Sunday, February 14, 2010

The Conscience of Nhem En

via their site,
The Conscience of Nhem En explores conscience and complicity in the story of a young soldier responsible for taking the ID photos of thousands of innocent people before they were tortured and killed by the Khmer Rouge.

Nhem En was 16 years old when he was the staff photographer at the notorious Tuol Sleng Prison, also know as Security-21 or S-21, where, from 1975 to 1979, 17,000 people were registered and photographed, then imprisoned and tortured, before they were killed.

Andrew Walden recalls George McGovern's about-face on Cambodia,
"Do we sit on the sidelines and watch a population slaughtered, or do we marshal military force and put an end to it?" -- Senator George McGovern, August 21, 1978
(Also Tom Wicker here) and this response at the time in the WSJ,
Needless to say, McGovern's August, 1978 turnabout raised many eyebrows. The Wall Street Journal wrote August 23 of that year:
"There is a truly mind-boggling quality to a statement like this. Nearly 20 years ago, American liberals came to power in this country exhorting us to take a more vigorous and expansive view of our role as leader of the free world. They came complete with a theory of counterinsurgency, ‘winning the hearts and minds of the people.' When the then-existing government of South Vietnam failed to fully adopt this prescription, they blithely arranged its overthrow. Upon discovering the price of the commitment thereby sealed, they set about toppling the American President, who inherited the aftermath of the coup. Not content when American troops were finally withdrawn, they set about slashing, on the grounds that the South Vietnamese government was ‘immoral,' the aid funds it needed to maintain any pro-Western presence in Indochina. Now, having finished the task of destroying that presence, they are shocked and dismayed by the news of the grim and brutal world that resulted."
HT Dan Proft's FaceBook

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