Cambodian Genocide Memorial
The Vietnam War was a very sad and divisive time. Millions of people died, both during the war and in the genocide that took place in Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam.

150 million people were murdered by communist countries in addition to those killed in war

China Mao 1923-483,468,000
North Korea1,663,000

The table above shows the number of people murdered by Communists. This is not death from combat. This is murder by government. Governments murdered far more people than those who died in combat. Communists governments were and are the worst mass murderers in history. Source Professor Rummel of the University of Hawaii.

Communism was everywhere on the attack after World War II. Communism expanded from Russia into Poland, Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary,Yugoslavia, Albania, Czechoslovakia, East Germany, China, North Vietnam, North Korea, Cuba, Tibet, and in a number of other countries. Communists used terrorism, murder and subversion to destabilize countries. Political murder and terrorism was an integral part of “Wars of Liberation.”

Communist countries of the world in 1980. USSR-aligned countries
in orange and China-aligned in red.  


3,800,000 People Murdered

The table to the right shows the 3.8 million people murdered in southeast Asia by Communists. This in addition to those killed in the War. Millions more were imprisoned, enslaved, and ethnically cleansed, escaping on boats or walking out of their country. Source:

American War Protest
The anti war movement changed American policy. They believed that the War was immoral. They contended we were imperialist fascist war mongers. They believed that war is evil and to be avoided at all costs.

They considered Ho Chi Minh and Pol Pot to be Freedom Fighters. "Ho, Ho, Ho Chi Minh, NLF is sure to Win" was one of their slogans. They thought Communism was an excellent system. They believed that Communists were fighting for freedom and self determination. They contended that the war in southeast Asia was a civil war.

I believe an individual and a nation must oppose evil when their avowed policy was to take over the world. We were both moral and right to oppose Hitler, Tojo, Stalin, Mao, Ho Chi Minh, and Pol Pot.

We have largely prevailed over Communism. It has been abandoned in Europe. It is liberalizing and improving in Asia, although China, Laos, North Korea and Vietnam remain totalitarian police states.

I believe that many of the anti war folks were sincere in their beliefs. They sincerely wanted to end the war and the killing. They were successful in their efforts to halt financial and military support for Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia which caused their defeat. 

This led directly to genocide with millions of people murdered, tortured, ethnically cleansed and enslaved partly as a result of their success.  It is a clear case of cause and effect.

Brief Time line
Cambodia Genocide Memorial

62-68 Kennedy/Johnson increase support

68-73 Protests Change American Opinion

74 A new anti war Congress is elected

74 Congress withdraws all financial and military assistance

75 Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia are defeated

75 Genocide goes into high gear

The Vietnam War was a long and bloody struggle. It would be lost by the first side that gave up. The anti war movement was very important to the NVA, giving them hope throughout the conflict as they watched them denigrate our troops, our allies, and our country.

Lt Calley and his murderers at My Lai committed horrible crimes.  Their actions tarnished all of us who served honorably in Vietnam and enabled the anti war movement to convince many Americans that these atrocities were common and intended by the United States Government.

I served in Vietnam for 18 months with the Marine Corps. Most of us fought an honorable war trying to help the Vietnamese people to avoid a communist takeover and genocide. But you can never tell that from all the lies and exaggerations. This blog is intended to help set that record straight.

And if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand. 

"Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty."

"This much we pledge—and more. To those old allies whose cultural and spiritual origins we share, we pledge the loyalty of faithful friends. United, there is little we cannot do in a host of cooperative ventures. Divided, there is little we can do—for we dare not meet a powerful challenge at odds and split asunder."

Cambodian Communists Took Photos Before the Murders

President Jack Kennedy, inaugural address

The Anti War Movement divided our country and it could not stand. Our Communist enemies knew this by reading the paper and watching TV.  All they had to do was wait.

Quote from Colonel Bui Tin NVA

Jane Fonda with Vietnamese Communists

In 1995 the Wall Street Journal published an interview with Colonel Bui Tin who had served on the general staff of the North Vietnamese army, that included the following exchange:

Q: How did Hanoi intend to defeat the Americans?

A: By fighting a long war which would break their will to help South Vietnam. Ho Chi Minh said, "We don't need to win military victories, we only need to hit them until they give up and get out."

Q: Was the American antiwar movement important to Hanoi's victory?

A: It was essential to our strategy. Support for the war from our rear was completely secure while the American rear was vulnerable. Every day our leadership would listen to world

news over the radio at 9 a.m. to follow the growth of the American antiwar movement. Visits to Hanoi by people like Jane Fonda and former Attorney General Ramsey Clark and ministers gave us confidence that we should hold on in the face of battlefield reverses. We were elated when Jane Fonda, wearing a red Vietnamese dress, said at a press conference that she was ashamed of American actions in the war and that she would struggle along with us.

Q: Did the Politburo pay attention to these visits?

A: Keenly

Q: Why?

A: Those people represented the conscience of America. The conscience of America was part of its war-making capability, and we were turning that power in our favor. America lost because of its democracy; through dissent and protest it lost the ability to mobilize a will to win.

Q: What else?

A: We had the impression that American commanders had their hands tied by political factors. Your generals could never deploy a maximum force for greatest military effect.


The American strategy was containment of communism, developed by both Democrats and Republicans. The plan was to do what we successfully did in Europe, Korea, and Taiwan - to help South Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos to stay free of communism and create free successful democratic countries. 

The anti war effort changed public opinion and the Congress, who pulled all military and financial support from South Vietnam. The USSR and China continued their support and the result was Communist victory and genocide.

The anti war people of course do not understand or believe this.  It would be too hard to admit that your actions led to this genocide.  They will go to their graves thinking they did a fine thing.

Accurate estimates are of course difficult in a country like Vietnam with no free press or open government. But reasonable estimates have been developed by Professor Rummel of the University of Hawaii. He has published widely on this subject, reviewing all academic studies on the subject, and explaining how he arrived at the numbers.  He developed a high, medium, and low estimate.  He usually concluded that the medium estimate was reasonable. His estimates are shown below:

Total Number of People Who diedTotalPer Cent
of Total
People who died in the Vietnam War from combat882,00018.3%
Murdered by Communists in Vietnam1,670,00034.7%
Murdered by Communists in Cambodia2,035,00042.3%
Murdered by Communists in Laos130,0002.7%
Murdered by South Vietnam90,0001.9%
Murdered by Americans6,0000.1%
Totals 4,813,000100.0%

Never again. Until the next time.

Photos below from the killing fields of Cambodia. Vietnam and Laos were just as bad, but the people who committed the genocide and ethnic cleansing are still in charge and don't publicize what happened after the Communist takeover. There is no free press or open access to records.  

Approximately 4,500 to 5,000 Vietnamese killed by the Communists, targeting teachers and government employees.


Discussions - My Comments in Bold

Celia Wrote: “The United States had no business waging war in Vietnam in the first  place.”

Other than the treaty agreements made under the South East Asian Treaty Organization (SEATO) and the policy of containment of Communism supported by both Democrats and Republicans, and the agreements made between Vietnam and the US, and the leadership of Kennedy and Johnson as approved by Congress.

Celia wrote:  To say that those who protested that war are responsible for deaths in Southeast Asia after it ended misses the entire point: we should not have been there.

I agree with you on this one. Since we ultimately abandoned Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia to the tender mercies of the Communists, it would have been better for everyone if we had abrogated our treaty agreements before we entered into the war instead of after.

Celia wrote:  “If we had not been there, the large number of deaths may or may not have happened. We will never know.”

Communists have a remarkable record of killing people. They are by far the worst murderers in history. Perhaps Pol Pot and Ho Chi Minh would have morphed into Abraham Lincoln with charity for all and not created a charnel house of genocide. I think that would have been very unlikely, but as you say, we will never know.

Cecia wrote:  “you will never convince me that these people were "leading the fight to end all support for Vietnam, setting the stage for the murder of 3.6 million people in southeast Asia."

I don't think it was their intent. Most people just saw the horror of combat and wanted it to stop. Can't blame them for that, although some, like Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn, were communists and wanted communist victories both in Southeast Asia and in America.  Most of the anti war protesters were and are decent Americans who had no idea then and still don't that surrendering to the Communists would result in the tremendous genocide in southeast Asia.

Of course I will not convince the people who opposed the war. They know they were doing the right thing. 

What I think is clear is that the anti war movement changed American opinion and elected a Congress that pulled the plug on support for Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos. The genocide and ethnic cleansing aka the boat people followed.

Cause and effect

Of course the left will never agree that they did this. Kind of hard to admit that your actions led to the holocaust in Southeast Asia. They will go to their graves congratulating themselves for doing the right thing. It would be too horrible for them to admit the truth to themselves and others. The next time I hear one of them recognize this will be the first time.

Susan wrote:

"Much of what occurred in Cambodia Craig was made known to the public and the world AFTER the fact. If world outrage had been stimulated and a contingent of armed forces from around the world had assembled (not unlike Kuwait), its outcome would have been decidedly different ... the same applies to Ruwanda."

CH replies

The public and the world knew what was happening in southeast Asia. The anti war left convinced a lot of people that Uncle Ho and Pol Pot and their buds were noble freedom fighters who would be kind and gentle. No doubt many naive people did believe it - they wanted to believe it, and were able to convince themselves.

It is part of Communist insurgent doctrine to kill community leaders and anyone who might oppose them in any way. Terrorist murder went on for a very long time in Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam. I saw a little of it - horrible. Everyone saw it nightly on the news. When our Communist friends took over Hue in Tet 67 they killed thousands and thousands of civilians - executed the teachers, people with glasses, local officials, etc.

The US was sick of Vietnam and wanted to forget about it, and we did so when we withdrew in 1973. In 1975 the Communists took over in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia, and the predictable pace of the blood bath accelerated. Two million or so murdered in each country, maybe many more in Vietnam.

There was no way an exhausted and bitterly divided US was going to mount up and go back to Cambodia - we did not even keep the money flowing to Vietnam, our ally of 20 years. Just cut off the supplies and ammunition and let them go down to defeat and mass murder.

We know more about Cambodia now since a different regime is in power that enjoys exposing the Khymer Rouge. In Vietnam we don't know as much because the same bad guys are still in charge.

There are all kinds of nasty genocidal wars going on now. We stick our United Nations noses into some of them and try to broker or make peace, but it is very difficult. The American population and the world population have a low tolerance for the cost in our lives and treasure.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  This is a list of recent wars.

* 1964-Colombian Civil War or Colombian Armed Conflict
* 1978-Aceh (Indonesia)
* 1983-Sri Lanka
* 1988-Casamance Conflict
* 1987-Lord's Resistance Army insurgency, Uganda
* 1991-Somalian Civil War
* 1994-Chiapas, Mexico
* 1996-Nepal Civil War
* 1999-Second Chechen War
* 1999-Democratic Republic of the Congo (Ituri war)
* 1999-Liberia
* 2001-Civil War in Côte d'Ivoire
* 2001-Philippines, Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao
* 2002-Conflict between U.S.-backed central government and Taliban
guerillas, as well as dissident regional factions.
* 2003 Darfur conflict, Sudan

* Civil war in Peru of Shining Path rebels and others



where did we stop communism and succeed?  We never invaded Russia to stop Stalin. We never invaded China; we tried to cut them off in Vietnam and did not succeed, as I recall.  Communism as prevaded throughout African nations and our own government is governed by the PD (Partito Democratico, just another name for PCI - Partito Comunista Italiana)


Following WW II the world became bipolar with two major powers, the US and the USSR. The Communist USSR was very expansive and took over  Poland, Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary,Yugoslavia, Albania, Czechoslovakia, East Germany, China, North Vietnam, North Korea, Cuba, Tibet, and temporarily in a number of other countries.  The famous “Iron Curtain”.  

And these countries were Gulags, with murder and imprisonment the rule.  They murdered about 150 million of their own people, greatly exceeding the best efforts of the Nazi’s.  

The policy of the west led by the US was containment - that is containing the expansion and extension of Communism.  That is what all of us who served in the US Military were up to, including all the vets on this page.  

Neither the US nor the USSR wanted a nuclear war, which would devastate much of the world. We came very close when Kennedy and Kruschev went toe to toe over missiles in Cuba.

Instead we fought in all kinds of places.  Both the Communists and the west supplied equipment, weapons, advisers, and sometimes troops in our ongoing conflict. Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan, and lots of obscure little places.

We fought a nice little war in just east of Italy in Greece after WWII.

The US and USSR indulged in a great arms race.  Both countries spent like drunken sailors.  And the US really had no choice if we did not want to learn to speak Russian / Chinese.

It was not just military, though.  We spent an enormous effort in building contacts with people in these regimes.  Sister Cities International, an organization that my wife and I spend a lot of time with, was formed by Eisenhower.  It sought to build trust and friendship among peoples of different countries through contacts. Sarasota, for example, has Sister City relationship with Vladimir, Russia, and Xiamen, China. We visit them often - we were in Russia last year

Example of some of the contacts that help stop Communism. A high level tour from the USSR visited the southern suburbs of Chicago in about 1985. They wanted to visit planned new towns - Communists are big on that. My wife was Director of the South Suburban Mayors and Managers Association.  We spent three days with them, and toured our new towns of Park Forest and Park Forest South (now University Park).

The top guy in this tour was head of the USSR housing ministry - responsible for all the housing construction in the USSR. His delegation included 6 other people - one of whom was KGB and never talked to anyone, just sat in the corner and observed.

We got along well and drank a great deal.  They could not afford to shop in our shopping centers but loved K Mart.

We took them on a tour of University Park, where Beth and I lived.  The developer had gone broke, taking a significant chunk of your tax dollars in the bankruptcy.  The town had been planned for 90,000 people, It had only 6,000 people when they visited.  It was 90% African American.  Still, it provided far better housing for our less affluent folks than the old USSR could even think about. It also showed that our minorities were fairing pretty well in the USA.

I think these kinds of contacts opened the eyes of the Soviet leaders.  They saw that Democratic capitalism and free enterprise provided much more for our people than they were able to provide with State run construction.

In 1991 the old USSR gave up the ghost.  All of their European colonies changed their governments.  Most of them are now democracies, albeit not very good ones - it is hard to get it right and takes a long time, as shown by our friend Putin.

Any democracy is free to vote in socialism. I would say that European socialists are nothing like the murderous regimes of Stalin, Mao, Ho Chi Minh and Pol Pot. Italy is a very nice country with good civil liberties and a dynamic economy - there was none of that in classic communist countries.  They were grey, dysfunctional, police states.

Did we stop them or did they stop themselves?  Some of both.

It was a very evil system, as bad as Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan, perhaps worse. Glad to see if gone from Europe. It is better in Asia, but still a police state.


Tom wrote: “Why are you vets so angry about this? It was a long time ago.

I am not all that angry. Sorrowful would be a better description. I am sorry for:
  • The deaths of so many Cambodians, Laotians, Vietnamese, Koreans, and Americans.
  • The people who trusted us and then were betrayed.
  • The fear and suffering of the boat people.
  • The hatred and contempt we Vets have had to endure.
  • The lies by the anti war folks - comparing us to Nazi's 
  • Murderers like Lt Calley of My Lai
  • The Anti-war support of Communists
  • People Like Bill Ayers who committed crimes, got off, and got rewarded, and continue their lies.
  • The amazing lies that people are still telling.
I am angry about the lies that were and are continually told about what we American servicemen did in Vietnam.  Terrible crimes did occur, as when American troops murdered people in My Lai. But these were the exception, rather than the rule.

Before I enlisted in the Marine Corps at 18 I had served as a Sunday School Teacher, was an Eagle Scout, and served a year as a volunteer social worker in a poverty inner city.  I behaved in an ethical moral manner and everyone else that I encountered during my two tours of Vietnam did also.  I saw no murder or rape or robbery of civilians - If I did so I would have stopped it and saw that the offender was court martialled. Most of the Officers and NCO's in the military were moral and ethical people - why would you go into the military with all of its risks and hardships?  Because of a desire to defend our country. And our mission was to win the hearts and minds of the people and prevail over Communism. You can't do that by mistreating them.