It’s my practice not to use this blog for “personality” posts. However, I do allow myself the latitude of occasionally bemoaning the failings in both knowledge and action of the American Congress. By the way, has anybody seen that Congressional action on legislation supporting or defining the overall military campaign against ISIS ….or an updated AUMF for the President….or perhaps any meaningful discussion of the global jihadi situation…if you have let me know, I missed it.

In this instance I am bringing up a particular individual because it appears to me that recent remarks from Senator McCain once again reflect how limited Congressional knowledge of recent history – even among senior members who lived through it – can be. As a disclaimer I’m not urging that anyone shout at or revile Mr. Kissinger in public. However I do think that it’s time that his reputation and history is considered in light of the full historical record – which shows it to be something less positive than reflected in Senator McCain’s praise.

I will also admit that before I began researching Shadow Warfare, I had only a general sense that Kissinger record might have a bit of a darker side. Having served towards the last years of the Viet Nam war I had developed some discomfort in how the Nixon phase of that conflict had been managed and that sort of bled over to Mr. Kissinger. However, once I immersed myself in the actual records and history of the Laotian involvement, of the treatment of the Hmong, of the American personnel who were sacrificed in combat as literally a tool of political maneuvers and negotiations, my attitude began to harden.

What was a total surprise to me was Kissinger role in Latin America, his support and encouragement of military dictatorships, and a tacit acceptance of the practices that led to the growth of military death squads. It was discouraging to find actual records (which you can review in documents and oral history at the National Security Archives) which document his essentially advising Generals in Argentina that they needed to get their killing done before Congress came into session and constrained American aid – something they did, and then complained about when sanctioned because they felt they were only acting in accordance with the guidance they had received.

The Kissinger story gets even worse when you find his own State Department Staff and the CIA bringing him details on individuals, including American citizens, that the Condor Generals have targeted for assassination – and Kissinger takes a pass on warning the individuals or even officially chiding the governments involved.

Beyond Latin America, his story continues in Africa, in different nations but in particular in Angola. That particular experience exposes his apparent distain for the American Congress and for Congressional involvement in international relations. One can only wonder if Senator McCain would have responded with the same praise of Kissinger if he knew how the man actually viewed the institution of Congress in that respect?

In any event, Shadow Warfare taught me a lot about Mr. Kissinger, it’s available and cites sources – if you want to verify my remarks here. However I would also urge those who have read it to offer comments on this post and to chide me if they think I’m being too subjective, or too harsh.


About Larry Hancock

Larry Hancock is a leading historian-researcher in the JFK assassination. Co-author with Connie Kritzberg of November Patriots and author of the 2003 research analysis publication titled also Someone Would Have Talked. In addition, Hancock has published several document collections addressing the 112th Army Intelligence Group, John Martino, and Richard Case Nagell. In 2000, Hancock received the prestigious Mary Ferrell New Frontier Award for the contribution of new evidence in the Kennedy assassination case. In 2001, he was also awarded the Mary Ferrell Legacy Award for his contributions of documents released under the JFK Act.

3 responses »

  1. DennisBartholomew says:

    I haven’t read the book, but Kissinger has been well-known for being an extreme right-wing practicer of RealPolitick and if that meant supporting a “friendly” dictator, so be it. Could you give a brief two-paragraph summary of what this book told you about Kissinger.

    • Sorry Dennis, missed the Kissinger comment there for a bit. I’m assuming you are asking what Shadow Warfare taught me as I was researching it. I came to view Kissinger not just ultra right internationalist but more specifically as a Russo-phobe, focused on orienting American covert activities against regimes receiving support from Russia. As an illustration of that you find him adamantly calling for military action against Cuba as a Soviet surrogate while he was willing to actually negotiate with the Chinese, partially as a buffer against the Soviets. In Angola he knowingly worked against Congressional mandates and supported factions fighting against the Soviets/Cuba while actually aligning with factions supported by the Chinese …and talking with them about that while visiting China. In Angola he also encouraged military activities in conjunction with South Africa. The bottom line was that if Henry saw any “movement” which appeared to him to extend Soviet reach or influence he was adamant about supporting it, legally or not, with Congressional approval or not and regardless of how undemocratic or downright evil (speaking there of death squads) the “anti-Communist” factions were. He also displayed a total lack of regard for the factions he did support, personally issuing calls to them to fight to the last man in totally hopeless situations. I detail examples of that with the Hmong in Laos and also his preferred factions in Angola. He didn’t have that problem with the Latin American military dictators since they were very effective in making their opponents die in very large numbers. I suppose the other impression was that he was totally dismissive of Congressional authority, that is verified in numerous documents. I had thought that he was more adept at political maneuvering, but that appears to have been only in regard to ingratiating himself with the top decision maker of the moment. Bottom line, I knew he was as you described him but I had not realized the extent to which he pursued Realpolitik on a basically “sacrificial”, amoral level.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s