Kissinger behind 3 million civilian deaths – report – Reuters
The actions of the former US diplomat caused, among other things, the death of 150,000 Cambodian civilians, far more than previously thought
Henry Kissinger, the eminence grise of foreign policy who advised half a dozen presidents, caused the deaths of more than 3 million people, according to an Intercept report published Tuesday on the occasion of the 100th birthday of the strategist of the realpolitik.
While critics of the Nixon-era secretary of state and national security adviser often portray him as a war criminal for his central role in numerous US-backed genocides and coups, the report asserts that Kissinger’s body count has been grossly underestimated, particularly with regard to the secretive, highly illegal expansion of the Vietnam War into Cambodia in the 1970s.
Between the genocides he sponsored in East Timor and Bangladesh, continent-wide terrorism, the coups and Operation Condor death squads in Latin America, the fomenting of civil wars in Southern Africa and its carpet bombs in Cambodia and Laos under the guise of driving out the Vietnamese, Kissinger is believed to be responsible for more than 3 million civilian deaths – more if you count the casualties that resulted from the advice he gave. donated to the private sector.
Kissinger ‘only’ acknowledged that his actions caused the deaths of 50,000 Cambodians and blamed the Vietnamese, the alleged targets of the US bombing campaign (whose coordinates were recorded incorrectly in order to be recorded as legal strikes In Vietnam). Intercept reporter Nick Truse says the number is closer to 150,000, pointing to numerous documented examples of gross and deliberate undercounting of civilian casualties. That figure is more than six times as many civilians as the United States has killed in airstrikes since 9/11.
Transcripts from the Intercept”exclusive archives“Declassified U.S. military documents from a secret Pentagon war crimes task force reveal that it was Kissinger’s decision to relay then-President Richard Nixon’s belligerent and drunken remarks about Cambodia in coherent instructions to the Pentagon to begin a “massive bombing campaignin the country in 1970.
Kissinger’s now infamous directive to shoot”anything that flies on anything that movesblew up the Secret War, tripling the number of bombings by the end of the year. He reportedly approved of all 3,875 individual bombings in the war, and bombers dropped more than 257,000 tons of explosives on Cambodia in 1973 alone.
Intercept records also revealed numerous brutal ground raids on Cambodian villages that have since been all but forgotten; Truse confirmed through interviews with survivors that the raids were far deadlier than reported. While airstrikes were frequently muted as “driver error” – “Errorswhich have yet been repeated thousands of times – the US military, in an internal investigation, actually blamed its press corps when ground troops were caught looting a village they had just looted.
Kissinger’s carpet bombing of Cambodia paved the way for the Khmer Rouge, the genocidal dictatorship that killed 2 million Cambodians – 20% of the country’s population – whom he privately (and approvingly) called “murderous thugswhile helping them find regional allies.
Kissinger was never prosecuted – or even officially charged – with war crimes, and the US military made no systemic effort to hold the troops who actually killed accountable.
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