The Khmer Rouge, the Killing Fields, U.S. relations, and justice
The Khmer Rouge, the Killing Fields, U.S. Relations and Justice"You should also tell the Cambodians (i.e., Khmer Rouge) that we will be friends with them. They are murderous thugs, but we won’t let that stand in our way. We are prepared to improve relations with them. Tell them the latter part, but don’t tell them what I said before.” - Henry Kissinger, The Secretary's Dining Room, November 26, 1975“We will burn the old grass and the new will grow.” - Pol Pot, leader of Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge (1975 - 1979)Today, August 7, 2014 two of the most senior surviving leaders of the Khmer Rouge dictatorship, Khieu Samphan, and Nuon Chea, were found guilty of crimes against humanity and sentenced to life in prison.
On July 26, 2010 Kaing Guek Eav whose revolutionary name “Duch” was obtained in the 1970s with the Khmer Rouge and oversaw the infamous S-21 prison was found guilty of war crimes in Cambodia and sentenced to 35 years in prison by the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC).
The Khmer Rouge murdered a quarter of the entire population of Cambodia in under four years. Between 1975 and 1979 nearly 2 million people were killed. Thirty five years later and finally there is a measure of justice for the dead and their loved ones. Justice may have been delayed but it was not denied.
Nevertheless, for what were called strategic reasons at the time Secretary of State Henry Kissinger engaged in diplomatic outreach in 1975 with the Khmer Rouge who he himself recognized were murderous thugs and this "friendship" was maintained through the Carter years.
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