The trial of Henry Kissinger
Have you ever wondered why America, which is supposed to be
one of the most powerful countries on earth backs out of key world policies?
That question is asked in the NZ Herald, 10 July 2001. We quote the
article in part: "There are few countries that line up with the United States
in opposing the creation of an International Criminal Court -– Cuba, China,
Iraq and Libya, for example -– but no other respectable, democratic country
Of course, the US might be right and everybody else might be
wrong. What makes that unlikely is the fact that the US once took the lead on
all these issues....
It was the unyielding US insistence that Slobodan Milosevic
must be handed over to face the war crimes charges against him before sanctions
on Yugoslavia were lifted,...
So why does the US so often fall at the last hurdle, and
drive everyone else crazy? Why does it want war criminals brought to justice,
but refuse to ratify an International Criminal Court....
Why does it sabotage a Kyoto Treaty and ABM Treaty that are
largely the consequences of its own initiatives?
It does so because the US is a very old-fashioned country.
Where else is politics run according to a constitution that was basically
complete well before 1800?
This is not only one of the world's oldest democracies...
No other democracy could have gone through the chicanery and
uncertainty of last year's presidential election with so little damage. But it
also means that it takes a very traditional position on issues of sovereignty.
In particular, the US -– Hawaii apart -– has not suffered
the horrors that persuaded everybody else to accept international rules.
Mainland USA is the only major industrial country (apart from Canada) that has
never been bombed, and during the 20th century America suffered by
far the lowest casualty toll of any major country: less than a 10th
of the German, Russian or Japanese losses, and proportionally only half even of
It has not suffered, so it simply does not understand where
absolute sovereignty leads. Its whole political tradition is one of jealously
guarding sovereignty -– and on top of that it has an archaic political system
that gives inordinate power to well-heeled industrial interests....
Ad hoc tribunals to try war criminals in the Balkans or
Africa are good, but a permanent court that would have the right to indict
American soldiers is unthinkable.
Sacrifices for a safe environment are good, but not if they
affect the American consumer and the US economy....
The rest of the world can do nothing about this. It has to
get on with building the new institutions of international security and global
environmental and criminal law as best it can, in the hope that America will
catch up after a while...."
Now some time ago I received in the mail, a highly
interesting book entitled, The Trial of Henry Kissinger, by Christopher
Hitchens. This book went on to document point after point, saying much of his
life has been spent making things very difficult for other people. And then The
Daily Telegraph, 4 May 2001, had this headline: "Is this man a war
criminal? Journalist Christopher Hitchens has written a savage biography of
Henry Kissinger, in which he paints the former US Secretary of State as a
sinister manipulator of foreign governments. But, writes George Jonas, the book
is a mess of half-truths and fantasy. Christopher Hitchens does not like Henry
Kissinger. He does not like him politically, which he acknowledges in his book The
Trial of Henry Kissinger (published by Verso, the imprint of New Left
Books), and he does not like him personally, which he does not specifically
acknowledge, but makes abundantly clear in numerous asides....
Mr Hitchens builds a case against one of the most significant
statesmen of the 20th century as a war criminal...
It would be easier to suggest that he is a peace criminal.
The accusation gets no less non-sensical as Mr Hitchens proceeds to elaborate on
his charges, but the reasons behind it begin to emerge..."
During one of my tours to Great Britain recently this year, I
picked up a copy of the International Herald Tribune, 29 May 2001, and
read the headlines "A Pinochet Inquiry Summons Kissinger -– Former Secretary
of State Henry Kissinger has been asked to appear as a witness in an
investigation concerning French citizens who disappeared under the iron rule of
the former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet, police officials said Monday.
A summons to appear as a witness was delivered to a hotel in
Paris where Mr Kissinger is currently staying, the officials said. Mr Kissinger,
who served as Secretary of State under Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford,
is in Paris on a private visit and is under no legal obligation to answer the
The summons was issued at the request of William Bourdon, a
lawyer for families of French citizens who disappeared during Mr Pinochet's
1973-1990 dictatorship. Mr Bourdon said he believed Mr Kissinger's testimony
was 'essential' to the case because of numerous exchanges between the
security agencies of the United States and Chile after the 1973 coup that
brought Mr Pinochet to power. Mr Kissinger could not immediately be reached
for comment." (emphasis added).
And then in The NZ Herald, 6 July 2001, we read: "Missing
case -– A Chilean judge has taken steps to question former US Secretary of
State Henry Kissinger over the 1973 killing in Chile of a US journalist
highlighted in the film Missing.
Legal sources said judge Juan Guzman had sent a list of
written questions for Kissinger about the death of journalist Charles Horman to
Chile's Supreme Court. The court will decide whether to pass on the list to
the US State Department.
Horman was seized by troops at his Santiago home days after
the September 1973 coup that brought dictator Augusto Pinochet to power. The
leftist journalist's body was found later and he is believed to have been
killed by troops loyal to Pinochet.
State Department reports declassified last year show that US
intelligence officials may have tacitly helped in Horman's abduction."
The fact remains that in the Weekly Telegraph, No 518,
June/July 2001, we read: "Milosevic's fate sealed by extradition deal -–
Yugoslavia's federal government has passed a decree clearing the way for
Slobodan Milosevic's extradition to the UN war crimes tribunal."
The whole point of the argument is this: that if Milosevic
has been caught and sent off to a world tribunal, is it something to wonder
about when men like Kissinger and other Presidents of the Unites States and men
in power in other countries, who have been responsible for the deaths of
sometimes thousands or millions of people, might be required to appear before
such a court.
It is for this reason obviously that America will not sign
such a declaration that they will accept an international court of justice.
However, we are sure that ultimately when everything has come
to a conclusion, the Lord Himself, the great judge, will make sure that justice
is fully done on that day.
For those interested in reading the book on Henry Kissinger,
the ISBN no. is 1-85984-631-9.