'His hands are drenched in blood': Recalling Henry Kissinger’s legacy as he turns 100

'His hands are drenched in blood': Recalling Henry Kissinger’s legacy as he turns 100

This Saturday, May 27, Henry Kissinger — who served as secretary of state under Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald R. Ford — will be turning 100.

Some Americans who lived through the Nixon years, from Watergate prosecutor Jill Wine-Banks to author/Washington Post reporter Carl Bernstein, have commented that Nixon's corruption pales in comparison to the dangerous lines that former President Donald Trump and the MAGA movement have crossed. But Nixon, in his day, was extremely controversial. And that includes his foreign policy, which was greatly influenced by Kissinger.

Mother Jones' David Corn looks back on Kissinger's policies in a scathing article published two days before his birthday — arguing that Kissinger's "diplomatic conniving led to or enabled slaughters around the globe."

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"It's easy to cast Kissinger as a master geostrategist, an expert player in the game of nations," Corn argues. "But do the math. Hundreds of thousands of dead in Bangladesh, Cambodia, and East Timor, perhaps a million in total. Tens of thousands dead in Argentina's Dirty War. Thousands killed and tens of thousands tortured by the Chilean military dictatorship, and a democracy destroyed. His hands are drenched in blood."

Kissinger was born in Germany but has been a U.S. citizen since 1943. He joined the Nixon Administration as national security adviser in 1969 before becoming secretary of state in 1973 and remaining in that position after Nixon resigned in August 1974 and Ford took over as president.

Corn slams Kissinger for a variety of policies, from extensive bombing in Cambodia to the overthrow of socialist President Salvador Allende in Chile in 1973 — a coup that was encouraged by Kissinger and followed by a brutal fascist regime under Gen. Augusto Pinochet. Later, under Ford, Kissinger promoted a coup in Argentina that also brought numerous human rights abuses.

"In March 1976," Corn explains, "a neofascist military junta overthrew President Isabel Perón and launched what would be called the Dirty War, torturing, disappearing, and killing political opponents it branded as terrorists. Once again, Kissinger provided a 'green light,' this time to a campaign of terror and murder. He did so during a private meeting in June 1976 with the junta's foreign minister, Cesar Augusto Guzzetti."

READ MORE: How Richard Nixon became 'the most environmentalist US president ever': journalist

David Corn's full article for Mother Jones can be found at this link.

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