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US invloved in Cambodian deaths

John Morrison's letter ["Do not forget Cambodian atrocities," Sept. 15] is a fitting admonishment for a society whose opinions are manufactured by a highly profitable and selective industry called "the media." Morrison is to be commended for taking the time to find out what is going on in Cambodia and expressing his outrage to a historically effective organization like the United Nations. Outrage is hard to come by. I would suggest, however, that as he digs a little deeper, he will become more outraged.

He would discover that the 1975-1979 rule of the Khmer Rouge is only half of the period known as the "Decade of Genocide," which resulted in approximately 500,000 to 1 million deaths from 1970 to 1975, and approximately 750,000 after the Khmer Rouge peasant forces seized power in 1975. Morrison's figure of "2 or 3 million" from 1975-1979 is a fabrication of the US media, according to an article by Noam Chomsky.

He would discover that his opinion on this issue was engineered by a media that did not see fit to cover the devastation of the 1970-1975 war -- devastation largely related to the 1969 bombing of Cambodian villages and farmlands. Like the bombings of North and South Vietnam -- the most massive in the history of warfare -- and Laos, and other covert activities, this bombing was intended to destroy the fabric of Cambodian society and consequently, nationalist resistance. This bombing resulted in mass starvation, a significant contributor to the above-mentioned casualty figures. Are we to bomb the hell out of a society and then call them violent?

Few would disagree that those responsible should be held accountable. But any discussion of the issue which does not take into account the major US covert military and paramilitary activity in the region is naive at best, and at worst helps the US propaganda machine, for want of a less overused term, to obscure the issues. And now that the United States ranks with China as a major, if indirect, supporter of the Khmer Rouge, it becomes clear that a search for accountability must begin within our own borders.

Joel Gwynn '89->