28 December 2010

Hitchens on Kissinger

Christopher Hitchens is no fan of Henry Kissinger (neither am I).

In 2001 he published The Trial of Henry Kissinger, an examination of war crimes he alleges were perpetrated by Kissinger, or in which he alleges Kissinger was complicit, while National Security Adviser and later Secretary of State for Presidents Nixon and Ford.  Acting in the role of prosecutor, Hitchens presents evidence of Kissinger’s complicity in a series of alleged war crimes in Indochina, Bangladesh, Chile, Cyprus and East Timor.

On 27 November 2002, in response to the announcement by the Bush Administration that Kissinger would chair an “independent” inquiry into the failures of intelligence that preceded the destruction of the World Trade Center on 9 September 2001, he published in Slate an article entitled The Latest Kissinger Outrage in which he documents his basis for asserting that the new "commission" will be chaired by a man with a long, proven record of concealing evidence and of lying to Congress, the press, and the public. He concludes the article by asking:

... can Congress and the media be expected to swallow the appointment of a proven coverup artist, a discredited historian, a busted liar, and a man who is wanted in many jurisdictions for the vilest of offenses? The shame of this, and the open contempt for the families of our victims, ought to be the cause of a storm of protest.

This article is worth reading in full; access it here.

In another post in Slate on Monday 27 December, Hitchens responds to another tasty little morsel from Dr Kissinger’s back pages – the revelation from the latest Nixon tapes to be released that in a conversation with Nixon, following a request from Golda Meir that the United States press the Soviet Union to allow Jews to emigrate and escape persecution there, Kissinger had said to Nixon, moments after Meir left the room:

“The emigration of Jews from the Soviet Union is not an objective of American foreign policy,” Mr. Kissinger said. “And if they put Jews into gas chambers in the Soviet Union, it is not an American concern. Maybe a humanitarian concern.”

Read here the account of this conversation, which includes some amazing bigotry on Nixon’s part, as reported in The New York Times on 10 December.

Hitchens’ commentary is entitled Mr Kissinger, Have You No Shame? Ignore the recent excuses, writes Hitchens, Henry Kissinger’s entire career was a series of massacres and outrages. If we examine the career of this “disgusting individual”, he writes:

Here's what we would find: the secret and illegal bombing of Indochina, explicitly timed and prolonged to suit the career prospects of Nixon and Kissinger. The pair's open support for the Pakistani army's 1971 genocide in Bangladesh, of the architect of which, Gen. Yahya Khan, Kissinger was able to say: "Yahya hasn't had so much fun since the last Hindu massacre." Kissinger's long and warm personal relationship with the managers of other human abattoirs in Chile and Argentina, as well as his role in bringing them to power by the covert use of violence. The support and permission for the mass murder in East Timor, again personally guaranteed by Kissinger to his Indonesian clients. His public endorsement of the Chinese Communist Party's sanguinary decision to clear Tiananmen Square in 1989. His advice to President Gerald Ford to refuse Alexander Solzhenitsyn an invitation to the White House (another favor, as with spitting on Soviet Jewry, to his friend Leonid Brezhnev). His decision to allow Saddam Hussein to slaughter the Kurds after promising them American support. His backing for a fascist coup in Cyprus in 1974 and then his defense of the brutal Turkish invasion of the island. His advice to the Israelis, at the beginning of the first intifada, to throw the press out of the West Bank and go for all-out repression. His view that ethnic cleansing in former Yugoslavia was something about which nothing could be done. Forget the criminal aspect here (or forget it if you can). All those policies were also political and diplomatic disasters.

We possess a remarkably complete record of all this, in and out of office, most of it based solidly on U.S. government documents.

Read the full piece here – it’s a cracker.

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