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. CarolJoy Coolidge
    CarolJoy
    @CarolJoy

    James Gawron (View Comment):

    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? …one reasonable answer. SNIP 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

    My attitudes regarding war were ingrained inside my tiny soul by the time I was 4. The person thus indoctrinating me was no Leftist – it was my father, a lifelong Republican who thought war was hideous.

    By that age, I knew that the way the public had been sold WWI, The Great War, was through the meme “The War To End All Wars.” My dad, who was 5 when it ended, stated to me when a year younger, “This was a war for the greedy at the banks and at the centers of the ministry offices to make themselves huge profits on people killing one  another.”

    He fought in WWII, but even though he’d been an individual making fun of Hitler by 1934, and merrily egged on for  comic impersonations of Hitler at various Chicago watering holes, he still felt that if people in charge of munitions firms & banking firms had not held sway, there wouldn’t have been a WWII.  This is probably borne out by how when Hitler’s voice came on inside speakers in German train stations, glorifying the need to attack Poland, most Germans simply shrugged and shook their heads in despair. Many adults alive in Europe when the battlefields in 1939 filled up with carnage could remember what war had smelled like and felt like in the Nineteen Teens.

    I was taught by Catholic nuns when in HS that any war waged to be a longer war than it needed to be was immoral. How is it that US took on Germany, Italy and Japan and defeated all 3 nations within a mere 3 and 2/3 year, but our nation could not defeat the Vietnamese between 1963 and 1975?

    • #31
  2. CarolJoy Coolidge
    CarolJoy
    @CarolJoy

    What brought Khmer Rouge to power:

    Cambodia became a Cold War battlefield in 1969 when the Nixon administration began bombing roads in the east of the country that Soviet-backed North Vietnamese troops were using to transport men and supplies for their war against the U.S.-backed regime in Saigon.

    In 1970, then Prince Norodom Sihanouk was ousted in a coup led by U.S.-backed General Lon Nol, who cranked up the war against Vietnamese and Cambodian communists.

    Sihanouk later formed an alliance with the Khmer Rouge and urged Cambodians to join the fight against Lon Nol’s regime, which fell to Pol Pot’s army in 1975.

    Prince Sihanouk called on Cambodian people to go and join the communist Khmer Rouge in the jungle and that allowed the Khmer Rouge to build up their troops from 1970 to 1975.

    #######

    from https://www.jacobinmag.com/2015/04/khmer-rouge-cambodian-genocide-united-states/
    Bombing and Destabilizing

    The US began bombing Cambodia in 1965. From that year until 1973, the US Air Force dropped bombs from more than 230,000 sorties on over 113,000 sites. The exact tonnage of bombs dropped is in dispute, but a conservative estimate of 500,000 tons (almost equal to what the United States dropped in the entire Pacific theater of World War II) is unquestionable.

    The ostensible targets of the bombings were North Vietnamese and National Liberation Front (“Viet Cong”) troops stationed in Cambodia and, later, KR rebels. However, it is indisputable that there was also total disregard for civilian life. In 1970, President Richard Nixon issued orders to National Security Advisor (and later Secr of State) Henry Kissinger:

    “They have got to go in there and I mean really go in. I don’t want the gunships, I want the helicopter ships. I want everything that can fly to go in there and crack the hell out of them. There is no limitation on mileage and there is no limitation on budget. Is that clear?”

    Kissinger relayed these orders to his assistant, Gen. Alexander Haig: “He wants  massive bombing in Cambodia. He doesn’t want to hear anything. It’s an order, it’s to be done. Anything that flies or anything that moves.”

    Just how many people were killed and injured will never be known. In his book Ending the Vietnam War, Kissinger himself cites an apparent memo from the Historical Office/Secretary of Defense stating there were 50k Cambodian casualties. Leading Cambodian Genocide scholar, Ben Kiernan, estimates the likely number to be between 50,000 and 150,000.

    One Cambodian eyewitness to a bombing described the event as follows:

    Three F-111s bombed right center in my village, killing 11 of my family members. My father was wounded but survived. At that time there was not a single soldier in the village, or in the area around the village. 27 other villagers were also killed. They had run into a ditch to hide when two bombs fell right into it.

    • #32
  3. CarolJoy Coolidge
    CarolJoy
    @CarolJoy

    James Gawron (View Comment):

    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. SNIP 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

    You say it was for no reason what so ever.  Precisely so. The act of being engaged in war for year after year after year usually  brutalizes people.

    Once when in 3rd grade, I came home excitedly to tell my father that the nuns at school considered him and all others who had fought for the USA in Europe against Germany to be heroes. I thought he’d accept the praise. A troubled look fell over him, and for a moment, I thought he was going to hit me. (Something he had never done before and did not do then or any other point in time.)

    He said nothing, then stated, very solemnly “The German people were led by the neck by absolute  crooks. If our nation is ever taken over by such, and plunged into a war that is equally brutal, we could find ourselves just as barbaric. People who haven’t been in battle don’t understand how a person feels when their closest buddies are killed in battle. If fighting goes on for too long, eventually people snap.

    “That was a war where I was forced to kill my cousins. I will never be proud of doing that. It might have been necessary, but I am not proud of it.”

    BTW, my father was by war’s end fully aware of atrocities the Third Reich had undertaken. An Army buddy of his was called upon by someone in the High Command to go off and take pictures at several different concentration camps. In disobedience of his orders, that friend made my father copies of several hundred photos that he had taken. My father was to release them to the press if that buddy’s life was shortened and the photos never made light of day. (There were anti-Jewish sentiments inside our government as well.)  Those photos sat in a drawer undisturbed until the week my dad died at age ninety, when I think someone in my family burned them.

    • #33
  4. LC Member
    LC
    @LidensCheng

    CarolJoy (View Comment):

    What brought Khmer Rouge to power:

    Cambodia became a Cold War battlefield in 1969 when the Nixon administration began bombing roads in the east of the country that Soviet-backed North Vietnamese troops were using to transport men and supplies for their war against the U.S.-backed regime in Saigon.

    In 1970, then Prince Norodom Sihanouk was ousted in a coup led by U.S.-backed General Lon Nol, who cranked up the war against Vietnamese and Cambodian communists.

    Sihanouk later formed an alliance with the Khmer Rouge and urged Cambodians to join the fight against Lon Nol’s regime, which fell to Pol Pot’s army in 1975.

    Prince Sihanouk called on Cambodian people to go and join the communist Khmer Rouge in the jungle and that allowed the Khmer Rouge to build up their troops from 1970 to 1975.

    I’m not going to discuss the pros and cons of the various wars America has been in since the 20th century. That’s a loaded topic and it really depends on the location and the culture.

    Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge did not come to power solely because of the US bombings of Cambodia. Sihanouk nearly bankrupted the country after the French left. He was very friendly with China and was very fond of communism(this is a man who regularly hung out with Mao, Kim the Elder, and various other unsavory dictators). As a politician, he was just your typical autocrat that suppressed political dissent. The Khmer Rouge started their insurgency even before the US bombings and the coup and had plenty of help from the North Vietnamese; the Cambodian military did not counter it effectively since Sihanouk didn’t do anything about it. If there’s one thing my family and Hun Sen have in common, it’s our hatred of Sihanouk.

    As someone who has heard so much about the politics of that time from the people who lived then and there, it’s extremely hard for me to believe that communism would have spread throughout Southeast Asia without a lot of bloodshed, even without the US interfering. I truly believe Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge (or something like them) would have risen in Cambodia regardless of the US because of the true nature of communism and an awfully weak leader.

    I won’t speak for all Cambodians. I will just speak for my family. My family blames America for leaving, for fighting a war half-heartedly. When America fights a war half-heartedly, a lot of people (Cambodians, Yazidis, etc) die.

    • #34
  5. James Gawron Inactive
    James Gawron
    @JamesGawron

    CarolJoy (View Comment):

    James Gawron (View Comment):

    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. SNIP 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

    You say it was for no reason what so ever. Precisely so. The act of being engaged in war for year after year after year usually brutalizes people.

    Once when in 3rd grade, I came home excitedly to tell my father that the nuns at school considered him and all others who had fought for the USA in Europe against Germany to be heroes. I thought he’d accept the praise. A troubled look fell over him, and for a moment, I thought he was going to hit me. (Something he had never done before and did not do then or any other point in time.)

    He said nothing, then stated, very solemnly “The German people were led by the neck by absolute crooks. If our nation is ever taken over by such, and plunged into a war that is equally brutal, we could find ourselves just as barbaric. People who haven’t been in battle don’t understand how a person feels when their closest buddies are killed in battle. If fighting goes on for too long, eventually people snap.

    “That was a war where I was forced to kill my cousins. I will never be proud of doing that. It might have been necessary, but I am not proud of it.”

    BTW, my father was by war’s end fully aware of atrocities the Third Reich had undertaken. An Army buddy of his was called upon by someone in the High Command to go off and take pictures at several different concentration camps. In disobedience of his orders, that friend made my father copies of several hundred photos that he had taken. My father was to release them to the press if that buddy’s life was shortened and the photos never made light of day. (There were anti-Jewish sentiments inside our government as well.) Those photos sat in a drawer undisturbed until the week my dad died at age ninety, when I think someone in my family burned them.

    Carol,

    Both you and your father are welcome to find war abominable as all of us should. However, the Cambodian Genocide had nothing to do with war. The war was over. Lon Nol and the Americans were gone. What possible reason would there be to murder 2 million civilians of your own people? There was no war, there was no threat, a helpless civilian population was rounded up and murdered in cold blood. That is a crime against Humanity or any conception of Civilized Humanity. There is something worse than war and that is accepting murder as ordinary behavior. I’m sure your father was a very good man but even very good men can be confused. Yes, corporate capitalist interests were irresponsible. However, NAZI stands for National Socialist Party. I think we know what Communism stands for. Neither of these two genocidal regimes did anything because of the profit motive. They killed purely for Ideology. Hitler wasted valuable resources in WWII to make sure to murder Jews. Lenin came to power during WWI on the slogan “Peace and Bread”. Unfortunately, many many more Russians died in the brutal civil war than died in WWI. The famine started almost immediately as the Bolsheviks took over. The famine got worse and then Stalin took over and the full Holodomor starved to death 20 million people. I’m afraid neither Bankers nor Wall Street were involved at all. In fact, Herbert Hoover ran a relief effort and was giving away grain to the starving Russian Communists in the 1920s. After that, it appeared that Stalin wanted the Ukrainians especially to die. They were on the wrong side of History. Remember when Obama and his idiot press secretary loved using that phrase. That phrase was used by Pravda under Stalin to let everyone know what group was going to be ‘liquidated’, you know murdered.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #35
  6. Nanda Panjandrum Member
    Nanda Panjandrum
    @

    LC (View Comment):
    When America fights a war half-heartedly, a lot of people (Cambodians, Yazidis, etc) die.

    With these words, you make us both sadder and wiser, LC…As someone else often reminds us: Lately, we win battles, not wars – and we surely don’t keep/maintain peace until it can sustain itself.

    I blame Walter Cronkite, in particular, for his relentless drumbeat of: “Vietnam [and all of Southeast Asia] is lost. Bring our troops home.”  If any people should’ve been reviled at home, ‘Uncle Walter’ and Jane Fonda top the list; John Kerry, et al. aren’t much behind them, it seems to me.  

    • #36
  7. ST Inactive
    ST
    @SimonTemplar

    LC (View Comment):

    CarolJoy (View Comment):

    What brought Khmer Rouge to power:

    Cambodia became a Cold War battlefield in 1969 when the Nixon administration began bombing roads in the east of the country that Soviet-backed North Vietnamese troops were using to transport men and supplies for their war against the U.S.-backed regime in Saigon.

    In 1970, then Prince Norodom Sihanouk was ousted in a coup led by U.S.-backed General…

     

    I’m not going to discuss the pros and cons of the various wars America has been in since the 20th century. That’s a loaded topic and it really depends on the location and the culture.

    Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge did not come to power solely because of the US bombings of Cambodia. Sihanouk nearly bankrupted the country after the French left. He was very friendly with China and was very fond of communism(this is a man who regularly hung out with Mao, Kim the Elder, and various other unsavory dictators). As a politician, he was just your typical autocrat that suppressed political dissent. The Khmer Rouge started their insurgency even before the US bombings and the coup and had plenty of help from the North Vietnamese; the Cambodian military did not counter it effectively since Sihanouk didn’t do anything about it. If there’s one thing my family and Hun Sen have in common, it’s our hatred of Sihanouk.

    As someone who has heard so much about the politics of that time from the people who lived then and there, it’s extremely hard for me to believe that communism would have spread throughout Southeast Asia without a lot of bloodshed, even without the US interfering. I truly believe Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge (or something like them) would have risen in Cambodia regardless of the US because of the true nature of communism and an awfully weak leader.

    I won’t speak for all Cambodians. I will just speak for my family. My family blames America for leaving, for fighting a war half-heartedly. When America fights a war half-heartedly, a lot of people (Cambodians, Yazidis, etc) die.

    Hear, hear!

    …, and a lot of America’s finest die for (next to) nothing too.

    I believe that a strong argument can be made that for the want of 300 million tax-dollars Southeast Asia would be a more free and prosperous region of the world today.

    The Democrats were already complicit by at least 1975 for the boat people of Vietnam and other horrendous ripple effects from the downfall of South Vietnam to the communist North.

     In 1975, Congress refused President Gerald Ford’s last-minute request to increase aid to South Vietnam by $300 million, just weeks before it fell to communist control. Few legislators had taken the request seriously; many conservative Republicans and hawkish Democrats agreed by then that Vietnam was lost and that the expenditure would have been a waste.

    Full article here.

    • #37
  8. Nanda Panjandrum Member
    Nanda Panjandrum
    @

    Sobering reading, ST.  Considering today’s maneuvering to attach a provision to pull our support in Yemen to a vote on a resolution censuring  those involved in the death of Jamal Khashoggi. The more things change…

    • #38
  9. James Gawron Inactive
    James Gawron
    @JamesGawron

    Nanda Panjandrum (View Comment):

    Sobering reading, ST. Considering today’s maneuvering to attach a provision to pull us out of Yemen to a vote on a resolution censuring those involved in the death of Jamal Khashoggi. The more things change…

    Nanda,

    We aren’t in Yemen. One of our allies Saudi Arabia is in Yemen for good reason. First, an Iranian backed Jihadist insurgency has been fostered by Tehran for over 4 years. The Houthis are a Shia minority that constitutes less than 25% of the population. With the Iranian backing and merciless Jihadist tactics, the Houthis murdered their way into the capital of Yemen. Yemen is on the southern end of the Saudi Arabian peninsula and is quite close to the Saudi capital. An Iranian puppet state that close constitutes an existential threat to the Saudis. The Saudis intervened. Let’s get clear about the humanitarian issue. When the Houthis started this insane civil war Yemen was already a very poor country the was in desperate need of aid. 

    Let’s get clear about a second concern that yes we in the west have for good reason. Yemen sits on the southern mouth of the Gulf of Suez. The Iranians are experts at disrupting shipping (see Gulf of Hormuz). If Yemen were in Iranian hands all of the shipping going through the canal would be under the threat of Iranian extortion. They’ve already done this before there is no doubt they’d do it again.

    Just because the new young Saudi King has acted like a fool is no reason to imagine that the Houthis, if they took over, wouldn’t create a bloodbath as they murdered the Sunni population of Yemen. The Iranians would immediately profit and the entire Middle East would be much less stable.

    Virtue signaling over Khasshogi is surely not real politic but if the past is prologue to the future the Jihadist Houthis will create a major crime against Humanity. Of course, the helpless civilians of Yemen aren’t western Journalists!! So who cares. Please give me a break.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #39
  10. Nanda Panjandrum Member
    Nanda Panjandrum
    @

    James Gawron (View Comment):

    Nanda Panjandrum (View Comment):

    Sobering reading, ST. Considering today’s maneuvering to attach a provision to pull us out of Yemen to a vote on a resolution censuring those involved in the death of Jamal Khashoggi. The more things change…

    Nanda,

    We aren’t in Yemen. One of our allies Saudi Arabia is in Yemen for good reason. First, an Iranian backed Jihadist insurgency has been fostered by Tehran for over 4 years. The Houthis are a Shia minority that constitutes less than 25% of the population. With the Iranian backing and merciless Jihadist tactics, the Houthis murdered their way into the capital of Yemen. Yemen is on the southern end of the Saudi Arabian peninsula and is quite close to the Saudi capital. An Iranian puppet state that close constitutes an existential threat to the Saudis. The Saudis intervened. Let’s get clear about the humanitarian issue. When the Houthis started this insane civil war Yemen was already a very poor country the was in desperate need of aid.

    Let’s get clear about a second concern that yes we in the west have for good reason. Yemen sits on the southern mouth of the Gulf of Suez. The Iranians are experts at disrupting shipping (see Gulf of Hormuz). If Yemen were in Iranian hands all of the shipping going through the canal would be under the threat of Iranian extortion. They’ve already done this before there is no doubt they’d do it again.

    Just because the new young Saudi King has acted like a fool is no reason to imagine that the Houthis, if they took over, wouldn’t create a bloodbath as they murdered the Sunni population of Yemen. The Iranians would immediately profit and the entire Middle East would be much less stable.

    Virtue signaling over Khasshogi is surely not real politic but if the past is prologue to the future the Jihadist Houthis will create a major crime against Humanity. Of course, the helpless civilians of Yemen aren’t western Journalists!! So who cares. Please give me a break.

    Regards,

    Jim

    Jim, I’m not saying I agree with any of this wrangling; or want to pull our support in Yemen, just that it ever seems to be thus.  Nothing new under the sun, etc.

    • #40
  11. James Gawron Inactive
    James Gawron
    @JamesGawron

    Nanda Panjandrum (View Comment):

    James Gawron (View Comment):

    Nanda Panjandrum (View Comment):

    Sobering reading, ST. Considering today’s maneuvering to attach a provision to pull us out of Yemen to a vote on a resolution censuring those involved in the death of Jamal Khashoggi. The more things change…

    Nanda,

    We aren’t in Yemen. One of our allies Saudi Arabia is in Yemen for good reason. First, an Iranian backed Jihadist insurgency has been fostered by Tehran for over 4 years. The Houthis are a Shia minority that constitutes less than 25% of the population. With the Iranian backing and merciless Jihadist tactics, the Houthis murdered their way into the capital of Yemen. Yemen is on the southern end of the Saudi Arabian peninsula and is quite close to the Saudi capital. An Iranian puppet state that close constitutes an existential threat to the Saudis. The Saudis intervened. Let’s get clear about the humanitarian issue. When the Houthis started this insane civil war Yemen was already a very poor country the was in desperate need of aid.

    Let’s get clear about a second concern that yes we in the west have for good reason. Yemen sits on the southern mouth of the Gulf of Suez. The Iranians are experts at disrupting shipping (see Gulf of Hormuz). If Yemen were in Iranian hands all of the shipping going through the canal would be under the threat of Iranian extortion. They’ve already done this before there is no doubt they’d do it again.

    Just because the new young Saudi King has acted like a fool is no reason to imagine that the Houthis, if they took over, wouldn’t create a bloodbath as they murdered the Sunni population of Yemen. The Iranians would immediately profit and the entire Middle East would be much less stable.

    Virtue signaling over Khasshogi is surely not real politic but if the past is prologue to the future the Jihadist Houthis will create a major crime against Humanity. Of course, the helpless civilians of Yemen aren’t western Journalists!! So who cares. Please give me a break.

    Regards,

    Jim

    Jim, I’m not saying I agree with any of this wrangling; or want to pull our support in Yemen, just that it ever seems to be thus. Nothing new under the sun, etc.

    Nanda,

    I’m not thrilled about everything either. However, we seem to be locked into a syndrome where we either “go in” with massive American troops and equipment or we “pull out” deserting the whole thing as a lost cause. I don’t think either approach really serves our interests.

    At the moment there is a push for a cease-fire. Considering the humanitarian aspect this is a good result. However, if we demonize the Saudis and live in a dream world about the wonderful Houthis we will talk ourselves into a result that will be a disaster for Yemen and the entire Middle East.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #41
  12. Nanda Panjandrum Member
    Nanda Panjandrum
    @

    James Gawron (View Comment):
    I’m not thrilled about everything either. However, we seem to be locked into a syndrome where we either “go in” with massive American troops and equipment or we “pull out” deserting the whole thing as a lost cause. I don’t think either approach really serves our interests.

    Wisdom here, Jim.  How do we get past this operational schizophrenia? (Especially the “desertion” aspect of it.)…Truly vexatious.

    • #42
  13. CarolJoy, Above Top Secret Coolidge
    CarolJoy, Above Top Secret
    @CarolJoy

    James Gawron (View Comment):

    CarolJoy (View Comment):

    James Gawron (View Comment):

    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. SNIP 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

    You say it was for no reason what so ever. Precisely so. The act of being engaged in war for year after year after year usually brutalizes people.

    Once when in 3rd grade, I came home excitedly to tell my father that the nuns at school considered him and all others who had fought for the USA in Europe against Germany to be heroes. I thought he’d accept the praise. A troubled look fell over him, and for a moment, I thought he was going to hit me. (Something he had never done before and did not do then or any other point in time.)

    He said nothing, then stated, very solemnly “The German people were led by the neck by absolute crooks. If our nation is ever taken over by such, and plunged into a war that is equally brutal, we could find ourselves just as barbaric. People who haven’t been in battle don’t understand how a person feels when their closest buddies are killed in battle. If fighting goes on for too long, eventually people snap.

    “That was a war where I was forced to kill my cousins. I will never be proud of doing that. It might have been necessary, but I am not proud of it.”

    SNIP

    Carol,

    SNIP Hitler wasted valuable resources in WWII to make sure to murder Jews. Lenin came to power during WWI on the slogan “Peace and Bread”. Unfortunately, many many more Russians died in the brutal civil war than died in WWI. The famine started almost immediately as the Bolsheviks took over. The famine got worse and then Stalin took over and the full Holodomor starved to death 20 million people. I’m afraid neither Bankers nor Wall Street were involved at all. SNIP

    Regards,

    Jim

    My father hated war. Did he find it necessary? Yes, as regards WWII. But he still didn’t like it, or admire it or feel he was a hero.

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