I’m so goddamn sick of seeing Henry Kissinger in the news. Every four to eight years, the Republicans have Donald Trump or Sarah Palin or whatever dangerously unqualified incompetent lunatic they’re trying to foist off on the American public meet with Henry Kissinger and pose for photos together, as if he’s supposed to impart some sort of valuable wisdom about foreign policy in a 15-minute photo op. One of the many thousands of annoying things about the Democratic primary campaign was when Hillary Clinton said that she was proud to have Kissinger’s friendship and that she valued his praise for her record as Secretary of State. And now, in an act that is close to unforgivable, her people have reached out to him for an actual endorsement.
Look, I know that Americans have the attention spans of Chihuahuas and the long-term memory of fruit flies, and I realize that American politics is basically a series of moments where we all have to gather around and insist that the naked Emperor is wearing beautiful clothes, but have we really forgotten EVERYTHING that Henry Kissinger and Richard Nixon did wrong? Henry Kissinger does not deserve praise or esteem or acclamation from anyone. Henry Kissinger is a goddamn war criminal. Henry Kissinger has the blood of hundreds of thousands of innocent people on his hands. More than any other person in America during the 20th century who is still living today, he helped spread mayhem, death and despair to innocent people while pursuing disastrously misguided, short-sighted policies. I’m tired of seeing this amoral, lying, sycophant-to-absolute-evil get propped up and coddled in the media like he’s some sort of lovable elder statesman.
Lots of other people have written about the crimes of Henry Kissinger more eloquently than I can (here’s a really good article); Christopher Hitchens wrote a whole book about what a bastard Kissinger was, and there was even a documentary made about Kissinger’s war crimes called “The Trials of Henry Kissinger.” But here is my brief, humbly inadequate recap of how Henry Kissinger did so much harm to the world, and why he is such a very bad person to call your “friend.”
He Sabotaged Vietnam Peace Talks in 1968
Henry Kissinger won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1973 (a highly controversial decision—two members of the prize committee resigned in protest) for negotiating a cease-fire in the Vietnam War. But the war could have ended five years earlier, if only Kissinger and Nixon hadn’t sabotaged the peace talks.
In October of 1968, the U.S. and South Vietnam and North Vietnam were in negotiations to end the Vietnam War. The negotiations were highly tense and required absolute secrecy – but Kissinger, who had been advising the negotiators, called the Nixon campaign (Nixon was running for president) and leaked secret information that the negotiations looked like they might succeed. One of Nixon’s confidants, a woman named Anna Chennault, notified the South Vietnamese that if they waited until after the U.S. election, they would get a better deal from Nixon’s administration than President Johnson was offering them.
As a result of Nixon and Kissinger’s duplicity, South Vietnam abandoned the peace process 3 days before the U.S. election of 1968, Nixon went on to win the White House, and American soldiers kept dying in Vietnam for 5 more years.
He Bombed Innocent People in Cambodia and Laos
Kissinger and Nixon were a couple of murderous bastards. Apparently not content to be bombing only one tiny Asian country back to the Stone Age, they secretly, illegally, expanded the Vietnam War into Cambodia and Laos, killing between 4,000 and 150,000 civilians by carpet-bombing those countries. The destabilization and mayhem resulting from the Nixon-Kissinger bombing of Cambodia helped give rise to Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge, a genocidal death cult that slaughtered between 1.5 million and 3 million innocent Cambodians. (Hmmm….America fights a stupid, wasteful war of occupation in a country we don’t understand, and then that war leads to unexpected consequences and unleashes even more sinister forces than we were fighting in the first place. Sound familiar? See? The rise of ISIS is nothing new – America does this stuff all the time. American foreign policy is so goddamn incompetent, it’s really kind of amazing that any women and children in Southeast Asia or the Middle East are still alive.)
He Was Best Friends With Fascist Murderers
In 1973, Kissinger supported the Chilean military’s violent overthrow of the elected government of Salvador Allende, a socialist president of Chile. Allende was replaced by Chilean General Augusto Pinochet, whose military dictatorship committed horrific crimes against humanity – raping, torturing, and “disappearing” thousands of students, activists, intellectuals and political opponents. Kissinger and Nixon were operating under the now-discredited “Domino Theory” of foreign policy, which believed that any country that became Communist or Socialist was a direct threat to the United States – even though Chilean socialism had nothing to do with Stalinist communism. Kissinger was part of a long tradition of American foreign policy meddling in other people’s countries and screwing up other people’s elected governments because we didn’t like how Socialist they were. “Better Dead than Red” was a popular saying among conservative meathead Americans during the Kissinger era, and Kissinger tried hard to make as many people Dead as possible.
You know what is so ironic about the life of Henry Kissinger? He is Jewish and was born in Germany, and he and his family fled Nazi Germany in 1938 to escape persecution. He served admirably in the U.S. Army fighting the Nazis in World War II. And yet he grew up to be a supporter and enabler of Fascist persecutors and a committer of Nazi-style crimes against humanity. How can you flee the Nazis as a child…and then grow up to so enthusiastically act like a Fascist? What the hell is wrong with you, Henry Kissinger, you miserable failure of a human being??
Fortunately, Henry Kissinger is mostly irrelevant now; we only have to hear his name during election season, when he’s being propped up as a pillar of the Republican foreign policy establishment or when Hillary Clinton is bizarrely praising him and/or seeking his praise. (Goddamn it, Hillary. I’m trying so hard to like you; why did you have to go out of your way to act proud to be friends with HENRY KISSINGER, of all people?? Really? There’s NO ONE ELSE you could talk to for advice about China policy? Were you trying not to lose out on the coveted “pro-war crimes” block of Democratic primary voters?)
Henry Kissinger is out of office and can’t hurt anyone anymore. But it’s worth remembering the full story of Kissinger’s style of foreign policy and the human costs of his merciless, amoral worldview.
People like Henry Kissinger act like the world is a giant chessboard: topple this government, back that strongman, bomb those civilians, assassinate that democratically elected Socialist, and so on. But they don’t pay enough attention to the real-life complexities and long-term consequences of their decisions. The world is more complicated than chess. Not every foreign policy challenge can be summed up by all-encompassing theories and tidy doctrines. America isn’t very good at the Great Game; America’s wars really don’t work. Maybe we should stop playing.
Maybe instead of supporting murderers and torturers because they seem to be “good guys” today, we should take a longer-term view of what “American interests” really are. America would have been better off if the Vietnam War had ended in 1968—America withdrew all our troops in 1973 and then lost the war anyway in 1975; so what was the point of those last 7 years? Henry Kissinger was just prolonging the inevitable; and Vietnam today is opening up trade and serving as a more valuable U.S. ally than ever before—if Vietnam was going to end up being an ally and trading partner, why couldn’t we have gotten to this point a long time ago? What did America or the world really gain from all of Kissinger’s scheming and plotting and meddling, all of those bombings of those people in Cambodia and Laos, creating all of those refugees and weeping widows and orphans and begging amputees and anonymous, uncounted, forgotten dead? Is there any “good” that Kissinger accomplished that could possibly outweigh all the harm? I don’t see it.
Henry Kissinger will never serve trial for war crimes, but that doesn’t mean we have to act like he’s a good person who is worthy of our respect. I despise Henry Kissinger, and I would love the chance to meet him in public so I can taunt, boo, and heckle his stupid, liver-spotted, potato-shaped face.
Sorry, this article is probably way too long, but it’s just a small sampling of the crimes of Henry Kissinger—you can read more about the other horrible bullshit that Kissinger did here. That’s the trouble with writing these hit pieces on conservative heroes—they give me way too much horrible material to work with. Maybe Kissinger’s strategy is to overwhelm historians with the sheer quantity of his horrible decisions.