America’s ruling class’s favourite war criminal, Henry Kissinger, finally passes away

Henry Kissinger
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Henry Kissinger
Henry Kissinger

Henry Kissinger passed away at his Connecticut home on Wednesday, according to a statement from his consultancy business. The infamous combatant was one hundred.

Based only on confirmed killings, Timothy McVeigh, a terrorist with white supremacist views, was the deadliest mass murderer the US has ever put to death. McVeigh killed 168 people, including 19 children, when he detonated a huge bomb at the Murrah federal building in Oklahoma City on April 19, 1995. In June 2001, the government used a lethal injection to murder McVeigh. Even while a state execution of a man like McVeigh raises ethical concerns about the right to murder even an avowed supporter of white supremacist ideology, his passing gave the mother of one of his victims some sense of closure.

McVeigh, who thought he was defending America in his own deranged way, never killed on the magnitude of Kissinger, the most revered American grand strategist of the second part of the twentieth century.

Kissinger’s actions from 1969 to 1976, as national security adviser to Richard Nixon and then secretary of state to Gerald Ford, are estimated to have resulted in the deaths of between three and four million people, according to Yale University historian Greg Grandin, author of the biography Kissinger’s Shadow. This includes “crimes of commission,” as in Cambodia and Chile, as well as “crimes of omission,” such as approving Indonesia’s killing in East Timor and Pakistan’s bloodshed in Bangladesh.

On a day like today, Kissinger will not be remembered. Instead, to demonstrate why he was able to kill so many people and get away with it, the day of his execution will be solemn in Congress and — sadly, given that Kissinger wiretapped reporters like CBS’ Marvin Kalb and The New York Times’ Hendrick Smith — newsrooms. Kissinger, a Nazi refugee who became a pedigreed member of the “Eastern Establishment” Nixon despised, was a practitioner of American greatness, and the press lionised him as the cold-blooded genius who restored America’s prestige after the anguish of Vietnam.

The millions of people killed by the US did not matter once in the half-century after Kissinger’s exit from power, save to underscore a cruelty that pundits occasionally find thrilling. America, like any empire, defends its state murderers. The only time I’ve ever been in the same room as Henry Kissinger was at a West Point national security symposium in 2015. He was surrounded by adoring Army commanders and former officials who were revelling in the presence of a statesman.

As soon as Kissinger took office in 1969, Seymour Hersh, the investigative writer who stood out as the main opponent of the adoring coverage of the former president, saw the beginnings of journalistic obeisance. In the book The Price of Power, Hersh stated that a Washington party may be made or broken by his social comings and goings. Access journalism, or what Hersh called “an implicit shakedown scheme,” was eagerly embraced by reporters such as James Reston of the Times, “in which reporters who got inside information in turn protected Kissinger by not divulging either the full consequences of his acts or his own connection to them.” Kissinger treated the media the same way he treated Nixon:

In 2014, Hillary Clinton reviewed one of Kissinger’s many books and said of the “friend” whose advice she trusted as secretary of state: “a conviction that we, and President Obama, share: a belief in the indispensability of continued American leadership in service of a just and liberal order.” In the days that followed, Kissinger told USA Today that Clinton, who was then thought to be a president-elect, “ran the State Department in the most effective way that I’ve ever seen.” A picture with Obama’s autograph thanking Kissinger for his “continued leadership” was observed in the same story.

Hearing the respectful tones in which American elites discuss their monsters is usually insightful. The honourable remember the Kissingers of the world first and foremost for their humanity, purpose, and sacrifices. After a U.S. drone strike killed the Iranian chief of external security in January 2020, many Iranians rushed to the streets to honour one of their monsters, Qassem Soleimani, causing American elites to recoil in disgust. Soleimani killed considerably more people than Timothy McVeigh did, even though the US deemed him to be a terrorist and executed him accordingly. However, Soleimani could never have imagined killing as many people as Henry Kissinger, even if we were to assign him full responsibility for all the deaths in the Syrian Civil War.

The ascent of Kissinger transpired via an obsceneness that will never fade. In 1968, Lyndon Johnson entered into peace talks with the North Vietnamese, ostensibly acknowledging the nightmare he had created in Vietnam by constructing upon the work of his two immediate predecessors. A key figure in Harvard’s Cold War defence studies, Kissinger had access to the diplomatic team attending the Paris negotiations. In spite of Kissinger’s stronger political links to the group surrounding Nixon’s Democratic opponent, Hubert Humphrey, he utilised it to transmit intelligence from the discussions to Richard Nixon’s presidential campaign. Kissinger advised Nixon’s campaign against Nelson Rockefeller, the vanquished Republican competitor.

Nixon claimed to have a top-secret plan to terminate the war when he stood for president. Hersh was informed by his advisors that they were extremely worried that Johnson and Hanoi would come to an agreement prior to the election. It would prevent American and Vietnamese lives from being lost in Vietnam, but it would also derail Nixon’s plans to take advantage of the growing antiwar feeling at home. Nixon dutifully accepted Kissinger’s advice to strengthen the resolve of the American-backed sham dictatorship in Saigon, which peace would undermine. No deal was struck until 1973, and Hanoi’s victory in 1975 brought American humiliation to an end.

Richard Allen, a foreign policy researcher for the Nixon campaign, later told Hersh, “It took some balls to give us those tips.” In the end,

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