Kissinger’s War Crimes: Lest We Forget


Managing Editor’s Note:

Steve Rossignol’s “Kissinger’s War Crimes: Lest We Forget” is the second in a series of three articles examining the history and persistence of Henry Kissinger’s pernicious conception of international “diplomacy,” today known as Realpolitik. 

A reader asked after why the article does not cite background information for some of its claims. Because this article treats historical events and facts that are well known and documented, citations to background information are not supplied. Its central claims concerning matters of fact are not widely controversial. Readers who wish to investigate various facts and issues can visit their local publics libraries or perform a thoughtful initial Internet search using key words such as “Kissinger” or “Khmer Rouge.”


As the 2016 Presidential election season enters its final laps, one thing we can be well assured of is the non-distinction between the two major parties and their candidates, especially in their relations with Wall Street and positions on foreign policy. Nothing could be greater proof of their cozy relations than the relationship cultivated by Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump with that most notorious representative of US imperialism, Henry Kissinger.

We should never forget the amoral role that Kissinger has played as National Security Advisor and Secretary of State in the administration of the equally notorious Richard Nixon. Even if the American people give a rat’s ass in the first place, the electorate has a short memory when it comes to political affairs; hence we must feel obligated in re-stating what has become known of the secret atrocities committed by Kissinger and Nixon while they were in office.

Let us not forget Kissinger’s roles as the chief architect of the CIA sponsored overthrow of the democratically elected Socialist government of Salvatore Allende in Chile in 1973. We should also recall Kissinger’s flippant and callous remark, “I don’t see why we need to stand by and watch a country go communist due to the irresponsibility of its people. The issues are much too important for the Chilean voters to be left to decide for themselves.” With this meddling in the affairs of another nation, Kissinger is linked directly to the tortures and murders of over 3000 Chileans.

Let us not forget the carpet bombing of Cambodia, whose territorial integrity was violated during the Vietnam War as orchestrated by Nixon and Kissinger. We should remember Kissinger’s open support for the Khmer Rouge, “You should tell the Cambodians [the Khmer Rouge] that we will be friends with them. They are murderous thugs, but we won’t let that stand in the way. We are prepared to improve relations with them. Tell them the latter part, but don’t tell them what I said before.” And the Khmer Rouge were Communists!  Let us not forget the 1.4 to 2.2 million Cambodians who died during the Khmer Rouge purges.  Even as difficult as it is to fathom the scope of these atrocities, let us never forget those Cambodian “Killing Fields.”

Let us not forget the total-war bombing of North Vietnam, with more explosives dropped than were used during all of World War II. Let us not forget that those bombs specifically targeted hospitals and schools. Let us not forget that despicable jungle war in Vietnam, where over 55,000 young Americans and innumerable Vietnamese died in an unwinnable war to save the American “face” and to profit American corporations. And let us not ignore the evidence that Kissinger probably was directly responsible for delaying the end of the Vietnam War during the early years of the Nixon administration in order to make sure that Nixon could be portrayed as the candidate to end the war in Indochina in the upcoming 1972 US elections.

Let us not forget Nixon’s, Kissinger’s, and Gerald Ford’s complicity in the destruction of the independence movement in East Timor, where US henchman and dictator Suharto (equipped with US materials, arms and support) was directly responsible for the deaths of over 1.5 million people.

The definitions of “war crimes” and “crimes against humanity” used against the Nazi criminals at the Nuremberg trials clearly apply to Henry Kissinger.

War Crimes: namely, violations of the laws or customs of war. Such violations shall include, but not be limited to, murder, ill-treatment or deportation to slave labour or for any other purpose of civilian population of or in occupied territory, murder or ill-treatment of prisoners of war or persons on the seas, killing of hostages, plunder of public or private property, wanton destruction of cities, towns or villages, or devastation not justified by military necessity.

Crimes against Humanity: namely, murder, extermination, enslavement, deportation, and other inhumane acts committed against any civilian population, before or during the war, or persecutions on political, racial or religious grounds in execution of or in connection with any crime within the jurisdiction of the Tribunal, whether or not in violation of the domestic law of the country where perpetrated.

The massive destruction of peoples—all of them people of color—clearly indicate genocidal notions in the amoral and immoral foreign policy orchestrated by Kissinger. As such, we should repeat and echo the calls for the trying of Henry Kissinger for war crimes and crimes against humanity. The charges brought against the Nazis at Nuremburg should equally apply to Kissinger, who has been allowed to remain at large simply because he has been validated by an American foreign policy that justifies itself in everything it does.

Equally, Donald Trump and Hilary Clinton should tread very carefully with their relations with Kissinger, lest they be marked by complicity in his actions.


Steve Rossignol

is Archivist for the Socialist Party USA.

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