Mr. Skellington Comes To Court

One of the worst things the government of this country ever did was allow itself to be blinded by Communism. I do not mean to imply that Communism was not an ideology we needed to oppose. Communism, in the manifestation practiced by the Soviet Union and its satellite states, was dedicated to the destruction and overthrow of the West. Simple survival necessitated opposing Communism, not to mention the moral rightness of the struggle. Enough details are available now about the threat faced and the nature of the threat that to think otherwise is simply willful disregard for historical fact. (See for example, Stephane Courtois' Black Book of Communism)

One of the worst effects of that blindness was a willingness of the government ignore the worst excesses of any right-wing dictatorship in the name of 'anti-communism'. One could make the argument that the focus on the spectre of communism led to some of the problems we face now. Consider the overthrow of the democratically elected government of Iran. Installing and propping up the Shah for all those years led directly to the Islamic theocracy that controls Iran now.

Similarly, the stubborn reliance on right-wing dictatorships to keep South America communist free led to some appalling acts being committed with our winking approval. Christopher Hitchens has an excellent article in Vanity Fair about some of the things that may be attributed to the actions and inactions of the US government. Here's a nice couple of lines:

A suit has also been filed in a federal court in Washington, D.C., by the family of General René Schneider, charging Kissinger with orchestrating his killing. Every single paper in the prosecution dossier is a United States government declassified document.

Well. Kissinger again. I forget about him sometimes. I forget that he helped abandon US soldiers in Southeast Asia to the tender mercies of their captors by dropping the issue of POWs during the Paris talks. I forget that the articles of impeachment for Nixon specifically included the bombing of Laos, which was one of Kissinger's brilliant ideas. So I don't see why I'm all that surprised Kissinger turns up neck deep in this mess. Generally speaking, if the US participated in something morally suspect overseas during the 70s, Kissinger was probably involved.

Doesn't look like he'll be able to realpolitik his way out of this one. He's got to show up in a US court. The rest of the world won't take him anymore. It would be a little disingenuous of a federal court to claim that declassified documents aren't legitimate. We'll have to see how this plays out.


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