Finally: War Criminal Dead at 100

[NB: check the byline, thanks. /~Rayne]

Henry Kissinger died today, age 100.

I am posting an image of the headlines at the top of Google News this hour because I don’t trust myself to write much about this man.

Polarizing barely describes Kissinger’s approach to foreign policy. So many of the challenges we’ve faced since Kissinger left the Nixon administration are blowback and blowback upon that blowback from his bullshit.

And by bullshit I’ll point to his unlawful war on Cambodia, as just one example. Nixon may have started the unauthorized bombing but Kissinger’s support ensured it would continue.

Beloved chef and travel journalist Anthony Bourdain put it best in his 2010 book, ‘A Cook’s Tour: Global Adventures in Extreme Cuisines’:

“Once you’ve been to Cambodia, you’ll never stop wanting to beat Henry Kissinger to death with your bare hands. You will never again be able to open a newspaper and read about that treacherous, prevaricating, murderous scumbag sitting down for a nice chat with Charlie Rose or attending some black-tie affair for a new glossy magazine without choking. Witness what Henry did in Cambodia – the fruits of his genius for statesmanship – and you will never understand why he’s not sitting in the dock at The Hague next to Milošević.”

You will hear that quote above often this week because there have not been enough people who have distilled Kissinger’s wretchedness into less than 100 words as Bourdain did.

I wish I could but the size and scale of Kissinger’s evils outstrip my ability.

~ ~ ~

This is an open thread. Leave your comments about Kissinger and war crimes here rather than pollute other threads.

172 replies
      • Legonaut says:

        The actual conversation with Mrs. Lego tonight:
        Her: “Henry Kissinger died today. He was 100 years old.”
        Me: “Did they cut off his head, drive a stake through his heart, and bury him at a crossroad?”
        Her: “I didn’t know he was a vampire.”
        Me: “We don’t want that fucker coming back again.”

        • P J Evans says:

          My response to something very similar, elseweb, was “I suggest a stake soaked in garlic juice and wrapped in silver wire.”

          • Troutwaxer says:

            That’s a very good idea. I usually have a policy of not publicly celebrating anyone’s death, no matter how vile they were, in any public fashion for at least a week. Doing anything else seems like the opposite of classy.

            Henry Kissinger? I’m throwing a fuckin’ party! The world is a much cleaner place now! And yes, please perform all the anti-vampire rituals.

        • LaMissy! says:

          The Chilean film director Pablo Larraín’s latest endeavor, “El Conde” is a black comedy which reimagines some political figures as vampires. An excellent metaphor.

          • Just Some Guy says:

            A problematic metaphor in the case of Kissinger (not that this film, which I don’t know, does that). Comparing Jewish figures to vampires reeks of blood libel, and as much as I detest Kissinger, I detest centuries-old antisemitic tropes tossed off casually in the 21st Century even more.

              • Just Some Guy says:

                Sure, in a film most of us are likely to never see.

                But in comments we’re all reading here there have been multiple ones calling Kissinger a vampire (again, the blood libel trope), several ones calling for the desecration of his grave (thankfully at least urine is relatively harmless, but vandalism and desecration of Jewish cemeteries is not harmless and sadly not uncommon in America), one comparing him to Goebbels, and even one going so far as to say that his body should be burned in public as a pay-per-view event — which is so ridiculously offensive I don’t even know how to begin to comment on it.

                Perhaps you may see what I’m getting at when I say those comments are disturbing. No matter how much any of us detest Kissinger, I wish people would put a little more thought and care into their words. Y’know, just simple statements like “Fuck Kissinger, I’m glad he’s dead” are sufficient.

                • Rayne says:

                  This ends here. Point taken about the use of Goebbels as an example but as the excerpt in this thread noted, Kissinger approved +3000 bombing runs which killed 150,000-500,000 Cambodians and continues to maim Cambodians today.

                  Saying “Fuck Kissinger, I’m glad he’s dead” is not enough for the damage this one man has wreaked on humanity. That’s why this thread exists and you’re not going to tell people how to express their fury with that wretch who escaped all accountability for his murderous approach to foreign policy.

                  ADDER: You can also slow the fuck down. You’ve published 16 comments here today. Even moderators here haven’t racked up that many comments today.

  1. Hcgorman says:

    And wow, his awful history as a war criminal is so quickly being rewritten ( just heard one awful segment on msnbc)
    but to quote bob d:
    I’ll stand over your grave til I’m sure that your dead.

  2. Bob Roundhead says:

    My first exposure to Christopher Hitchens was his book on Kissinger. His corrupt barbarity was equaled by only perhaps Leopold II in Congo. Cambodia wasn’t even the beginning of his barbarism, and it was a long way from its end. If I were to believe in divine punishment, his death would make me happy. P

    • punaise says:

      Kissinger finally punched his ticket to hell, and somewhere the complicated Hitchens is smirking. Although as an atheist the concept of an afterlife wouldn’t work for him I suppose.

          • BRUCE F COLE says:

            He should be cremated without a casket on YouTube pay per view, the proceeds going to Cambodian relief and rebuilding. If advertised properly it could rake in a billion, easily, I’m guessing.

            My SE Asian daughter in law and granddaughter did a backpacking tour through that zone 4 years ago, and Cambodia was the most hard-wracked place they visited. It’s like a country still trying to gain consciousness in some ways. The soul of the entire society was devastated.

  3. Peterr says:

    Erik Loomis at LGM has quite the opening to his obit:

    Kissinger is Dead, Finally Something Good Has Happened in 2023

    One of the most vile individuals to ever befoul the United States, Henry Kissinger is dead. A man responsible for the deaths of millions of people around the world and yet the most respected man within the American foreign policy community for decades, Kissinger’s sheer existence exposed the moral vacuity of Cold War foreign policy and the empty platitudes and chummy gladhandling of the Beltway elite class that deserves our utter contempt.

    Born in 1923 in Bavaria to a Jewish family, . . .

    • BobBobCon says:

      His followup quote in the New Yorker in 2017 adds a lot to the quote above:

      “I’m not going to the White House Correspondents’ dinner,” he said. “I don’t need to be laughing it up with Henry Kissinger.” He then launched into a tirade about how it sickens him, having travelled in Southeast Asia, to see Kissinger embraced by the power-lunch crowd. “Any journalist who has ever been polite to Henry Kissinger, you know, fuck that person,” he said, his indignation rising. “I’m a big believer in moral gray areas, but, when it comes to that guy, in my view he should not be able to eat at a restaurant in New York.”

      He drilled into how the Kissinger problem wasn’t just one guy, it was the whole network of DC journalists who enabled the monster.

      • P J Evans says:

        Being polite to him when you have no options is one thing. But being friendly with him, and socializing with him, when you have options – that’s bad.

        I’m glad that he’s sharing a front-row pit in a lower circle with Stalin and Pol Pot and the other genocidal leaders. Long may they suffer!

  4. Peterr says:

    While Henry was doing his thing as both National Security Advisor and Secretary of State, Dick Cheney was Ford’s Deputy Chief of Staff under Donald Rumsfeld. Three weeks after Henry gave up the NSA job to focus on being Secretary of State, Ford replaced Rumsfeld with Cheney.

    Ponder that for a moment . . .

    It’s not a stretch to think that Cheney learned a lot from Kissinger that he brought to the Dubya administration as the Veep. “We’ve been attacked by Saudi terrorists, so we better invade Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq” sounds right out of the Kissinger playbook.

  5. P’villain says:

    I’ve never had the stomach to read a whole book about him. Long before we began calling it “impunity,” Kissinger introduced me to the concept.

    At least Jimmy Carter outlived the SOB.

  6. DrFunguy says:

    Maybe it pales in comparison to his war crimes but I also remember in the 90’s (80’s?) he would be hired to pontificate, er, propagandize, on the tv shows about China policy. All the while selling advice to China investors. He was corruption all the way down!

  7. P J Evans says:

    The image I’ve seen is Death playing with a claw machine:
    “I knew Kissinger was in this thing! Finally!”

    • Hug h roonman says:

      The IMAGE I see is Henry going through a “Life Review” in which he subjectively and PERSONALLY experiences the suffering and death of EVERY SINGLE INDIVIDUAL HUMAN BEING his actions caused, PLUS the GRIEF AND SUFFERING of every person who mourned those deaths.

      Henry WILL be EXPERIENCING ALL of those
      LONG after the rest of us are dead and buried.

      We all have something to account for,
      Henry’s accounting will take hundreds of years.

      THAT IS an appropriate Hell for Hank…

  8. freebird says:

    I never understood what Kissinger was talking about. He would mumble something unintelligible and everyone would nod as if he said something profound. He was involved in Nixon’s secret plan to end the war that extended the war and some of us fell for it.

    • Old Rapier says:

      I don’t think most of them love Kissinger. They respect that he was the leader of powerful institutions and had the ears of, and influence with, countless powerful men. As they do or hope to do as well. His status alone earns their respect. What Kissinger did or didn’t do has nothing to do with it.
      On this score one can for a moment catch the breeze from MAGA storms against elites.

    • pasha says:

      Exactly! Kubrick and Southern based the character “Dr. Strangelove” on “Dr. Groeteschele,” from the book Fail Safe (memorably-played by Walter Matthau in the movie of the same name). The book’s author, Eugene Burdick (a professor of political science) transparently modeled Dr. G. on Kissinger: both made their names at Harvard as refugees; both espoused pre-emptive and limited nuclear war; both regarded power as an aphrodisiac; and, both were unsullied by any touch of morality.

  9. hollywood says:

    I vaguely recall a zillion years ago when the Vietnam “conflict” was amping up, some news show had an international debate with Kissinger and a couple of Harvard students against some English (?) students and some older guy debating what was to become the undeclared war. The pro team seemed so reasonable and persuasive and the cons seemed so weak and uniformed like some silly peaceniks.
    It took me a few years and several Ramparts articles to figure out how foolish I had been to be conned by K’s team.

    • Spooky Mulder says:

      From The Nation obit,

      ‘ “There are two kinds of realists,” Kissinger wrote in the early 1960s, “those who manipulate facts and those who create them. The West requires nothing so much as men able to create their own reality.” Trump, the reality-show president, certainly creates his own reality. A “phenomenon,” Kissinger called Trump, saying that “something remarkable and new” might emerge out of his presidency…’

      Remarkable and new, let me count the ways.

      • P J Evans says:

        “able to create their own reality” – we’ve heard that one, from Karl Rove. Didn’t work out so well.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        The godlike arrogance peaks through. Henry didn’t merely manipulate reality, he called what he did creating it. But consider the hordes, many of them made men before they went to an Ivy, who cheered him on while doing it.

    • Rayne says:

      Thanks for that link. This bit:

      From 1969 to 1973, when a Congress that had been largely kept in the dark about the Cambodian campaign moved to halt it, the United States dropped a half-million tons of bombs on the neutral country. Kissinger personally “approved each of the 3,875 Cambodia bombing raids” that occurred between 1969 and 1970, according to a Pentagon report released later.

      The bombing campaign ultimately killed between 150,000 and a half-million Cambodian civilians, various estimates suggest. It also helped unleash a civil war inside Cambodia that led to the rise of the Khmer Rouge and Pol Pot, a dictator whose regime killed as many as 2 million Cambodians, according to modern appraisals.

      I just want to barf on the man’s grave.

      • theGeoguy says:

        That bombing campaign still affects Cambodian farmers today. Some estimates are that about half of all bombs dropped on soft, rich farmland didn’t explode. A 3/20/21 article in The Economist describes a research paper by 4 OSU academics: “American bombing 50 years ago still shapes Cambodian agriculture
        Farmers avoid fertile areas whose soft earth may contain unexploded ordnance”

      • Thomasa98 says:

        The legacy of Henry the K lives on in ways I could scarcely imagine fifty years ago. In 1969 I was ushered to the rooftop of a Saigon hotel by my Air Force roommates. They were news photographers on assignment.

        From the roof we watched flashes and felt the rumbles coming from 50 miles away to the west. “B52s” I was told, as though that said all that needed to be said. “Don’t write home about it.”

        Fifty years later, give or take, I sat in my favorite watering hole updating the bartender on the progress of my memoir. I had just finished the chapter on Cambodia. The woman on my right had overheard our conversation and said, “Cambodia? You were in Cambodia? I spend most of my time there.”

        It turns out she is a Seattle-area artist who teaches paper-cutting art to Cambodian children who have been maimed by unexploded ordnance. Some have no arms at all and hold a knife in their mouth. Some have only stumps and can hold a knife with those.

        A friend of mine works to fund the cleanup of Laos’ Plain of Jars, another field of bombing carnage. He’s a veteran of that era’s NSA. He and the artist are attempting to mop up after Henry and Dick’s escapade, the legacy of which will outlive all of us.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Personally approved nearly four thousand bombing missions over four years? That’s an average of over three and a half missions per day. An intense, obsessive interest, almost certainly focused on the political, not military, effects of American bombing raids.

        Enhances the war crime argument, and nicely guts his supporters’ argument that Kissinger was involved only at the policy level, regarding the crimes he committed or enabled.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          Correction: Over 2.5 bombing missions per day that Kissinger personally approved. Still an obsessive component of his day, given the data one would normally review.

          Unlike Robert McNamara, Kissinger would have been a neophyte bombing analyst. He was not an Air Force bombing specialist, or anywhere in the chain of command. Presumably, he was concerned with the politics of the aftermath of his decisions, and with controlling the news cycle.

          • earlofhuntingdon says:

            LOL. For inexplicable reasons, you might be thinking of Howard Zinn. The closest Henry probably came to the Norden as, a translator and interrogator in Germany, was having once watched, Sherlock Holmes and the Secret Weapon. But a version of the WWII-era Norden did remain in service long enough to be used for attacks on the Ho Chi Minh Trail in 1967, before Henry worked in the WH.

  10. Konny_2022 says:

    In addition to the screenshots above: Huffpost’s heading is “Henry Kissinger, America’s Most Notorious War Criminal, Dies At 100,” subtitled “The titan of American foreign policy was complicit in millions of deaths — and never showed remorse for his decisions.” By Travis Waldron and George Zornick.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Thanks for the article and to Rayne for the link. Nicely written, and more informative than many about the costs of Kissinger’s foreign policy. One useful quote from it was this:

      “Kissinger’s philosophy of life was that ‘good will won’t help you defend yourself on the docks of Marseilles.’”

      Bad analogy, as is often the case with public figures, defending their controversial policies. But it captures Kissinger’s disdain and dismissiveness. America, in effecting its foreign policy, is not a slight figure defending herself against waterfront thugs. It has the power of the thug, not the victim, and is one when it abuses its power.

      Nicely chosen waterfront, too, as it was dominated by organized crime that a previous American administration had let loose on French Communists in the 1940s and early 1950s. Having been given free rein in one of Europe’s busiest ports, organized crime developed it into one of the great hubs for the illicit drug trade – the French Connection – with much of the product coming from…SE Asia.

  11. Verrückte Pferd says:

    Backing out of a doorway, i swung my elbow into Kissinger’s stomach in the West Wing hallway after a meeting with the Energy Czar. He was walking together with “I’m in charge now” Alexander Haig. i don’t remember if he grunted, but i also don’t remember apologizing. A decades long nightmare had become real, like counting coup, and i honored my right elbow (in fact, i still have it). Haig was also a vampire.

    That might have occurred on the same visit when my colleague was showing me the Oval Office; to be there was blowing my mind (after being arrested years earlier by Gordon Liddy, who was then in jail while i was in the Oval Office, karma of sorts). Hah! A secretary came in and said, “Would you please move to the Cabinet Room, the President would like to use the office.” Guess those were more informal times.

    i sometimes reproached myself for not hitting harder.

  12. mmmCoffee42 says:

    So, is that from where where Cheney’s Chief of Staff David Addington got his belief that “We can create our own reality”?

  13. Benoit Roux says:

    “I am not a wise person, but I play one on TV” could have said Henry Kissinger.

    The bombing campaign of Cambodia. The intense bombing began under President Nixon’s orders, which Kissinger loyally transmitted to the US military with these words: “Massive bombing campaign in Cambodia. Anything that flies on anything that moves.” Chomsky wrote that this is the kind of call for genocide that one rarely finds in the archival record of any state.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Reminds me that while Anthony Bourdain, Chalmers Johnson, Howard Zinn, and others did not outlive Kissinger, Noam Chomsky has.

  14. Tetman Callis says:

    Some years back, an attorney I worked with on matters of persons detained on suspicions of terrorism or espionage asked me to research the question of whether or not Kissinger was arguably guilty of war crimes. After reviewing the law and the open-source information of Kissinger’s actions, I concluded that only with regard to what occurred in East Timor in 1975 did it appear that a legally and factually sustainable argument could be made that he had committed one or more war crimes.

    I was surprised. It had become such a commonplace observation that Kissinger was a war criminal, and that he had engaged in said criminal activity in any number of venues. I thought the facts would fit the accusation, but they did not, by law, with the aforementioned exception regarding East Timor.

    I delivered the memo of my research and conclusions to the attorney who had requested it, and heard no more on the subject.

      • Tetman Callis says:

        I may, though I am not going to dig through my files in search of it.

        I was not pleased by my conclusions. I’m as left-leaning as any lifetime Democrat could be, as convinced as any that Kissinger was a war criminal six ways from Sunday. And I mean, demonstrable as a war criminal in fact and under law. But what I found did not support that, with, as I said, the possible exception of East Timor.

        HK was a smooth operator. The fact that he was never called to account in any legal forum for any of the actions that have left him vilified as a war criminal speaks to that.

        I would think it also speaks to how freely accusations can be made in the court of public opinion that would not measure up in a court of law.

        • bmaz says:

          Again, what were the statutes and/or conventions you evaluated that under?

          Without that, your claim is complete bullshit.

            • Rayne says:

              This site has always asked for supporting documentation and citations for claims, especially if extraordinary.

              You can simply stop commenting here if you’re going to make claims without support. I don’t know how you came to the conclusion the repeated carpet bombing of Cambodia was not a war crime under Article IV of the Geneva Convention as civilians were not provided any protections and the bombing was deliberately covert, unauthorized, against an undeclared combatant nation — and this was before 1977’s Additional Protocol’s Article 51(5)(b).

              • Tetman Callis says:

                I must ask you to pardon me my reluctance to take kindly to the foul-fingered bullying of bmaz. While I have long appreciated the fierce moderating effect bmaz has here, I may not think it is in every instance appropriate.

                What follows below is the text of the short memo that remains in my files from twenty years ago, when I undertook the assignment I referred to upthread. I have no further supporting documentation.

                “[addressee redacted],

                “You asked me to review the Christopher Hitchens article in the February and March 2001 issues of Harper’s magazine, ‘The Case Against Henry Kissinger’, and report to you my conclusions as to whether or not Mr. Kissinger may have committed war crimes. It is my conclusion, as it was the conclusion of Mr. Hitchens, that the answer is, ‘Yes, he did.’

                “He may have committed more war crimes, and other related crimes, than he could be brought to justice for. He certainly never personally committed any such crimes as we commonly think of persons committing and which crimes are called ‘war crimes’; no rape, no murder, nothing like that. It does not seem, from the evidence presented by Mr. Hitchens, that Mr. Kissinger ordered any such crimes. But he did order activities, or was aware of activities, that led directly or indirectly to war crimes, such crimes being specifically various instances of genocide, or at least of the slaughter of innocents literally numbering in the millions.

                “In particular, there are two areas in which Mr. Kissinger almost certainly could be found guilty. The first is in regard to some of the actions taken by the American government, most notably through its armed forces, in Vietnam. The second is with regard to the Indonesian invasion of East Timor in 1975.

                “Mr. Kissinger was not in the direct chain of command of the United States’ armed forces at any time. However, in his role as National Security Adviser to President Nixon, he was almost certainly aware of the indiscriminate murder of civilians in Vietnam during the war, which murders were carried out as part of the United States’ military’s efforts to win that war, and were sometimes a direct policy, or a logical outgrowth of direct policy. If he was not directly responsible for ordering such murders, he was almost certainly aware of them, did nothing to stop them, and may very well have condoned them. As regards the secret bombing of Cambodia and Laos, Mr. Kissinger has publicly avowed that he was largely responsible for this policy. Besides being in direct contravention of American law, this policy led to the slaughter of many thousands of innocent persons.

                “With regard to East Timor, the former Portuguese colony in the Indonesian archipelago, the invasion of that nation and subsequent slaughter of one-third of its inhabitants began only hours after Mr. Kissinger and President Ford met with Indonesia’s military junta. A former CIA operations officer in Indonesia is quoted by Mr. Hitchens that the junta was ‘given the green light’ for the invasion by members of the United States government. In a classified meeting conducted eleven days after the invasion and slaughter began, Mr. Kissinger made the astonishing admission that he had broken the law in some respect (he does not specify which) with regard to the invasion of East Timor.

                “Mr. Hitchens’s portrayal of Mr. Kissinger is unflattering, to say the least. He makes a convincing case that Mr. Kissinger was at the very least an accomplice in the deaths of literally hundreds of thousands of innocent persons. It seems it will be only a matter of time before Mr. Kissinger is sued in some court someplace for his actions. What effect Mr. Hitchens’s article may have had on Mr. Kissinger’s recent decision to resign his position as chair of the September 11 commission after only sixteen days in office is a matter of speculation.”

                • bmaz says:

                  Hi there. I don’t care what you “take kindly to”. Neither does anybody else. You could have supplied a link, but instead chose to post 650 words of little. Sure, Kissinger and Hitch were bad. How many words does that require?

                  By the way, nobody here is “bullying” you. You just blurt that out because you are spewing shit and don’t like being called on it.

                • earlofhuntingdon says:

                  Thanks for the supporting documentation. What your principal asked you to do is not clear, but that text reads like a literary review of Hitchens’s article, rather than an analysis of the legal consequences of all or part of Henry Kissinger’s diplomatic conduct.

                  It remains a mystery why a practicing, non-government lawyer, or any lawyer, would have asked for that review – in 2001. A great deal of more substantive evidence would need to have been reviewed before taking any action, whatever that would have been.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          Your last paragraph conflicts with your second. That Kissinger avoided being dragged into court says more about the ethics of the political world that protected him (and others, like Pinochet) for services rendered than it does about public opinion not being consistent with the standards of a criminal court.

        • Max404Droid says:

          That’s like saying Eichmann never personally committed a war crime. Personally, probably never killed a fly.

          F-off Tetman Callis sophist.

  15. harpie says:

    From Spencer Ackerman’s
    Henry Kissinger, War Criminal Beloved by America’s Ruling Class, Finally Dies The infamy of Nixon’s foreign-policy architect sits, eternally, beside that of history’s worst mass murderers. A deeper shame attaches to the country that celebrates him. GOOD RIDDANCE 11/29/23


    We will never know what might have been, the question Kissinger’s apologists, and those in the U.S. foreign policy elite who imagine themselves standing in Kissinger’s shoes, insist upon when explaining away his crimes. We can only know what actually happened.

    What actually happened was that Kissinger materially sabotaged the only chance for an end to the war in 1968 as a hedged bet to ensure he would achieve power in Nixon’s administration or Humphrey’s. A true tally will probably never be known of everyone who died so Kissinger could be national security adviser. […]

      • harpie says:

        From KUSHNER’s 5/6/16 email to LEWANDOWSKI and MANAFORT [>TRUMP]

        – He asked that we keep all communications highly confidential
        -He highly enjoyed chat with DJT and thought he is starting some healthy conversations
        – Be careful with the incoming outreach so that current administration cannot accuse us of meddling
        – Distinguish between the people calling if they actually have power and connections or if they are using their new connections with us to gain power at home… […]

      • RitaRita says:

        That memorandum speaks volumes about Kissinger and …Trump.

        It seems the only lesson Kissinger learned about his Vietnam meddling in 1968 was that it was important not to get caught doing it. His advice about not giving a yes or no answer is classic advice… for a monarch. The hidden subtext of his advice about discerning who is important and who is simply looking to be with the powerful is that he can be of help.

        Trump was such an arrogant, undisciplined ignoramus that he couldn’t follow the advice.

        I hold Kissinger responsible for all of those who died in the Vietnam War after he scuttled peace talks.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          Whether a player had power, or aspired to be near those who do, Henry was always glad to make the introduction, for a fee.

        • Dopey-o9 says:

          I would like to hear from a few VN Vets about all the Americans who died while Nixon and Kissinger pursued their “Secret Plan”.

          We will never know the numbers of Vietnamese and Cambodians who died to satisfy Nixon and Kissinger’s bloodlust.

          • Rayne says:

            My uncle came back from Vietnam a shell of his former self; I understood this even as a child in kindergarten and first grade. He has never been entirely there since. He won’t talk about his experience. He’s in his early 80s now, too, suffering from hearing loss and mild cognitive impairment. I wonder how many Vietnam war vets will and have passed on before they can share their experience.

    • BobBobCon says:

      That sabotage in 1968 probably drove the creation of the Plumbers too. Kissinger and Nixon were haunted that they had been bugged and the Democrats had recordings of them setting up the collapse of the peace talks.

      Kissinger pushed for sending the Plumbers after Daniel Ellsberg not so much because the Pentagon Papers were damaging to Nixon — they didn’t cover anything after LBJ. He was worried (incorrectly) that Ellsberg had access to other materials and that probably included details on his and Nixon’s role in pushing the South Vietnamese to tank the talks.

  16. GSSH-FullyReduced says:

    Will be more than interesting to note who attends his memorial service, who sent the black roses, etc.

  17. Boatsail says:

    All you need to know about this DumbArse is that he expanded the Viet Nam War into l:aos and Cambodia to show just how Fornicated Up he was.

    • Yankee in TX says:

      No. The war was already going on in those countries, just in secret. The North Vietnamese had troops in over the border sanctuaries and the Ho Chi Min Trail in Cambodia and Laos. Secret CIA and Army LRP’s patrols were in the area too. The NY Times article in ’69 just pulled back the covers on this.

      Who’s responsible for the bombing of Cambodia? It’s complicated but here’re my thoughts:

      1 & 1A – NV and RMN. The NVA had been using bases in Cambodia to attack ARVN and US troops from the beginning of the war. Under the rules of war, you’re allowed to retaliate against those forces using neutral territory as a shield. In January ’69, the JCS came to Nixon asking for a full scale bombing campaign against the over the border sanctuaries. Kissinger and others demurred – on political and not moral grounds. In Feb. ’69, the NVA started a Tet offensive, that Nixon felt violated the tacit arrangement that resulted in the halt of the bombing of NV. Nixon felt that a secret bombing of the bases was better than resuming the public bombing of NV. Rather than admit their own troops were in Cambodia, the NV made no public or private complaint.

      2. The JCS. They’d pushed LBJ for a massive campaign, but he’d rejected this. They happily dusted off their plans for RMN. They took extra ordinary steps to keep it quiet. They felt that their campaign from March – June ’69 was very effective against the NVA at the cost of perhaps @ 4500 civilian casualties. What they failed to see was that this campaign pushed the NVA away from the border, where they began to interact with Pol Pot’s crew. This resulted in the Cambodian Civil War. In ’70-71 the USAF dropped even more bombs on more heavily populated areas of Cambodia in support of the anti-Red government. This caused the bulk of the claimed 300,000 deaths. Pol Pot’s crew were responsible for @ 2,000,000 deaths AFTER their victory in their Civil War.

      3. LBJ. He agreed to allow “hot pursuit” of NVA troops into Cambodia and authorized small scale air and artillery attacks against their bases in Cambodia. While he rejected a large scale campaign, these actions were taken as precedent for the later actions.

      4. Kissinger – He carried out Nixon’s orders for the bombing campaigns and made sure that only a few members of Congress were aware of the ’69 campaign. He of course bears a great deal of the blame for helping to sabotage the Paris Peace Talks in ’68.

      This in no way should clear Kissinger for his actions in the ghastly events in East Pakistan, East Timor, Chile or Argentina.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Nixon and Kissinger were subject to legal restrictions that they happily violated, in the belief that a true leader is “authorized,” indeed, obligated to do that for the greater good. Both men also found it convenient to avoid the mundane political work of disclosing one’s intentions and why they were necessary, and negotiating the necessary authority to implement them. To coin a phrase, they decided to Just Do It.

        • Yankee in TX says:

          Why stop with an indictment of just those 2? I’d say that this has been the case for all presidents beginning with FDR, with the possible exception of Carter. Small children and presidents find it easier to ask for forgiveness than permission! This will only end when we as a people demand accountability from our leaders. We’re finally getting a little of this for the last crime spree, but sadly 40% of American voters still want him as our next president.

            • Yankee in TX says:

              I’m sorry if I was obtuse. Let me rephrase it.

              Since 1940 all presidents “were subject to legal restrictions that they happily violated, in the belief that a true leader is “authorized,” indeed, obligated to do that for the greater good.” …These … “men also found it convenient to avoid the mundane political work of disclosing one’s intentions and why they were necessary, and negotiating the necessary authority to implement them.”

              In 1941, before Pearl Harbor, FDR ordered the US Navy to attack German U-boats on sight and notify the RN of the U-boats’ position.

              Since there was a war going on FDR and Truman did not need to seek Congressional approval for the firebombing of Japan, nor the use of atomic bombs. Still the use of these weapons while “failing to narrow scope to military targets, smells pretty war-crimey to me under Article IV of the Geneva Convention.”

              Every President since Truman has continued or approved new or secret wars by the CIA. These secret wars have run from Albania to Yugoslavia from Bolivia to Ghana, from Guatemala to Tibet to Indonesia. Please see John Prados’ “Safe for Democracy – The Secret Wars of the CIA and Ambrose’s “Ike’s Spies.” Examples are:

              Ike – Iran and Guatemala
              JFK – Bay of Pigs
              LBJ – Tonkin Gulf
              Carter – The Iran hostage rescue mission – an armed incursion into a country with which we were not a war.
              Reagan – Iran and Contra
              Bush I – extra points for lying to Special Counsel Walsh about his involvement in Iran/Contra, extra credit for bringing in Bill Barr to pardon those persons who could tell the truth about his “being in the loop.”
              Clinton – Balkan wars
              Bush II – Really!?! – too numerous to recount
              Obama – Libya and the use of drones to assassinate our foes
              Trump – REALLY!!

              While we might want to excuse our liberal leaders good intentions – ” It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to your enemies, but a great deal more to stand up to your friends.”

              • Rayne says:

                You’re going to have a tough time defending as “unauthorized” Carter’s efforts to retrieve American citizens held hostage in violation of the Vienna Convention. The effort was a proportional response; had Carter started carpet bombing Iran you might have a leg to stand on. Congress clearly didn’t think Carter overstepped his role as executive because they didn’t take steps to impeach him (unlike Nixon). Carter’s failure was getting stuck holding the bag of blowback from 1953.

                With regard to Clinton, you’re forgetting the U.S. acted with NATO as a member. Clinton’s far more egregious failure was NOT taking effective timely action to deter the Rwandan genocide. Funny how Congress impeached him for lying about a blowjob, though, and not for taking unauthorized military action.

  18. Peterr says:

    Part of the whole Nobel Prize award is that recipients are expected to give a short lecture on their work, in whatever category they had been recognized. I got to wondering what Kissinger said in his, so I went to the Nobel prize website about his award and saw two rather surprising things.

    First, at the end of Kissinger’s standard biography, the Nobel folks added something I haven’t seen on other bios there. After a listing of some of his writings — a very standard part of such bios — they listed three “other sources” about Kissinger, each with a phrase to describe the book. The first of these was Seymour Hersh’s The Price of Power that they called “An indictment, based on extensive research”; the second was Walter Isaacson’s Kissinger: A Biography” which they called “Critical, but balanced’; and the third was Robert Schulzinger’s Henry Kissinger which they labeled simply “Scholarly.” The word “indictment” attached to a bio of a Peace prize laureate like this has to be one of Kissinger’s singular achievements.

    Second, following his bio, was the section I was looking for — his Nobel prize lecture. Instead of a lecture, all it said was this: “Henry Kissinger did not deliver a Nobel Lecture.” Now *that* is amazing. On the one hand, there have been folks like Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn who could not attend because of USSR authorities (he literally mailed it in, but for Kissinger to pass up a microphone and an audience of distinguished Nobel laureates (both past recipients and those being honored that year in other categories) had to have been a recognition of how deeply unpopular this award was.

    To borrow from an old proverb, “better to remain silent and be thought a war criminal, than to speak and remove all doubt.”

    • 2Cats2Furious says:

      Kissinger did not give a speech because he didn’t attend the awards ceremony. Per WaPo, he was afraid he’d be heckled/attacked by anti-war protesters.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Which nicely proves Peterr’s point. Henry was nothing if not as thin-skinned as Nixon or Trump.

    • posaune says:

      But the Nobel Committee was determined to make Bob Dylan deliver before he got his prize.
      They wanted a new song I guess,

    • Old Rapier says:

      Hitchens was a troll. A writer who could do a good turn of phrase and he devoted himself to dismantling famous targets on a personal level to create buzz, for Hitchens.

    • P’villain says:

      Pouring one out for the great MacGowan tonight. Though he did not compose “And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda,” it seems very appropriate in this thread.

      (Tried to insert a sanitized link, but it didn’t seem to work. Do check out the song if it’s unfamiliar.)

    • ExRacerX says:

      MacGowan would have likely appreciated the twist of dying 40+ years after people began predicting his imminent demise, so close to the death of the famous war criminal referred to in this thread, 60+ years after people began wishing for his.

      R.I.P., Shane, and thanks for the music. You cut your own path and followed it to the end.

      • Just Some Guy says:

        Not sure I buy that people were predicting MacGowan’s death a year before the first Pogues album was released.

        But that idea plus modern technology means today I can finally hear his pre-Pogues punk band.

    • John Lehman says:

      From Reich’s write-up:
      “ An appropriate response to Kissinger’s death would be for the U.S. to own up to the entirety of what Nixon and Kissinger wrought.” Yes!!

  19. earthworm says:

    My hopes and those of many of my generation were assassinated 60 years ago, leading to the long, uneven slide into national mediocrity and loss of leadership integrity that I have witnessed since.
    henry the k is dead, but there are so many more aspirants to the role he played.
    We keep producing them, elevating them, electing them even.
    99 Luftballons keep drifting by, no one with enough vision to make them real….

  20. flatulus says:

    To borrow an expression attributed to Joan Crawford about Bette Davis, Never speak ill of the dead. Henry Kissinger is dead, good!

    • Yankee in TX says:

      I prefer Twain. “I never wished a man dead – but there are some obituaries that I’ve read with greater interest than others.”

  21. Fiendish Thingy says:

    So, do we know where War Criminal Hank’s final resting place will be?

    Asking for a friend with a full bladder…

    • Matt___B says:

      Ah, too bad. Though the article says he will still be a “fill-in host” for absent anchors on any given night and onscreen analyst on other hosts’ shows. It’s still a demotion, though. I was introduced to his work as the host of the weekly Deconstructed podcast at the Intercept, but the lure of coming back to TV and a larger audience (he had long-form interview shows on Al Jazeera) made hopping over to MSNBC an obvious choice. It will be interesting to see how well he accepts his new “lesser” role over there. MSNBC has a long history of disgruntled hosts leaving or being fired for various reasons over the years: Phil Donahue, Keith Olbermann, Cenk Uygur, Dylan Ratigan, Ed Schultz, Tiffany Cross, Zerlina Maxwell etc.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        I would caution against the use of “disgruntled” in this context. That’s the employers’ favorite epithet about someone it’s fired. It insinuates that their complaints are not factual, but emotional pushback for having lost their gig. It’s an excuse for ignoring them and their claims for just compensation.

        In reality, it’s usually the employer who’s disgruntled with someone, fires them without a legitimate reason, and then wants to avoid liability for it.

    • Matt___B says:

      Former MSNBC host Cenk Uygur’s take on Mehdi Hasan’s demotion:

      The short headline on this opinion piece: MSNBC brass didn’t like Hasan’s aggressive questioning of Israeli spokesperson Mark Regev, fearing loss of access to him for their other shows. Perhaps, perhaps…

  22. earlofhuntingdon says:

    As harmful as Kissinger’s policies were in SE Asia, he did some of his “best” work in Latin America. It was far from limited to orchestrating the murderous campaign against Allende in Chile, and went on for years.

  23. earlofhuntingdon says:

    As for the current House proceeding regarding expelling “George Santos,” House Republicans have some of the worst public speakers in govt.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      George Santos thinks the attempt to expel him is why Americans have lost so much trust in govt and the House of Representatives. Quite the Mini-Trump.

  24. timbozone says:

    It’s a shame the world will never get a concrete chance to show Kissinger how fully his immorality was appreciated by all those he cared less than zero about.

  25. Sambucus says:

    The great Hunter S. Thompson said it well:

    “Kissinger made the Gang of Four complete: Agnew, Hoover, Kissinger, and Nixon. A group photo of these perverts would say all we need to know about the Age of Nixon.”

  26. e.a. foster says:

    dead at a 100. what took so long?

    Never understood what American politicians and their corporate sponsors saw in Kissinger. He wasn’t pleasant. He was arrogant. He just generally gave me the creeps when he was on t.v.

    It seemed so strange that a non American held so much power within American government and that he was listened to. He seemed to value only his own life. He never seemed that bright to me, just a nasty piece of business. Kissinger was one sick puppy.

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