, for us to accuse the Cambodians of being indifferent to life when, for so many years, Cambodian lives made so little difference to us.”


With this context, it is possible to consider Floyd’s analogy with appropriate scorn:

“Blaming the US for Cambodia's poor public health at that time is like blaming British or French foreign policy for low food production in the state of Georgia in the year 1864.”

Perhaps if Britain or France had access to late 20th Century military technology and had barbarically used same on Georgia between 1858 and 1864 his comment would note be quite so embarrassing.

Since U.S. complicity in the devastation of Cambodia during the first half of the 1970’s is an uncontroversial fact to all except the most dedicated nationalists, it is interesting to consider the predictions of “Cambodia watchers” prior to the knowledge of any Khmer Rouge atrocities.

A U.S. A.I.D. report from April 1975 stated:

“Slave labor and starvation rations for half the nation's people (probably heaviest among those who supported the republic) will be a cruel necessity for this year, and general deprivation and suffering will stretch over the next two or three years before Cambodia can get back to rice self-sufficiency." (quoted in Sideshow: Kissinger, Nixon and the Destruction of Cambodia, William Shawcross, 1979)

The Washington Post’s John Rogers wrote on 6/23/1975:

“Diplomats and officials of international relief organizations . . . point to the food crisis in Phnom Penh in the months preceding the Khmer Rouge victory as a further indicator of what must be happening now. . . . [O]ne relief official [said,] "When you look at the facts, it's difficult to believe there is not mass starvation."

In an editorial for the 7/25/75 Far Eastern Economic Review we find a dire prediction from a high source:

“Kissinger has been actively leaking White House intelligence on the tragic sufferings of the Cambodian people, including predictions that one million Cambodians will die in the next 12 months”

Most of the material cited above is left out of discussions of the Cambodian genocide for the typical reason of protecting the reputation of U.S foreign policy in the eyes of the people who pay the bills.

Posted by: MB at March 3, 2003 09:39 AM
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