October 6, 2006
The recent disclosures by Bob Woodward in State of Denial alarmingly note Henry Kissinger’s access to George W. Bush and reputation as an esteemed foreign policy advisor. We should all be very afraid.
Maureen Dowd [See here, also. rdj] has masterfully reminded us why we should be afraid as has Molly Ivins.
It is time to re-cycle the art of a bygone era when Kissinger’s visit to Austin, Texas prompted the poster by Puerto Rican artist, Carlos Osorio. Kissinger is shown, sporting a Wall Street ring, walking his dictator dogs.
The poster was drawn to publicize a protest at the LBJ Auditorium in Austin, Texas on Monday, November 7, 1977. A leaflet provided background on the disastrous foreign policy of Henry Kissinger, in particular his support of the apartheid regime of Vorster in South Africa.
Kissinger’s famous quote, “Power is the ultimate aphrodisiac,” may seem dated as we look at the face of the 83 year old today. But his January, 1969 quote on Vietnam is chillingly pertinent “No matter how irrelevant some of our political conceptions or how insensitive our strategy, we are so powerful that Hanoi is simply unable to defeat us militarily.” Now we find in Woodward’s book, that the man is grinding the same old axes in yet another foreign policy disaster, advising the Bush du jour and Vice President Cheney on Iraq, saying that “Victory is the only meaningful exit strategy.”
As time has marched on, the bad influence of Henry Kissinger has as well. The movie, “The Trials of Henry Kissinger,” by Alex Gibney and Eugene Jarecki documents more of the Kissinger legacy: the scuttling of the peace process in Vietnam for partisan political gain, the horrific air war in Cambodia, and the covert involvement in the assassination of General Schneider in Chile, which prepared the way for the toppling of the democratic government of Salvador Allende on September 11, 1973.
By March 22, 1984, Henry Kissinger was back again at the LBJ Library in Austin. The protest poster was recycled with different dictator dogs. Only Chile’s dictator, Pinochet, remained in power. Fifty-three protestors were arrested when Kissinger spoke.
Kissinger was invited for a return visit to the LBJ Library in Austin, February 1, 2000. In the face of planned protests, this visit was cancelled. When the President of the University issued a statement of regret, implying that free speech had been sacrificed, two of the protest planners, Rahul Mahajan and Robert Jensen (UT Professor of Communications) took offense, noting that they wanted to hear what Kissinger had to say. “We wanted to ask him what he said to Gen. Suharto in a meeting two days before the Indonesian dictator used U.S.-supplied weapons to begin the genocide in East Timor in 1975. Why did he work so hard to undermine the democratically elected government of Chile in the 1970s? How does he feel knowing that hundreds of thousands of Cambodians died in the “secret” war he planned there in 1969?”
Kissinger hasn’t returned to Austin, but he apparently has made his way countless times to the Bush White House.
Original post also here.