Kissinger Finally Departs

1975, April 28 – Roosevelt Room – The White House

The earth is freed of one of its more despicable demons. Henry Kissinger is dead. A corpse. One of history’s most evil humans has shed his mortal coil. There are other writers who will list his deeds.  Those who operated in the same hellish sphere of power and death as Kissinger will laud his statesmanship and his intellectual prowess.  Those who disagreed with his agenda will mention the millions he killed, the destruction he commanded, and the numbers left sick and homeless in his wake. My task here is to remind the living of the callowness and callousness with which he dispatched these deeds.

There is a Saturday Night Live episode where the late John Belushi plays the role of Henry Kissinger.  In his inimitable comedic genius, Belushi made Kissinger look and sound like the swine he was. I always find it worth the moment it takes to watch.  Kissinger was considered a voice of sanity in the Nixon White House. That doesn’t mean he was, just that the rest of the men there were even more insane.  The list of murderous atrocities Henry Kissinger was in some part responsible for is rivaled only by Adolf Hitler in 20th century history. That list begins with the secret bombing of Cambodia, the genocide in Timor, the coup in Chile and the subsequent decades of fascist rule. It continues from there. If asked, I would argue that the primary difference between Hitler and Kissinger was the calculating and dispassionate manner in which Kissinger dispatched people to their deaths.  Indeed, when asked about whether or not the bombing of Cambodia was effective, Kissinger responded by saying, “Whether we got it right or not is really secondary.”  The deaths of more than a hundred thousand Cambodians in the bombing (and the subsequent coup and murderous campaign of the Khmer Rouge after the defeat of Saigon) were inconsequential in his mind.  This epitomizes Kissinger and is a primary reason he is near the forefront of history’s mass murderers.

Despite his record of sociopathic disregard for humanity, or perhaps because of it and the accompanying notoriety, Kissinger remained a go-to man for the establishment media looking for justification of the Pentagon’s latest assault or Wall Street’s next economic victim.  These members of the media who admired his ability to ignore humanity in the pursuit of power are accomplices in his rampage of mass murder and deserve a trial Kissinger never had to face.

Kissinger began his notorious career when he wrote his doctoral thesis on the strategic use of nuclear weapons.   In that dissertation, he rationalized the use of such weapons in the course of war.  In an almost Eichmannesque way, he actually provided answers to the question: what would justify the devastation and death a nuclear attack would cause?  One of his final public utterances included a remark on how “tempting” a nuclear attack on northern Korea  would be.  Like the Nazis who set up the death camps and managed the trains traveling to those camps, Kissinger’s lack of compassion was notable in its failure to even acknowledge such an emotion existed.  Although casualty figures were acknowledged in the aforementioned treatise on the efficacy of nuclear war (deaths that are now known as collateral damage), the humanity of those casualties was not. The primary concern for Kissinger was always the expansion of capitalist power.  Humans were mere obstacles to overcome in pursuit of that evil elixir.

The great journalist I.F. Stone wrote this about Kissinger in 1972:

“In his books and in the Rockefeller Brothers Fund report of 1957-1958 on “International Security: The Military Aspect” which was prepared under his direction, Kissinger, like his hero Metternich, put his great talents and greater energies at the service of a rickety and anachronistic order. “The willingness to engage in nuclear war when necessary,” said the Rockefeller report, “is part of the price of our freedom.’”(NYRB 11/2/1972)

If there is a hell, and if there is eternal justice, I imagine Henry Kissinger has had a place reserved there for several decades already. If so, and if Satan has any sense of where justice and irony intersect, the flames already searing Kissinger’s soul are fueled by napalm.  Those on earth who still seek his counsel will finally have to visit this deputy of Satan in surroundings more appropriate to his soulless corpse.

If there is nothing after this earthly life, then I am certain that any ground Henry Kissinger is buried in will be forever tainted.  Indeed, I would not be surprised if no trees or other life grew nearby and the worms refused to eat his rotting flesh.

Ron Jacobs is the author of Daydream Sunset: Sixties Counterculture in the Seventies published by CounterPunch Books. He has a new book, titled Nowhere Land: Journeys Through a Broken Nation coming out in Spring 2024.   He lives in Vermont. He can be reached at: