Operation Menu was the codename of a covert United States Strategic Air Command (SAC) bombing campaign conducted in eastern Cambodia and Laos from 18 March 1969 until 26 May 1970, during the Vietnam War. The supposed targets of these attacks were sanctuaries and Base Areas of the People’s Army of Vietnam (PAVN) and forces of the National Front for the Liberation of South Vietnam (NLF or Viet Cong).
The campaign failed in its objective of preventing North Vietnamese offensives in South Vietnam, which continued during Operation Menu.
Demographic evidence indicates that the US ‘carpet bombings’ of Cambodia, in Operation Menu, ultimately killed around 40,000 Cambodian combatants and civilians. Some estimates go as high as between 50,000 and 150,000 during which two million tons of bombs were dropped on East Cambodian villages.
The bombing ultimately resulted in civil war in Cambodia and the rise in power of the Khmer Rouge. An estimated 1.7 to 2.5 million (1/8th) of the Cambodian population would later starve to death, die of disease or be executed by the Khmer Rouge regime.