- Capitalism and Alternatives -

A few facts on Cambodia...

Posted by: Gideon Hallett ( UK ) on April 27, 1999 at 19:10:00:

In Reply to: Should we do less, or more? posted by Nikhil Jaikumar on April 27, 1999 at 10:02:47:

: : : You must all realize that NATO had to choose the best of two evils. Should they let the horrible "ethnic cleansing" continue, or try to stop it? Yes it is true innocent people are being killed because of the bombs, and we are facing another refuge crisis, but would you rather have all of those people dead? Do you remember the last time we turned a "blind eye" to "ethnic cleansing"? Does the name Hitler ring a bell??
: : : The fact of the matter is there are carzy people in this world, some are teen-agers, others are presidents. When the daily news gets me down, I read Alice in Wonderland again, and realize, nothing is new.

: : Actually, if you look at the evidence, WWII Germany certainly wasn't the last time we saw "ethnic cleansing" (I prefer the simple term "genocide") used.

: I don't get your point. just because the US had done wroing in teh past, why shoudl that prevent us from doing the right thing now. Are you arguing that the US should not ahve supported Suharto and Pinochet? If so, then I totally agree. But why does that imply that today we should not try and prevent ethnic cleansing in Kosovo?

My point is that the original poster was wrong to think of the Nazis as the last genocide in Western history; that, in fact, the West has contributed indirectly and covertly to more genocide than the Third Reich ever did.

I'm not saying that we shouldn't act to prevent genocide in Kosova. I am saying that viewing the West as selfless champions in this is incorrect, as we had been providing tacit support for Milosevic's plans for the former Yugoslavia.

I do not believe that bombing "solves" this crisis; indeed, I think that UN-backed multilateral action, rather than bombing, would have saved many Kosovar lives, as well as inflicting less suffering on largely innocent Serbs (such as the 50% of Novi Sad who currently have no fresh drinking water and are facing starvation due to our raids; in what way does starving a population into submission make them hostile to Milosevic?).

That's largely an academic "what if...?" now; what's done is done. However, I believe that a negotiated settlement in which Russia is fully involved under UN auspices is the only way of getting a lasting peace there. Furthermore, as military targets become more elusive, NATO's remit is being widened to hit other targets; this has a much higher risk of civilian casualties.

: : Then, how about Cambodia. Same story; the killing fields of Cambodia saw the US supporting genocide on a scale that makes Kosovo seem like small beer.

: This is ridiculous. The right blames Pol Pot on the left, the left blames him on the right. Both sides have a point, but why is it necessary to put the blame on a cause or a country? Pol Pot was a fanatical character who could arise pretty much anywhere. The fact taht he refrred to some bastardized leftist ideology doesn't amke hima leftist, nor does the fact that he came to power after the Americans bombed Cambodia make him an American stooge.

To quote John Pilger on the subject (in his article "The Long Secret Alliance: Uncle Sam and Pol Pot.");

"The US not only helped to create conditions that brought Cambodia's Khmer Rouge to power in 1975, but actively supported the genocidal force, politically and financially. By January 1980, the US was secretly funding Pol Pot's exiled forces on the Thai border. The extent of this support -- $85million from 1980-86 -was revealed 6years later in correspondence between congressional lawyer Jonathon Winer, then counsel to Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation."

"In 1981, Pres. 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(KR) through Thailand." "

You can find the whole article at http://caq.com/CAQ/caq62/caq62PolPot.html

: If balme must be placed anywhere, then we should probably direct it neither at the US nor at "Communism", but specifically at the deeply fucked up model of maoist China, which Pol Pot claimed to be trying to emulate, and which backed him for years.

Well, what the Khmer Rouge said was:

"We are not communists ... we are revolutionaries" who do not 'belong to the commonly accepted grouping of communist Indochina."

I'll have a go at the rest tomorrow when I've got more time...


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