The families of 9/11 victims are reportedly very upset with Kissinger‘s selection as the chairman of a new commission overseeing a 9/11 investigation. Can you blame them? At 79, Kissinger has spent decades as a player in the federal institutions he would be investigating.
When George W. Bush said, “A no-brainer“ in reference to his selection of Kissinger, what exactly did he mean? Maybe noted columnist Daniel Schorr knew when he commented on the commission appointment, “What is sure is that Dr. Kissinger will do nothing to embarrass the president.“ Oh. You would hope that independence and integrity would be the top requirements for such an important position, not a proclivity to modify the investigation.
It might be valuable to take a little trip back in history to refresh our memories concerning the good doctor. How do Kissinger‘s accomplishments stack up compared to his reputation as an eminent statesman?
The following is only a partial list of his miserable record as Secretary of State and National Security Advisor: (1) He was Nixon‘s point person for foreign policy in arguably the most corrupt presidential administration in U.S. history. (2) Directed the illegal and secret U.S. bombing campaign in Cambodia, which led to the deaths of thousands of innocent civilians and later, the murderous rule of the Khmer Rouge. (3) Authorized the kidnap and execution of a Chilean military official in 1970, which paved the way for the genocidal coup by Pinochet against an elected Chilean leader. (4) During Kissinger‘s term in office, 21,000 Americans and one million Asians died needlessly in the Vietnam War while he was supposedly negotiating a “just peace.“ (5) Supported the Indonesian generals who murdered 200,000 civilians in East Timor. (6) Backed a Pakistani government whose oppression of Bangladesh caused at least hundreds of thousands of deaths, maybe millions.
Some have recently called for Kissinger‘s indictment as a war criminal. Of course, it may not happen anytime soon. Unlike others who become fugitives in the wake of such charges, Dr. Henry Kissnger is worshiped in the elite circles of celebrity. He receives at least $25,000 a speech, gives professional advise to the wealthiest of corporations, and makes millions on the books he publishes.
Another disturbing reason that Kissinger may not be fit to lead an independent investigation has nothing to do with his abysmal record as a government official. Even more troubling in terms of independence is his role as a principal in Kissinger Associates, a firm that specializes in assisting multinational corporations. Though the client roll of Kissinger Associates has never been publicly divulged, Arco, Exxon Mobil, and the Chinese government have been reported to be on that directory.
Lacking a list of Kissinger clients, we can only speculate about conflicts of interest. If Exxon Mobil or the Saudi government are Kissinger clients, could he impartially review a trail that led to middle-east governments during the investigation? No way.
Questions about Kissinger‘s independence are only speculation, though, because of his resistance to disclosing names of companies and individuals with which he has business dealings. Such disclosures by commission members are required by government ethics rules though it remains to be seen if he will be forced to comply.
The bottom line is that Henry Kissinger is the last person on this planet who should be entrusted with the chairmanship of an independent agency investigating 9/11. If Kissinger remains in this critical position, the conclusions of the commission will always be covered by the ominous stain of its chairman.