Thursday, June 02, 2005
In a line of argument even Powerline seems to regard as nutty, Ben Stein, Peggy Noonan and Pat Buchanan are attacking "Deep Throat" for supposedly causing Pol Pot's genocide in Cambodia (by participating in events which led to Nixon's resignation from office when, in Stein's words, "No one doubts RN would never have let this happen") I am left wondering... given Nixon's 1970 expression on Cambodia's civil war, what would he have done? He wasn't even particularly committed to standing against public opinion at that time ("A majority of the American people want to end this war rather than to have it drag on interminably. The action I have taken tonight will serve that purpose.") The Watergate break-in occurred more than two years after he gave that speech.
Further, it could be suggested quite plausibly that the roots of the Cambodian civil war lie with Nixon's secret war in Cambodia (with its estimated 600,000 casualties), and with U.S. support for the corrupt and incompetent government of Lon Nol.
Also, Pol Pot did not take power until 1975 - so is the suggestion that but for a scandal which started in June of 1972, Nixon would not have brokered a 1973 peace deal with North Vietnam, would have conqured the North, and would have kept a significant U.S. military presence to stabilize both the reunified Vietnam and Cambodia, and thereby would have prevented the rise of Pol Pot? It seems to me that events that led to the "victory with honor" withdrawal from Vietnam were well in progress prior to the Watergate scandal.
Am I wrong in suggesting that, but for the intervening years of Gerald Ford's Presidency, at least Noonan and Buchanan would be blaming Carter for the genocide as well? Can anybody find a single word from any of the critics, which in any way, shape or form is approving of Vietnam for invading Cambodia and bringing Pol Pot's brutal reign to an end? Did any of them criticize Ronald Reagan, following Vietnam's invasion, for insisting upon the continued recognition of the Khmer Rouge as the official government in exile of Cambodia?
Updated to remove reference to the wrong Ben. Ben Stiller? What was I thinking....