The excesses of the Khmer Rouge communists in Cambodia-Kampuchea did more to discredit Leninism than anything else. The Khmer Rouge’s thirst for blood was unquenchable, and eventually 1.7 million died in four years from starvation, overwork, restrictions on the supply of medicines and executions. Religion and education were banned. The leader, Pol Pot, was a xenophobe who wanted to eliminate all foreign influence in his country and harboured a special hatred for the Vietnamese. His Leninism idealised the peasantry, and like Mao he saw them as the springboard to power. Rural bases could gradually take over the countryside before the assault on the towns became possible. The Buddhist monks, regarded as lazy because they could not grow rice, were another target. One devotee remarked that it was preferable to have a thinly populated Cambodia than a country of incompetents.