Hillary Clinton’s prideful invocation of the name of Henry Kissinger caused outrage from those who remember the figure for his abuses of human rights.
Although Henry is highly regarded by many with a neo-conservative view of international politics, his well-documented disregard for life in the face of power has sparked human rights groups to call for his imprisonment. Perhaps the most famous quote attributed to Kissinger was when he stated that the “illegal we do immediately; the unconstitutional takes a little longer.” It’s clear that Henry was no progressive.
Those same violent moves resulted in the deaths of millions worldwide, actions that have also made Kissinger beloved to those who stand by him. Henry’s political philosophy is perhaps best described as “realpolitik,” which Merriam-Webster describes as “a system of politics based on a country’s situation and its needs rather than on ideas about what is morally right and wrong.” It’s a word that has also been used to describe Hillary’s own actions, sometimes controversially curbed by the Obama administration during her time as Secretary of State.
In the countries most affected by Kissinger, his name is a dirty word — a representation of the United States overstepping its boundaries to fight communist ideology abroad, even when it was Democratically elected. Some of the most damning criticism of Henry came from declassified CIA documents that explicitly linked the U.S. government to the overthrow of Chilean president Salvador Allende in 1973. Military dictator Augusto Pinochet subsequently held power for nearly 20 years, during which critics of the government were tortured and murdered. Recent estimates project that as many as 40,000 people were detained and around 3,000 were murdered or otherwise “disappeared,” reported Spanish daily El País.
Quotes from Kissinger about the Chilean coup show a flagrant disregard for both democracy and the violations of human rights that took place in the country. In 2013, Wikileaks cables showed Henry downplaying the abuses that were taking place in the country to the Vatican, reported RT. One such CIA cable, released in 2003, also indicated that Kissinger sought to control the situation in Chile while esconding its own involvement, reported the Guardian.
“I don’t see why we need to stand by and watch a country go communist due to the irresponsibility of its own people. The issues are much too important for the Chilean voters to be left to decide for themselves.”
While Henry’s sanguinary hand in Chile is perhaps the best documented, that U.S.-backed coup is widely believed to be part of a co-ordinated effort across Central and South America called Operation Condor, which sought to overthrow democratically elected socialist governments in Bolivia, Uruguay, Argentina, and other nations, reported Global Policy Forum. Hundreds of thousands are estimated to have been murdered by the regimes put into power at the goading of Kissinger — and that’s just one continent.
Similar maneuvers are suspected to have taken place all over the world, with Henry at the helm. Greg Grandin, the author of the book Kissinger’s Shadow, accounts for at least four million who died as a result of his policies. That number, says Grandin, is actually quite conservative, as it only includes the most unequivocally proven of Henry’s international meddling, he wrote in Salon.
With all of these revelations, it is shocking that Hillary Clinton would choose to align herself with Henry Kissinger so publicly, particularly while she’s trying to bat off Bernie Sanders’ assertion that he is the true progressive of the Democratic presidential hopefuls. Such clear disregard for democracy and human rights don’t belong on anyone’s platform in the 21st century, and his approval certainly shouldn’t be a bragging right.
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