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marnixR
Post  Post subject: Pol Pot  |  Posted: Sun Mar 24, 2013 7:02 pm
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just finished reading Philip Short's "Pol Pot - the history of a nightmare", to which i added "The killing fields" (book of the film) by Christopher Hudson, and i must say i still don't get it

how did an introvert like Saloth Sar get to become the nearest thing to Hitler or Stalin in south east asia ?
how did he manage to climb the ranks in the communist party that became the Khmer Rouge and how did he manage to get such a hold on people that they enacted his idea of an utopia ?

when you see how the genocide happened, it could almost be described as "uncaring incompetence" - Pol Pot and his allies had a dream of how human society should work which did not fit how human beings tend to want to live and squeezed the square peg into the round hole until enough was shaved off to make the peg round

except that the peg was never round enough - the funny thing is that Pol Pot never until his dying day admitted to himself that forcing people to live someone else's dream might not get you eternal gratitude, and when the methods did not produced the results he expected, surely that couldn't be because the method might be faulty ? obviously saboteurs and spies must be the underlying cause of failure

which is another way of saying that if yo always blame other people when things go wrong, you'll never learn from your mistakes
the best he came up with was that when they came into power, the Khmer Rouge were not ready for it and showed signs of incompetence in the execution - but the actual strategy was never called into question

the only difference with Stalin and Mao is obviously that Cambodia was a small fish that could be pushed around, whereas both Russia and China were too big to be brought down from outside

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tridimity
Post  Post subject: Re: Pol Pot  |  Posted: Sun Mar 24, 2013 7:29 pm

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Echoes the lamentations of George Osborne - "it's the situation we have inhereted from the previous government/it's the complexities of global recession". Fails to take into account the three years of austerity that have given us:

1. Negligible growth
2. Downgrading of the UK's credit rating by one agency (Moody's) with a second agency looking likely to follow suit shortly
3. Unemployment rates still stubbornly high - especially youth unemployment - with failed work schemes that force unemployed people into unpaid manual labour jobs with the threat of welfare payment restrictions for the non-compliant
4. A double-dip - possibly triple-dip - recession
5. The fact that ordinary working and middle class people are paying for the mistakes of private sector big business via cuts to public sector infrastructure



There has to come a point at which politicians

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tridimity
Post  Post subject: Re: Pol Pot  |  Posted: Sun Mar 24, 2013 7:36 pm

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*There has to come a point at which incumbent politicians accept responsibility for their mistakes and stop blaming factors beyond their control which, although contributing to the situation, are not of themselves sufficient to explain the economic stagnation that we are still suffering. One would have thought that three years would suffice to at least execute the beginnings of recovery. All I'm seeing is a Chancellor waving his hands, still blaming external factors, unable to admit to himself that austerity doesn't fucking work :twisted:

Sorry for the tenuous links to Pol Pot - the inability to accept responsibility for mistakes reminded me of our current economic situation.

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marnixR
Post  Post subject: Re: Pol Pot  |  Posted: Sun Mar 24, 2013 8:37 pm
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let's be thankful that at least we're not getting executed on the suspicion of being subversive to the regime
in addition, it shows the danger of putting ideology ahead of people

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bunbury
Post  Post subject: Re: Pol Pot  |  Posted: Sun Mar 24, 2013 11:54 pm
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Quote:
it shows the danger of putting ideology ahead of people


Over here read "tea party" and "hooray for Obama". As you say, negligible relevance to OP but needs to be said repeatedly.


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iNow
Post  Post subject: Re: Pol Pot  |  Posted: Mon Mar 25, 2013 1:20 am
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It's funny, I thought immediately of the Ryan budget when I read the ideology over people comment. On the OP, it's amazing how profoundly the human mind can rationalize nearly anything. It doesn't matter how silly or removed from reality, or how detrimental to the populace. It seems to be a very human tendency to find unrelated reasons for the failure of a cherished idea. I want to say "scapegoats," but unfortunately that word has a regrettable stink on it due to some recent contributions by a member of this site.

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Futilitist
Post  Post subject: Re: Pol Pot  |  Posted: Mon Mar 25, 2013 2:23 am
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iNow wrote:
It's funny, I thought immediately of the Ryan budget when I read the ideology over people comment. On the OP, it's amazing how profoundly the human mind can rationalize nearly anything. It doesn't matter how silly or removed from reality, or how detrimental to the populace. It seems to be a very human tendency to find unrelated reasons for the failure of a cherished idea. I want to say "scapegoats," but unfortunately that word has a regrettable stink on it due to some recent contributions by a member of this site.

The regrettable stink having been created by my pointing out this very human tendency you now lament. Interesting. It's good to be back. Did everyone miss me? Did anyone?

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marnixR
Post  Post subject: Re: Pol Pot  |  Posted: Mon Mar 25, 2013 7:24 am
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in the case of Pol Pot i detect a case of advanced paranoia, which infected all thinking from top to bottom under the Khmer Rouges

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iceaura
Post  Post subject: Re: Pol Pot  |  Posted: Wed Mar 27, 2013 2:51 am
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The recruits of the Khmer Rouge came from the farming communities far from the big city. They had been brutalized, to put it short: heavily bombed from the air for months on end, robbed of their food and bomb-surviving draft animals and resources on the ground, stepped on by city folk who never even took them into account in their plans (what the bombing would do to Cambodians was no part of, say, Nixon's considerations).

They were, if not entitled, perhaps somewhat sympathetic figures if and as they went spla. That's one aspect of things. .

The killing fields were very impressive levels of atrocity for the city folk and literati who were brought to them, but maybe not so dramatically different from what life had been like recently for many of the Khmer Rouge - and if the big city types who were apparently planning to use the hicks as food providers after wrecking their lives were forced to get their hands dirty and feed themselves for a change, there was not only an obvious satisfaction in turnabout but a hardcore reality behind it - Cambodia was going to starve, one way or another. After what had been done to the farmers of the rich Cambodian countryside, the remainder of the agriculture system was not going to produce enough food to feed the city and the country both.

Even paranoids can have real enemies, real problems.


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marnixR
Post  Post subject: Re: Pol Pot  |  Posted: Wed Mar 27, 2013 7:34 am
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life in the cambodian countryside may have been brutal, and they definitely did suffer from the heaviest bombardments ever carried out in that part of the world, but even for the peasants life changed substantially : the Khmer Rouge system replaced the system of family-run private small holdings with cooperatives, banishment of all private property and the destruction of the family unit in favour of the village community

it was one of the factors behind the drop in rice production, especially since the best forces were diverted towards the building of dams and irrigation channels, which, since they were produced mostly through manual means to a less than optimal standard - the Khmer Rouge could have learnt from China's "great leap forward" which even Mao by then acknowledged had been a mistake, but they didn't

as for paranoia, the purges that happened amongst the regime once it was in power was something worthy of Stalin at his worst, and had nothing to do with real enemies but everything with perception and suspicion
in addition, the killings for even small misdemeanours such as falling asleep from exhaustion have less to do with brutalisation as with explicit instructions of Pol Pot and his executive committee

so in short, while there may be mitigating circumstances that make us partially understand the motives behind what happened, the ferocity with which the killing through action or inaction was carried out is far harder to fathom

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iceaura
Post  Post subject: Re: Pol Pot  |  Posted: Wed Apr 03, 2013 12:21 am
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Here's a map of the known US bombed areas - most of the tonnage dropped from high altitude by B-52s in a "carpet bombing" pattern aimed at population clusters and intensively cultivated areas (estimates of the water buffalo kill, the local draft animal, run into six figures - another factor in the starvation and forced labor issue) http://www.khmercity.net/forum/topics/m ... d-cambodia

The rest of the site there has some high-end civilian kill numbers, some high end tonnage numbers, and other lefty biased stuff - as likely to be accurate as the official numbers, given what we do know, but not as well backed as the map.


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