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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Lon Nol coup nobility a lie

Lon Nol coup nobility a lie

Dear Editor,

With regard to the article "The ambiguous legacy of March 18", [The Phnom Penh Post, March 19, 2009], the events of March 18, 1970, actually began in 1959 with an attempted coup by General Dap Chhuon Mchulpich, military commander of the Siem Reap area.

Supported by the US military and its puppets in South Vietnam and Thailand, this plot could have resulted in Cambodia ceasing to exist.

The plan was to divide the nation between its neighbours, with the total area under de facto US control.

King Norodom Sihanouk's movie Shadow Over Angkor dramatises these events that are further detailed in his book My War with the CIA.

Plots to remove King Sihanouk, due to his neutrality, began in the '50s. Neutrality was "unacceptable" to Cold War warriors like Allen and John Dulles who constantly pressured Sihanouk to accept American aid - and thus, domination.

The 1959 coup was thwarted and General Dap Chhoun arrested. King Sihanouk instructed Lon Nol to bring the general to Phnom Penh for questioning.

Lon Nol's reaction was to have Dap Chhuon Mchulpich shot so as not to reveal Lon Nol's involvement with the plot.

It took another 11 years before another coup was successful and Sihanouk was removed.

So any suggestion by Lon Rith that the "Khmer Republic ... was motivated by noble ideals" is just a blatant lie and an attempt to whitewash the ruthlessness and ambition of his father that he had held for over 10 years.

Perhaps if Lon Nol had been shot with Dap Chhuon Mchulpich, Cambodia may never have endured the horror inflicted on it by US aggression.

In 1959, the Khmer Rouge was nothing, Cambodia was at peace and its people lived in harmony.

In the 1971 Paris Peace Accords, Nixon agreed to pay Vietnam reparations of US$3.25 billion.

Of course, the US government never paid this money that would be worth nearly $20 billion if paid today.

If Cambodia was to take action for damages, it could consider a figure of $10 billion to $15 billion as fair compensation for the illegal US activities from the 1950s onwards.

The US has the nerve to claim the Lon Nol era debt must be repaid.

Perhaps Cambodia can deduct this amount from its damages claim, which should be made soon while the US remains an existing nation.

John Connor

Phnom Penh

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