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"shook me to the core"

Any other worn hollywood cliches happen to you while you were vacationing there?

"When people stop being individuals and give themselves over to a collective, all hell and madness breaks loose."

I bet you were really angry at healthcare reform.

This is why I love trolling HN political topics. Your responses are so predictable and thoughtless. Reagan zombie really is the right description. It has nothing to do with what happened or didn't happen in history - it's the way people like you interpret everything through your own narcissism and then filter it out through the viewpoints of some idiotic popular news cliches to support ideas you don't even care about to make yourself feel good for "standing up for justice."

> Any other worn hollywood cliches happen to you while you were vacationing there?

I'll reply one last time, not for your benefit, but maybe for someone else reading.

I'm typically pretty unfazed by things, but I've never been more horrified than what I saw at Security Center 21. There's books full of laminated photos of people taken before they were executed. And this is in the room these people were executed.

There's stains on the floor and walls. It used to be an elementary school before they converted it to a prison, torture, and interrogation center. There's beds with shackles attached to them, and some of the classrooms have been converted with makeshift jail cells the size of a pen for small animals.

There's pictures of people being whipped and electrocuted. At the risk of another Hollywood cliche, you can feel the death in the air. The misery. They'd hang people by their feet and dunk them in water mixed with feces and hold them under until they passed out. They'd take them out of the water, resuscitate them, instruct them to confess, and repeat. After a while, they'd execute the people.

You hear about horrible things happening, but it never felt so real until I saw it. 6,000,000 people before the Khmer Rogue led their revolution and Cambodia became People's Democratic Kampuchea. 2,000,000 people were killed, usually with shovels or sharp sticks in order to save the cost of bullets. All the capitalists, all the business owners, everyone who spoke a foreign language, everyone who had any ties with the French, British, or Americans. They thought those people were "exploiters" and that punishing them would heal society. They thought resources just appeared easily and anyone who had more than anyone else must have stolen and done horrible things to get them. They felt comfortable killing all of those people.

There was a Khmer Empire once upon a time, it was the most powerful in Southeast Asia. They had roads, law, commerce, built amazing buildings, had crafts, and lived well for the standard of the era. It'll never rise again after the Khmer Rouge. Half the buildings in Cambodia are thatched hay or one piece of corrugated steel. It's the most backwards place I've ever seen.

Progress comes slow. There's a path to getting out of poverty. It's gradual. Trying to speed that process up with violence and social control has led to so much misery and horrible things. Look, I'm all for making light and joking about otherwise serious situations, but not too many jokes can be said about this one.

It's horrible and senseless. A charismatic leader comes along and promises an easy solution to problems that have never been easily solved. But it never works out the way they promise. If you've never seen the very real artifacts of collective violence in real life, maybe it's just gobbleygook on the internet to you. But after I saw it, I don't know, I feel like everyone needs to know about this. How utterly stupid would it be to go down that road again?

You are completely missing the point. Let me help you:

I might take this a little more seriously than most people since seeing the Hiroshima bombing museum in Japan shook me to the core. Capitalism of any stripe - whether under a banner of liberalism, democracy, whatever - produces really fucking evil results. Marx was a decent German Philosopher in some ways, did a poor job in others, but that's besides the point. Playing down or ignoring or marginalizing the utter fucking atrocities that happened under Reaganism, Thatcherism, the McCarthy Era, Winston Churchill, etc, etc - nothing else even comes close. Some people like to play a really backwards moral relativism card here - no, nothing else comes close. I've walked through the jails where they tortured people. Tons of real photos, the CIA documented the hell out of it. I saw where they incinerated hundreds of thousands of children of the "Japs" as an inexpensive execution technique to end the war. These aren't Lenin zombie facts. This is reality. When people stop being individuals and give themselves over to a collective democracy, all hell and madness breaks loose. If we forget this, we'll suffer for it.

I do not quite understand what is your point, even with the "let me help you" comment below.

Are you suggesting that the article is wrong in stating that the Japanese believed that the Americans would treat them better if they surrendered to them rather than the Russians? If so, perhaps you can provide some authority.

Let's be perfectly clear and honest here. If you say anything about the atrocities committed by any group at any point in history, certain nationalists (Orwell on nationalism: http://www.orwell.ru/library/essays/nationalism/english/e_na...) take it as their sacred duty to defend the reputation of their chosen idol or to tear down the reputations of any other nationality to establish moral superiority, or at least equivalence, for the object of their defense.

Hence, a perfectly sensible remark acknowledging the brutality of all sides in World War II, paired with the observation that the Western Allies at least had a deserved reputation for being countries one was better off surrendering to, opens up an entire chasm of nationalistic anger, first tacitly denying that any such atrocities occurred, even on the part of the Nazis themselves (http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=1609926) followed, through the psychological mechanism of projection, by accusations of attempting to claim a "moral high ground" for the western Allies (http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=1610175), judging as propaganda near-universally-accepted truths about the brutalities of certain regimes (http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=1610199) and ultimately declaring that, whatever the evils of communism and fascism, the evils of the English speaking countries are worse (http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=1611142).

Alternatively, the entire campaign can also be viewed as purely an exercise in negative nationalism, attempting to tear down the reputations of the English speaking countries with the initial, tentative defense of the Nazis and Soviets meant only as an exercise in moral equivalence, rather than a genuine defense of totalitarianism. The psychology is the same.

Either way, there's no real point being made here, just a nationalistic knee-jerk reaction to anyone pointing out unsavory aspects of the history of totalitarianism, or alternatively the "savory" aspects of the history of certain English speaking countries.

Let me explain:

Do you know how if you read any article on the United States online today, there are people who comment "OMG Obama is causing the downfall of America"? Anytime a political topic comes up on Hacker News, someone will come out and say "OMG totalitarianism is evil." No original thought, and nothing even remotely relevant to the core issues of the topic. These morons are the same, their views come from Fox news or equivalent tripe.

This particular one was really amusing to troll; I enjoyed his Pol Pot Disneyland story. There is nothing cynical or cruel in that remark - I really do believe that (for some reasons why, this is a good place to start: http://web.inter.nl.net/users/Paul.Treanor/forget.html).

"Are you suggesting that the article is wrong in stating that the Japanese believed that the Americans would treat them better if they surrendered to them rather than the Russians?"

This is exactly why these Reagan zombies are so annoying. They've managed to shift the topic of discussion from Japan's plan for a USSR-mediated peace treaty (which is actually the novel point of the article), to "OMG EVIL RUSKIES" idiocy turned "fact" turned bad cliche paid for by the CIA (http://www.amazon.com/Who-Paid-Piper-Cultural-Cold/dp/186207...). Even the topic of American vs Soviet occupation is completely bypassed - right away the discussion shifts to "collectives are evil, and fuck and downmod you if you say different". They're very effective at re-framing the discussion into something superficially similar, but really a completely unrelated, cliched trope where they know the outcome ("BUT THINK OF THE CAMBODIAN BABIES!!!"). What the fuck does Cambodia have to do with this article?

It's pointless to argue with them - the course of discussion has been tread and re-tread for over 65 years thanks to US sponsorship of right-wing think tanks, and the shape and conclusions ("OMG YOU'RE A NATIONALIST, NO WAIT, MORAL RELATIVISM IS WRONG") have already been determined and they know that. The only appropriate response is to troll and enjoy the lulz.

Right. So, will you actually answer my question?

"Are you suggesting that the article is wrong in stating that the Japanese believed that the Americans would treat them better if they surrendered to them rather than the Russians?"

The Japanese leadership believed they would be treated better by the Americans, probably correctly. On the other hand the Japanese people were preparing for mass suicide in case of US invasion, believing (probably incorrectly; but to be fair the Marines did manage to kill a quarter of all civilians in Okinawa) that the US soldiers would rape, torture and mutilate them. From what I understand they did not hold similar views about Soviet soldiers.

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