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“the savagery of that regime caused an actual drop of between 1.2 million and 1.8 million people.”
“The Khmer Rouge methodically hunted down former members of the Lon Nol military, civil servants, and the intelligentsia. Nearly 100,000 new people were assumed executed in the Medium and Low Series -- 50,000 in this period, 30,000 from July 1975 to January 1976, 10,000 from January 1976 to July 1976”
“So far, 20,492 mass graves dating from the Khmer Rouge regime, spread all across Cambodia, have been precisely surveyed. According to the data, these mass graves contain the remains of 1,112,829 victims of execution.[...] Because anecdotal evidence leads to the suspicion that northwestern provinces such as Battambang and Banteay Meanchey had very high rates of execution during the Khmer Rouge regime, it is expected that the estimated number of victims in the mass graves will rise significantly when the mapping surveys are finally completed. Therefore, the total number of victims identified in mass graves could eventually reach substantially higher, perhaps as high as 1.5 million.”
“The demographer Marek Sliwinski estimates that about 40% of the death toll resulted from execution, 36% from starvation, 13% from disease, and the remainder from either combat or natural causes. [...] the original Cambodian estimate of 3.3 million deaths during the Khmer Rouge regime might be very nearly correct.”
“Through 1976 and 1977 and especially in 1978 the Western press's coverage of Cambodia increased. Nonetheless, the issue never reached critical mass. I did not write enough myself. And there was no broadly based campaign of protest in the West as there was, say, over abuses of human rights in Chile.
One reason for this was the skepticism (to use a mild word) displayed by the Western left toward the stories coming out of Democratic Kampuchea. That skepticism was most fervently and frequently expressed by Noam Chomsky, the linguistic philosopher at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He asserted that from the moment of the Khmer Rouge victory in 1975 the Western press colluded with Western and anti-Communist Asian governments, notably Thailand, to produce a “vast and unprecedented” campaign of propaganda against the Khmer Rouge. Many left-wing academics and journalists took the same line. The Washington-based pressure group Indochina Resource Center, which had determinedly opposed the American war effort, now threw itself energetically into the defense of the Khmer Rouge against what it saw as vicious calumny in the media. Two of its directors, Gareth Porter and George Hildebrand, published a book, Cambodia: Starvation and Revolution, which was in effect an apology for Khmer Rouge behavior.* Such apologies by the Western left-and by many prominent American antiwar activists, Joan Baez being a notable exception-continued until Vietnam itself began publicly to denounce the Khmer Rouge.”
“Despite the fact that news items about the atrocities were carried widely by the Western press, Western governments still limited their expressions of outrage.”
Sambo met Saloth Sar that afternoon for the first time. He found him “very clean and well presented (s'aat s'orn) . . . very smooth.... I could see he was good natured (chet i'oo).... I could see immediately that he was an attractive figure (khooid kuo oy srolanh) and that I could easily become his lifelong friend.” Sar's smooth face, deep voice, and calm gestures were reassuring. He seemed to be someone who could “explain things in such a way that you came to love justice and honesty and hate corruption.”
“ look at me, am I a savage person? My conscience is clear. ”
If, indeed, postwar Cambodia is, as he believes, similar to Nazi Germany, then his comment is perhaps just, though we may add that he has produced no evidence to support this judgement. But if postwar Cambodia is more similar to France after liberation, where many thousands of people were massacred within a few months under far less rigorous conditions than those left by the American war, then perhaps a rather different judgement is in order. That the latter conclusion may be more nearly correct is suggested by the analyses mentioned earlier.
These pages report a long list of enormous crimes, sufficient tthat Chomsky and Herman must have known themselves to be lying ― the predicted extermination of all those associated in any way with the old regime, the the unexpected and unpredicted extermination of the former rich, of buddist monks, the unexpected and unpredicted terror against the intellectuals and various racial and religous minorities, and genocidally harsh conditions of overwork on very limited rations.
In 1975 Prince Sihanouk―in agreement with the Americans on this point―reckoned the number of war-dead at 600,000, to which should be added 600,000 injured. On the first anniversary of the liberation, April 17, 1976, the authorities of Kampuchea declared 800,000 dead and 240,000 disabled as a result of the war.
…we reached Battambang, the second largest city in Cambodia. A car-cemetery greeted us a few kilometers outside the town, and inside there was no spark of life. We asked the chief of the convoy for permission to spend the night in the marketplace, and were refused without explanation.Ponchaud then tells us of massacre followed by deportation, which suggests that the motive for the deportation was in part to prevent people from feeding themselves, rather than to enable the Khmer Rouge to feed them.
All the way to the frontier, which we reached around nine the next morning, the desert continued: Thmar Kaul, Mongkol Borei, Sisophon, Poipet-so many more ghost towns. Now and then we saw clouds of black smoke rising in the distant countryside, and we supposed it came from burning villages. Even the rice paddies were deserted, although it was the beginning of May, when the cultivation should have been finishing. In the whole of this ricegrowing region I saw only two tractors at work.
Where were all the people who used to live in these parts?
Near the beginning of this review he tells us
A group of modern intellectuals, formed by Western thought, primarily Marxist thought, claim to seek to return to a rustic Golden Age, to an ideal rural and national civilization. And proclaiming these ideals, they are systematically massacring, isolating, and starving city and village populations whose crime was to have been born when they wereAnd near the end he tells us these crimes were committed in the name of revolution, and asks why his fellow socialists do not indict these crimes?
He stresses the violent and supposedly unwise conduct of the Americans, but contrary to what Chomsky and Herman imply that he said, does not suggest that violence was comparable to that of the Khmer Rouge, justified the violence of the Khmer Rouge, nor caused the violence of the Khmer Rouge.