As you may have noticed, I’ve been pondering why so many folks are upset with Henry Kissinger. So I watched the movie, The Trials of Henry Kissinger, and I’ve recently finished the book on which the movie was based. In my last long post about Kissinger, I gave a quick summary of the movie’s points. I’m not sure if such summary is boring to you, dear reader, but I do it for your own good. I do it with the vision of you standing at a party drinking your oh-so-hip mojito and somehow, mysteriously, talk of Kissinger emerges. (It happens more than you’d think!). Instead of pretending to nod along knowledgeably at the right moments, perhaps that little summary enabled you to smoothly insert a snide comment about the relationship between Pepsi-Cola and Chile and impress everyone. And that’s the whole point of knowing about politics, isn’t it?
No, no, no, that’s not my vision. My vision is my own memory of feeling like a bonehead whenever this kind of stuff came up. My high school history classes invariably started at 1642 and hit summer vacation at 1927. On the AP American history test I remember acing everything until I got asked a question about the 1979 Iran hostage crisis. I was old enough to remember this happening, but I’d never learned a thing about the hows and whys. But how can one possibly learn the details of the missing 70 years on my own? Well, I had to try, and hey, part of the fun is sharing the learning with others.
Anyhow, with that vision in mind, in my next post I’ll give you a quick summary of Hitchen’s list of Kissinger’s sins. Someone else can review the book – I mostly just wanted to get a sense of his reasoning. The book goes into several other areas of Kissinger scariness than the movie -- no surprise there. To recap, in the movie, the main thrust of the case is about Kissinger's direct actions and their results, namely his delaying of the peace talks in Vietnam, his expansion of that war into Cambodia and Laos, and his approval (or possibly direction) of the assassination of Chilean General Rene Scheider, who was standing in the way of a military coup to get rid of democratically elected Allende. These three circumstances are relatively easy to trace back to Kissinger and actions he took.
In addition to the above, the book details indirect action: Kissinger's tacit approval and support of several staggeringly murderous regimes. My next post will have the summary of these events. (It seems my post is getting a bit long so I'm doing it in two parts).