The Trial of Henry Kissinger

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9781859846315: The Trial of Henry Kissinger
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With the detention of Augusto Pinochet, and intense international pressure for the arrest of Slobodan Milosovic, the possibility of international law acting against tyrants around the world is emerging as a reality. In this incendiary book, Hitchens takes the floor as prosecuting counsel and mounts a devastating indictment of a man whose ambitions and ruthlessness have directly resulted in both individual murders and widespread, indiscriminate slaughter. He investigates and reveals Kissingers' involvement in: the deliberate mass killings of civilian populations in Indochina; the deliberate collusion in mass murder and assassination in Bangladesh; the personal suborning and planning of a murder, of a senior constitutional officer in a democratic nation that the USA was not war with - Chile; the incitement and enabling of a mass genocide in East Timor; and the personal involvement in the kidnap and murder of a journalist living in Washinton DC.

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Christopher Hitchens doesn't mince words when it comes to The Trial of Henry Kissinger, the former secretary of state and national-security advisor: in his view, Kissinger deserves vigorous prosecution "for war crimes, for crimes against humanity, and for offences against common or customary or international law, including conspiracy to commit murder, kidnap, and torture." The Trial of Henry Kissinger is a polemical masterpiece; even readers who don't agree that its target is an emanation of "official evil" will appreciate the verve and style brought to Hitchens's fiery brief. ("A good liar must have a good memory: Kissinger is a stupendous liar with a remarkable memory.")

The book is best understood as a document of prosecution--both because Hitchens limits his critique to what he believes might stand up in an international court of law following precedents set at Nuremberg and elsewhere, and also because his treatment of Kissinger is far from even handed. The charges themselves are astonishing, as they link Kissinger to war casualties in Vietnam, massacres in Bangladesh and Timor, and assassinations in Chile, Cyprus, and Washington, DC. After reading this book, one wants very badly to hear a full response from the defendant. Hitchens, a writer for Vanity Fair and The Nation, is a man of the Left, though he has a history of skewering both Democrats (he is the author of a provocative book on the Clintons, No One Left to Lie To) as well as Republicans (like Kissinger).

At the root of this latest effort is moral outrage, and a call for Americans, of all people, not to ignore Kissinger's record:

They can either persist in averting their gaze from the egregious impunity enjoyed by a notorious war criminal and lawbreaker, or they can become seized by the exalted standards to which they continually hold everyone else... If the courts and lawyers of this country will not do their duty, we shall watch as the victims and survivors of this man pursue justice and vindication in their own dignified and painstaking way, and at their own expense, and we shall be put to shame.
--John J Miller

Review:

An eloquent and devastating indictment of Henry Kissinger's involvement in the war in Indochina, genocide in East Timor and many other acts of indiscriminate murder. Hitchens is a brilliant polemicist and a tireless reporter. Both sets of skills are on display throughout this book as he presents damning documentary evidence against Kissinger in case after case. This is a disturbing glimpse into the dark side of American power, whose consequences in remote corners of the globe are all too often ignored. Its countless victims have found an impassioned and skillful advocate in Christopher Hitchens. It is shaming that Harper's and the Guardian excerpted this book. It is so contemptible that it almost makes a case for judicial book-burning. --Conrad Black "It is shaming that "Harper's" and the "Guardian" excerpted this book. It is so contemptible that it almost makes a case for judicial book-burning."--Conrad Black, "The Spectator" "An eloquent and devastating indictment of Henry Kissinger's involvement in the war in Indochina, genocide in East Timor and many other acts of indiscriminate murder."--"The Village Voice" "Hitchens is a brilliant polemicist and a tireless reporter. Both sets of skills are on display throughout this book as he presents damning documentary evidence against Kissinger in case after case."--"San Francisco Chronicle" "This is a disturbing glimpse into the dark side of American power, whose consequences in remote corners of the globe are all too often ignored. Its countless victims have found an impassioned and skillful advocate in Christopher Hitchens."--"The Sunday Times" [London]

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