Foreign Policy

Suharto, 1921-2008


One of the more brutal U.S. clients of the Cold War era has just died. Suharto—it's a one-word name, like "Prince" or "Taco"—was Indonesia's butcher-in-chief and thief-in-chief from 1965 to 1998. The L.A. Times recounts his greatest crimes:

Suharto expanded Indonesia's territory by force and guile, annexing the territories of Papua and East Timor and brutally suppressing the independence movement in the province of Aceh in a conflict that lasted for 27 years.

Estimates of the number of people killed by Suharto's regime "vary from 300,000 to 2 million, but the exact number nobody knows," said Asmara Nababan, former secretary-general of Indonesia's Human Rights Commission.

His military regime incarcerated hundreds of thousands of political prisoners for years without trial. Many critics simply vanished.