Accessed 01 August 2001
The Khmer Rouge Canon 1975-1979:
The Standard Total Academic View on Cambodia
[The footnotes were incorrectly coded and I have not had time to correct them all. If you are reading the whole of this thesis it would be best to print out the footnote page.] Footnotes
Perhaps someday they [Nixon and Kissinger] will acknowledge their "honest errors" in their memoirs, speaking of the burdens of world leadership and the tragic irony of history. Their victims, the peasants of Indochina, will write no memoirs and will be forgotten. They will join the countless millions of earlier victims of tyrants and oppressors.
--Noam Chomsky, 1970
Now you're telling me you're not nostalgic,
then give me another word for it.
You were so good with words,
and at keeping things vague.
`Cause I need some of that vagueness now
it's all come back too clearly.
Yes I loved you dearly,
and if you're offering me diamonds and rust,
I've already paid.
--Joan Baez, 1975
Throughout this thesis, the canonized authors who found solidarity with the Khmer Rouge or simply the "Khmer peoples" claim that the Western media undertook an unprecedented propaganda campaign against the new Kampuchea. Furthermore, they assert that this campaign began soon after the fall of Phnom Penh. In the words of Noam Chomsky,
The U.S. role and responsibility have been quickly forgotten or even explicitly denied as the mills of the propaganda machine grind away. From the spectrum of informed opinion only the most extreme condemnations have been selected, magnified, distorted, and hammered into popular consciousness through endless repetition.
Upon closer examination, if anything were "magnified, distorted, and hammered," it would be that very dubious assertion by the STAV on Cambodia of an unprecedented propaganda campaign. How often do capital cities of 2-3 million people get evacuated? In the history of the world this had never happened, until Phnom Penh. François Ponchaud notes that in France, under which Cambodia had been a colony until 1953, newspaper coverage focused on the French embassy affair. In chapter 2, Summers referred to it as the "French Embassy Affair," and denounced the French government for violating protocol. Ponchaud was more concerned, however, with the paucity of coverage on the death march itself. He writes:
The Khmer revolution has shown how woefully ill informed the French were. In April and May 1975 French newspapers gave most of their coverage the fate of the foreigners interned in the French embassy in Phnom Penh. Nothing could be more natural than that the press should rise up to denounce violations of human rights in Spain, Latin America, and South Africa. But nothing could be less justifiable than that so few voices should be raised in protest against the assassination of a people. How many of those who say that are unreservedly in support of the Khmer revolution would consent to endure one hundredth part of the present suffering of the Cambodian people?
With that said, Ponchaud exposes one of the biggest untruths about the media coverage of the new Kampuchea. Contrary to the STAV's assertion that there was a media frenzy against the policies of the new regime, this chapter shows that coverage was fragmentary and not concerted. According to Ponchaud, the press denounced human rights violations elsewhere more than it did in the new Kampuchea. More rigorous media analysis by Shawcross shows that the onslaught began after the publication of Chomsky and Herman's After the Cataclysm, when incontrovertible evidence surfaced after the Vietnamese invasion.
Round One: "Media Can't See Mountains for Molehills"
Accuracy in the Media (AIM), a group Chomsky and Herman denounce as "right-wing," found that for 1976, there were many times more stories and editorials by the New York Times and the Washington Post on the condition of human rights in South Korea and Chile than there were on Cambodia, Cuba, and North Korea, combined. This is especially surprising given that the New York Times was home to Sydney Shandberg, winner of a Pulitzer-prize for his coverage of the evacuation of Phnom Penh during the French embassy affair. Porter, Hildebrand, Chomsky, and Herman all criticized his article for starting a broo ha ha over the evacuation of Phnom Penh. The November 1977 AIM Report rebuked the press in its headline: "Media Can't see the Mountain for the Molehills." Editor Reed Irvine, rhetorically asks, "Are Cambodia, Cuba, and North Korea ... relatively free from human rights violations ... in comparison with Chile and South Korea?" For the readers of the AIM Report, he writes, "the answer may seem so obvious that you may wonder why we pose such a silly question." Later, Irvine insists that "For starters, the media might try giving the mountainous crimes of the Cambodian communists the kind of attention that they have been devoting to the relative molehills of human rights violations taking place in countries such as Chile and South Korea." Irvine is evidently outraged with the imbalance, as was Ponchaud with the French media's paucity of coverage on Cambodia.
Irvine derived from the Television News Index and Abstracts a statistical table on media coverage of human rights in Chile, South Korea, North Korea, Cuba and Cambodia. The news organizations covered were the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the three television networks, ABC, CBS, and NBC. The findings were startling. The table covers 1976, and had by then passed the first anniversary of the evacuation of Phnom Penh by the Khmer Rouge. In table 4.1, the reader will see that contrariwise to the Porter-Hildebrand-Chomsky-Herman claims, the New York Time and Washington Post published four and nine stories on human rights in Cambodia, respectively.
Table 4.1: Human Rights in the News 1976
Source: AIM Report, November 1977, Part I, No. 21, p. 2.
According to table 4.1, Chile received more than eight times the coverage "on human rights problems" as compared to Cambodia. Pinochet was no angel, but he was no Pol Pot either. South Korea was covered merely 5.6 times more often. The total allocation of media resources to Cambodia paled in comparison to the massive campaign against Chile and South Korea, two non-communist countries. Perhaps the reason why Chomsky and Herman use anecdotal evidence to prove their theories, is because they know that aggregate analysis would show that they were wrong.
Round Two: "Massacre Stories a Big Lie"
The charge that there was a propaganda campaign as it pertains to Chomsky's and Herman's theory of the Free Press is unsubstantiated for 1977. Porter, Hildebrand, and Summers insinuated that campaign's presence as early as 1975 and 1976. For the year 1977, coverage picked-up, but it remained dispersed. Stories appeared in a variety of newspapers, but these were not all negative. For instance, on March 30, 1977, the New York Guardian headlined a story by George C. Hildebrand "Kampuchean refugee challenges terror stories circulated in the U.S.A." in which refugee Khoun Sakhon says "I don't know what I'm doing here [in America], I feel I belong back there [in the new Kampuchea]." By mid-1977, while in Washington D.C., Gareth Porter wrote to the editor of the Washington Star: "It requires hard work to dig through the available data and sift reliable from unreliable reports, but it is evident that the Star does not wish to be bothered with the task. And the value of your conclusions is therefore very doubtful." A review of the Porter-Hildebrand book, Cambodia: Starvation and Revolution, in June 1977 found that:
Refugee accounts portray the new leaders [of Democratic Kampuchea] as wildly irrational, visionary fanatics. Hildebrand and Porter disagree. Their sources? More than three hundred footnotes referring to suppressed information, confidential AID, World Bank and IMF reports, accounts of foreign diplomats and French journalists as well as the author's own conversations with Cambodia's spokesmen. Read this book to get a fresh, well-documented and scholarly interpretation; then make up your own mind, It could prove to be one of the most unsettling experiences you've read since reading the Pentagon Papers. [Emphasis added.]
Indeed, the reviewer did not attempt to reconcile these diametrically opposed views, instead he compares the Porter-Hildebrand book to the antiwar movement's favorite "Pentagon Papers." In October 1977, Yuri Antoshin declared that, "A new era, an era of peace, independence and socialist change, has opened before [Kampuchea]." To be sure, media coverage in 1977 included negative stories, but these were dispersed, not concerted. For instance, it was in early 1977 that Reader's Digest published the Barron-Paul book excerpt, at about the same time that Lacouture's review appeared in the New York Review of Books. Later, in October, Morton Kondracke's "How Much Blood Makes a Bloodbath?" appeared in the New Republic. Kondracke, who was in Bangkok, Thailand, interviewing refugees on the border writes:
[The] doves who pooh-poohed the bloodbath theory also were wrong and cannot escape the fact by saying, "oops it happened in Cambodia." Some anti-war activists try to blame Cambodia's fate on the Untied States, claiming that American bombing "destroyed the fabric" of the Khmer society, uprooted its population and accelerated communist "revolution" ... but the doves themselves had better explain why similar things haven't happened in Vietnam, where the bombing and uprooting were worse, and more sustained. Clearly, Cambodia has fallen into the hands of monsters.Kondracke, who makes assertions similar to Lacouture's, interviewed twelve refugees for the story. The fall of Saigon took place a month after the fall of Phnom Penh, and it is true that the Vietnamese communists were more restrained than the Khmer Rouge were in seeking vengeance. For one things, they did not evacuate Saigon. Writing for the New York Times later that October, Henry Kamm quotes a refugee as saying "Americans are good," a statement he finds "unfounded in view of Cambodia's experience with the United States." More rigorous media analysis of the period immediately following the 1975 evacuation and 1979 invasion of Cambodia by Vietnam suggests that the STAV's skepticism not only added insult to injury, but could have influenced public opinion sufficiently to kill the potential for a Cambodian cause before 1979. There was no cause celebre for Cambodia, as we shall next see.
Round Three: "Some Perceptions of a Disaster"
Further examination of the media by William Shawcross in his 1983 essay "Cambodia: Some Perceptions of a Disaster" reveals that, contrary to Chomsky and Herman, many reporters covering Cambodia were actually sympathetic to the Khmer Rouge. Shawcross, who became famous for blaming the actions of the Khmer Rouge on the United States, thought that very few journalists "wanted to believe the bloodbath theory." Some of the journalists, according to Shawcross, were so bold as to sing to the tune of "She Was Poor But She Was Honest" with the following lyrics:
Oh will there be a dreadful bloodbath
When the Khmer Rouge come to town?
Aye, there'll be a dreadful bloodbath
When the Khmer Rouge come to town.
Chomsky and Herman made no mention of this in their own high-minded media analysis. Why? Simply because they saw only what they wanted to see: evidence which would prove media bias against the Khmer Rouge. Shawcross' own analysis found that:
Chomsky and Herman believe that the press coverage of Democratic Kampuchea from 1975-79 amounted to "a propaganda campaign" of "vast and unprecedented" scope. It is true that there was a lot of coverage during this period, but there was not the intensity which developed in the fall of 1979, after their book was published. Why was that? An important reason is that in the 1975-78 period, governments did not in fact put their immense resources behind a propaganda campaign. There was never an anti-Khmer Rouge conspiracy of the "free press," Thailand and its allied governments in the West as Chomsky and Herman assert.
Accounts of Khmer Rouge atrocities began to appear in the Western press in the summer of 1975 as Chomsky/Herman point out... But this did not constitute a massive or coordinated campaign against the Khmer Rouge--not by the "free press," and also not by governments... [Among the reporters who went to the Thai border] some believed, at least for a short time (as Chomsky and Herman were to believe for years), that the refugees were unreliable, that the CIA was cooking up a bloodbath to say, "We told you so," and so on. [Emphasis added by Shawcross].
His analysis of Chomsky and Herman's goals are perceptive, and he does not lose sight of the slippery language in which they coat their arguments. Shawcross asserts, correctly, that the Chomsky-Herman goal was "designed to give an excuse--even a justification--to all those who denied (sometimes until the Vietnamese asserted it) that terrible things were happening in Cambodia. At least that has been the effect."
Shawcross also tackles charge of bias which Chomsky and Herman level against the media. The bias concerned differential coverage of East Timor versus Cambodia. In East Timor, the Indonesian government had allegedly killed 200,000 out of over a million Timorese, Chomsky and Herman asserted, a proportion roughly equal to that suggested for Cambodia where Ponchaud had said in 1977 that 1.2 million had died out 7 million. Chomsky and Herman argued that the media did not cover the East Timor massacres because Indonesia, a country friendly to the U.S., was the perpetrator. Shawcross suggests instead that:
A different, less conspiratorial, but perhaps more structurally serious explanation is that there has been a comparative lack of sources [in the case of Timor]. The American Government was very anxious to say nothing of Timor. So was the Indonesian Government. There were not many refugees; there was no "border" for journalists to visit.
Of course, we may ask, were the STAV scholars interested in visiting the Thai-Cambodia "border" where countless refugees had amassed? Porter was in Washington D.C., Summers and Caldwell were in England, Kiernan, a graduate student, was in Australia, and Chomsky was at MIT. Armchair fieldwork, perhaps? When Kiernan and Hildebrand finally cared enough to visit the refugee camps in 1979, they quickly realized that the massacres were not all "a big lie."
Did the STAV scholars realize that the harder they fought to defend the Khmer Rouge, the more likely they were fighting against truth itself? Shawcross' heuristic evidence points to a realization by one member of the STAV that something was bizarre. He began to doubt himself even as he pressed on with the STAV's version of the truth. Shawcross quotes Gavin McCormick, a colleague of Chomsky's, and a proponent of the STAV on Cambodia, as having written in an essay:
The Kampuchean question is shrouded in a dense fog of prejudices, distortions, propaganda, and half truth. The Western media and intelligence worked hard on Kampuchea. But, and here is a tragic irony, it becomes increasingly likely that some of the most malicious fantasies of propagandists, conceived with little or no regard for truth, may actually be close to the truth. This is a difficult and unpalatable conclusion.
McCormick's boldfaced admission is seen by Shawcross as an attempt to "vindicate the fact that he and others ... denied the suffering of those people"--a difficult position at best. In chapter 3, we saw that for Chomsky and Herman, their hypocrisy knew no bounds, so why should there be an exception for their colleagues in the STAV? Shawcross' scathing indictment continues,
In fact, the "scepticism"--a mild word in the circumstances--displayed by the Western left towards what was going in Cambodia is one of the principal reasons why an international campaign, such as that for Chile after 1973, was never mounted on behalf of the Khmers. The moral force of the left--Communist and non-Communist--was not exerted on behalf of the Cambodians until 1979.
Shawcross, who is well respected by the Left for his Sideshow: Nixon, Kissinger, and the Destruction of Cambodia (1979), a book that damns Nixon and Kissinger for creating the Khmer Rouge, is merciless towards the Left. The response by Chomsky and Herman has been to argue that nothing could have been done for the Cambodians. They quote, out of context, Douglas Pike's response to Senator George McGovern's call for "international military intervention" in Cambodia as having been "the notion of a quick, surgical takeout of the government of Cambodia probably is not possible." Chomsky and Herman use this as proof that the U.S. government was not going to do anything, ergo After the Cataclysm made no difference with respect to the final outcome. In an endnote, they call Pike a "State Department propagandist whose effusions are often simply embarrassing."Again, Chomsky and Herman want to have their cake and to eat it too.
The State of the STAV
Sixteen years have passed since the STAV's last stand. Since the 1979 publication of After the Cataclysm, where are the romantics of the Khmer revolution? As alluded to in chapter 3, Chomsky and Herman maintain that they were right all along. For the canonized few, some, like Chomsky and Herman have remained in the academic limelight, others have quietly disappeared. This portion of the thesis is about what has happened to them. It attempts to reconcile the image of the young idealistic scholars/student with their current image. What has happened to the members of the STAV on Cambodia? What were the avenues for Summers, Caldwell, Porter, and Hildebrand? Michael Vickery offers three paths, summarized by Gunn and Lee, as follows:
These are, of course, ideal types. Few of the canonized authors fall squarely in one category versus another. Some, for instance, George C. Hildebrand, chose (3) and then switched (1). Others like Ben Kiernan chose (2) and performed a unilateral switch to the People's Republic of Kampuchea (Cambodia's new name between 1979 and 1989), led by former Khmer Rouge Heng Samrin. For his act of bravery, Kiernan was immediately issued a visa to visit the PRK. This was one side of a two-sided switch. Gareth Porter, like Kiernan, chose option (2) a la Hanoi. Laura Summers took option (3) initially, but today writes for the Economist Intelligence Unit's reports on Cambodia. Finally, Chomsky and Herman have taken hybrid path between option (2) and (3). Although, if Vickery had created it, a fourth option might be to "continue to maintain that they were right all along," which is what Chomsky and Herman have done.
George C. Hildebrand
George C. Hildebrand co-author with Gareth Porter of Cambodia: Starvation and Revolution, the sine qua non of the Khmer Rouge Canon, has kept silent on Cambodia. At the "Kampuchea Conference" in Stockholm, November 17-18, 1979 convened after the Vietnamese invasion, Hildebrand spoke to an audience of like-minded individuals who sought the withdrawal of Vietnamese troops from Cambodian soil. Marita Wikander, chairman of the Swedish-Kampuchea Friendship Association, opened the conference with a message from Democratic Kampuchea President Khieu Samphan. Samphan's letter states that:
During these 11 months of invasion, more that 500,000 Kampucheans have been massacred and more than 500,000 others have died from starvation... The aim of the Hanoi authorities is very clear: to empty Kampuchea of its population, establish there the Vietnamese settlement in its place, annex Kampuchea to be an integral part of their "Big Vietnam" under the sign of "Indochina Federation" and to carry on its expansion in Southeast Asia.
The death toll from the Vietnamese invasion invites debate given that it sums to a convenient 1,000,000; nearly the total death toll being blamed on the Khmer Rouge themselves. There is no mention of any deaths under their own leadership until 1987, when an official Khmer Rouge document admits to 20,000 excess deaths. Samphan's position is almost the ideal type for Vickery's third option, namely that it admits something went wrong (though that would happen later) during 1975-1979, but attributes the bulk of deaths on the Vietnamese.
From this, where does that leave Hildebrand? He give no specifics. From his speech, he falls in the third category of believers who resigned themselves to the fact that what Ponchaud, Lacouture, Barron, and Paul were saying was "partially true," but continued to "insist that 1975-79 brought positive achievements." Hildebrand, who is listed as a "scholar" at the Kampuchea Conference, begins his speech on an apologetic note:
Let me say at the out-set that, on the basis of my conversations with refugees in Thailand and the United States, I believe that there were some extremely serious problems in Cambodia during the period 1975-78. I believe that things happened that were, simply speaking, wrong, both morally and politically. Since the responsible authorities of the Government of Democratic Kampuchea, notably Deputy Premier Ieng Sary and State Council President Khieu Samphan, have acknowledged some very serious internal problems, and since they have invited constructive criticism, I feel it is my responsibility to indicate support for the reexamination and transformation, in the interests of heightening the unity of the Cambodian people in the face of what must be the most serious crisis they have ever faced [, the invasion of Cambodia by Vietnam].
Hildebrand's mealy-mouthed apology would mean something if he were actually sincere. More specifically, what does he now find so "morally and politically" wrong since having co-authored Cambodia: Starvation and Revolution? Nobody knows, he offers no specifics. In any case, at Hildebrand's askance for "reexamination and transformation," perhaps, the Khmer Rouge admitted in 1987 of having caused 20,000 deaths from malnutrition and illness during the evacuation of Phnom Penh, another 10,000 of whom died because of "Vietnamese agents" who had infiltrated the Khmer Rouge and taken liberties with innocent Cambodians.
Hildebrand expends far more breath denouncing the Western media for its portrayal of the Khmer Rouge. For instance, he admonishes the Washington Post for publishing photographs which it later had to disavow, but, were subsequently republished in Newsweek, a subsidiary of the Washington Post, some months later. These were the same photographs Chomsky and Herman were crusading against in After the Cataclysm. Hildebrand then denounces the New York Times for trimming ambassador Kaj Bjork's positive comments on his visit to Cambodia. "All The News That's Fit to Print" citing the New York Time's motto, Hildebrand retorts, "All the News That Fits." He then demolishes the almost three year-old condensed Barron-Paul "Murder of a Gentle Land" Reader's Digest article, pointing out that, "[Barron and Paul] unaccountably forgot to mention the Nixon Administration's February-August 1973 bombing of Cambodia--bombing, according to U.S. Congressional sources aimed at least 50 procent [sic] at the Cambodian people..." It is the same old broken record we have heard from Chomsky and Herman to Retbøll and Kiernan. In a new twist, Hildebrand mocks Reader's Digest's reasons for not releasing the interviews used to write the Barron-Paul book. These reasons include (1) fear of reprisal against the refugee's family and (2) fear of litigation, to which Hildebrand responds: "Can people who raise such considerations really seriously be searching for truth about Cambodia?"
Hildebrand spends the remainder of his speech condemning the Vietnamese and their propaganda practices. Having sharpened his skills on the Americans, Hildebrand has no problem portraying the Vietnamese as STAV enemy number one. He writes,
Can we trust the Vietnamese, and their friends in Phnom Penh?... This handful of subservient functionaries, who as long as 23 March  announced a "serious food shortage" in Cambodia in the hopes of turning international aid into back-door recognition of their regime, and who, confronted with the failure of this play, then declared through their spokesman... last month [October 1979] in Moscow, that "No one is starving in our country?
His new sensibilities are refreshing. Suddenly, the "subservient functionaries" and "spokesman" to the "Vietnamese" and "their friends in Phnom Penh" are no longer good enough to converse with as the "Cambodian spokesmen" were when he co-authored his 1976 book. He discovers that, "War implies propaganda... so let us proceed with due caution in trying to understand Cambodia from all that is said about the Cambodians from their enemies, past and present." Unfortunately for Hildebrand, the lesson ends when revolution implies propaganda. Like the other romantics of his generation, "utmost skepticism" meant "utmost skepticism to what you don't like."
Hildebrand's final comments are his most passionate yet. With respect to international relations and the balance of power in the region, he calls upon the world community to stop Vietnam now. "The policies of the Vietnamese government, Party, and Army," he says, "are totally wrong." He continues, "They are a threat to the region and a threat to the world. They must be stopped--and they must be stopped now." In retrospect, Hildebrand should have said the same about Democratic Kampuchea four years earlier, but of course, he never did. Speaking with moral authority, he states:
I strongly urge you to do everything you can to support Cambodia, to promote unity among the Cambodian people living abroad, to extend all possible aid to refugee victims of this aggression, whether Boat People or Lao and Cambodian land refugees--and contrarywise [sic], to deny any form of aid or support to the aggressor at this time, and to support the human rights and democratic struggle in the region, so that the people--the one sure force we can count on--will be free to give their fullest energies in support of the independence of their countries.
These are a lot of histrionics from a man whose first instinct was to support the Khmer Rouge's evacuation of Phnom Penh. He sees the Vietnamese aggression as a "threat to the region and a threat to the world" but could not see the threat from within. While terrified refugees were lepers to be cautiously handled, their stories always under suspicion, now, "all possible aid" was to be extended to them. One wonders how Hildebrand reconciled his flip-flop on refugees. One wonders too what has happened to him since the 1979 Kampuchea Conference. He has not published since then, and is assumed to have switched into Vickery's first category, those who "simply lost interest."
Gareth Porter falls somewhere along the second type of reaction proposed by Vickery. He shifted gears rapidly from a focus on Cambodia to Vietnam, the country for which his old professor George McTurnin Kahin had made a name for himself. In May 1977, Porter testified in congressional hearings on human rights in Cambodia. He told the committee:
But the notion that the leadership of Democratic Kampuchea adopted a policy of physically eliminating whole classes of people, of purging anyone who was connected with the Lon Nol government, or punishing the entire urban population by putting them to work in the countryside after the "death march" from the cities is a myth fostered primarily by the authors of a Reader's Digest book . . .
Of course, this was still 1977, and the STAV on Cambodia was in great shape especially with emergence of the dynamic duo of Chomsky and Herman to their rescue. Moreover, Porter's testimony would in turn help Chomsky and Herman make their own case. Since Porter continued to remain unconvinced by the refugee reports because of internal contradictions found in some of them, he pointed this out to the committee. He was subsequently embraced by Chomsky and Herman, both for his testimony and for the "well-documented" book he co-authored with Hildebrand: Cambodia: Starvation and Revolution. In After the Cataclysm, Chomsky and Herman write:
In the May Hearings Porter cites the case of Chou Try, who told a CBS reporter that he had witnessed the beating to death of five students by Khmer Rouge soldiers. In October 1976, he told Patrice de Beer of Le Monde that he had witnessed no executions though he had heard rumors of them... As Porter and Retbøll both insist, refugee reports should certainly not be disregarded, but some care is in order.
To be sure, the contradictions were minor ones, but we know that Chomsky, Herman, Retbøll, and Porter invented new ways of treating refugees, "with care and caution," "utmost skepticism," otherwise known as suspicion. Porter, who was not discussed in chapter 3 for his involvement in the Chomsky-Lacouture Controversy, played a small, but acknowledged part. In Ponchaud's "Note for the English Translation" to his book Cambodia: Year Zero, he writes:
[In addition to Mr. Chomsky,] Mr. Gareth Porter also criticized my book very sharply during a congressional hearing on the subject of human rights in Cambodia, and argued that I was trying to convince people that Cambodia was drowned in a sea of blood after the departure of the last American diplomats. He denied that a general policy of purge was put into effect and considered that the tragedy through which the Khmer people are now living should mainly be attributed to the American bombings. He censured me for lacking a critical approach in my use of refugee accounts, on the ground that they were not credible because the refugees were deliberately trying to blacken the regime they had fled.
Indeed, Porter made significant contributions to his own stature at the 1977 May Hearings. He went to work for the Institute of Policy Studies in Washington, D.C., and while there wrote letters to the editor, such as the one denouncing the Washington Star. According to Morris, Porter then took temporary teaching positions until he became an aid to Representative Clarence Long of Maryland. From there, he gained the position of "Professional Lecturer" in Southeast Asian Studies at Johns Hopkins University's School of Advanced International Studies. While there, he contributed an essay to the Chandler-Kiernan book Revolution and Its Aftermath in Kampuchea (1983), the same book in which William Shawcross attacked Noam Chomsky, Gavin McCormick, the STAV, viz. the Left in his essay: "Cambodia: Some Perceptions of a Disaster." Porter now specializes on Vietnam more so than on Cambodia. His essay in the Chandler-Kiernan book is about Vietnamese communist policy towards Cambodia covering 1930 to 1970. Using Vickery's possible paths, Porter would most likely fit in the second category. Although this author has yet to see Porter's mea culpa, he has evidently tried his best to avoid the whole issue of his past involvement. Like Kiernan, who switched over to the People's Republic of Kampuchea not long after the invasion, Porter would presumably be in that camp. Next, we turn to Laura Summers, the only woman to be canonized.
By 1979, Laura Summers was not so openly doting the Khmer Rouge or their revolution, though she remained quite sympathetic to their cause. In a Bulletin of Concerned Asian Scholars article of that same year entitled, "In Matters of War and Socialism, Anthony Barnett Would Shame and Honor Kampuchea Too Much," she argues against her fellow socialist colleague Anthony Barnett who, like Kiernan, had switched to the PRK. Summer's wrath on American foreign policy in "Cambodia: Consolidating the Revolution" and "Defining the Revolutionary State in Cambodia" was replaced by a Hildebrand-style denunciation of Vietnam. In any event, Kampuchea was always the unwilling victim of foreign intrusion and intervention. In that sense, Summers falls in Vickery's third category of true believers. They "admit the STV [Ponchaud-Lacouture-Barron-Paul thesis] is partially true [but] continue to insist that 1975-79 brought positive achievements," and denounce the 1979-1980 invasion period as the genocide of a people. She writes,
The media image of Kampuchea as the most radical, heretical and murderous of socialisms probably bedevilled [sic] Vietnam's foreign policy thinking and sense of socialist and national superiority... By 1978, Vietnam took the bait. It exploited the Western image of Kampuchea to justify its armed and political intervention in the internal affairs of its neighbouring communist state in a manner suggesting nothing more or less than expediency.
The mind-boggling naïveté, exposed in her first Current History article, has been replaced by an unadorned anti-Vietnamese line. Having been unreservedly in support of the Khmer revolution, she could not allow Vietnam's foreign policy to interfere with Kampuchea's future. It is remarkable that Summers makes no mention of any atrocities in Democratic Kampuchea in the 1979 BCAS article. Perhaps it is not the purpose of her article, just as it was not Porter's in "Vietnamese Policy Towards Kampuchea, 1930-1970."
Instead, Summers engages Barnett in a debate over war and socialism, to be sure, more sophistry. Summers asks, "So did the Kampucheans start the war or not? In my opinion, we'll never know. Moreover, it is probably not important to know who fired the first the first shot. They are indicative of deep political conflict. In the absence of resolution by other means such conflicts find martial expression." She surmises that, "clashes occurred between the two neighboring states [Vietnam and Cambodia] in the aftermath of their extremely difficult liberation struggles is not at all surprising." Her syntactic use of "Kampucheans," presupposes that the Khmer Rouge legitimately represent all Cambodian. It is only a small change from her early adoption of "Khmer" for "Khmer Rouge" in "Cambodia: Consolidating the Revolution." Summers partially reveals her position, with respect to the STAV, when she writes, "These impressions and judgments [against Kampuchea and in favor of Vietnam] are apparently based on the consensus of opinion in the world media, excluding the serious press--the opinions of specialists hostile to Kampuchea--Vietnamese state propaganda and other forms of hearsay." She refers presumably to the momentum gained after the invasion of Cambodia, in which the 1979 media that, according to Shawcross, drew worldwide attention to the atrocities in Democratic Kampuchea. Summers mocks Vietnam's concurrence with the findings of an Oslo conference on "alleged atrocities" (a recurring marker in Caldwell, Chomsky, et al.) committed by the Khmer Rouge and is particularly critical of Reader's Digest for giving Vietnam ammunition to proselytize its own citizens against Kampuchea. In what must be a strange admission, she concludes that "It is difficult not to see the imperial "divide and rule" obstructing peace between warring communist neighbors." Wrapping-up her article with a tampered Hildebrand-style call-to-action, she writes:
The final task confronting anti-war activists should be the most obvious (though I fear, given the extraordinary confusion and partisanship alternately paralyzing or dividing international opinion, isn't). But if we are to lend meaningful support to the Kampuchean people and the Vietnamese people who pay the price for the undemocratic, martial adventures of their states as well as part of the high human cost of the criminal invasion to punish Vietnam launched by the Chinese authorities, then, it should be apparent that peace requires the withdrawal of the Vietnamese army from Kampuchea. To express disapproval of Vietnam's Kampuchea policy, to discuss it critically, is not to "attack" Vietnam or to be "hostile" to the Vietnamese revolution.
Her conciliatory remarks on behalf of the antiwar activists bears little resemblance to her fiery anti-American rhetoric of past articles. She concedes, by her own admission, that "martial adventures" are possible among socialist states and that these are "undemocratic." She still possesses, however, the same young, idealistic, romantic views of liberation a la peasant revolution, and anti-colonial struggles. Summers continues,
To the contrary, it is perhaps the best way to defend the visions of liberation from colonial tyranny and imperial subjection which inspired the Vietnamese revolution from its origins--visions which seem moreover worthy of liberation. In denying rights of sovereignty and independence to the Kampuchean nation, the Vietnamese state has simply lost its revolutionary way. In defense of peace between the Kampuchea and Vietnamese peoples, democrats everywhere are obliged to say so. [Emphasis added.]
Summers herself has not lost her "revolutionary way." Four years after the "monstrous dark age ... has engulfed the people of Cambodia," she wants more. Though she does not elaborate how democrats can be obliged to say anything of "visions of liberation," "colonial tyranny," "imperial subjection" that seem "worthy of liberation," her 1979 BCAS article sounds positively objective when compared to her earlier 1975 and 1976 essays in Current History. The irony of it is that she achieves this while attacking her socialist colleague, Anthony Barnett.
Whether Laura Summers would continue to defend the Khmer revolution to this day, no one can be sure. What it clear, though, is that she is still active in Cambodian studies. She currently teaches at the University of Hull and contributes frequently to the Internet list Seasia-L, though refrains from public debate through that channel. She is gratefully acknowledged for helping current scholars on Cambodia do research, myself included. Furthermore, Morris' parenthetical note on Summers states, "[She]...subsequently reevaluated [her] pro-Khmer Rouge views, and now discretely sympathizes with the Cambodian noncommunists. She is rumored to be the person in charge of writing for the Economist's Intelligence Unit reports on Cambodia. If that is correct, it would be ironic given the Economist's noncommunist proclivity. In sum, Summers would be classified in Vickery's typology as a type three (mostly rejects the Ponchaud-Lacouture-Barron-Paul thesis) moving slowly to a type two (where she mostly accepts the thesis). Next, we remember Malcolm Caldwell's contributions and surmise where he would stand with respect to the STAV on Cambodia today.
Malcolm Cadwell Remembered
Malcolm Caldwell never had the opportunity to look back at the Pol Pot-Ieng Sary regime after it was overturned by Vietnamese troops. He was killed only days before the invasion began, while in Phnom Penh. Caldwell, along with Richard Dudman and Elizabeth Becker were the first Western journalists (Caldwell's London Times curiously titled article, "Inside Cambodia: another side to the picture," qualified him as a journalist) to be invited into Cambodia in December 1978. Malcolm Caldwell's last conversation with Elizabeth Becker, a correspondent for the Washington Post, is our last entry for him. Becker recounts their conversation the evening of his death:
After dinner, Dudman went to his room to type up notes and Caldwell and I stayed at the table to have our last argument about Cambodia. Caldwell took what he considered the longer view and said the revolution was worth it. I said, on the contrary, I was more convinced of the truth of the refugee stories--which is what I eventually wrote. That night Caldwell tried once more to get me to change my mind. He compared Cambodia to Scotland--he was a Scottish nationalist--and said Cambodia feared Vietnam the way Scotland feared the English. I saw no relevance to such a remark, and he retired to his room with the prophecy that Scotland would be independent of England by the middle of the 1980s.
The Khmer Rouge Canon has seen many a comparison between the Khmer revolution and other revolutions. Summers compared it to the Puritan revolution in England. She thought it out of "cultural and historical context" when compared to the Russian experience. Here we see a comparison between the geopolitical status of Cambodia and that of Scotland. Many observers agree that Cambodia is like Poland, in between larger states, but like Scotland? We may ask too whether Scotland is anywhere closer to independence in the 1990s than it was in the 1980s? Predictive abilities aside, Caldwell was simply way off the mark in comparative politics.
Later that December night, Caldwell was murdered by a Khmer Rouge assassin in a "plot meant to embarrass the regime on the eve of war." Becker adds that, "Circumstantial evidence inside the confessions [of the assassins] suggests that Caldwell was selected because he was the "friend" of the revolution..." Becker surmises that the assassination was planned by someone in the "inner party circle" opposed to Pol Pot. Also from confessions exacted from two men who were tortured at Tuol Sleng for the murder of Caldwell, Becker concludes in her Epilogue that "Caldwell's death would show that the revolution could not even care for its friends, that it was fraught with chaos. The two Americans [Becker and Dudman] were saved so that they could write back about the attack."
The Bulletin of Concerned Asian Scholars remembered Caldwell in a 1979 article entitled "Malcolm Caldwell, 1931-1978." The authors of the article, Peter F. Bell and Mark Selden, eulogize him. Like Summers' BCAS essay of that same year, Bell and Selden sound conciliatory if not positively dialectic:
[Caldwell's] death was tragically linked to the contradictions of socialist revolution in Southeast Asia; he was caught in the contradictory cross-fire of the very changes for which he had struggled so long. The subsequent Vietnamese overthrow of the Pol Pot regime underlines forcibly the need for a critical evaluation of the revolutionary regimes in Southeast Asia, to which many of us gave strong support in previous years.
On that apologetic note, which of the revolutions (Khmer or Vietnamese) Bell and Selden refer to is not self-evident. Caldwell is remembered as an "indefatigable activist" who was also "best known abroad for his books and articles and for his work as a founding editor and moving spirit of the Journal of Contemporary Asia, the only English journal explicitly committed to the revolutionary movements of Asia."
In Bell's and Selden's estimation, Malcolm Caldwell was not one to beat around the bush when it came to supporting the revolution in Kampuchea. As was clear in his own writings of the Khmer Rouge regime, published both before and after his death, Caldwell was among those who romanticized the Khmer revolution enormously. Bell and Selden write,
Malcolm, one of the staunchest defenders of the Pol Pot regime in the West, viewed that regime through the prism of agrarian revolution. His systematic attempt to deflate Western journalistic reports of mass executions in Kampuchea made him the object of attack from many quarters. He was accused by some of Stalinism for this type of reasoning: "How many people died in the French revolution? (His long essay on Kampuchea may be published in England as a book.) To the end he defended the right to national self-determination and to the charting of independent routes to socialism for Vietnam as well as for Kampuchea and all others.
From comparisons to Scotland's independence movement, the Puritan revolution, and Russian history, the Khmer revolution is now equivalent to the French revolution. Fittingly so, in remembering Caldwell, his colleagues compare him to the celebrated Noam Chomsky. They continue:
The British scholar and journalist, John Gittings, writing in the London Guardian, compared Caldwell's role to that of Noam Chomsky in the U.S.--"a lone heretic in the academic world, of enormous personal charm who was respected internationally for views which many colleagues failed to understand." Malcolm's writings did not spring from a consistent theoretical conception, and he was often eclectic. His major concern was to expose historical and contemporary exploitation. A brilliant critic of imperialism in general, and U.S. imperialism in particular, he sought to capture the human experience which led Asian people in country after country to rise in revolution.
Caldwell was a dye in the wool revolutionary. He had expressed concern to Utrecht (see chapter 2) before visiting the new Kampuchea, that if an innocent peasant had been killed it was a token of fascism. But we know from Becker that after interviewing Pol Pot, "[Caldwell] returned delighted with his time with Cambodia's leader. The two had spent most of the interview discussing revolutionary economic theory, the topic of choice for Caldwell throughout the trip." So much so that Caldwell was invited to return the following year by Pol Pot, "to measure how the revolution had prospered. [Caldwell] agreed as long as it would not coincide with the Christmas holiday, when he preferred to be with his family." Caldwell, if he were alive, would surely be in Vickery's third category, namely those who insist "1975-1979 brought positive achievements." Next we examine whether Edward Herman has moved beyond the STAV on Cambodia.
Edward S. Herman
Like many of the STAV scholars who found solidarity with the Khmer people and their revolution, Herman has not offered any explanation, excuse, or recantation for his position. It is true that because his work with Chomsky was cloaked in media analysis, he has had an easier time defending himself. He continues to maintain that his work with Chomsky, "was and remains on target." Given that position, he would likely fall, in Vickery's third type: those who remain believers in the Khmer Rouge mission even if it is not divorced from the violence they acknowledge took place, though on a smaller scale than is normally accepted. Herman likes to use Michael Vickery's estimate of 750,000 deaths resulting from 1975-1979 because it is among the lower estimates available (notwithstanding the Khmer Rouge's admission of having caused 20,000-30,000 deaths). In a letter to the editor of the New York Review of Books, Herman had this to say, "Rod Nordland's assertion... that the Khmer Rouge `tried to exterminate or at least deliberately work to death a majority of the population' resuscitates an especially foolish propaganda claim of the 1970's that has been rejected by every serious student of the subject." Adding,
It also fails to explain why, if the Khmer Rouge aim was "autogenocide," it was unable to come anywhere near meeting its objective. The best overall survey of the period, by Michael Vickery, estimates 750,000 excess deaths in the Khmer Rouge era from all causes (including starvation and disease from the terrible early postwar conditions), on a population base of six to eight million.
Herman's assertion is a simple one: in order for the word autogenocide to be used, the majority of Cambodians would have to be dead. Since this was not the case, it cannot be called "autogenocide." What Herman would call it, nobody knows, since he does not call it anything at all. Herman writes, "Mr. Nordland's review is based on an implausible and ridiculous myth."
Herman would not take back anything, to say the least. He felt all the more vindicated in making his conclusions in light of these myths and attacks on his work with Chomsky. This use of the evidence appears quite circular. If the media objects to the theory of the Free Press, then it must be proof that the theory is right. Herman posits:
[Mr. Nordland's] further assertion that Noam Chomsky attributed the deaths of the Pol Pot era to "nothing but" war-induced famine [by the Americans] is an outright lie. Mr. Chomsky (and the present writer, who was co-author with Mr. Chomsky of his published works on Cambodia) went to great pains to stress that there were no doubt that the Khmer Rouge was committing serious crimes, although we took no position on their scale (which was very uncertain at the time).
Instead, Herman contends that his work with Chomsky was not about the Khmer Rouge per se, rather the media coverage and its distortions. He is at least partly correct, after all, the chapter on Cambodia in After the Cataclysm was mainly an analysis and critique of the media and the Ponchaud-Barron-Paul-Lacouture thesis. Hence, the cloak of "media analysis." Herman is vainglorious, when he asserts that, "These were perfectly legitimate subjects in themselves, justified even more by the fact that the West wasn't even proposing doing anything useful for the victims..." This final assertion which invites debate given the fact that the Left in which Chomsky and Herman were prominent members, along with the STAV, could have turned Cambodia into a cause celebre, as argue Ponchaud, Shawcross, and AIM, did nothing of the sort. Herman is indignant, and concludes:
But in the West, to focus on the distortions and hypocrisies of a propaganda campaign is to become an "apologist" for the villains of that campaign. Mr. Nordland's review, which rests on one of the myths of the Pol Pot era as well as a now institutionalized lie about our own work on the subject, show that our effort was and remains on target.
Herman's reaction is not unexpected. "Perhaps someday," to reverse Chomsky's phrase, the STAV scholars "will acknowledge their `honest errors' in their memoirs, speaking of the burdens" of academia and the "tragic irony of history. Their victims, the peasants of Indochina, will write no memoirs and will be forgotten. They will join the countless millions of earlier victims of tyrants and oppressors." This brings us finally to Noam Chomsky, linguiste extraordinaire.
Of all the STAV scholars who were involved in the debate on Cambodia, Chomsky was honored even by Jean Lacouture, as the most respectable among them. Bruce Sharp, editor of Cambodian Life, a Texan periodical on Cambodian issues, makes a number of excellent points, for which I am indebted. Sharp writes:
The mistake that I think Noam Chomsky makes is a pretty common one. He has formulated a theory about collusion between the government and the media, and he looks for evidence to support his theory ... To emphasize: he looks for evidence to support his theory. He doesn't simply examine evidence objectively. He seeks out evidence that supports his theory, and disregards evidence that tends to dispute it. And in the case of Cambodia, that has caused him to accept some very dubious conclusions ... Any attempt at honest scholarship would have revealed that the stories were true. But Chomsky never bothered to make that effort; because Hildebrand and Porter were saying what he wanted to hear, he did not subject their claims to the same rigorous critique that he applies to works which contradict his opinions. That is a pity... I think Chomsky has few peers when it comes to cutting through bullshit.
Sharp's critique of Chomsky underlines the academic mistake that caused scholars in the STAV to reject refugee stories with suspicion. They were so caught-up in the idea of a peasant revolution that they did not stop and ask the peasants themselves how they liked the ride. Sharp's assertion that Chomsky "has few peers" is especially true now, since he continues to maintain no one has successfully challenged his claims in After the Cataclysm. He and Herman do admit to having expressed "skepticism" in "Distortions at Fourth Hand," though that would be a "mild word in these circumstances" according to Shawcross. In 1988, Chomsky's and Herman's theory of the Free Press is still on target according to their latest book, though their scale of atrocities in Cambodia is quite a bit off.
Noam Chomsky and Edward Herman devote a paltry thirty-six pages and seventy-two endnotes to Cambodia (a far cry from their 159 pages and 427 endnotes in After the Cataclysm) in Manufacturing Consent (1988). Unfortunately, they offer little that is new. By the third page of their section on Cambodia, Chomsky and Herman continue their blame the U.S. game. Their righteous rhetoric is mildly tampered now, though still present. Chomsky and Herman clarify that they expressed "skepticism" in "Distortions at Fourth Hand" in reference to claims of atrocities. They write, "To be clear, in our one article, to which Ponchaud alludes, we did express some `skepticism,' not only about the claims that had already been withdrawn as fabrications but also about other that remained to be assessed." Notwithstanding this concession, they continue to insinuate that because the cessation of U.S. aid would have caused one million deaths in Cambodia after 1975, that America bears indirect responsibility for most of the deaths incurred under Pol Pot, hence "war-induced famine." In After the Cataclysm, Chomsky and Herman suggested that the Khmer Rouge were right to evacuate Phnom Penh, because it had saved lives. The flip side of it is that had the United States continued emergency aid to the Khmer Republic, and the Khmer Rouge been contained, no death march to the countryside would have taken place. For Chomsky and Herman, that scenario is out of the question.
Of course, they continue to argue that the war was mostly America's doing, notwithstanding the fact that the Khmer Rouge and Vietcong were on the other side fighting too. From this familiar baseline, Chomsky and Herman make an incredible comparison: "it seems fair to describe the responsibility of the United States and Pol Pot for atrocities during `the decade of the genocide' as being roughly in the same range." How is this done, or for that matter possible, the reader might wonder? Chomsky and Herman use an estimate of 500,000 casualties resulting from the 1970-1975 War in which the United States, South Vietnam, North Vietnam, the Khmer Republic, and the FUNK which was composed primarily of the Khmer Rouge, fought and bombed one another on Cambodian soil. In their calculus these half-million lives fall squarely on the shoulders of the Americans. As for the casualties during the Democratic Kampuchea period, Chomsky and Herman use Michael Vickery's figure of 750,000 deaths (recognized to be among the lowest available). This Chomskian comparison is not a parallel one: casualties of war versus revolution die for different reasons. While it might be plausible for both sides to sustain casualties during war, the Kampuchean revolution cost the lives of primarily non-revolutionaries and in 1978 began to take the lives of purged "Vietnamese agents" cum revolutionaries too.
The historical revisionism continues unabated when Chomsky and Herman shrink the STAV on Cambodia into "Maoist circles," while excluding themselves and their colleagues. The Khmer Rouge Canon shows that this was not the case. They write, "there was virtually no doubt from early on that the Khmer Rouge regime under the emerging leader Pol Pot was responsible for gruesome atrocities. But there were differing assessments of the scale and character of these crimes." Indeed, that scale ranged from the very truest believers in Pol Pot who thought that the atrocities were, to begin with, alleged, and those who did not, namely Ponchaud, Barron-Paul, Lacouture, Shawcross, and the media. Having successfully obfuscated the debate on the Khmer Rouge, while reiterating that they were careful to admit to the possibility of bloodbaths, Chomsky and Herman do some relevant handiwork on the image of Cambodians as a "not-so-gentle" people to begin with. With heuristic quotes, they suggest that Cambodians, especially peasants, "appear to have lived under conditions of extreme hatred for oppressors from outside the village," thus somehow excusing their use of violence against those they perceived to have been American cum Khmer Republic collaborators. There is but one problem with this abuse excuse, namely that half of the 1.5 million estimated to have perished during the Democratic Kampuchea period were peasants themselves.
Chomsky and Herman still uphold every argument forwarded in After the Cataclysm. They add that no one has yet been able to prove them wrong. On the face of it, this sounds ludicrous, but they are partly right. It is true that they adroitly peppered the chapter on Cambodia in After the Cataclysm with qualifications, but their motive was hardly in doubt. They caught a number of erratas in the media, Barron-Paul and Ponchaud books and magnified them, generalized on them, to make a model. As much as their pretext was to analyze the media, this cannot absolve them of liability for their own Khmer Rouge propaganda campaign. They accuse the media of "manufacturing consent," when it is they, along with their STAV friends, who manufactured dissent on the basis of feeble evidence and contrary objectives. The evidence used to crucify the Khmer Rouge, they contend,
was of a kind that would have been dismissed with derision had something of the sort been offered... [during the U.S. bombardments of 1968-1973] of the genocide or other U.S. atrocities, including faked interviews or photographs and fabricated statements attributed to Khmer Rouge officials, constantly repeated even after they had been conceded to be frauds; fabricated casualty estimates based on misquoted studies that became unquestionable doctrine even after they were publicly withdrawn as inventions; and highly selective refugee reports that ignored much refugee testimony, including detailed studies by Cambodia scholars, that could not be exploited for what soon became a propaganda campaign at a level of deceit of astonishing proportions.
The litany of erratas seems only to originate from the Chomskian opposition, notwithstanding, Chomsky and Herman made no attempt to seek the truth for themselves. They proudly restate their goal of examining the media in After the Cataclysm, in quotation, and use it to their benefit. It did not matter where the truth lay, simply that Chomsky and Herman had valid points that could be used against the media's "propaganda campaign" against the Khmer Rouge. Of course, we know from the first round of media analysis that, to the contrary, the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the three television networks were doing little on Cambodia as opposed to Chile or South Korea in 1976. From round two, we examined the media in 1977, and determined that there were more fragmentary reports, but that these were mixed with simultaneous Porter/Hildebrand/Chomsky/Herman objections. In the third round, Shawcross nailed Chomsky's thesis by proving that the reporters did not all believe the refugees in the beginning, and that it was not until after the Vietnamese invasion that news stories on the Cambodian genocide picked up significantly.
Unfortunately for Chomsky, that invasion took place while he wrote After the Cataclysm in which he, along with Herman, forward their theory of gravitating propaganda machines against the "evils of communism." But that does not really matter, does it? Chomsky is a very, very intelligent man. To be sure, Chomsky is a genius, but this does not necessarily make him right all the time. Chomsky and Herman do not use statistical analysis to prove their propaganda thesis for Cambodia. They do this for the mass-media coverage of "worthy and unworthy victims" in Latin America versus Poland, perhaps because they know something can be shown from it, but for Cambodia, news anecdotes are sufficient. In any case, they argue, what could the U.S. have done anyway? What difference would it have made had they not criticized the media and the refugees? No difference whatsoever, hence no harm, no foul. But they are wrong again, says Shawcross. He writes, "The moral force of the left--Communist and non-Communist--was not exerted on behalf of the Cambodians until 1979." In the following chapter, which concludes this thesis, the common threads of chapter 2 and 3 are woven together to create an STAV quilt that shows how the "Khmer Rouge Canon 1975-1979" was the "Standard Total Academic View on Cambodia."
Faculty of Humanities, Languages and Social Sciences