or recanted under physical threat. This too had to be denounced as heresy.

    In the end (as was finally settled at the 1st Council of Nicea) periods of penance were imposed, as both a compromise and a mercy, depending on both the nature of the persecution and the means of evading it. They had to recognize that grace was necessary – not everyone, at the test, could be that brave.

    Ah, yes. The first round of the Donatist controversy.  The Trump-Never-Trump wars are a more recent iteration. 

    • #19
  20. SkipSul Inactive
    SkipSul
    @skipsul

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    SkipSul (View Comment):

    Zafar (View Comment):

    Justice is never free. And while I don’t believe that one can have peace without justice, I find it hard not to empathize with people who know the price they would need to pay for it and find that price unbearable.

    In the early days of Christianity this was definitely a question foremost in their minds: what should be expected of persecuted believers, and can they reasonably be expected to die for their faith? Many early church controversies were about this matter. Some of the issues at stake:

    1. There were many many stories of heroic Christian martyrdom. Some believers, however, thought that martyrdom was the actual point and were going around with clubs to attack and provoke Roman soldiers into killing them. This had to be denounced as a heresy.
    2. Others would proudly announce themselves as Christians during persecutions, but would then quail at the point of execution (especially if they had to witness friends or family, especially children, die painful deaths) and renounce their faith, and then ask for forgiveness later when the wave of terror had passed. How do deal with those? Early on, believers were encouraged to be brave, but seeing that so many could not (which is understandable) church elders moved instead to caution Christians to hide, or at least not volunteer themselves lest they failed at the test.
    3. Still other Christians took a very legalistic approach and insisted no mercy ever be given, nor communion restored, to those who had run away, or recanted under physical threat. This too had to be denounced as heresy.

    In the end (as was finally settled at the 1st Council of Nicea) periods of penance were imposed, as both a compromise and a mercy, depending on both the nature of the persecution and the means of evading it. They had to recognize that grace was necessary – not everyone, at the test, could be that brave.

    Ah, yes. The first round of the Donatist controversy. The Trump-Never-Trump wars are a more recent iteration.

    Ha!  Yes!  You, sir, have nailed it!

    • #20
  21. She Member
    She
    @She

    Percival (View Comment):

    If you want meaningless gestures too far after the fact to have meaning, call on the UN.

    I’m sorry, LC.

    Oh, I am too.  I had a couple of years up-close-and-personal experience of the UN during my childhood, living in a UN Trust Territory area, and @percival is exactly right.  Bunch of poseurs.  And far worse.

    • #21
  22. ST Inactive
    ST
    @SimonTemplar

    LC (View Comment):
    And nobody really wants to talk about it. I think the only reason my mom is more open to talking about her childhood during the war is because she’s spent over 20 years living in the US. And we’re finally hearing more stories now from my grandmother, the last of my grandparents, in her old age.

    I would take good notes when your grandmother tells her stories. 

    These things never really heal I suspect.  How could they?  Take our own Civil War for example, in the minds of many the War of Yankee Aggression lives on forever.  They really are not over it. 

      

    • #22
  23. Nanda Panjandrum Member
    Nanda Panjandrum
    @

    ST (View Comment):

    LC (View Comment):
    And nobody really wants to talk about it. I think the only reason my mom is more open to talking about her childhood during the war is because she’s spent over 20 years living in the US. And we’re finally hearing more stories now from my grandmother, the last of my grandparents, in her old age.

    I would take good notes when your grandmother tells her stories.

    These things never really heal I suspect. How could they? Take our own Civil War for example, in the minds of many the War of Yankee Aggression lives on forever. They really are not over it.

    Nor should we be…Forward a bit, yeah, but not so far forward that we can’t look back and learn. Especially with conflict that sets kin athwart kin and tears at a country’s fabric. Cheap grace costs too much, sometimes. (Forgiveness that automatically implies forgetting, that is.)

    • #23
  24. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    Nanda Panjandrum (View Comment):
    Cheap grace costs too much, sometimes.

    Okay, that one’s a tee shirt.

    • #24
  25. SkipSul Inactive
    SkipSul
    @skipsul

    Percival (View Comment):

    Nanda Panjandrum (View Comment):
    Cheap grace costs too much, sometimes.

    Okay, that one’s a tee shirt.

    I am reminded of the Stuarts of Scotland, or the Bourbons of France as other examples not to follow: Forget nothing, forgive nothing, and learn nothing.

    • #25
  26. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    SkipSul (View Comment):

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    SkipSul (View Comment):

    Zafar (View Comment):

    Justice is never free. And while I don’t believe that one can have peace without justice, I find it hard not to empathize with people who know the price they would need to pay for it and find that price unbearable.

    In the early days of Christianity this was definitely a question foremost in their minds: what should be expected of persecuted believers, and can they reasonably be expected to die for their faith? Many early church controversies were about this matter. Some of the issues at stake:

    1. There were many many stories of heroic Christian martyrdom. Some believers, however, thought that martyrdom was the actual point and were going around with clubs to attack and provoke Roman soldiers into killing them. This had to be denounced as a heresy.
    2. Others would proudly announce themselves as Christians during persecutions, but would then quail at the point of execution (especially if they had to witness friends or family, especially children, die painful deaths) and renounce their faith, and then ask for forgiveness later when the wave of terror had passed. How do deal with those? Early on, believers were encouraged to be brave, but seeing that so many could not (which is understandable) church elders moved instead to caution Christians to hide, or at least not volunteer themselves lest they failed at the test.
    3. Still other Christians took a very legalistic approach and insisted no mercy ever be given, nor communion restored, to those who had run away, or recanted under physical threat. This too had to be denounced as heresy.

    In the end (as was finally settled at the 1st Council of Nicea) periods of penance were imposed, as both a compromise and a mercy, depending on both the nature of the persecution and the means of evading it. They had to recognize that grace was necessary – not everyone, at the test, could be that brave.

    Ah, yes. The first round of the Donatist controversy. The Trump-Never-Trump wars are a more recent iteration.

    Ha! Yes! You, sir, have nailed it!

    I want to make sure I understand your point.  Do you mean that I/we should forgive Jonah Goldberg for, when the time came, not having the courage to vote for Trump rather than abstaining?  Or, Pontius-Pilate-wise, “washing his hands” of the General Election?

    • #26
  27. SkipSul Inactive
    SkipSul
    @skipsul

    kedavis (View Comment):
    I want to make sure I understand your point. Do you mean that I/we should forgive Jonah Goldberg for, when the time came, not having the courage to vote for Trump rather than abstaining?

    I think continuing to rehash 2016 is a waste of time and energy.  Jonah is our side.  Further, I think it took enormous courage for him to not vote for Trump.

    • #27
  28. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    SkipSul (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):
    I want to make sure I understand your point. Do you mean that I/we should forgive Jonah Goldberg for, when the time came, not having the courage to vote for Trump rather than abstaining?

    I think continuing to rehash 2016 is a waste of time and energy. Jonah is our side. Further, I think it took enormous courage for him to not vote for Trump.

    Not considering what he personally thinks of Trump. And that he says his vote didn’t really matter anyway, etc.  I’d say that not voting for Trump is one of the easiest things Jonah has ever done.  Easy for HIM, I mean.

    It would have taken more courage to get past the “loathsome-ness” that Jonah can’t seem to get away from for 5 minutes, and actually vote against Hillary instead of just sitting on his “clean” hands and letting everyone else do the work to get the taxes cut, judges confirmed, etc.

    • #28
  29. CarolJoy Coolidge
    CarolJoy
    @CarolJoy

    I can’t imagine the type of grace it takes to live on after a catastrophic event occurs as happened in Cambodia.  This is one reason I am reluctant to join patriotic shouts about getting it on against some other nation, for the purpose of “freeing a beleagured people,”as our nation did in terms of Vietnam. There are far too many repercussions, such as de-stabilizing an already fragile neighboring area.

    When the American press writes about the Khmer Rouge circa 1969 to 1975, it is almost always with regards to their bravery. And sadly the holocaust in Cambodia has mostly been swept under the rug, except for the occasional article in a travel magazine written by someone aware enough to consider it.

    Cambodia is also a tourist destination due to the sex slave operations involving children. I often wonder if those employed to run the killing fields found employment running the under age sex trade, once the actual killing had stopped.

    • #29
  30. James Gawron Inactive
    James Gawron
    @JamesGawron

    CarolJoy (View Comment):
    This is one reason I am reluctant to join patriotic shouts about getting it on against some other nation, for the purpose of “freeing a beleagured people,”as our nation did in terms of Vietnam. There are far too many repercussions, such as de-stabilizing an already fragile neighboring area.

    Carol,

    I think that you have swallowed whole the lefty view of history that blames US foreign policy for everything that is bad in the world. The US pulled out of  Southeast Asia entirely. Vietnam both north & south were controlled by communists. China the close by superpower was pure communist and the only other power lurking was Russia also communist. How could the Khmer Rouge feel so threatened that they would commit genocide on their own people? There is only one reasonable answer. They were filled with a deranged ideology that held human life as valueless unless it conformed to their ideological obsession. To use the only words that adequately describe this, they were possessed by an evil ideology that induced them to mass murder.

    This can not be blamed on the US. Quite the contrary, the US, no matter its mistakes, had nothing to do with this. The Khmer Rouge chose to do this without any excuse whatsoever.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #30
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