Did the US support Pol Pot, one of the worst criminals in human history?
I thought the US already did a bad job ( i.e. crime ) in funneling Vietnam war in the Sixties and Seventies, but I did not expect that the supported one of the worst genocide in recent human history
The Times editorial of June 24 recognizes a small problem in pursuing Pol Pot, arising from the fact that after he was forced out of Cambodia by Vietnam, "From 1979 to 1991, Washington indirectly backed the Khmer Rouge, then a component of the guerrilla coalition fighting the Vietnamese installed Government [in Phnom Penh]." This does seem awkward: the United States and its allies giving economic, military, and political support to Pol Pot, and voting for over a decade to have his government retain Cambodia’s UN seat, but now urging his trial for war crimes. The Times misstates and understates the case: the United States gave direct as well as indirect aid to Pol Pot—in one estimate, $85 million in direct support—and it "pressured UN agencies to supply the Khmer Rouge," which "rapidly improved" the health and capability of Pol Pot’s forces after 1979 (Ben Kiernan, "Cambodia’s Missed Chance," Indochina Newsletter, Nov.-Dec. 1991). U.S. ally China was a very large arms supplier to Pol Pot, with no penalty from the U.S. and in fact U.S. connivance—Carter’s National Security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski stated that in 1979 "I encouraged the Chinese to support Pol Pot...Pol Pot was an abomination. We could never support him but China could."
This is quite a different story than the one told by the more conscientious historians at Covert Action Quarterly, also published in DC. In the fall 1997 issue, John Pilger writes that the US funneled $86 million in support of Pol Pot and his followers from 1980 to 1986. In addition, the Reagan administration schemed and plotted to have Khmer Rouge representatives occupy Cambodia's UN seat, even though the Khmer Rouge government ceased to exist in 1979. This was a sad effort to grant Pol Pot's followers international legitimacy.