“A true tally will probably never be known of everyone who died so Kissinger could be national security adviser,” wrote journalist Spencer Ackerman.
Henry Kissinger, the former diplomat whose efforts to prolong and expand the U.S. war on Southeast Asia and undermine democracy in Latin America and elsewhere took millions of lives , died Wednesday at 100 years old.
Treated like royalty in elite U.S. political circles until his death at his home in Connecticut, Kissinger—who served as secretary of state and national security adviser under Nixon and Ford—never faced justice for the secretive carpet bombing of Cambodia that he helped orchestrate, the overthrow of Chile’s democratically elected president, or the murderous “dirty war” in Argentina that killed tens of thousands .
The scope of his crimes was so vast that he had to watch where he traveled, lest he be detained to face questioning for his role in assassinations , massacres , and violent military coups whose reverberations are still felt in the present.
“The covert justifications for illegally bombing Cambodia became the framework for the justifications of drone strikes and forever war. It’s a perfect expression of American militarism’s unbroken circle,” historian Greg Grandin, author of “Kissinger’s Shadow,” told The Intercept earlier this year. Grandin has estimated that Kissinger was responsible for at least 3 million deaths.
Observers of Kissinger’s impact have said it’s difficult to convey the true extent of the destruction he inflicted across the globe.
In his obituary of Kissinger for Rolling Stone, journalist Spencer Ackerman wrote that “measuring purely by confirmed kills, the worst mass murderer ever executed by the United States was the white-supremacist terrorist Timothy McVeigh.”
“McVeigh, who in his own psychotic way thought he was saving America, never remotely killed on the scale of Kissinger, the most revered American grand strategist of the second half of the 20th century,” Ackerman continued. “Every single person who died in Vietnam between autumn 1968 and the Fall of Saigon—and all who died in Laos and Cambodia, where Nixon and Kissinger secretly expanded the war within months of taking office, as well as all who died in the aftermath, like the Cambodian genocide their destabilization set into motion—died because of Henry Kissinger.”
“We will never know what might have been, the question Kissinger’s apologists, and those in the U.S. foreign policy elite who imagine themselves standing in Kissinger’s shoes, insist upon when explaining away his crimes,” he added. “We can only know what actually happened. What actually happened was that Kissinger materially sabotaged the only chance for an end to the war in 1968 as a hedged bet to ensure he would achieve power in Nixon’s administration or Humphrey’s. A true tally will probably never be known of everyone who died so Kissinger could be national security adviser.”