Photo: The Intercept
New York, NY – May 24, 2023 – The Intercept has published a sweeping investigative project by award-winning journalist Nick Turse, author of a seminal book on the Vietnam War, revealing new details about Henry Kissinger’s culpability in the horrific U.S. bombing of Cambodia from 1969 to 1973.
Kissinger’s Killing Fields:
As Kissinger’s 100th birthday approaches on May 27, the fawning hagiographies have already begun to roll in, and in many of them, the U.S. bombardment of Cambodia has been relegated to the footnotes. The Intercept’s reporting, however, finds that Kissinger is responsible for even more civilian deaths in Cambodia than was previously known.
Turse interviewed more than 75 Cambodian witnesses in 12 remote villages near the Vietnam border who described a series of previously unreported bombings that killed hundreds of their relatives and neighbors. These attacks were far more intimate and perhaps even more horrific than the violence already attributed to Kissinger’s policies because the villages were not just bombed, but also strafed by helicopter gunships and burned and looted by U.S. and allied troops. In the dozen Cambodian villages Turse visited, he was the first person ever to interview victims of wartime attacks initiated in Washington, D.C.
This project is corroborated by an exclusive trove of U.S. military documents collected by a secret Pentagon task force, which The Intercept is publishing for the first time. The archive offers previously unreported evidence of hundreds of civilian casualties that were kept secret during the war and remain almost entirely unknown to the American people. Together, the interviews and documents demonstrate a consistent disregard for Cambodian lives — a failure to detect or protect civilians, conduct post-strike assessments, investigate civilian harm allegations, or hold U.S. personnel accountable.
When questioned about these deaths, Kissinger responded with sarcasm and refused to provide answers.
Turse, author of “Kill Anything That Moves: The Real American War in Vietnam,” also connects Kissinger’s actions to the growth of Cambodia’s Khmer Rouge, which killed an additional two million people, as well as the carnage of the U.S. war on terror, from Afghanistan to Iraq, Syria, Somalia, and beyond. Experts say Kissinger bears significant responsibility for attacks in Cambodia that killed up to six times more civilians than the United States has killed in airstrikes since 9/11.
“You can trace a line from the bombing of Cambodia to the present,” Greg Grandin, the award-winning historian and author of a biography of Kissinger, told The Intercept. “The covert justifications for illegally bombing Cambodia became the framework for the justifications of drone strikes and forever war. It’s a perfect expression of American militarism’s unbroken circle.”
About Nick Turse:
Nick Turse is a contributing writer for The Intercept, reporting on national security and foreign policy. He is the author, most recently, of “Next Time They’ll Come to Count the Dead: War and Survival in South Sudan,” as well as “Tomorrow’s Battlefield: U.S. Proxy Wars and Secret Ops in Africa,” and “Kill Anything That Moves: The Real American War in Vietnam.”
He has written for the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, The Nation, and Village Voice, among other publications. He has received a Ridenhour Prize for Investigative Reporting, a James Aronson Award for Social Justice Journalism, and a Guggenheim Fellowship. Turse is a fellow at The Nation Institute and the managing editor of TomDispatch.com.
About The Intercept:
The Intercept is an award-winning nonprofit news organization dedicated to holding the powerful accountable through fearless, adversarial journalism. Its in-depth investigations and unflinching analysis focus on surveillance, war, corruption, the environment, technology, criminal justice, the media and more.