To the Editor:
In all the hubbub about the death of Pol Pot, neither the U.S. government nor the American news media have seen fit to mention that
- this mass murderer was supported for fifteen years by the United States.
- the U.S. bombing of Cambodia during 1970-75 killed as many or more Cambodians as Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge ever did;
- Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge were not Communists.
These last two facts have been documented by anti-communist researchers (see “Who Is and Was Really Responsible for Genocide in Cambodia? Pol Pot Was Not and Is Not A Communist,”). For example: The Khmer Rouge not communist? Yes, by their own statement:
“We are not communists … we are revolutionaries” who do not ‘belong to the commonly accepted grouping of communist Indochina.”(Ieng Sary, 1977, quoted by Vickery, Cambodia: 1978-1983, p. 288).
As for how many were killed by American bombing, Zasloff and Brown, in Problems of Communism, Jan.-Feb. 1979, write of the “heavy toll in lives” which “the enormous U.S. bombing and the intensity of the fighting” caused before 1975, and imply the Khmer Rouge claims of 600,000 to “more than 1 million” dead are credible. (These two authors are dedicated anti-Communists who did much research for the U.S. government during the Vietnam War.)
U.S. support of Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge is thoroughly documented in an article in CAQ magazine (formerly Covert Action Quarterly) by Australian journalist John Pilger, “The Long Secret Alliance: Uncle Sam and Pol Pot.“* Some quotations from that article:
“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 — $85 million from 1980-86 — was revealed 6 years later in correspondence between congressional lawyer Jonathan 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.”
“In 1980, under US pressure, the World Food Program handed over food worth $12 million to the Thai Army to pass on to the KR. According to former Assistant Secretary of State Richard Holbrooke,’20,000 to 40,000 Pol Pot guerrillas benefited. This aid helped restore the KR to a fighting force, based in Thailand, from which it destabilized Cambodia for more than a decade.'”
“In 1982, the US and China, supported by Singapore, invented the Coalition of the Democratic Government of Kampuchea, which was, as Ben Kiernan pointed out, neither a coalition, nor democratic, nor a government, not in Kampuchea. Rather, it was what the CIA calls a ‘master illusion.’ … Cambodia’s former ruler, Prince Norodom Sihanouk, was appointed its head; otherwise little changed. The KR dominated the two “non-communist” members, the Sihanoukists and the Khmer Peoples’ National Liberation Front (KPNLF). From his office at the UN, Pol Pot’s ambassador, the urbane Thereon Parish, continued to speak for Cambodia. A close associate of Pol Pot, he had in 1975 called on Khmer expatriates to return home, whereupon many of them disappeared.”
(I have also put another article from Covert Action Information Bulletin No. 34, Summer 1990, on this subject: Jack Colhoun, “On the side of Pol Pot: U.S. Supports Khmer Rouge“.*
The United States government pressured the United Nations to retain Pol Pot’s representative as the “official” representative of Cambodia to the UN, to keep the pro-Vietnamese government out.
During the past year or two the Khmer Rouge guerrilla forces have begun to disintegrate, and Pol Pot’s usefulness to the Western imperialists has evaporated. Therefore the U.S. government has talked vaguely about putting Pol Pot on trial for genocide. His death last week spared the imperialists a potentially embarrassing situation.
What does this all mean for us?
1. There is no substitute for real communism — egalitarian, anti-racist, based on class interests, anti-nationalist. Pol Pot’s nationalism — based upon “peasant” radicalism, anti-Vietnamese racism, and anti-communism — created a nightmare state in which hundreds of thousands of Cambodians, including Communists, who had opportunistically entered into an alliance with them against French and American imperialists, were slaughtered.
2. The western imperialists, the U.S. among them, are the biggest mass murderers in history.
3. The mass media usually play the role of unofficial mouthpiece for government propaganda. What they write about communism, “human rights”, and so on, is normally false. Do not drink water from a poisoned well! Don’t believe anything they say.