In the Killing Fields

Mary Katharine Ham
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Posted: Dec 19, 2006 12:29 PM

Photo by Michael Yon

Michael Yon is in Cambodia, and reports on the cruel past:

Genocides require demon traits that mark targets as “deserving death.” Tribal identity, race, and religious affiliation are convenient rallying points for despots with a feel for local history, an uncanny sense of timing and an utter lack of conscience. Pol Pot selected impurity by virtue of Western influence, and used education as the measure of the threat.

In a spiraling perpetual motion machine of death, Pol Pot ordered all “elites” killed, wiping out a generation of teachers, doctors, government workers, priests and monks, business owners, soldiers and artists. Many were first tortured beyond simple imagination, to secure the names of other infected Khmer. As word of the new order spread, survival instinct overtook pride of place and suddenly everyone was a peasant. Any person who could speak a foreign language was targeted for torture. Along with the “elite,” targets expanded to include entire family trees uprooted and destroyed.

Yon's about to take off for Iraq again, so check in with him over the next months. John at Op-For reminds me to point you to a piece from Yon's last embed that will absolutely floor you. Take the time to read "Gates of FIre" today if you never have before. Unbelievable.