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Molly Ivins on Henry Kissinger

The cynicism of this insult is just flabbergasting

Molly Ivins

August 30, 1944 - January 31, 2007

AUSTIN, TX - Good grief. I turn my back for 10 minutes, and they bring back the old War Criminal.

Two generations of Americans have come to adulthood since Henry Kissinger last held political power, so I need to explain that War Criminal is not an affectionate sobriquet: The man is, in fact, a war criminal - wanted for questioning in Chile, Argentina and France (concerning French citizens who disappeared in Chile). He cannot travel to Britain, Brazil and many other countries because they cannot guarantee his immunity from legal proceedings.

Today, Henry Kissinger enjoys the company and adulation of mainstream politicians and journalists, even as we continue to learn more about the graveyards filled a half century ago by his words and winks over Cambodia, Argentina, and Bangladesh. Kissinger is in his 90s and too hallowed in America to be affronted by a trial, so the best we can hope for might be the lacerating words of Bernie Sanders, who said in a debate with Hillary Clinton, "Henry Kissinger was one of the most destructive secretaries of state in the modern history of this country. I am proud to say that Henry Kissinger is not my friend."

March 24 2016, The Intercept

In addition to his role in the Chilean coup that brought the regime of Gen. Pinochet to power, Kissinger is wanted for questioning about the international terrorist network called Operation Condor, which conducted killings, kidnappings and bombings in several countries, including this one - the 1976 bombing in Washington, D.C., that killed a noted Chilean dissident and his companion.

Kissinger's most notorious crime was the secret bombing of Cambodia and Laos during the Vietnam War. William Shawcross argued persuasively in his book "Sideshow: Kissinger, Nixon and the Destruction of Cambodia" that the Cambodian bombing unleashed the Khmer Rouge on that country - which, if true, certainly ups Kissinger's body count.

He is also a notorious liar. He has lied repeatedly to Congress, the press and the public; he is a toady to power and a lackey of the Establishment, and for many years now the hireling of despotic regimes around the world. Old Cover-Up Kissinger, the man who double-crossed the Iraqi Kurds ... just the man to lead an independent inquiry into 9-11.

The cynicism of this insult to the families of those who died on 9-11 is just flabbergasting. We knew the Bush administration opposed the whole idea of an independent inquiry, but this adds supreme insult to injury.

The cover-up has already started: Kissinger insists he need not reveal the identities of his client regimes. He said law firms are not required to reveal the names of their clients. That's a two-lie answer, no record for Henry the K. He doesn't run a law firm, he runs an international consulting business. And in the second place, law firms are indeed obliged to publicly register their lobbying clients. The only time I ever interviewed Kissinger, he told me three lies in the first sentence he spoke, each word. Dropping. From. His. Mouth. Like. A. Stone. He lies with more authority than anyone I have ever known.

For those of you who are interested in learning more about our most famous living war criminal, I recommend Seymour Hersh's book "The Price of Power: Kissinger in the Nixon White House," which was widely attacked but no factual error was ever found in it. Also, Christopher Hitchens' "The Trial of Henry Kissinger" is a definitive argument for the war criminal charge.

If you want to get something good out of this cynical ploy, you can at least haul out your old Tom Lehrer records and tool down memory lane. Lehrer, the great social satirist, stopped writing the day they gave Henry Kissinger the Nobel Peace Prize.

Meanwhile, our neo-con hawks have moved from the bellicose to the bizarre. Ken Adelman, a member of Bush's Defense Policy Board, has joined several other hawks in direct attacks on Islam. Calling Islam a peaceful religion "is an increasingly hard argument to make," announced Adelman. "The more you examine the religion, the more militaristic it seems. After all, its founder, Mohammed, was a warrior, not a peace advocate like Jesus."

Another member of the Pentagon advisory board, Eliot Cohen, says, "Nobody would like to think that a major world religion has a deeply aggressive and dangerous strain in it - a strain often excused or misrepresented in the name of good feelings. But uttering uncomfortable and unpleasant truths is one of the things that defines leadership."

The Christian right has gone completely batty on the subject: Rev. Jerry Falwell called Mohammed "a terrorist," Rev. Franklin Graham said Islam is "evil" and so forth.

Let's see, where does that leave Christianity, the religion of peace and love, founded by the Prince of Peace?

Among the more notable Christian crimes were the unbearably bloody Crusades, the Thirty Years War, the Inquisition, innumerable pogroms, regular slaughter of Protestants, counter-slaughter by Protestants, genocide against Native Americans (featuring biological warfare), slavery, the Holocaust, ethnic cleansing, Northern Ireland ... and the list goes on and on and on.

People who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones. Especially when they are making bellicose statements and beating the war drums relentlessly for what may be an unnecessary war.


Fare thee ill, Kissinger

Henry Kissinger has resigned from his post as the head of the 9/11 investigation commission. The problem, however, was not his shoddy track record of human rights violations, abuse of power, or clandestine warfare. He resigned because of his consulting firm.

Kissinger had been under pressure from families of 9/11 victims to reveal his client list to avoid any potential conflicts of interest. In his letter to Bush, he said, "It is clear that, although specific potential conflicts can be resolved in this manner, the controversy would quickly move to the consulting firm I have built and own. I have, therefore, concluded that I cannot accept the responsibility you proposed." The good news: Henry's history. Bad news: Poindexter and Abrams are still around


And speaking of Poindexter: His job heading the Total Information Awareness, a major spook and citizen surveillance has backfired as the tables are turned on him.

Editorial: Where we stand, Feb. 5, 2003