Quote: Originally Posted by spilledthebeer
Or- what price would you pay to be released from the Khymer Rouge Killing Fields set up by Pol Pot- to MURDER ONE THIRD OF THE ENTIRE COUNTRY???????????????????????
The Cambodian Killing Fields
: វាលពិឃាត, Khmer pronunciation: [ʋiəl pikʰiət]
) are a number of sites in Cambodia
where collectively more than a million people were killed and buried by the Khmer Rouge
regime, during its rule
of the country from 1975 to 1979, immediately after the end of the Cambodian Civil War
(1970–1975). The mass killings are widely regarded as part of a broad state-sponsored genocide
(the Cambodian genocide
Analysis of 20,000 mass grave sites by the DC-Cam Mapping Program and Yale University
indicate at least 1,386,734 victims of execution.
Estimates of the total number of deaths resulting from Khmer Rouge policies, including disease and starvation, range from 1.7 to 2.5 million out of a 1975 population of roughly 8 million. In 1979, Vietnam
invaded Democratic Kampuchea
and toppled the Khmer Rouge regime.
The Cambodian journalist Dith Pran
coined the term "killing fields" after his escape from the regime.
There are several competing views on the conflict. Some on the North Vietnamese
and National Liberation Front
side view the struggle against U.S. forces as a colonial war
and a continuation of the First Indochina War
against forces from France and later on the United States,
especially in light of the failed 1954 Geneva Conference
calls for elections. Other interpretations of the North Vietnamese side include viewing it as a civil war
, especially in the early and later phases following the U.S. interlude between 1965 and 1970,
as well as a war of liberation.
In the perspective of some, the Provisional Revolutionary Government of the Republic of South Vietnam
, the successor to the Việt Cộng, was motivated in part by significant social changes in the post-World War II
Vietnam, and had initially seen it as a revolutionary war
supported by Hanoi.
The pro-government side in South Vietnam
viewed it as a civil war, a defensive war against communism,
or were motivated to fight to defend their homes and families.
The U.S. government viewed its involvement in the war as a way to prevent a communist takeover of South Vietnam. This was part of the domino theory
of a wider containment
policy, with the stated aim of stopping the spread of communism.
The human costs of the long conflict were harsh for all involved. Not until 1995 did Vietnam
release its official estimate of war dead: as many as 2 million civilians on both sides and some 1.1 million North Vietnamese and Viet Cong fighters. The U.S. military has estimated that between 200,000 and 250,000 South Vietnamese soldiers died in the war. In 1982 the Vietnam Veterans Memorial
was dedicated in Washington, D.C., inscribed with the names of 57,939 members of U.S. armed forces who had died or were missing as a result of the war. Over the following years, additions to the list have brought the total past 58,200. (At least 100 names on the memorial are those of servicemen who were actually Canadian citizens.) Among other countries that fought for South Vietnam on a smaller scale, South Korea
suffered more than 4,000 dead, Thailand
about 350, Australia
more than 500, and New Zealand
some three dozen.
A Great Place to Have a War: America in Laos and the Birth of a Military CIA by Joshua Kurlantzick (Simon & Schuster) is a must read. One learns an enormous amount from this book. As a quite close observer of East Asia for more than half a century, I did not know that the CIA had provided military training to Chinese Muslims and Tibetans (to "harass" Chairman Mao's regime). What does that have to do with the war in Laos in the 1960s? Pretty much everything, for, as the author forcefully demonstrates, the CIA's covert war in Laos provided a template for secret wars in decades to come, including involvement in Afghanistan, where the CIA supported the mujahedin , and in the Iran-Contra affair in Nicaragua.
It is quite amazing that such a small place--population roughly 2.5 million at the time of the war--should have had such a huge global impact and legacy. It is even more amazing that while it was the U.S.' longest war, it has virtually disappeared from history textbooks and from most people's radar screens. A major reason is that while the Vietnam War was administered by the U.S. State Department, fought by the U.S. Armed Forces and widely covered by the media, the war in Laos was run and fought by the CIA and out-of-bounds to the media.
The "rationale" for both wars was the same. After the French defeat at Dien Bien Phu in 1954 and its abandonment of its erstwhile Indochinese colonies--Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos--violent turbulence occurred in all three countries. Following the "loss" of China to the Maoist People's Liberation Army in 1949 and with the domestic backdrop of McCarthyism in the U.S., the fight against communism became an ideological and strategic obsession. This gave rise to the "domino theory," well illustrated in then President Eisenhower's remark: "If Laos were lost, the rest of Southeast Asia would follow, and the gateway to India would be opened to communists."
Opium poppy cultivation in Southeast Asia's "Golden Triangle" has tripled since 2006 and remains the primary means of subsistence — and the drug of choice — for farmers in many parts of rural Myanmar and Laos, according to a new UN report.
The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) estimates that cultivation in the two countries rose marginally this year, up to 63,800 hectares from 61,200 hectares in 2013. The vast majority of that production — which yielded an estimated 762 tons of opium and, after refinement, 76 tons of heroin — took place in Myanmar's Shan state.
Shan includes parts of the so-called "Golden Triangle," a lawless region along the border with Laos and Thailand. The state is notorious for its turbulence amid the simmering, half-century long civil war with the government in Yangon.