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Henry Kissinger
11.15.02
Politics and Economy:
The Trials of Henry Kissinger: Overview
More on This Story:
Last week, President Bush appointed Dr. Henry Kissinger to head the commission to investigate what our government knew and didn't know, what it did and didn't do, before the terror attacks on September 11th.

That put the film THE TRIALS OF HENRY KISSINGER in the middle of a raging debate about the fitness of Henry Kissinger to head that commission. The director of that film, Eugene Jarecki commented on the Kissinger's well-known penchant for secrecy and his new appointment in a conversation with Bill Moyers:

I think you have to draw a distinction between national interests and national security. And I think very often those are at odds, if what you do is throw out democracy, say, we're experiencing technical difficulties, we're going to put democracy on a back burner for the moment. Please stand by.

And injecting secrecy into the event says, it's that line from A FEW GOOD MEN, which says, you can't handle the truth. Well, I think we can handle the truth as a people. And I think we need to handle the truth to be able to find a way in the world to coexist all of us together.

As any American over thirty will know, Henry Kissinger, is no stranger to debate. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize just a few years after being burned in effigy in the streets of the United States. In addition to the controversy over his appointment to the September 11 panel, his role in the Indonesian government's presence in East Timor in the 1970s has resurfaced and led to protests in the U.S. and abroad.

Below are some opinions on Henry Kissinger's appointment. Add your own on our message boards. You will also find a list of sites where you can learn more about the debate over Kissinger's legacy and the film. You can visit the Web site for the book on which Eugene Jarecki's documentary is based for critical and favorable reviews, a list of "charges" and other information.



Should Have the JobShouldn't Have the Job
"The fact is that I kicked Henry when he was up... He is neither an extinct volcano nor an erupting one; rather, he oozes a lava of foreign-policy judgment. Unlike John Poindexter, he has learned from his egregious mistakes and may even differentiate government secrecy from personal privacy. Approaching octogenarianhood, Kissinger has become a foreign-policy resource, capable of reassessing his earlier disdain for Wilsonian idealism. Just as F.D.R. appointed Joseph P. Kennedy as first chairman of the S.E.C. because that predator knew all the manipulative tricks, Bush chose Kissinger because the old operator can see through the secret obfuscations he mastered long ago.

And because "only Nixon" could bring along right-wingers in his opening to Beijing, Henry is one of the few who has the trust of the keepers of the secrets to reveal to the commission the truth about our weaknesses, past and present.

-William Safire, "Well, Hello Henry," THE NEW YORK TIMES, December 12, 2002

"Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney are in tune with Mr. Kissinger's principles: that the greatest enemy of U.S. policy is the U.S. media, that American diplomacy may be happily indifferent to American public opinion, that the great unwashed masses of our democracy are just a big old drag on the elites who know what's best, and that corporate pals are a help, not a hindrance, in government work.

Now Mr. Bush can let the commission proceed, secure in the knowledge that Mr. Kissinger has never shed light on a single dark corner, or failed to flatter a boss, in his entire celebrated career. (He was one of Mr. Bush's patient tutors in foreign policy during the campaign.)"

- Maureen Dowd, "He's B-a-a-ck," THE NEW YORK TIMES, December 1, 2002

Resources

THE AMERICAN EXPERIENCE: Nixon's China Game
In February 1972, after a quarter-century of mutual antagonism between the United States and China, President Richard Nixon traveled to Beijing for an historic encounter with Chairman Mao Tse-tung. The climax of a secret White House initiative headed by Henry Kissinger, the diplomatic breakthrough shocked both America's allies and its enemies. Drawing on recently declassified records and key eyewitnesses, the program recreates, step by dangerous step, the events leading up to what Nixon called "the week that changed the world." Produced by Brook Lapping and Norma Percy. Narration written by Bill Lattanzi. David Ogden Stiers narrates.

Center for Strategic and International Studies
The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), of which Kissinger is a trustee, is dedicated to providing world leaders with strategic insights on - and policy solutions to - current and emerging global issues. The site hosts op-eds, articles on homeland security, and issues related to the current situation in Iraq, as well as featuring articles and papers on other topics of national and international public policy.

"Chile: 16,000 Secret U.S. Documents Declassified"
From the The National Security Archive at The George Washington University, a press release on the CIA's forced release of hundreds of records on covert operations, and links to the declassified documents. These documents related to some of the charges laid against Kissinger in THE TRIALS OF HENRY KISSINGER.

Henry Kissinger Interactive Career Timeline
Modern Maturity presents an interactive career timeline for Henry Kissinger from 1923 through the 1990s.

Nobel Laureate Biography: Henry Kissinger
Henry Alfred Kissinger, 56th Secretary of State of the United States from 1973 to 1977, received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1973. The Nobel e-Museum features a biography of Kissinger and selected bibliography of books by and about Kissinger.

"Regarding Henry Kissinger: A panel discussion on the making of a war criminal"
Lewis H. Lapham, editor of HARPER'S Magazine, moderated this forum on February 22, 2001 at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. Panelists included Scott Armstrong, Executive Director of The Information Trust and founder of The National Security Archive; Christopher Hitchens, author of THE TRIAL OF HENRY KISSINGER; Stanley I. Kutler, professor of American Institutions at the University of Wisconsin; Roger Morris, former member of the National Security Council under presidents Johnson and Nixon; and Alfred P. Rubin, Distinguished Professor of International Law at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University.

THE TRIAL OF HENRY KISSINGER
Published in 2001, THE TRIAL OF HENRY KISSINGER by Christopher Hitchens, journalist and commentator, accuses Kissinger of genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes. The book's site summarizes the charges against Kissinger, features positive and critical reviews of the book, contains interviews with the author, chronicles recent articles about Kissinger, and provides links to additional resources.

THE TRIALS OF HENRY KISSINGER, The Film The BBC features the documentary, THE TRIALS OF HENRY KISSINGER, with a summary of the films, a profile of the controversial statesman, and related links

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