Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - US attitude surreal

US attitude surreal

US attitude surreal

Dear Editor,

In "All smiles for American delegations" [PPPost, Jan.19 - Feb. 1, 2001]

you note that United States Congressman Dick Gephardt expressed satisfaction with

the Cambodian government's moves to form a Khmer Rouge tribunal and offered the possibility

of increased United States assistance to Cambodia.

Surreal is an overused word, but in this American's view, it certainly fits this

scenario. A representative of the United States Government, a government that killed

hundreds of thousands of civilians in South-east Asia men, women, and children working

in their fields, celebrating in wedding parties, sleeping in their beds; a government

that would never dream of permitting one of its own aging political or military leaders

to be tried for those crimes (or the crime of having wasted thousands of their countrymen's

lives through deceit and political cowardice), a government whose president pardoned

a convicted war criminal on grounds of national reconciliation; this government's

representative praising Cambodia for bringing its mass murderers to justice and offering

money as an incentive is not just surreal - it is obscene.

Rather than praising Cambodia, American political leaders and government representatives

should be approaching a Khmer Rouge tribunal with some sense of humility. But then

the United States government's purpose in pushing for this trial has little to do

with justice. Rather, it is an attempt to justify after the fact the unconscionable

slaughter that government inflicted on the defenseless civilian populations of Cambodia,

Vietnam and Laos.

There are many in the United States who are fond of arguing that there is no need

for an international criminal court because nations should be encouraged to prosecute

their own war criminals. The trouble is, one country's war criminal is another country's

elder statesman.

- Raymund Johansen, Phnom Penh

MOST VIEWED

  • First Cambodian woman graduates from Japan’s NDA military academy

    A few years ago, Meach Sithyka Jessica became the first-ever Cambodian woman to graduate from the US Military Academy at West Point, and since then her courage and determination has served as an inspiration for other Cambodian women. Similarly, Ly Chansocheata became the first Cambodian

  • Construction begins on $1.5B Kampot seaport

    The International Multi-Purpose Logistics and Port Centre, principally invested by Kampot Logistics and Port Co Ltd and projected to cost $1.5 billion, has officially broken ground in Bokor town, Kampot province. The multi-purpose logistics and port centre, located in Prek Tnaot commune, will be built on

  • Cambodia eyes key role in electronics, auto hubs in SEA

    Two roadmaps, part of the LDC’s economic diversification plan, were designed to see it through its migration process, but experts say the journey might be arduous, particularly in the presence of two established hubs in the region By 2028, Cambodia hopes to have exited the

  • Hun Neng, lawmaker and PM’s brother, passes away aged 72

    Hun Neng, chairman of the 4th Commission of the National Assembly, has passed away from heart disease at the age of 72 on the afternoon of May 5, according to the Ministry of Information. Hun Neng is the older brother of Prime Minister Hun Sen, and was

  • CCC team off on US business trip

    The Kingdom’s leading economists and private sector representatives have called on the US to renew its tax preferential status for Cambodian exports, as a Cambodia Chamber of Commerce (CCC) delegation departed for a weeklong business visit to the US, where they will meet with

  • PM meets with US business giants

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has met with a number of major US companies who have expressed interest in investing in Cambodia, in a meeting convened by the US-ASEAN Business Council (US-ABC). A delegation of companies – including Amazon, Meta, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil, Ford, Visa and Pernod