The third victim of U.S. aggression and savagery in Indo- china, Cambodia, falls into a different category than postwar Vietnam and Laos. 1 While the Western propaganda system has selected and modified information about Vietnam to convey the required image of a country suffering under Communist tyranny--the sole source of its current problems--it has been unable to conjure up the bloodbath that was confidently predicted ( Laos, as usual, is rarely noticed at all). In fact, by historical standards, the treatment of collaborators in postwar Vietnam has been relatively mild, as the precedents reviewed indicate, though the provocation for merciless revenge was incomparably greater than in the instances we surveyed. But in the case of Cambodia, there is no difficulty in documenting major atrocities and oppression, primarily from the reports of refugees, since Cambodia has been almost entirely closed to the West since the war's end.
One might imagine that in the United States, which bears a major responsibility for what Francois Ponchaud calls "the calvary of a people," 2 reporting and discussion would be tinged with guilt and regret. That has rarely been the case, however. The U.S. role and responsibility have been quickly forgotten or even explicitly denied as the mills of the propaganda machine grind away. From the spectrum of informed opinion, only the most extreme condemnations have been selected, magnified, distorted, and hammered into popular consciousness through endless rep-