Derisory sentence for Khmer Rouge killer highlights the impotence of liberalism

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Noam Chomsky

July 27th, 2010

By Gerald Warner
The Telegraph (UK)

The derisory sentence imposed upon a monster testifies to the institutionalised impotence of liberal-controlled societies confronted by evil. Former Cambodian prison governor Comrade Duch (real name Kaing Guek Eav), who under the Pol Pot regime murdered around 17,000 innocent people, besides employing electric shock torture and tearing out victims’ toenails, has been sentenced by a UN-sponsored court to a nominal 30 years in prison, of which he will actually serve 19. There are people in British prisons serving longer sentences for a fraction of the number of murders he committed.

The only penalty that could remotely have matched his crimes was death. In so-called “democratic” countries however, under the aegis of the EU and UN bien-pensant doctrines of clemency, capital punishment is deemed “barbaric”. That is why Western pseudo-civilisation is doomed to extinction at the hands of more ruthless elements. Sparing the life of a creature like Duch is not civilised, it is effete. It does not testify to our regard for the sanctity of human life, but to our rulers’ contempt for it.

A society that hangs a man for stealing a loaf of bread, as ours used to do, has disregard for the sanctity of human life; but a system that does not punish murder with death displays even more indifference to the rights of innocent life, giving sententious liberal cant precedence over the duty to testify to the value of life by insisting that murderers forfeit their own continued existence. Nor, as the inane liberal mantra intones, would it reduce us to the same level as murderers: that is claptrap.

Liberal democracy has consistently sent out a signal to its enemies that they may destroy it with impunity. The derisory number of executions in post-war Germany, after the mass murder of millions, signalled that genocide would be condemned verbally, rather than effectively punished. The crimes of the Soviet Union have never been punished: the last generation of lords of the Gulag is ruling Russia today, sometimes in public office, sometimes in crime syndicates. Between 1917 and 1990 Communism worldwide slaughtered more than 100 million people: how many of the perpetrators have been punished?

Then there is the fashion for international courts, valued as a step towards world government but wholly ineffectual in exacting retribution from mass murderers. The trial of the tiny number of Khmer Rouge leaders in captivity was delayed by years of wrangling over international jurisdictions. Similarly, Serbia should have been forced to try its own criminals, to prove to the world whether or not it had renounced its past and was genuinely fit to join the international community.

At present, a grand total of four senior Khmer Rouge tyrants are awaiting trial – for the murders of 1.7 million people. It is said that to arrest any more might provoke civil war: the population, apparently, would rise up en masse to demand a return to Communist rule. Or it might have something to do with the fact that Prime Minister Hun Sen is himself a former Khmer Rouge cadre. The Western media will now hail the pathetic sentence imposed on Comrade Duch in headlines such as “Justice catches up with Cambodian killer…” What justice? We have forgotten the meaning of the word.

By chance, I was in a British student union on the day in 1975 when the television news showed the red-scarfed Khmer Rouge marching into Phnom Penh, a spectacle greeted by undergraduates with cheers and much punching of the air. Those useful idiots now occupy key positions across our country. They were not the most senior apologists for the genocidal regime: the academic jacquerie led by such peddlers of delusion as Malcolm Caldwell at SOAS, Edward Herman, Laura Summers, Gareth Porter, George C Hildebrand and, above all, Noam Chomsky made a massive and largely effective effort to disguise the fate of Cambodia from the West.

Adulation of “Democratic Kampuchea” was de rigueur in academic circles: had not the regime’s leaders been educated at the Sorbonne? Porter and Hildebrand described Western criticism of the Khmer Rouge’s enforced evacuation of the cities of Cambodia as “an inexcusable distortion of reality”. Chomsky, writing in collaboration with Edward Herman as late as 1979, claimed that “the evacuation of Phnom Penh, widely denounced at the time and since for its undoubted brutality, may actually have saved many lives”.

Saving lives, as we know, was what the Khmer Rouge was all about. Chomsky, the progressive establishment’s leading comic singer and millionaire socialist, and his co-author claimed: “allegations of genocide are being used to whitewash Western imperialism…” George Orwell would have relished them. Meanwhile, the word continues to go out to the world’s totalitarian torturers and killers that they may pursue their crimes without fear of any future retribution. It will be different, of course, when we are under Sharia law.


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