Saturday, 2 October 2010

Hillary and Henry, sittin' in a tree...

.Future historians will marvel at how U.S. leaders failed to learn from their horrific crimes in Indochina, and are instead repeating many of them today. .

Nothing more symbolizes how the temptations of power can corrupt youthful values and idealism than Secretary Hillary Clinton's invitation to Henry Kissinger and Richard Holbrooke to keynote a major State Department conference on the history of the Indochina war. As an idealistic college student, Clinton protested Kissinger's mass murder of civilians in Indochina. She knows full well that had the international laws protecting civilians in war been applied to Kissinger's bombing of civilian targets in Indochina he would have been indicted for crimes of war.

But on Sept. 29 she will introduce Kissinger at the State Department Historian's conference, giving him a platform to continue 40 years of Orwellian deception in which he has sought to blame Congress for the fall of Indochina rather than accepting responsibility for his massive miscalculations and indifference to human suffering.

Henry Kissinger's Record in Indochina

Henry Kissinger managed U.S. policy in Indochina as national security adviser for Richard Nixon and Secretary of State for Gerald Ford, from January 20 1969 until the fall of Saigon on April 30 1975. During this time Kissinger needlessly prolonged U.S. war-making in which 20,853 Americans were killed and an officially U.S.-estimated 10,770,000 Indochinese civilians were murdered, maimed or made homeless. Most of these lives could have been saved had Kissinger negotiated a deal with the North Vietnamese in 1969, as urged by Averill Harriman, Clark Clifford, Cyrus Vance and many others. Such a deal would also have allowed the U.S. to leave Vietnam with far more dignity than occurred with the total defeat of U.S.-supported forces in April 1975. (Note: Official statistics in this and succeeding paragraphs are taken from “Indochina War Statistics – Dollars and Deaths”, Congressional Record, May 14 1975, p. 14262-66.)

Kissinger orchestrated the most massive bombing in world history, dropping 3,984,563 million tons on an area inhabited by some 50 million people, twice the 2 million tons dropped on hundreds of millions through Europe and the Pacific in World War II. He dropped 1.6 million tons on South Vietnam, as many as Lyndon Johnson at the height of U.S. involvement; quadrupled the bombing of Laos, from 454,200 to 1,628,900 million tons; initiated widespread bombing of previously peaceful Cambodia, including B52 carpet bombing of undefended villages, for a total of 600,000-1million tons; and vastly expanded the bombing of civilian targets in North Vietnam.

Much of this bombing struck civilian targets.

In Laos, where I interviewed over 1,000 refugees from the Plain of Jars, every single one said their villages had been destroyed by U.S. bombing which escalated tremendously in 1969, and that the main victims were civilians because the soldiers could move through the thick forests largely undetected, while old people, mothers and children were forced to stay near their villages.

In Cambodia, Kissinger told Alexander Haig to undertake "a massive bombing campaign in Cambodia. Anything that flies or anything that moves," the clearest possible violation of international law requiring the protection of civilians. Two million people in Khmer Rouge zones, as estimated by the U.S. Embassy, were driven underground by massive U.S. bombing that featured regular B52 carpet-bombing of undefended villages.


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