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Blood on the Sand: Saddam Hussein Vs. Pol Pot

by GeoffDesmoulin   August 15, 2011 at 12:00AM  |  Views: 11,269

All hosts shed tears on this week's episode of Deadliest Warrior. Yes, you actually read that correctly. Trust me (Geoff Desmoulin) when I tell you that Season 3 of Deadliest Warrior is at a whole new level with what we are putting on your TV screen this year and while you know that Spike loves to create controversy with some of their match-ups, we up the ante yet again and throw you down on the ground yelling "watch our show biaatch!!" with this modern bad guy match-up of Saddam Hussein and his Republican Guard vs. Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge. You'll need to cowboy up for this episode as we delve deep into the evil that both these men brought to the battle field (killing fields) and while few would argue that Saddam's execution was a much needed step in the right direction for not only the people of Iraq but also humanity, many would have liked to see the same fate for Pol Pot but unfortunately did not.

True Evil Exists

Eradicating true evil from the battle field is and always has been a central concern of humanity. Since the beginning of any military records, questions around how to stop evil have preoccupied every major military or civil organization that include some if not all of history's greatest thinkers. Whether viewed in philosophical or psychological terms, true evil remains a critical global issue as terrorism and genocides such as that carried out in Cambodia continue in the 21st century. True evil touches us all; evil may affect us individually or as members of our communities, but in the end it demands a response. Whether we like it or not true evil exists and in order to defend against it we must immerse ourselves in it, understand it, and formulate a plan to fight against it. In a small way this week's show attempts to delve into this evil to help all of us try to understand. We do this by not trying to find an ex-Khmer Rouge member but a survivor of Pol Pot's genocide… I present to you Mr. Kilong Ung, genocide survivor, former refugee, Master's Degree holder in Statistics, author of Golden Leaf: A Khmer Rouge Genocide Survivor, husband, activist, and proud citizen of the United States. If anyone understands what true evil is it is this man as 10 members of his direct family and over 50 of his relatives were killed by the Khmer Rouge. A man who recounts memories to help us all understand the evil that exists, he could have crumbled under such peril instead he flourished and is giving back more than his share, a contagious tactic but seems to spread so slowly.

The Combatants and their Respective Experts

Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge

Given the secretive nature of Pol Pot precise political activities that landed him at the top may never be known but what he did during his 3 yr, 8 month, and 21 day rule of Cambodia with the Khmer Rouge cannot soon be forgotten and will forever go down as one of the most heinous crimes in modern history. Here's a synopsis of what Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge did to the Cambodian people:
  • Depending on what reference you read the total number that perished under the Khmer Rouge regime has a large range but is estimated at 1.7 million people (~21% of Cambodia's population). Many of whom were tortured and/or brutally executed but many more died of exhaustion and disease.
  • Cambodia's urban population was forced from their homes to work the fields in a slave labor fashion for 12-15 hrs per day.
Cambodia's wounds are still clearly apparent today:
  • The population is grossly skewed towards the young as roughly 50% are under the age of 15 yrs.
  • Human remains continue to expose themselves near the Killing Fields of Cheoung Ek to this day.
  • Pol Pot ordered the execution of the educated and the destruction of vehicles. Hence, the economy has continued to struggle to improve since he left power.
As to how such an atrocity could occur and the motivation behind a genocidal regime such as the Khmer Rouge, there seems to be at least a trend albeit absurd: a charismatic leader with an obsessive desire for creating a utopia, religious or political ideal combined with much insanity. We will delve into and give insight on this insanity as we walk you through what it was like to survive such an ordeal.

Information Credit goes to the Cambodian Genocide Program at Yale University

Saddam Hussein and the Republican Guard

If you watched our first LIVE episode of the Aftermath that aired during and immediately following the U.S. Army Rangers vs. North Korean Special Operations Forces you would have seen LTC (retired) Steven Russel on the show. The reason he came on the show was to both talk about his feelings on the match-up of that night but also tease this week's match-up as he helped lead the men that implemented the hunt and eventual capture of Saddam Hussein. On that day LTC Russell not only took us through the events that lead to Saddam's capture he also brought along a uniform worn by Saddam himself. Below is a picture of LTC Steven Russel and me holding up that very uniform together (Fig. 1). LTC Russell is also the author of We Got Him! A Memoir of the Hunt and Capture of Saddam Hussein.

Fig 1. LTC (retired) Steven Russel and I holding a uniform worn by Saddam Hussein.

However, what was most impressive for me on Saddam's side this episode was one of our Saddam experts LTC Rick Francona (retired) former USAF and CIA Agent with a demeanor of a saint, the eye of the tiger, and a burning intelligence that kept all hosts asking him question after question as each amazing story left his throat. Currently LTC Francona is a commentator and media military analyst. He is a retired highly decorated United States Air Force intelligence officer with extensive operational experience in the Middle East, including tours of duty with the National Security Agency, the Defense Intelligence Agency and the Central Intelligence Agency. Immediately following the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait and throughout the Gulf War, Lt Col Francona was deployed as the personal interpreter and advisor on Iraqi armed forces to General Norman Schwarzkopf. On that note, you will hear LTC Francona translate comments from a very special guest expert on the show… one of Saddam's Senior Officer's!

While it's difficult to say what electronic equipment we'll have available to us during the course of any showing of Deadliest Warrior, the show's hosts are typically available for live tweeting during every week's show so please send in your questions during the show via twitter to our own former U.S. Navy SEAL, the good Doctor, and your Engineering Scientist to have them answered LIVE, in real time on August 17 at 10/9c.

That's it for this week's Blood on the Sand Blog. I hope you're enjoying the more of everything that we are brining you this Season 3 of Deadliest Warrior!

New Episodes of Deadliest Warrior air on Spike Wednesdays at 10/9c and are posted on Spike.com three days later.

Geoff Desmoulin