Friday, April 20, 2001 Volume 66, Issue 137


 
 









 

U.S. policy is no defense for war crimes

Brandon Lacour

At the age of 14, I sneaked into a lecture by former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger at Loyola University.

Outside of the auditorium, various students had congregated to protest the appearance of the Svengali of the Nixon/Ford administrations because he sat on the board of Freeport-Macmoran, which was ravaging parts of Indochina in a manner similar to Kissinger's policies of the 1970s.

After a number of protests, Freeport-Macmoran head Jim Bob Moffat suddenly decided it was time to cut his company's funding to the university. That time has passed, but the protests continue.

A new book by columnist Christopher Hitchens argues that Kissinger, in his roles of National Security Advisor and Secretary of State, should be charged and indicted for his crimes against humanity. Hitchens holds that Kissinger should be tried as a war criminal for his planning and ordering of massive killing of innocent people in Vietnam and Cambodia, as well as his role in toppling the Salvador Allende government in Chile.

Hitchens describes how Kissinger first came to prominence by sabotaging the 1968 Johnson peace talks with the North Vietnamese. This gained him a great deal of favor with the Republicans -- and, of course, in the new Nixon administration.

He did work out a peace treaty for the Vietnam War, but it came five years later and after more than a million more deaths (the final treaty was almost identical to the one he botched in 1968). Many of the deaths were the result of Kissinger-ordered bombings, which affected not only Vietnam but killed innocent people in Cambodia as well.

Keep in mind that Kissinger planned and ordered this bombing without congressional approval or a declaration of war.

His behavior in the politics of Chile reads like the worst of U.S. imperialism. Kissinger worked with the CIA to assassinate Chilean leaders in order to destroy the Allende government. Such machinations served only to ensure a government friendly to U.S. interests without any concern for the welfare of the Chilean people.

Kissinger was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1973 along with Lee Duc Tho, the Vietnamese negotiator. Duc Tho refused the award, saying, "There is no peace in Vietnam."

With his legacy of murder and deceit, it would seem more appropriate to lock Kissinger in the stocks for his continuous, unchecked crimes against innocent people -- including U.S. servicemen who died because Kissinger needlessly prolonged the war. 

Some people might say we shouldn't begin to prosecute U.S. leaders for crimes against humanity. Where would it end?

Possibly with President Bush, whose latest act of reckless stupidity will gut our nation's anti-crime initiatives, including a $1 billion dollar reduction in aid to state governments and a $182 million cut from Clinton's anti-crime program.

Bush joins the rich legacy of Kissinger as a world leader making the world a safer place.

Lacour, a senior inquisition major, 
can be reached at jlacour@bayou.uh.edu.

To contact the Opinon Section Editor, send e-mail to dccampus@mail.uh.edu

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