Saturday, May 7, 2011
The Chilean government recently ordered the exhumation of the body of President Allende to possibly determine if he committed suicide or not. A few weeks ago I watched a TV program about Henry Kissinger, unafraid to refresh my memory of this frightful man and the American age of which he was an integral part.
The interviewer wasn't exactly asking tough questions, which was probably one of Kissinger's conditions for granting it. But I didn't catch the old man in an out and out lie. He failed, as I expected, to tell the whole truth about Chile, blaming Allende's death on its out-of-control army. He artfully washed his hands of the Vietnam debacle, which was inherited from Johnson and passed on to Gerald Ford.
But I watched him relate how his parents had brought him to the States before World War Two, and how he served proudly in the U.S. Army, even of his arrival with the army at a concentration camp, and it made me wonder. Kissinger is one of many first-generation Americans who became ultra-conservative apologists for the American Way - the kind who believe that America is worth defending to the last drop of foreigners' blood.
But he, along with Nixon and Rumsfeld and Cheney, also embodies a chilling truism: that by making it possible for Americans to sleep more soundly, and making insomniacs of everyone else, he qualifies as an American patriot. He succeeded in making the public servant into a public menace because there is clearly nothing he wouldn't stoop to do for his country.