Vietnam War Quotes
"Better kill ten innocent people than let one enemy escape!"-Vietnamese communist slogan, recorded in Nguyen Manh Tuong, “Concerning Mistakes Committed in Land Reform,” speech to the National Congress of the Fatherland Front, Hanoi, October 30, 1956, in Hoang Van Chi, ed., The New Class in North Vietnam [Saigon: Cong Dan, 1958]
“... we had to make the people suffer, suffer until they could no longer endure it. Only then would they carry out the Party’s armed policy.” - Senior Viet Cong defector (Jeffrey Race, War Comes to Long An [University of California Press, 1972], p. 112)
“We’ve been worse than Pol Pot, but the outside world knows nothing.” - Vietnamese communist boast (Nguyen Van Canh, Vietnam Under Communism, 1975-1982 [Hoover Institution Press, 1983], p. 207)
“Ho Chi Minh may have been an evil man; Nixon may have been a great man. The Americans may have had the just cause; we may not have had the just cause. But we won and the Americans were defeated because we convinced the people that Ho Chi Minh is the great man, that Nixon is a murderer, and the Americans are the invaders... The key factor is how to control people and their opinions. Only Marxism-Leninism can do that.” - Mai Chi Tho, Vietnamese communist politician (New York Times Magazine, March 29, 1981)
“In the new Kampuchea, one million is all we need to continue the revolution. We don’t need the rest. We prefer to kill ten friends rather than keep one enemy alive.” - Khmer Rouge slogan (Pin Yathay, Stay Alive, My Son [Touchstone, 1987], p. 148)
“[If every soldier kills 25 Vietnamese], we will need only 2 million troops to crush the 50 million Vietnamese; and we still would have 6 million people left.” - Khmer Rouge broadcast (Stephen J. Morris, Why Vietnam Invaded Cambodia [Stanford University Press, 1999], p. 104)
“I saw the extreme horror, and I wondered what kind of regime this was, that had no other method than to repress and annihilate its people. It took them to 'people’s courts' and shot them on the scene without a fair trial and even without any evidence. The land reform campaign was a crime of genocide like that of Pol Pot." - North Vietnamese dissident Tran Manh Hao
“Suppose that their [i.e., American] postwar estimates [that more than one million people will be killed by the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia] are correct. Since the situation at the war’s end is squarely the responsibility of the United States, so are the million or so deaths that were predicted as a direct result of that situation.” - Far-left anti-war activist and genocide-denier Noam Chomsky (After the Cataclysm (South End Press, 1979), p162)
"No event in American history is more misunderstood than the Vietnam War. It was misreported then, and it is misremembered now. Rarely have so many people been so wrong about so much. Never have the consequences of their misunderstanding been so tragic." - President Richard Nixon in No More Vietnams
“When I was a young professor in the fifties at Harvard, where 99.9% of the people on the faculty were Democrats—I can remember only one Republican that I knew—the people in political science had faculty meetings…No one ever attacked the government for being a criminal activity. Nobody said, ‘they like to go to war; they’re blood-dripping!’ Sometime in the sixties, the idea developed that the government itself was an evil enterprise, that they lied professionally to the American people, and that the purpose of intellectuals was to negate the government rather than be constructive….Everybody working in government goes through the long hours and all the other pressures [associated with the job] because he or she would like to make a contribution to a better world.” - Secretary of State Henry Kissinger
“Vietnam appears determined to expel virtually all the members of its ethnic Chinese minority.” - "Hanoi Regime Resolved to Oust Nearly All Ethnic Chinese"
"Kill all the rich people. Break up their cars and apartments. Bring the revolution home, kill your parents, that's where it's really at." - Left-wing "anti-war" terrorist Bill Ayers in 1969
"I'm not so much against the war as I am for a Vietnamese victory. I'm not so much for peace as for a U.S. defeat." - Ayers
“I was very frightened when I saw the Khmer Rouge saw off the neck of a civilian with the sharp edge of sugar palm leaves. They spent three days cutting his head off. They sawed a little one morning, and then in the evening, and finally the following day in the morning and night. They made the victim stand up while they were cutting in front of hundreds of people living in the Khmer Rouge area. Then they held him up when he could stand no longer.” - Cambodian refugee from the civil war
"[This Council condemns Vietnam for] its acts of aggression against Democratic Kampuchea, ... acts which cause serious damage to the lives and property of the Kampuchean people." - The UN on the "illegal," unilateral Vietnamese invasion of Cambodia
"The atrocities in Cambodia are a direct and understandable response to the violence of the imperial system." - Chomsky, After the Cataclysm, p191
“Once the evidence of Indochinese Communist behavior began to accumulate, there were three possible responses for those in the West who had been helping to give history a push: the first was to admit the facts and hence the error of their past political position, and work to eradicate the evil they had mistakenly contributed to; this has been the response of most of the democratic left in France. The second possible response to the evidence was to admit what was going on, but to try and justify it, usually with some form of bizarre moral relativism. This was the response of America’s new political liberals. The third possible response was to deny evidence of repression, either totally or in part, and thereby retain one’s pride and prejudice. The American radical left, with Professor Noam Chomsky in the vanguard, has taken this third course.” - Stephen Morris, Harvard International Review, Dec-Jan 1981
"Just consider how the Khmer Rouge controlled personal relations. They made showing love to a relative or laughing with them dangerous, since they might perceive this as showing less dedication to, or poking fun at, the Great Revolution. It was even dangerous to use some term of endearment, such as "honey," "sweetheart," or "dearest," for a loved one. The doctor Haing Ngor tried to so refer to his wife, for example, and a spy overheard and reported him for this, as well as the fact that he had eaten food he picked in the forest, instead of bringing it into the village for communal eating. The local head cadre interrogated him about these sins, and told him, "The chhlop [informers] say that you call your wife 'sweet.' We have no 'sweethearts' here. That is forbidden." Soldiers then took him to a prison where cadre severally tortured him, cut off his finger, and sliced his ankle with a hatchet. He barely survived. This deadly communist revolution created pitiful human dilemmas. Think about what this same doctor Haing Ngor went through when his wife suffered life-threatening complications during childbirth. To help her deliver her baby would mean death, since the Khmer Rouge forbid husbands from delivering their wive's babies. In any case, to use his medical skills to save her would in effect tell the cadre that he was a doctor, and would result in his death, and possibly that of his wife and newborn child. To do nothing might mean their death anyway; still, if he did nothing, the wife might pull through. He chose to do nothing, and perhaps he could do nothing anyway since he had no proper medical instruments. Mother and baby soon both died, then, leaving a gaping wound in his heart that never healed." - Rummel
"It was. . . of Tan Samay, a high schoolteacher from Battambang. The Khmer Rouge accused him of incompetence. The only thing taught the children at the village was how to cultivate the soil. Maybe Tan Samay was trying to teach them other things, too, and that was his downfall. His pupils hanged him. A noose was passed around his neck; then the rope was passed over the branch of a tree. Half a dozen children between eight and ten years old held the loose end of the rope, pulling it sharply three or four times, dropping it in between. All the while they were shouting, "Unfit teacher! Unfit teacher!" until Tan Samay was dead. The worst was that the children took obvious pleasure in killing." - Buddhist monk Hem Samluat's description of an execution he witnessed in the village of Do Nauy
"Not only did the Khmer Rouge run amok massacring their people, but also everywhere the Khmer Rouge tried to destroy the very heart of peasant life. Hinayana Buddhism had been a state religion, and the priesthood of monks with their saffron robes was a central part of Cambodian culture. Some 90 percent of Cambodians believed in some form of Buddhism. Many received a rudimentary schooling from the monks, and many young people became monks for part of their lives. The Khmer Rouge could not allow so powerful an institution to stand and therefore set out with vigor to destroy it. They exterminated all leading monks and either murdered or defrocked the lesser ones. One estimate is that out of 40,000 to 60,000 monks only 800 to 1,000 survived to carry on their religion. We do know that of 2,680 monks in eight monasteries, merely seventy were alive in 1979. As for the Buddhist temples that populated the landscape of Cambodia, the Khmer Rouge destroyed 95 percent of them, and turned the few remaining into warehouses or allocated them for some other degrading use. Amazingly, in the very short span of a year or so, the small gang of Khmer Rouge wiped out the center of Cambodian culture, its spiritual incarnation, its institutions. This was an act of genocide within the larger Cambodian democide, and it was not the only one. In most if not all the country, simply being of Chinese, Vietnamese, Thai, or Lao ancestry meant death. As part of a planned genocide campaign, the Khmer Rouge sought out and killed other minorities, such as the Moslem Cham. In the district of Kompong Xiem, for example, they demolished five Cham hamlets and reportedly massacred 20,000 that lived there; in the district of Koong Neas only four Cham apparently survived out of some 20,000. The cadre threw the Cham Grand Mufti, their spiritual leader, into boiling water and then hit him on the head with an iron bar. They beat another leader, the First Mufti, to death, tortured and disemboweled the Second Mufti, and murdered by starvation in prison the Chairman of the Islamic Association of Kampuchea (Cambodia). Overall, the Khmer Rouge annihilated nearly half--about 125,000--of all the Cambodian Cham. As to the other minorities, the Khmer Rouge also slaughtered about 200,000 ethnic Chinese, almost half of those in Cambodia--a calamity for ethnic Chinese in this part of the world unequaled in modern times--additionally, they murdered 3,000 Protestants and 5,000 Catholics; around 150,000 ethnic Vietnamese (over half); and 12,000 ethnic Thai out of 20,000. One Cambodian peasant, Heng Chan, whose wife was of Vietnamese descent, lost not only his wife, but also five sons, three daughters, three grandchildren, and sixteen of his wife's relatives. In this genocide, the Khmer Rouge probably murdered 541,000 Chinese, Chams, Vietnamese, and other minorities." - Rummel
"I questioned this bitch who came back from France...my activity was that I set fire to her ass until it became a burned-out mess. Then I beat her to the point that she was so turned around I couldn't get any answer out of her; she [finally] croaked, ending her answers...." - A Khmer Rouge "interrogator"
"Along with Vickery's theory of a 'peasant revolution', we can now dismiss Thion's assertion that in Democratic Kampuchea, 'The state never stood on its feet.' Despite its underdeveloped economy, the regime probably exerted more power over its citizens than any state in world history. It controlled and directed their public lives more closely than any government had ever done." - Ben Kiernan, The Pol Pot Regime (1996)
"The Khmer Rouge were tipping out patients [from the hospitals] like garbage into the streets.... Bandaged men and women hobbled by the embassy. Wives pushed wounded soldier husbands on hospital beds on wheels, some with serum drips still attached. In five years of war, this is the greatest caravan of human misery I have ever seen." – Description of the evacuation of Pnohm Penh
"The Cambodian communists' economic plans were, at times, utterly surreal. Scholar David Chandler notes that, in a Democratic Kampuchea report on General Political Tasks of 1976, there are three lines devoted to education, and six devoted to urine. The document states that, regarding human urine, "We collect thirty per cent. That leaves a surplus of 70%." These were indicative of the types of policies that Chomsky and Herman claimed had lifted Cambodia out of the ashes of war." - Bruce Sharp, "Averaging Wrong Answers"
"The Khmer Rouge took children away from their parents and made them live and work in labor brigades. If the children died of fatigue or disease, the cadre were good enough to inform their parents; then, what emotion the parents showed could mean their life or death. If they wept or displayed extreme unhappiness, this showed a bourgeois sentimentality--after all, their children had sacrificed themselves for the Great Revolution and the parents should be proud, not unhappy. Similarly, a wife expressing grief over an executed husband--an enemy of the Great Revolution--was explicitly criticizing the Khmer Rouge. This unforgivable act of bourgeois sentimentality could mean her death." - Rummel
"Everyone knows about the war waged by the United States in Cambodia from 1970 to 1975. But very few people know about or understand the war that it is waging today against that country, which now calls itself Democratic Kampuchea. The war is being fought on many fronts. But it is mainly a propaganda war, a consciously organized, well-financed campaign to spread lies and misinformation about Kampuchea since the victory of its revolution in 1975. … The most slanderous of all charges leveled against Kampuchea is that of 'mass genocide,' with figures often cited running into the millions of people. I believe this is a lie, which certain opinion-makers in this country believe can be turned into a 'fact' by repeating it often enough." - The New York Times, November 21, 1978
"In Chomsky's condescending view, if the media was right about the Khmer Rouge, it was only because their "lies" happened to match the truth by pure coincidence." - Sharp, "Averaging Wrong Answers"
"Barron and Paul...rely on 'specialists' at the State and Defense Departments...Elsewhere in the media, similiar figures are bandied about, with equal credibility." - Chomsky, 1977
"You might recall, perhaps, that we were probably the only commentators to rely on the most knowledgeable source, State Department intelligence." - Chomsky, 2002, on Znet
"Once, I was in a boat steaming up a narrow river, just off the Great Lake. I was being taken to see a fishery in one of the richest of the fishing areas. Along with rice, fish is a staple food in Cambodia and the most important source of protein. Long before our old boat came around the bend of the river, an extraordinary smell came wafting out to greet us. The river was jammed with hundreds of thousands of dead fish, packed tight as ice floes. What had happened? I asked. 'Pol Pot' came the reply. It turned out that the Khmer Rouge had built a huge dam just upstream from here and the water in this ancient fishing village was now far shallower than it had ever been before. In the heat of the dry-season sun the fish had, quite simply, cooked." - William Shawcross, in The Quality of Mercy, p.283
"... it is not only because I once argued for the victory of this very regime, and feel myself partially guilty for what is happening under it, that I believe I can say: there is a time, when a great crime is taking place, when it is better to speak out, in whatever company, than to remain silent." - Jean Lacouture on Cambodia
"I shall never forget one cripple who had neither hands nor feet, writhing along the ground like a severed worm, or a weeping father carrying his ten-year old daughter wrapped in a sheet tied around his neck like a sling, or the man with his foot dangling at the end of a leg to which it was attached by nothing but skin." - Description of the death march from Pnhom Penh (Cambodia Year Zero, pp.6-7)
"The object of this disgraceful exercise cannot be to convince the reader that the arguments offered are actually true. Rather, the goal is to affect the reader’s emotional attitude, by dulling his or her sense of outrage on contemplating millions of tortured and mutilated corpses brought about by the radical movement that campaigned for a communist victory in Indochina. In this task, the book is eminently successful, not unlike the works of Holocaust denial that serve as its echo and mirror image." –Paul Bogdanor, reviewing Chomsky’s After the Cataclysm
"On Cambodia, Chomsky and Herman quietly abandon their earlier view that the Khmer Rouge had killed only 25,000, that its crimes had been inflated by “a factor of 100” and that Pol Pot’s brutality had “saved many lives”. Now they try to equate American bombing with communist genocide, arguing that “the responsibility of the United States and Pol Pot for atrocities” in Cambodia is “roughly in the same range”. They generate this conclusion by a remarkable sleight of hand. First, they give estimates of 500,000-600,000 dead in the civil war (1970-5) (p. 263), more than twice the real figure. Second, they attribute the civil war deaths - all deaths, both military and civilian, on all sides - to American bombing (p. 260), in truth only a minor factor. Third, they reduce the toll of Khmer Rouge atrocities (1975-9) to 750,000-1 million (p. 263), only half of the actual number. Finally, they maintain that the starvation component of this toll “must be attributed to the conditions left by the US war” (p. 263), and not to the Khmer Rouge policy of enslaving the whole population while abolishing medicine and hospitals and rejecting food aid in the midst of a government-created famine. Doubtless unfairly, I am reminded of the techniques of Holocaust deniers, who exaggerate the cost of Allied bombing and then attribute Jewish deaths in the camps to starvation and disease caused by the war against the Nazis." – Bogdanor reviewing Chomsky’s Manufacturing Consent
"After many years, I came to the conclusion that everything he says is false. He will lie just for the fun of it. Every one of his arguments was tinged and coded with falseness and pretense. It was like playing chess with extra pieces. It was all fake." - Paul Postal on Chomsky (The New Yorker, March 31, 2003)
"Speaking on this occasion, Noam Chomsky, Douglas Dowd and Richard Fernandez vehemently condemned the U.S imperialists' crimes against the Vietnamese people in both zones and demanded that the U.S. authorities bring immediately all U.S. troops home. They paid profound tribute to President Ho Chi Minh and expressed their admiration for the Vietnamese people engaged in a ‘just struggle’ for independence and freedom, and their confidence in the latter’s certain victory." – Official North Vietnamese press release, 1970.
Nixon: Isn’t a person a person, ...? You know, they talk about Vietnam, ‘these people far away that we don’t know,’ and you remember Chamberlain talking about the Czechs, that they’re far away and we don’t know them very well? Well,... people are people! … I’m getting tired of this business of letting these Africans beat a hundred thousand people to death and do nothing about it.
Kissinger: And all these bleeding hearts in this country who say we like to kill yellow people…
Nixon: That’s right!
Kissinger: There haven’t been as many killed [by the US military] in eight years of the war than were killed in three months in Burundi.
Nixon: …They’re talking about how many we have bombed in the North. And I told your staff to get the figures for me: How many South Vietnamese or anti-Communist North Vietnamese have been killed by the North Vietnamese government? Civilians! How many? It’s unbelievable! Nobody gives a damn! … We need a new African policy. We shouldn’t have 42 ambassadors to these [expletive] countries. Looking at Uganda, of course we have to help those 7,000 people! – President Nixon and Henry Kissinger discussing current events, September 24, 1972, from The Nixon Tapes
"…The evidence is that in Cambodia the much-heralded blood bath that was supposed to follow the fall of Phnom Penh has not taken place. As for Vietnam, reports from Saigon indicate exemplary behavior, considering the situation. ‘There has been no evidence of a blood bath…as [was] so freely predicted abroad,’ writes George Esper of the A.P." – The Nation, editorial, June 14, 1975
"If, indeed, postwar Cambodia is, as he believes, similar to Nazi Germany, then his comment is perhaps just, though we may add that he has produced no evidence to support this judgement. But if postwar Cambodia is more similar to France after liberation, where many thousands of people were massacred within a few months under far less rigorous conditions than those left by the American war, then perhaps a rather different judgement is in order. That the latter conclusion may be more nearly correct is suggested by the analyses mentioned earlier." - The Nation, "Distortions at Fourth Hand," 1977
"During the rule of the Khmer Rouge, some three million people were terminated with extreme prejudice." - The Nation, movie review of The Killing Fields, 1984
"Even before the fall of Saigon, the Vietnamese had to think about life in South Vietnam under Hanoi's rule and act accordingly. They were the ones who had to pay with their lives and liberties for any error of judgment. If they bet on a "bloodbath" and exiled themselves and there was "peace" and "reconciliation" they would have lost a home and a homeland for nothing. If they believed in the Communist promise of "reconciliation" and stayed in Vietnam, they might find themselves in a concentration camp today. It was a matter of life and death for thousands of South Vietnamese, not for comfortable democratic armchair intellectual speculation." - Le Thi Ahn, "Let the Vietnamese Speak for Themselves"
"Mr. President, putting it bluntly, wouldn't we just be continuing a bloodbath that already exists in Cambodia if we voted the 222 million [in aid]?" - Reporter to US President Gerald Ford, 1975
"You know the John Lennon song ‘Imagine’? ‘Imagine no possessions, no religion’? That’s what it was like in Cambodia. The only thing people had was a spoon, for eating the daily pourridge. And that pourridge was grossly insufficient for the work they were made to do in the fields." - Sophal Ear
“Ear reminds us of all the Western intellectuals who loved — loved, loved, loved — the Khmer Rouge. … Ear shows us pictures of the “Kampuchea Conference” that took place in Stockholm, in 1979. The purpose of the conference was to promote the restoration of the Khmer Rouge to power! Jan Myrdal was the keynote speaker — the famous intellectual who is the son of Gunnar and Alva. Ear also quotes Noam Chomsky, and others. Chomsky is still making moral and political pronouncements today, and so is Myrdal. Being on the left means never having to say you’re sorry. They just glide on...” - Jay Nordlinger, National Review Online, 2010
"The revolution in Kampuchea marks the beginning of the greatest and most necessary change beginning to convulse the world in the latter 20th century to shift it from a disaster-bound course to one holding out the promise of a better future for all." - Malcolm Caldwell, Kampuchea, p.45.
"The forethought, ingenuity, dedication and eventual triumph of the liberation forces in the face of extreme adversity and almost universal foreign skepticism, detachment, hostility and even outright sabotage ought to have been cause for worldwide relief and congratulation rather than the disbelief and execration with which it was in fact greeted. . . But if manipulators have a very good reason to distort and obscure the truth we do not. Indeed we have a clear obligation to establish and propagate it with every resource at out command." - Caldwell, Kampuchea, p.46
"The conclusions which Caldwell draws are so distanced from reality as to make them unrecognizable." - Ear, The Khmer Rouge Canon
"Irvine derived from the Television News Index and Abstracts a statistical table on media coverage of human rights in Chile, South Korea, North Korea, Cuba and Cambodia. The news organizations covered were the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the three television networks, ABC, CBS, and NBC in 1976. The findings were startling. In table 4.1, the reader will see that, contrary to the Porter-Hildebrand-Chomsky-Herman claims, the New York Times and Washington Post published four and nine stories on human rights in Cambodia, respectively. According to table 4.1, Chile received more than eight times the coverage "on human rights problems" as did Cambodia. South Korea was covered merely 5.6 times more often. The total allocation of media resources to Cambodia paled in comparison to the massive campaign against Chile and South Korea, two non-communist countries. Perhaps the reason why Chomsky and Herman used anecdotal evidence to prove their theories was because they knew that aggregate analysis would show they were wrong." - Ear, ibid.
"To the contrary, if Nixon blamed himself for anything, it was for having left Cambodia to the Khmer Rouge partly because of Watergate." - Ear, ibid.
"If you don't do what they say, you die." - Former Tuol Sleng guard
"The shame, alone, would have justified that this book be written--which is firstly a cry of horror. The shame of having contributed, even as little as it was, as weak as its influence could have been on the mass media, to the establishment of one of the most oppressive powers history has ever known." - Lacouture, Survive le peuple cambodgien! (1978), p.5
"Nothing could be more natural than that the press should rise up to denounce violations of human rights in Spain, Latin America, and South Africa. But nothing could be less justifiable than that so few voices should be raised in protest against the assassination of a people. How many of those who say that are unreservedly in support of the Khmer revolution would consent to endure one hundredth of the present suffering of the Cambodian people?" - Ponchaud, 1976
"How much blood makes a 'bloodbath'?" - Morton Kondracke, New Republic, October 1, 1977, p.22
"This [deceit] was apparent to anyone listening closely to his [Pol Pot's] speeches and press conferences in 1977 and 1978 and to the unsettling propaganda broadcast every day over Radio Phnom Penh by the Kampuchean Communist Party (meaning Pol Pot himself) from 1975 until January 7, 1979, when Vo Nguyen Giap's blitzkrieg brought down Phnom Penh. Never in the human memory has a leader (be he an emperor or dictator), government, or a political party in power sung its own praises in such a dithyrambic, insolent, deceitful, shameless, and immodest way as the Pol Pot-Ieng Sary regime did. As Radio Hanoi has since stated, Messers. Pol Pot and Ieng Sary outstripped even their guru, the late Joseph Goebbels, when it came to propaganda!" - King Norodom Sihanouk, 1980
"Le Duc Tho used to tell me that their ambition was all of Indochina after which they would proceed to take over South East Asia." – Kissinger, 1975
"Suharto: At Camp David, we discussed the question of unification of Vietnam. That seems now to be moving ahead. Laos and Cambodia seem already under Vietnamese influence. Does the United States believe the three will be incorporated into one country?
Ford: The unification of Vietnam has come more quickly than we expected. There is, however, resistance in Cambodia to the influence of Hanoi. We are willing to move slowly in our relations with Cambodia, perhaps to slow down the North Vietnamese influence. ... The situation in Laos is disturbing.
Kissinger: It is interesting that in Laos Souvannavong is now in a subordinate position. The Chinese want to use Cambodia to balance off Vietnam and are keeping troops in connection with road building in the north. We don’t like Cambodia, for in many ways the government is worse than Vietnam, but we would like it to be independent. We don’t discourage Thailand or China from drawing closer to Cambodia." - Ford, Kissinger, and Suharto, 1975
"Kissinger: What is the Cambodian attitude?
Thai Foreign Minister: The Cambodians want salt and fish. They wanted to barter for these items.
Kissinger: Did Ieng Sary impress you?
Thai Foreign Minister: He is a nice, quiet man.
Kissinger: How many people did he kill? Tens of thousands?" - Kissinger to Thailand's Foreign Minister, 1975
"The North Vietnamese have to be the meanest people in the world. The North Koreans and Albanians are pretty difficult, but the North Vietnamese are by far the worst. They can lie to you effortlessly. ... The Vietnamese in Paris used to make the same speech every morning. They used to say that if we would make a major effort, they would make a major effort. One morning the leader of the Vietnamese delegation said that if we would make a major effort, they would make an effort. At the end of the speech, I asked whether I had understood or whether he had in fact dropped an adjective. He explained that yesterday they had made a major effort, but we had made only an effort. So today we would have to make a major effort and they in turn would only make an effort." - Kissinger, ibid.
"I am, personally, embarrassed by the Vietnam War. I believe that if you to go war, you go to win and not to lose with moderation. ... You must act firmly. That's the only way to deal with the Communists." - Kissinger, ibid.
"We don't mind Chinese influence in Cambodia to balance North Vietnam. As I told the Chinese when we last met when we were discussing the Vietnamese victory in Indochina, it is possible to have an ideological victory which is a geopolitical defeat. The Chinese did not disagree with me." - Kissinger, ibid.
"You should also tell the Cambodians 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." - Kissinger, ibid.
"The events that followed our withdrawal from Vietnam, including the plight of the boat people and the more than 1 million slaughtered by the new communist rulers of Cambodia, showed that media critics who said we were on the wrong side were mistaken." - Nixon, "I Could See No Reason to Live," Time, April 2, 1990.
"Yes, I wish I'd done it sooner." - Nixon, recounting his response to the question of if he had any regrets about the 1970 invasion of Cambodia; "Paying the Price," Time, April 2, 1990.
"I came to carry out the struggle, not to kill people. Even now, and you can look at me, am I a savage person?" - Pol Pot, quoted in "The Top 100 Asians of the Century," Time, August 1999
"He [Ho Chi Minh] has become the Strategist, the Theoretician, the Thinker, the Statesman, the Man of Culture, the Diplomat, the Poet, the Philosopher. All these names are accompanied with adjectives like "legendary" and "unparalleled." He has become Ho the Luminary, Ho the Visionary. Peasants in the South build shrines to him. In the North old women bow before his altar, asking miracles for their suffering children. Others--[such as] anti-communist fanatics...see him in a negative light." -Time, ibid.
"Some typical tortures [in North Vietnam] were:
-The victim was compelled to kneel down, supporting on his head a basket filled with heavy stones.
-He was forced to hang by his thumbs or feet from a rope thrown over a rafter. In this position he could be either beaten or, by pulling on the rope, jerked violently up and down.
-His thumbs were wrapped in a cloth soaked in oil which was then ignited.
These tortures were widely used throughout the whole country." - Former North Vietnamese government official Hoang Van Chi, quoted in US intelligence report, "The Human Cost of Communism in Vietnam"
"Two years earlier, in 1951, heavy bombing by the French had annihilated the entire irrigation network in the communist-controlled zone. The party now saw in this military disaster a possible solution to its present problem. Its leaders revealed that the idea of destroying the irrigation system had been suggested to the French by these very traitors whom the angry masses had denounced. It was even said that they had provided the French with accurate maps giving the location of dams and lock-gates. The absurdity of this accusation was immediately apparent to all but the blindest followers of the party, since all Vietnamese knew perfectly well that it was the French who had built the dams, and that all the ordnance maps of Vietnam and of Indochina had been compiled by the French. To suppose that they had forgotten the whereabouts of these gigantic constructions, and needed map references from local spies to locate them again, was patently ridiculous. But communists, in their propaganda, have never considered absurdity to be a serious obstacle to mass persuasion. It was their habit when dealing with peasants constantly to repeat simple statements, and their propagandists knew from past experience that the villagers would believe without question any story, however fanciful, about the French and the Americans; many of them had probably never met a Frenchman or an American in the whole course of their lives. One communist officer, who had valiantly fought at Dien Bien Phu, was heard to enquire whether or not Americans had red skins. Obviously, he had confused Americans with American Indians, the Redskins--a name introduced into the Vietnamese Language by its French equivalent, Peauro Rouges. Clearly, an ignorant man; all the same, he typifies the abysmal ignorance which was so widespread. Thus, the simpler the argument, the more suited it was to the peasants' understanding." –Hoang, ibid.
"I want to be sure...that nothing is done on these veterans. Is that understood?...Is the word out? That they are not to touch 'em, they are not to do a thing?...Get a hold of the district police; they're not to touch them, they're to do nothing: Just let 'em raise Hell." - Nixon, telling John Dean to make sure that anti-war protestors--especially veterans---are left alone by police, from The Nixon Tapes
"On September 23, 2001, Cambodians in Chicago celebrated Pchum Ben at Truman College. This year, coming less than two weeks after the attacks which claimed thousands of American lives, the atmosphere was different. There were American flags everywhere: on shirts, on walls, on car windows, on antennas. Toward the end of the ceremony, volunteers began to walk through the crowd. They carried small cardboard boxes, with American flags printed on the sides, ready to accept donations for the victims of the attacks in New York, Washington, and Pennsylvania. The response was instantaneous. Within seconds there were people crowded around every one of the volunteers. Within minutes the boxes were overflowing with currency. I was seeing something that I had never expected to see: Cambodians, rushing to the aid of American victims of war. Few people on Earth understand war and suffering as well as the Cambodians. In the face of insurmountable odds, they have preserved their culture. Now, the strength and resilience that withstood the Khmer Rouge forms another individual thread, woven into the fabric of America. With every new thread, the fabric grows stronger."
"...the most cruel mistake occurred with the failure to understand the Vietnam war. Some people sincerely wanted all wars to stop just as soon as possible; others believed that there should be room for national, or communist, self-determination in Vietnam, or in Cambodia, as we see today with particular clarity. But members of the U.S. anti-war movement wound up being involved in the betrayal of Far Eastern nations, in a genocide and in the suffering today imposed on 30 million people there. Do those convinced pacifists hear the moans coming from there? Do they understand their responsibility today? Or do they prefer not to listen?" - Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
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- John Barron and Anthony Paul, Peace With Horror: The Untold Story of Communist Genocide in Cambodia. London: Hodder and Stoughton, pp. 148-149. American Edition titled Murder of a Gentle Land. New York: Reader's Digest Press--Thomas Y. Crowell.
- Arch Puddington, "The Khmer Rouge File," The American Spectator (July): pp. 18-20.