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US Ambassador Feels Shame Anger Over Cambodia Pullout 40 Years Later

World  (tags: Cambodia, Vietnam, Sirik Matak, John Gunther Dean, Ambassador, secret bombing campaign, genocide, Khmer Rouge )

- 1393 days ago -
He is highly critical of Americas violation of Cambodian neutrality by armed incursions from neighboring Vietnam and a secret bombing campaign in the early 1970s which killed thousands of civilians and radicalized, he believes, the Khmer Rouge.


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Sheryl G (359)
Monday April 27, 2015, 8:35 am
Khmer Rouge into Cambodia now ISIS into Iraq. Neither place should we have gone into. Do we never learn?

Letter sent to Ambassador John Gunther Dean......

Dear Excellency and friend,

I thank you very sincerely for your letter and for your offer to transport me towards freedom. I cannot, alas, leave in such a cowardly fashion.

As for you and in particular for your great country, I never believed for a moment that you would have this sentiment of abandoning a people which has chosen liberty. You have refused us your protection and we can do nothing about it. You leave us and it is my wish that you and your country will find happiness under the sky.

But mark it well that, if I shall die here on the spot and in my country that I love, it is too bad because we are all born and must die one day. I have only committed the mistake of believing in you, the Americans.

Please accept, Excellency, my dear friend, my faithful and friendly sentiments. Sirik Matak.


Kathleen M (211)
Monday April 27, 2015, 9:26 am
Sadly remembered and noted. Thanks for posting, Dandelion.

Animae C (507)
Monday April 27, 2015, 4:20 pm

Congress was cutting the aid lifeline to Phnom Penh.
The American public had had enough of the war.

Past Member (0)
Monday April 27, 2015, 7:58 pm
Noted, remembered. Thanks Dandelion.

Sheryl G (359)
Monday April 27, 2015, 8:07 pm
We had a war in Vietnam going.....we shouldn't of been in Cambodia. Secret bombings. We went in, stirred up the hornets nest and then left the innocent high and dry. Yes, American public had enough war, but they had no idea what was going on in Cambodia. I fault the leadership ......again. However, the public must smarten up here so we don't go into things before much debate and lots of diplomacy. Our so called leadership does the same thing over and over again.

Past Member (0)
Monday April 27, 2015, 8:27 pm
Twilight Zone. I noted and made a short comment less than 10 minutes ago. Neither took. Thank you Dandelion. We should not have intruded. My best wishes for freedoms and prosperity for the people. May peace come to settle over their nation.

JL A (281)
Monday April 27, 2015, 9:05 pm
Why do we seek to be doomed to repeat history instead of learning from it? Thanks Dandelion

Ted W (127)
Monday April 27, 2015, 9:57 pm
Noted, forwarded and shared! Thanks Dandelion!

Rose Becke (141)
Monday April 27, 2015, 11:42 pm
I agree with you Dandelion

Roslyn M (30)
Tuesday April 28, 2015, 12:35 am
A bit late to feel ashamed

Arild Gone for now (174)
Tuesday April 28, 2015, 3:52 am
A very timely question from Dandelion: "Do we ever learn"??

Birgit W (160)
Tuesday April 28, 2015, 4:41 am
When will people ever understand that war is only a dirty business of the 1%. The armies all over the world work hand in hand with them, and the only winners of wars are the ones who earn money on wars.

Sheryl G (359)
Tuesday April 28, 2015, 5:23 am
If you had read the full article Roslyn, you will see that the Ambassador from the "get go" thought this was wrong. This man is now in his 90's I believe, and this has troubled him every day of his life since he left Cambodia. This has carried with him for his entire life.

What this message that he is placing out to all of us, is as a Country, we did a shameful thing. I place this on here so that we might learn from this. Some on C2 were not even born when this took place, for those who lived back then we may of been aware of this or perhaps not......why we left Cambodia. I think most of us do recall the genocide, but did that really have to happen.

The Ambassador is stating no, it didn't have to happen if we hadn't gone into a "neutral" Country and bombed them. And when we stirred up a hornets nest, we abandoned the people. The Leader died with his people, he made a mistake, as per the letter I left above, to even trust the USA. He chose not to escape but to live with the consequences he had befall to his own people.

I truly hope the American readers will read this and take it to heart.....I'm so tired of another Vietnam leading to a new Iraq to an Afghanistan and look at the mess going on now with Libya.

Mitchell D (82)
Tuesday April 28, 2015, 6:05 am
The policies of King Richard, LBLyingJackass, set us up to fail, to make the military industrial complex richer, to live in a permanent wartime economy, and create enemies all over the place. Let us not forget that it was JFK who first took us into Vietnam, but LBJ's lie about the Tonkin Gulf attack that pushed the issue deeply!
Nixon had a serious "need" to go into Cambodia, that fit into his general sick world view.

Roberto MARINI (88)
Tuesday April 28, 2015, 8:15 am
I agree with you Dandelion, thanks.

Jeannet Bertelink (74)
Tuesday April 28, 2015, 10:45 am
Thank you Dandelion

Evelyn B (63)
Tuesday April 28, 2015, 11:38 am
I have only committed the mistake of believing in you, the Americans.

How many people have this theme running through their heads?

The Marsh Arabs & the Kurds at the end of the 1990-91 Gulf War .... as one example ..

And the US isn't the only country guilty in this way - Britain, Russia, France have committed such breaches of promises .... promises made went collaboration & cooperation were needed, then those mobilised to support found themselves dumped in the s*** and left to cope as best they could ... and too many coulcn't cope ... The Armenians, the Palestinians, the Iraqis ..... over and over again, same betrayal of trust.

Thanks for posting, Dandelion

LaurenBackSoon Kozen (173)
Tuesday April 28, 2015, 12:17 pm
Noted & Shared. Thanks Dandelion.

Janet B (0)
Tuesday April 28, 2015, 12:31 pm

Joanne Dixon (37)
Tuesday April 28, 2015, 3:45 pm
"I have only committed the mistake of believing in you, the Americans.
How many people have this theme running through their heads?"

Only those who are generous enough to see it that way rather than hating us. Probably a lot more hating and cursing us.

Bryan S (105)
Tuesday April 28, 2015, 4:15 pm
Well the US government did learn one thing from Vietnam, and that was to not let gruesome images that might turn the public against war be aired in the MSM.

I'm sure many Americans have no idea the extent of death and terror rained down on Laos and Cambodia over a period of years. I would give some criticism to the article for making the whole issue sound more like a botched humanitarian effort by the US, though i know the bombing of Cambodia is mentioned. You still hear defenders of war claim that the real problem was that the US pulled out of Vietnam and Cambodia too soon, while ignoring all that the US invasion caused.

But of course the fact that the US had a responsibility to protect Cambodians after stirring up so much violence is exactly right. It all goes to show how much the war was not about protecting anyone's rights and freedom.

Thanks Sheryl for the article.

David B (34)
Tuesday April 28, 2015, 5:41 pm
how did a country that tried to help so many screw it up so badly? so many south American countries , nam , afganastian Iraq . where did it all go wrong ?

Past Member (0)
Tuesday April 28, 2015, 6:40 pm
US lost to Communists back then like US is losing to Islamists now.

Democracy isn't a form of government that can provide a support for a war, no matter how much justified, for a long time.

Judy C (91)
Tuesday April 28, 2015, 7:42 pm
Islamists, Bob? Define?

The war profiteers always win. Sadly, we have only accelerated our Imperialist ways. This was one among many dark chapters in our history, and one that the right people will not learn from. Thanks Dandelon.

Winn Adams (179)
Wednesday April 29, 2015, 6:26 am
Agree with Sheryl. Been watching the PBS shows on Kent State murders and Nixon and Vietnam. It all came back to me as I lived through the '60's. So many innocent lives lost. Such an injustice and tragedy that certainly didn't have to happen.

Mandi T (366)
Wednesday April 29, 2015, 11:11 am
Noted ty Sheryl

Sheryl G (359)
Thursday April 30, 2015, 1:00 pm
Agree Judy, not enough people WILL take the time to learn......but I, in my humble way, and others, in a more major way, we keep trying. Must never stop.

DaleLovesOttawa O (198)
Thursday May 14, 2015, 2:53 pm
History is filled with unfortunate and tragic times, people still have not learned all that much at times.
Certainly, the bombings did no good.

Yes, it is true of other countries, as mentioned...Britain, France, Russia, so many interventions and wars leading to so many problems at times.

An interesting sentence in the article: "It was the first time Americans came anywhere close to losing a war."

Don't forget about the War of 1812, if the U.S. had really 'won' that one, my country would not exist, we would be a part of the U.S.

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