Then Palin met with former secretary of state Henry Kissinger at his consulting firm’s offices for what was perhaps her most substantive meeting of the day. Palin talked for more than an hour with Kissinger, who tutored President Bush during his first White House campaign and has kept in close contact with him through his presidency.
Document 3: Kissinger and General Alexander M. Haig, Jr., 9 December 1970, 8:50 p.m.
Source: Nixon Presidential Materials Project, Henry A. Kissinger Telephone Conversations Transcripts, Home File, Box 29, File 2, 106-10
A few minutes later after receiving Nixon’s call on Cambodia, Kissinger telephoned his military assistant Alexander Haig about the orders from “our friend.” After he described Nixon’s instructions for a “massive bombing campaign” involving “anything that flys [or] anything that moves”, the notetaker apparently heard Haig “laughing.” Both Haig and Kissinger knew that what Nixon had ordered was logistically and politically impossible so they translated it into a plan for massive bombing in a particular district (not identifiable because the text is incomplete). These two phone calls illustrate an important feature of the Nixon-Kissinger relationship: while Nixon would, from time to time, make preposterous suggestions (no doubt depending on his mood), Kissinger would later decide whether there was a rational kernel in what Nixon had said and whether or how to follow up on it.
Thirty-three years ago the US Air Force began a secret B-52 bombardment of Cambodia. In 1973, Congress imposed a halt on the campaign. But nearly half of its 540,000 tons of bombs fell in the last six months. The Secretary of the Air Force later said that President Richard Nixon “wanted to send a hundred more B-52’s. This was appalling. You couldn’t even figure out where you were going to put them all…”
The civilian toll was massive. In l970 a US aerial and tank attack in Kompong Cham province took 200 lives. In 1971, the town of Angkor Borei was heavily bombed, burnt and levelled by B-52’s and T-28’s. Whole families were trapped in trenches they had dug underneath their homes.100 people were killed, and 200 houses destroyed.
US intelligence soon discovered that many “training camps” on which its Cambodian allies, the Lon Nol regime, had requested air strikes “were in fact merely political indoctrination sessions held in village halls and pagodas.” Cambodian intelligence noted that “aerial bombardments against the villagers have caused civilian loss on a large scale,” and that the peasant survivors of the US bombing were turning to Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge communists for support.
In March l973, the US carpet bombardment spread across the whole country. Around Phnom Penh alone, 3,000 civilians were killed in three weeks. UPI reported: “Refugees swarming into the capital from target areas report dozens of villages… have been destroyed and as much as half their population killed or maimed in the current bombing raids.”