The media love comparing Iraq to the Vietnam War. So why didn't Reuters relate Iraq to this July 31 story about a joint Cambodian-UN tribunal that charged one of Pol Pot's top henchmen with crimes against humanity related to the deaths of 1.7 million people in that country's “Killing Fields?”
They also like to link America's actions to unpleasant world events. So why not even mention how the US pulling out of Vietnam and Congress halting aid to Vietnam and Cambodia, allowed the rise of Pol Pot's brutal and deadly communist Khmer Rouge regime that killed, tortured and displaced millions? Maybe take it a step further and connect it to what might happen if the US follows the wishes of many Democrats and withdraws from Iraq too soon?
The tribunal charged Duch with the deaths of 1.7 million people after confessing to “committing multiple atrocities during this (sic) time as head of the capital's notorious Tuol Sleng or S-21 interrogation center.” (emphasis mine throughout):
At least 14,000 people deemed to be opponents of Pol Pot's "Year Zero" revolution passed through Tuol Sleng's barbed-wire gates. Fewer than 10 are thought to have lived to tell the tale.
Most victims were tortured and forced to confess to a variety of crimes -- mainly being CIA spies -- before being bludgeoned to death in a field on the outskirts of the city. Women, children and even babies were among those butchered.
In addition to avoiding the obvious link to Iraq, Reuters omitted a few basic details in this article. There was no mention that it was a genocide tribunal; in fact, the word “genocide” wasn't even used. It mentioned that Duch became a born-again Christian, but not that he was a communist in a communist government. Perhaps some of this is because the reporter might not be a native-English speaker.
Reuters addressed a familiar theme, by stating “(m)ost victims were tortured and killed after being forced to confess to being CIA spies.” Without American money to buy influence and bullets, the insurgents took power in Cambodia and millions of people were killed for their real or imagined connection to the US.
Now I see quite a resemblance to modern-day Iraq, but in what must be a record, a member of the media didn't exploit a Vietnam connection to our modern-day “quagmire” in Iraq. There was also no mention that nearly one fourth of the Cambodian population died after our disengagement. I wonder why.
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