The 1969 illegal bombing of neutral Cambodia was one of Henry Kissinger’s first major policy recommendations as national security adviser to U.S. president Richard M. Nixon. It was also his most catastrophic, having led to the expansion of the American war into Cambodia and opened the door to the Cambodian communists known as the Khmer Rouge.
I witnessed the results firsthand. In 1973, I was a reporter living in Cambodia, and I witnessed the end of the years-long U.S. bombing campaign, which wrought blunt, needless destruction and heartbreaking devastation on the stunning country. I later returned to the country when the Khmer Rouge was in power, interviewed prime minister Pol Pot and his lieutenants, who prided themselves for surviving the bombing, and then spent years writing a history of the ensuing war and genocide – a tragedy in which Dr. Kissinger had a leading role.