Good grief. I turn my back for 10 minutes, and they bring back the old War Criminal.
Two generations of Americans have come to adulthood since Henry Kissinger last held political power, so I need to explain that War Criminal is not an affectionate sobriquet: The man is, in fact, a war criminal -- wanted for questioning in Chile, Argentina, and France (concerning French citizens who disappeared in Chile). He cannot travel to Britain, Brazil, and many other countries, because they cannot guarantee his immunity from legal proceedings.
In addition to his role in the Chilean coup that brought the regime of Gen. Pinochet to power, Kissinger is wanted for questioning about the international terrorist network called Operation Condor, which conducted killings, kidnappings, and bombings in several countries, including this one -- the 1976 bombing in Washington, D.C., that killed a noted Chilean dissident and his companion.
Kissinger's most notorious crime was the secret bombing of Cambodia and Laos during the Vietnam War. William Shawcross argued persuasively in his book Sideshow: Kissinger, Nixon, and the Destruction of Cambodia that the Cambodian bombing unleashed the Khmer Rouge on that country -- which, if true, certainly ups Kissinger's body count.
He is also a notorious liar. He has lied repeatedly to Congress, the press, and the public; he is a toady to power and a lackey of the Establishment and for many years now the hireling of despotic regimes around the world. Old Cover-Up Kissinger, the man who double-crossed the Iraqi Kurds -- just the man to lead an independent inquiry into 9/11.
The cynicism of this insult to the families of those who died on 9/11 is just flabbergasting. We knew the Bush administration opposed the whole idea of an independent inquiry, but this adds supreme insult to injury.
The cover-up has already started: Kissinger insists he need not reveal the identities of his client regimes. He said law firms are not required to reveal the names of their clients. That's a two-lie answer, no record for Henry the K. He doesn't run a law firm. He runs an international consulting business. And in the second place, law firms are indeed obliged to publicly register their lobbying clients. The only time I ever interviewed Kissinger, he told me three lies in the first sentence he spoke, each word. Dropping. From. His. Mouth. Like. A. Stone. He lies with more authority than anyone I have ever known. For those of you who are interested in learning more about our most famous living war criminal, I recommend Seymour Hersh's book The Price of Power: Kissinger in the Nixon White House.
Meanwhile, our neo-con hawks have moved from the bellicose to the bizarre. Ken Adelman, a member of Bush's Defense Policy Board, has joined several other hawks in direct attacks on Islam. Calling Islam a peaceful religion "is an increasingly hard argument to make," announced Adelman. "The more you examine the religion, the more militaristic it seems. After all, its founder, Mohammed, was a warrior, not a peace advocate like Jesus."
Another member of the Pentagon advisory board, Eliot Cohen, says, "Nobody would like to think that a major world religion has a deeply aggressive and dangerous strain in it -- a strain often excused or misrepresented in the name of good feelings. But uttering uncomfortable and unpleasant truths is one of the things that defines leadership."
The Christian right has gone completely batty on the subject: Rev. Jerry Falwell called Mohammed "a terrorist," Rev. Franklin Graham said Islam is "evil," and so forth.
Let's see. Where does that leave Christianity, the religion of peace and love, founded by the Prince of Peace?
Among the more notable Christian crimes were the unbearably bloody Crusades, the Thirty Years War, the Inquisition, innumerable pogroms, regular slaughter of Protestants, counter-slaughter by Protestants, genocide against Native Americans (featuring biological warfare), slavery, the Holocaust, ethnic cleansing, Northern Ireland ... and the list goes on.
People who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones. Especially when they are making bellicose statements and beating the war drums relentlessly for what may be an unnecessary war.
Molly Ivins writes for Creators Sydicate and the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.