Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Driving Hitch to drink


State of Denial, Bob Woodward's scathing new account of the Bush administration's War of Terror, reveals that Henry Kissinger, the architect of some of the worst atrocities in the Vietnam War and of the overthrow of the Allende government in Chile, is advising George Bush about the correct conduct of the war in Iraq.
Woodward calls Kissinger "A powerful, largely invisible influence on Bush's Iraq policy" who insists upon the necessity of ignoring the wishes of the majority of Iraqis and Americans by "staying the course", ie continuing the occupation of the country indefinitely. The Monsters and Critics website notes that Kissinger is haunted by the parrallels between Vietnam and Iraq:

As recently as last year, Kissinger wrote that 'victory over the insurgency is the only meaningful exit strategy' from Iraq. Kissinger even resurrected a memo he once wrote to Nixon warning against leaving Vietnam: 'Withdrawal of US troops will become like salted peanuts to the American public; the more US troops come home, the more will be demanded.'

I'm curious about how the revelation of Kissinger's role in the Iraq war is going to be explained by 'progressive' supporters of the Bush administration like Christopher Hitchens and Nick Cohen. These folks have been telling us for years now that Bush has made a decisive break with the old 'realpolitik' foreign policy symbolised by Kissinger. According to them, the US has turned its back on support for dictatorial client regimes and selfish wars of aggression, and is instead engaged in a crusade for democracy and human rights. The invasion of Iraq, they've told us again and again, has nothing to do with Vietnam or the numerous other imperialist wars the US launched in the bad old days before 9/11 and the adoption of neoconservative doctrine by the Bush administration. It seems that Kissinger and Bush disagree. How will Hitchens deal with the fact that man he wants to put on trial for crimes against humanity is an important architect of this 'humanitarian' war?

It's enough to make you want a drink or two, isn't it Hitch?

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