At the beginning of the semester I wrote that President George W. Bush seemed to have a taste for retro styles from the ’70s and ’80s.
Well, fashion-watchers, our fearless leader headed back to the thrift store last week to pick up a chairman for the head of the Sept. 11 investigation: Henry A. Kissinger.
Kissinger served as Secretary of State for both Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford, as well as an advisor to President Reagan.
During his tenure in government, the German-born Kissinger was responsible for atrocities from Vietnam to South America.
Christopher Hitchens, an admitted ideological enemy of Kissinger, wrote a lengthy two-part article, published in Harper’s Magazine last year, that details many actions undertaken by Kissinger that could qualify the former statesman as a war criminal.
Much of the information provided comes from memoirs and statements of Kissinger associates.
For example, Kissinger was part of the team negotiating a peace treaty between North and South Vietnam in Paris in 1968.
Kissinger fed information about the negotiations to the Nixon campaign, which used this information to secretly conduct its own illegal negotiations with the South Vietnamese.
The Nixon camp encouraged the South to pull out of negotiations, promising them a better deal when Nixon won election.
The South did just this, and the next seven years of war can be laid, in part, at Kissinger’s feet.
Hitchens wrote that Kissinger was rewarded with a position as an advisor in national security affairs in the Nixon Administration.
He was then appointed Secretary of State in 1973.
While he served in this position, Kissinger encouraged the secret bombings in Laos and Cambodia, resulting in thousands of civilian deaths.
Kissinger was also involved in his own Sept. 11 atrocity.
On that day in 1973, Augusto Pinochet toppled the democratically elected government of Salvador Allende in Chile.
Kissinger, in collusion with the CIA, had been taking action against Allende for several years, and the coup had Kissinger’s blessing.
Pinochet, now an indicted war criminal, was responsible for thousands of deaths and disappearances in Chile.
During the ’80s, Kissinger had a less prominent role in government, but was still able to encourage assassinations and other actions against leftist government in Latin America.
Since the ouster of the Republicans from the White House in 1992, Kissinger has been selling his “expertise” to any country that would pay for it, including China.
Why is this man being rewarded with the chairmanship of such an important investigation?
Obviously, it is because of our President’s ties to Kissinger’s former employers (Bush #1, Reagan, Ford, Nixon).
Leaving aside arguments about Kissinger’s objectivity towards topics like Saudi Arabia, it is simply wrong to give this man another job within the U.S. government.
I just don’t understand the rush of politicians, Republican and Democrat, to praise him as a “well-respected” elder statesman.
True, Kissinger could not kill anyone else from this new post, but this appointment is like a crown jewel set into a very tarnished crown.
Brian White can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org