Posted on 08/20/2009

Photo taken on August  9, 2009

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Phnom Penh
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Sydney Schanberg

Sydney Schanberg
Sydney Hillel Schanberg (born 17. January 1934 in Clinton, Massachusetts) is an American journalist who is best known for his coverage of the war in Cambodia.
Schanberg joined The New York Times as a journalist in 1959. He spent much of the early 1970s as a Vietnam War correspondent for the Times. For his reporting, he won the George Polk Award for excellence in journalism twice, in 1971 and 1974.
Following years of U.S. carpet bombing campaigns over Cambodia and Laos, Schanberg wrote positively in The New York Times about the departure of the Americans and the coming regime change, writing about the Cambodians that "it is difficult to imagine how their lives could be anything but better with the Americans gone." The Khmer Rouge took over Cambodia in 1975 and killed approximately two million people. A dispatch he wrote on 13. April 1975, written from Phnom Penh, ran with the headline "Indochina without Americans: for most, a better life." However, in the same piece, Schanberg also wrote, "This is not to say that the Communist-backed governments which will replace the American clients can be expected to be benevolent. Already, in Cambodia, there is evidence in the areas led by the Communist-led Cambodian insurgents that life is hard and inflexible, everything that Cambodians are not." However, in the same article, Schanberg then went on to reject claims that the communist takeover of Cambodia could lead to state-sponsored genocide: "Wars nourish brutality and sadism, and sometimes certain people are executed by the victors but it would be tendentious to forecast such abnormal behavior as a national policy under a Communist government once the war is over."