Henry Kissinger — who as a top American foreign policy official oversaw, overlooked and at times actively perpetrated some of the most grotesque war crimes the United States and its allies have committed — died Wednesday at his home in Connecticut. He was 100 years old.
Kissinger’s death was announced by his consulting firm on Wednesday evening. No cause of death was immediately given.
Kissinger served as secretary of state and national security adviser under Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford, positions that allowed him to direct the Vietnam War and the broader Cold War with the Soviet Union, and to implement a stridently “realist” approach that prioritized U.S. interests and domestic political success over any potential atrocity that might occur.
The former led to perhaps the most infamous crime Kissinger committed: a secret four-year bombing campaign in Cambodia that killed an untold number of civilians, despite the fact that it was a neutral nation with which the United States was not at war.
During his time in charge of the American foreign policy machine, Kissinger also directed illegal arms sales to Pakistan as it carried out a brutal crackdown on its Bengali population in 1971. He supported the 1973 military coup that overthrew a democratically elected socialist government in Chile, gave the go-ahead to Indonesia’s 1975 invasion of East Timor, and backed Argentina’s repressive military dictatorship as it launched its “dirty war” against dissenters and leftists in 1976. His policies during the Ford administration also fueled civil wars in Africa, most notably in Angola.
Even the most generous calculations suggest that the murderous regimes Kissinger supported and the conflicts they waged were responsible for millions of deaths and millions of other human rights abuses, during and after the eight years he served in the American government. [Continue reading…]