The Trials of Henry Kissinger
New York Daily News, September
During his years as Richard Nixon's pet
hawk, Gerald Ford's secretary of state and the New York tabloids'
favorite bold-faced party animal, Henry Kissinger prosecuted private
and illegal wars that cost hundreds of thousands of Cambodian,
Vietnamese, Timorese and Chilean lives, and should himself be
prosecuted for crimes against humanity.
Those are the contentions of journalist
and Kissinger tracker Christopher Hitchens, made in a book-length
pair of Harper's Magazine articles last year and reiterated and
supported in the damning new BBC documentary "The Trials
of Henry Kissinger."
The 80-minute film, which parades credible
high-level witnesses, indicts Kissinger on at least four counts
of mass murder, providing convincing evidence that Kissinger:
* Ordered the U.S. military to conduct
illegal air raids in Cambodia in 1969, and to misreport the targets
* Convinced Nixon to order the 1972 "Christmas
bombing" of Hanoi, which killed thousands of North Vietnamese
civilians, as a political sop to weakened South Vietnam President
Nguyen van Thieu.
* Got Ford to okay arms sales to Indonesian
President Suharto in 1975, knowing they would be used, illegally,
in the slaughter of rebels and civilians in East Timor.
* Ordered the CIA to instigate a coup
of the democratically elected left-wing Chilean government of
Salvador Allende, clearing the way for the murderous right-wing
dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet.
It's Kissinger's role in Chile's military
coup that has made him a specific target of international prosecutors,
who want him for questioning in Pinochet investigations in six
"The Trials of Henry Kissinger"
serves as both a prosecution brief on the above charges and an
unauthorized biography. It takes us back to his childhood as a
bullied German Jew, his family's pre-war migration to New York,
when he was 15, and his ascension as a renowned academic, White
House top gun, statesman and international babe magnet.
"Power is the ultimate aphrodisiac,"
Kissinger famously said, and knew whereof he spoke.
Kissinger comes off in the film as a complex
man with a fungible morality. Appearing only in news and interview
clips, Kissinger defends his actions on the dubious grounds that
political issues are not subject to the right-wrong judgments
we make as individuals "because sometimes we're choosing
between two evils."
Coming on the apparent eve of war against
despot Saddam Hussein's Iraq, "The Trials of Henry Kissinger"
also serves as a reminder that American foreign policy has not
had anything against vicious despots per se, only those who are
not acting in our interests.
Henry Kissinger page