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Speaking ill of the dead


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It is a truism from childhood (by way of Diogenes) that one must not speak ill of the dead. But I noticed a long time ago that that particular aphorism does not apply to people like Adolf Hitler, it most certainly will not apply to Donald Trump on the blessed occasion that he kicks the bucket and — had he lived to see this day the late Christopher Hitchens would agree with me here — it most emphatically does not apply to Henry Kissinger. Or to paraphrase Bette Davis, my mother told me to never speak ill of the dead, only good. Kissinger is dead. Good.

The things Henry Kissinger is most popularly remembered for (if “popular” is the term) — the bombing of Cambodia, the bombing of Vietnamese civilians and children on Christmas Day, having Salvador Allende murdered so he can substitute him with the fascist torturer Augusto Pinochet — were mere trifles next to the real mischief this disgusting war criminal got up to. We have Kissinger to thank (in cahoots with Nixon) for prolonging the Vietnam war an extra five tragic and unnecessary years.

I have little doubt that our partially insane mainstream media will continue to “both-sides” ad nauseum this monster, who died on Wednesday at the Faustian age of 100. Do not listen to them. Henry Kissinger was one of the biggest assholes of the 20th century. Unsung assholes? Can you have such a thing? If so, Henry Kissinger remains one of those in many habitats of the willfully ignorant.

This also strikes me as a good time to remind you, brothers and sisters, that Republican evil wasn’t invented by MAGA. In fact, I want to caution you about what Republican evil really looks like when it’s clever and shrewd and calculating and subtle, and not merely boorish, obvious, clumsy and openly criminal. Because when evil is subtle it’s all-too-often missed by the mainstream media.

Or maybe they didn’t miss it, they just deemed it unworthy of ratings. But I think not. Like most of the rest of us, back in the day they fell hook line and sinker for Kissinger, Kissinger “the darling of the Nixon administration,” the only member to escape the sleaze and dirty tricks of Watergate uncovered with slime. They reported on Kissinger the lady’s man, Kissinger the diplomat, Kissinger blazing a trail to China and the Middle East, Kissinger assuaging the tantrums of Bobby Fischer and finally appealing to his national pride in Reykjavik.

Even now I vacillate between naïve and cheap appraisals. Somehow they must have known about Kissinger the murderer of North Vietnamese babies, Kissinger the man who engineered the carpet bombing of the sovereign nation of Cambodia, Kissinger the dirty dealer in Chile. And they gave him a pass.

They weren’t the only ones to give Henry a pass. So did — astonishingly — the Nobel committee, who awarded Kissinger (together with Lê Đức Thọ) the peace prize for negotiating the end to a war that Kissinger deliberately prolonged for five years! Stop for a moment and think about that. Imagine Hitler and Himmler surviving World War II and deciding one day to free what Jews remained in their concentration camps, and then getting a Nobel for that! That’s roughly where we’re going here.

The horror and travesty of Henry Kissinger all began in 1968 in the run up to the presidential election. Nixon and Kissinger went to the South Vietnamese delegation and urged them to boycott the Paris peace talks. In so doing they promised them a better deal if Nixon got into office. They effectively stole the thunder of LBJ and Hubert Humphrey. And thus did Nixon beat Humphrey in one of the narrowest elections in American history.

Once in office, instead of ending the Vietnam war, Nixon and Kissinger escalated the war, reasoning with philosophies that were one part Metternich and two parts Machiavelli, that total war would lead to total victory. It was intended to send a message to the Soviet Union and China that America was not to be trifled with, that America would stoop to all manner of insanity in its fight against communism.

It was a ridiculous message sent by two ridiculous men about a ridiculous war, a war that ended in nearly a million unnecessary deaths, including 58,000 American GIs and a huge number of the Vietnamese people both north and south. If you escaped the consequences of that awful war then you are a statistical miracle, because almost nobody did.




And we all have the late Henry Kissinger to thank. So let’s thank him, shall we? Let’s revile the memory of this war criminal while there’s still time, while he’s freshly departed from among us. Few are more deserving of our contempt, our revulsion, our perpetual scorn. And, as ever, ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, comrades and friends, stay safe.

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