Who Caused the Cambodian Holocaust, Anyway?©
You want to know why I didn't write this article fifteen years ago? Well, let's just go through it right here at the beginning. That's what you're going to be asking halfway into this little ditty.
Eaaah! I've heard all that crap before. Young American boy learns about the real world, loses his idealism. More numskull Viet Nam stories, all with the same bipbop themes. I jus' get sick ta death of it. Godawful Joe Blow biographies. It's amazing how little variation there was in that generation.
But if you do away with the personal stuff and write it straight, like it was a news story, or somethin', then they want to know where the proof is. If you can't prove it, buddy, then it's just malicious mischief. The news reporters on the scene got it right the first time. Don'tcha know that, bub!
Of course, it could be done as a think-piece. I been thinkin', ya know, 'bout dis Cam-bodian holaaacaust thing. If you was ta assume dat then ya might be concludin'
And then at the end, you'll be saying to yourself: So damned what! Don't mean nothin' now, all these years later.
The truth is nobody has had the slightest interest in the real cause of the holocaust and that's why nothing real has been written about it. There has been no entry point into the piece. But here it is fifteen years later and all those real causes still exist, still drive the large patterns of human behavior, not so much in Cambodia these days, perhaps, but in quite a few other parts of the world -- and in due course of time likely will have similar horrific consequences at multiple sites around the globe. War crimes trials, of course, will only bring on those consequences more quickly.
The Cambodian holocaust was caused by a collective psychotic fear of nonlocality (a word lifted out of the field called quantum physics), which in the terms of modern warfare translates as inherently unbombable. Behind the feared fact of nonlocality lies a form of identity terrifying to the Western mind: the animistic transparency found only in Injun Cuntry. Find 'em, fix 'em, and finish 'em. Because they just weren't localizable! Of course, this murderous adult injunction was a natural progression from the post-adolescent expression of the same mentality: find 'em, feel 'em, fuck 'em, forget 'em. Yes, I'm not talking about the Khmer Rouge psychosis, I'm talking about the American one. The one that first caused the North American genocide.
Sorry, but we just must have a bit of the Joe Blow biography to get this thing rucked-up right and credible. And since it is the same old story, I'll keep it very short.
Dot-dot-dot: standard prose, or as close as I can get to it.
In early-1968, I was assigned to TARGETS at CICV, the Combined Intelligence Center, Vietnam, and given the job, along with several other persons, of choosing sites for B-52 strikes in Viet Nam, Cambodia and Laos. I was not exactly happy to receive this assignment and knew that, like Yossarian, I would lose my mind if I was forced to continue in that capacity. In spite of official histories, there were fellows there in TARGETS who had been placing boxes on maps for the Thai-and-Okinawa-based U.S. Air Force to obliterate all over Indochina for neigh onto a year. It was like trying to catch speeders in South Carolina under the quota system: you had to pick a target even when there weren't no targets, 'cause of the tonnage quota what had to be met. A certain amount of bombs had to be dropped in a given period no matter what, and you were the one decidin' where they were gunna go. Puttin' a box down here, and another'n o'er there was about as deep, as deep, uh, as deep as anybody wanted to get into it. Everybody involved, it seemed, did everything, ever'thin', in their meager capacity to keep the whole thing on a technical level. Between tokes on their opium-cured big-Os, that is. If you allowed it to get untechnical, uh, that's when you were sure to develop psychological problems that were, well, unprofessional: just like the M.D. working on a terminal cancer ward for children can expect to come down with MS, or something, if he gets all empathic over the very untechnical fact of the deaths seen everywhere about him.
I was a poor candidate for the job, given my background. First of all, I was an Air Force brat. At my youthful age, my father had been a bomber pilot flying mission after mission over Germany. He'd fought in three wars. When he arrived in Viet Nam as a super supply-and-materiel trouble-shooter, Phan Rang Air Force Base and Cam Ranh Bay Naval Base had been nothing but miles of Conex containers strung out on the beach guarded by a passel of Marines. When he left a year later, Phan Rang housed 10,000 men and handled more air cargo than O'Hare International, and Cam Ranh was bringing in more sea-borne freight than Hong Kong. He'd been a hero several times, most amazingly that occasion he was shot down over occupied Alsace-Lorraine, lost-and-presumed-dead for three months while making his way across occupied France and the English Channel without being captured by the Nazis. And I'd tagged along over the years in the rear areas learning young what a growing boy needs to know about the serious matters of life and how dangerous the world is we all live in. I'd even looked at the horrible bombing sites in Japan during the early-50s before they were restored to livable habitats. The eldest son, residing in shadows thus cast, follows one of two courses: either insecurity compensated by extremely aggressive competitiveness or a profound pensive disquietude and utter skepticism about virtually everything. I followed the latter path. Actually, by the time I was ten, I was pretty awfully disrespectful -- but had learned, like most military brats, to keep that fact to myself. Moreover, I'd been on the ground nearby (a couple of miles away, which is close enough) to several B-52 strikes in Viet Nam as an intelligence advisor. You know what? I hadn't liked them saturation bombs one bit. You don't want a person who's seen up close what goes on on the ground picking bombing locations.
And, boy, did I know my way around the military. It only took me two weeks to get out of TARGETS and into STRATEGIC RESEARCH AND ANALYSIS at MACV HEADQUARTERS, the supreme American military command in Viet Nam. Okay, end of the Joe Blow biography.
At this point, in order to deal with one of the usual criticisms mentioned above, I'm going to put up a disss-claimer. Over the years of attempting to write things down for publication, I've learned that a disclaimer is a very valuable thing, and almost everybody uses one, especially scientists and mathematicians with creative ideas and, also, investigative journalists who have discovered to be true what they suspected was true, but don't want to jeopardize their careers. So here goes. What I am about to say is not history. I can't prove it (a lot of things were lost when the DEFENSE ATTACHE'S OFFICE, earlier MACV HEADQUARTERS, was blown up by the departing Americans in April of 1975). I can only describe what I saw, what I thought, what I believed. For me, there was no god-like bird's-eye-view vantage point, no cosmic command helicopter, so to speak, from which I could have developed objectivity absolutely -- nor even relativity abjectly. This, then, what I 'bout ta be sayin', could only be a personal testimonial, nothing more. There. I certainly do feel better. And the reader probably does too. We're all innocent in the aftermath of a disclaimer.
Yes, I realize this mode of discourse exhibits an attitude. Well, excuse me! It's a dangerous subject to say something different about. One could get oneself killed, maybe even. It takes effort to work yourself up to it.
They used to come into CICV TARGETS asking for the map coordinates of COSVN: Central Office for South Viet Nam, the Vietnamese communist headquarters located inside Cambodia near Tay Ninh Province, northwest of Saigon. They was everybody, it seemed: Army, Navy, Air Force, civilian. Even in the short time I was there, the place was flooded with such requesters. They were told over and over that COSVN had no coordinates. What? Are you crazy, son? Every place has coordinates. But it's not a place, sir. Not a place? Well, what the hell is it then? They wanted to bomb this place, of course, bomb it into some kind of vapor, if they could.
Later, at SRA, STRATEGIC RESEARCH AND ANALYSIS at MACV HEADQUARTERS, I was to learn what COSVN was, if not a place. What COSVN was was inherently unbombable, even with smart bombs, which us Americans were just beginning to get on line at the time. You see, there are certain properties all bombs share in common: each is an object that occupies a certain place at a given time, and when it explodes, it explodes at one place at some specific time. Cluster bombs, daisy cutters, and such, tried to overcome some of these defining characteristics, but only did so within a small radius. Puff-the-Magic-Dragon, a super gunship, tried it with small projectiles in huge numbers and could slice up an area about the size of a football field in one fell-swoop. Of course, peppering an area or a whole country by air-dropping mines in the millions is also an attempt to overcome the limitations imposed by the infernal limits, I mean the limits, limits I mean, uh, uh, God seemingly has maliciously placed on the nature of bombs. Oh, COSVN had bunker complexes for supply dumps, hospitals, and so on. And you could bomb these till your day's delight, but that wouldn't make any real difference to the functioning of the headquarters. Because it didn't have a place, didn't congregate, didn't stand still. It was an activity, not a thing. An activity of a myriad of small cells in virtually constant motion spread out over hundreds of square miles of triple-canopy rain forest, all communicating by varied means from foot-runners to radio to land-lines to express mail and parcel post, with cut-outs, dead-drops, and all sorts of other secretive shenanigans. Hundreds of millions of air-delivered mines would only have slowed it down, or caused it to move its whole regional theater of operations. And this particular rain forest was in Cambodia.
Bombs are most effective against a foe who organizes himself for simple-locality (here is another term lifted from the field of quantum physics). This is so because of the defining characteristics of bombs, dumb or smart. The force-structures of the American military, then and now, demand a foe that is localizable. Nonlocality can be achieved in many different environments: urban jungles as well as tropical jungles; mountains as well as deserts -- even with satellite-borne remote sensing technologies thrown against them. Of course, some environments are easier than others; the urban jungle being, by far, the most conducive, given that co-lateral damage, bystanders, that is, are most numerous there -- and the fact that bystanders have many properties in common with individuals who might be aligned with the foe, thereby making invisibility relatively easy to achieve. Saigon in the late 1960s, for instance. This is why governments and foes of governments everywhere have basically gotten out of the business of servicing the needs of citizen-bystanders, particularly in sites of various intensity low-intensity conflict. Dese dudley dudes, then, kept comin' inta CICV-TARGETS wantin' da coordinates of COSVN. And they kept bein' told COSVN ain't got no coordinates. So, whatta YOU think their reaction to THAT was?
First of all, those doin' the askin' was usually high-ranking officers or other lofty muckamucks and those doin' the answerin' were always low-life types like me. Initially, there was confusion; then came consternation; in the middle, anger always prevailed; outrage came next; finally there was downright boilin' rage. The low-life types would talk this over ever' night at the EM (enlisted man's) club. Did you see that hammerhead shark come streamin' in from the 7th Air Force, flippin' his tail fins, DEeeeeMANDIN' a skyspot fix on the whole leadership Eeeelite of HEADQUARTERS, SVN LIBERATION ARMY? Heh-heh-heh! No matter how many times you tell 'em, the whole ideee-er of non-bombability is not only incomprehensible and anti-American, it's actually mentally deeerangin'. Their whole sense of self-existence is called into question. TO BE IS TO BE BOMBABLE! How else can a thing be known to have simple-identity? This term, as we know from the comment made above, is borrowed from quantum physics, which, believe it or not, some low-lifes had heard of by 1968.
The frustration of it! Just think of the frustration of it. Out there in Injun Cuntry, all those sneaky, invisible, yellowskins, disappearin' all the time into their cave hidden in their bush, like they was a hermaphrodite, or somethin', jus' when they should be standin' straight up, long 'n lean, at High Noon out in the clear ta fight like real men. Humph! While down on Tu Do Street in Saigon, them dudley dudes was puttin' it to the young lady dressed in black pajamas in an imitation tiger cage, just for spite. And as the frustration grew and grew, the ordnance flew and flew (to paraphrase some of Mohammed Ali's poetry). Like Dennis-the-Menace flown into a fit psychotic, verging on epileptic proportions. RAGE! I mean RAGE, the kind that makes your WBC (white blood cell) count go through the ceiling, that depresses your killer-T-cell titers and propels you toward an immune competency disorder. RAGE! The beginning of PTSD, post-traumatic stress disorder.
You see, nonlocality means spread-out-everwhere, with all the lurid impropriety that implies. And beyond this condition, seemingly involving the properties of space-itself, is a subversive form of identity: if you ain't localized, then you must be multiple, which means fragmented, or, Oh God! DISSOCIATED and even collective. The Great Maw, the Abyss, the devouring She! That schizophrenic mother, the Great Nihil. Aaaaaaaah! Mother Nature: foliage, jungle, swamp, rot, mold, vines, thorns.
What is the BIGGEST DIFFERENCE betwixt an' baatween the old physics of Newton and the new physics of Planck and Einstein? The concepts of identity each involves! Newton's laws of motion require hard little individualistic billiard balls with simple-identity (being at a specific place at a given time), while Schrödinger's wave equation (which replaced the classical laws of motion) deals with entities having a very strange type of identity that somehow allows them to be spread out over the whole universe at a given time, thus exhibiting nonlocality. Y'see, I never baalieved for a second that the Vetnaaam War was about communism. It was about the identity construct associated with animism. VetManese animism was as bad as redskin animism, as bad as Filippino animism, as bad as the Nazi Erdgeist (soil spirit), as bad as the Shintoist curse: the to no kami, the spirits protecting the rice fields. Since the first Injun war, the first village massacre of 1635, America has been on a rampage against identity transparency, the defining characteristic of animistic experience. Wherever the American mandarins have encountered smeared-out identity, selfhood read in the natural surround, via collective unconscious psychological projection, they have been driven by the Will-to-Genocide or the Will-to-Slavery.
So, at Harvard, which at that time meant approval by the Council on Foreign Relations, they came up with a solution that could overcome the limitations God had placed on the nature of bombs: FORCED-DRAFT DERURALIZATION. That's a direct quote, folks, from many documents what passed over my desk during the period. The objective of free-fire zones: get those damned people packed into the cities -- postwar capitalism is going to require it anyway -- so we can close down their defiled RED free-energy flow, stop their infernal yellowskin violation of the old physics entropy law, and reestablish the American kind of identity-construct bombs were made to verify. What was FORCED-DRAFT DERURALIZATION but an attack on animism, on rice-ritual spiritualism, on the VetManese Erdgeist tie to the spirits of the village communal lands. We tried to bomb the Vietnamese, not back into the Stone Age (animistic and quantum), but into the modern, Newtonian, billiard-ball universe so necessary to constitutional democracy and capitalism. But since the new physics don't baalieve in no democracy and capitalism, now, because its fundamental assumptions about the nature of identity so decisively disagree, any instance of nonbombability (which invokes non-simple identity) is a matter of extraordinary fixation. Even psychotic compulsion. Did we kill several million Vietnamese to purge our doubts about the validity of our philosophy of nature? Which every year is experimentally demonstrated more and more in error: verification of Bell's Theorem on nonlocality, for instance.
Now, let me ask it again: Who caused the Cambodian holocaust, anyway? The Khmer Rouge policy of FORCED-DRAFT DEURBANIZATION was the exact inverse of the policy pursued all over Indochina by us Americans. This kind of inversion is straight out of a dream image, the kind of thing the unconscious mind always is doing. Compensatory abreaction, it's called (for those inta technical discussin'). Which is like an emotional outpouring, a cognitive vomiting, a physiological discharging, a feeling-tone defecation. Could it possibly occur on a collective level, this sort of abreaction thing? Weeeell, certainly not, not for no American psychiatrists who, like American physicists, don't baaalieve in no collective occasions of experience, now. Only individuals cause holocausts. Megalomaniacal authoritarian personalities, for instance a Pol Pot or a Hitler. Collective behaviors couldn't have nothing ta do with it! Accumulated stress in the whole group, called the Cambodian people, who had ordnance after ordnance thrown at them for years (and still in 1995 receive 300 casualties a month from those air-delivered mines what tried ta overcome the definition God laid down for a bomb), could not in any way have precipitated a collective psychosis which played thematically in compensatory relation to America's Indochina policy. No sir, nosiree! It was Pol Pot what done it, and some of his cohorts. And Yale University, what didn't come up with FORCED-DRAFT DERURALIZATION ('cause Harvard done it first), has every right ta mount a war crimes trial ta bring to American justice the INDIVIDUALS (so the rest of us ain't got no guilt ta carry) solely responsible.
Boy-oh-boy! Haaah. What was this last little collective American psychotic fugue about, anyway? What did we have in the Persian Gulf War but the most-bombable of Maginot-minded foes? I mean, after the jungles of Vetnaaam, Laos, and Cambodia, we jus' HAD ta have a bad guy organized for simple-locality. Otherwise, we'd h've suffered urban melt-down. If we can just have wars at the right frequency, we can escape the consequences of the fact that the death of the Newtonian paradigm means there ain't no metaphysical justification no more for democracy and capitalism. Doubt it? Read Locke's SECOND TREATISE ON CIVIL GOVERNMENT and see how he so extensively quotes Newton's laws of motion to justify the notion of majority rule (the resultant force of vector analysis). Read Adam Smith on THE WEALTH OF NATIONS and see how extensively he relies on Newtonian ideas to explain the self-organizational properties of the market supply-and-demand dynamic. But contemporary notions of self-organization are not based on Newton, they're based on Planck and Einstein! And they are a sub-discipline of the science called the physics of collective and cooperative phenomena: like superconductivity, for instance. Not very individualistic, y'might say. It'll be damned awful hard ta deee-ny animistic identity transparency ridin' on a fast commuter train levitated by superconductant, smeared-out-over-the-whole-universe nonlocalizable electrons. But not to worry. America has never really been into mass transit, anyway. And we will always have places like Santa Fe Institute to tell us! Don't worry; be happy; it's all a mere matter of evolutionary fitness.
And now we're gunna have a little postscript because all the Cambodia-ologists are gunna pooh-pooh the central theme of this little ditty by asking, at least, why it happened to Cambodia and not to Laos or Viet Nam. That's a technical question beyond the scope of this article. Pretty professional, eh? The answer to this question is technical, involving: one, the various properties of social, political, and cultural structures and the predisposition to collective behaviors under stress they impart to a given socius; two, the differences between the Vietnamese Communist Party organization and that of the Khmer Rouge; three, how Chinese Confucianism differs from Hindu-derived social forms in regards to rigidities of every sort in the socius; four, how differing rates of rapidity of onset of chaotic events affect collective response patterns; five, the differing histories of Cambodia, Laos, and the three Vietnamese colonies in regards to assimilation of the mental and emotional concomitants of modernity. The list could go on and on.
So, there it is.
Count your blessings while you may. History teaches that collective psychoses on this order of magnitude take quite a while to realize the full brunt of their consequences. Whatever the duration, they always are terminal maladies.
Addendum, years later:
People git confused, y'know. Those at Targets-CICV, 1968 knew those at Targets-CICV, 1967 who knew those at Targets-CICV, 1966: B-52 boxes were being put down in Cambodian border areas as early as 1966, even if documentation of such was being picked up and/or doctored. One could hear them in Saigon sitting in the rooftop bar with Jack-in-the-Black, particularly knowing what one was listening for. No BDAs in Cambodia, 1966-8: don't believe it. And don't believe the recorded coordinates of all sorts of things near the border, neither.
Non-historical border bombings, 1966-8. Khmer Rouge coming of age, 1968. Kissinger-Nixon secret bombings, 1969, Menu. Coup d'état in Phnom Penh, March 1970, Lon Nol installed. Cambodian incursion, April 1970. Kissinger-Nixon opening to Beijing, 1971-2. Paris peace accords, January 1973. Kissinger-Nixon area bombings, 1973, Arclight.
The Menu bombings of 1969 were not actually to interdict terminus of the HCM Trail in the Parrot's Beak because this section of the Trail had mainly been to rear-service MR4 via portions of MR3 -- but the 1968 offensive on Saigon had already transpired, war effort was now, in 1969, northerly in many senses, and supply of the Delta was primarily, as it long had been, waterborne from Cambodian ports-of-call. Moreover, NVN had long been withholding supplies from the southern VC to keep them weak enough for the northern bo doi to control/manage and later easily supplant. I, for one, do not believe the Menu bombings had much to do with the Kissinger-Nixon China card played into the Soviet lead because the Chinese had trump leverage due to their, in my belief, prior decision to commit more, many more, advisors-troops than they already had to the Indochina conflict by infiltration through Laos and Cambodia. Their agreement to reverse that decision was the essence of the Kissinger-Nixon opening to, in my belief. Indubitably didn't require NRO overshoots and NPIC expertise to identify Chinese airstrips in Cambodia capable of handling wide-body jets. What is that, Joe? Groucho's raised left eyebrow. It's certainly not what I know it is, that's for sure! Polycentrism got a real ramp-up post-Tet-'68. How many fingers did we have covering this issue? Only five? Uh, uh, i.e., the issue of the Chinese theory of falling dominoes in Southeast, South, and Central Asia. How many sheep-dipped U.S. advisor-observers watched the Sino-Indian border war of 1962? And on which side of the where-is-the-border did they watch from? The same side as during the Yunnan invasion just before the Korean War? And then there was Tibet in the '50s. The Menu bombings consciously-ostensibly were to destroy COSVN, regressively-unconsciously to expurgate-extirpate, exorcise and cauterize the contagion of quantum nonlocality COSVN exemplified to the American subliminal mind by virtue of the inherent unbombability of that headquarters. The massive Arclight area bombings and unprecedented CBU-planting reforestation program were consciously-ostensibly to support our very own palindrome, but were regressively-unconsciously to demonstrate to the American subliminal mind that American technical genius could overcome the limitations God had placed upon the American agenda with His Principle of Nonlocality.
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