Christopher Hitchens goes straight for the Jugular in The Trial of Henry Kissinger. Under his fearsome gaze, the former Secretary of State and National Security Advisor is accused of being a war criminal whose reckless actions and heinous disregard for international law have led to torture, kidnapping and murder.
This book is a polemical masterpiece by a man who, for over forty years, was the Anglosphere’s pre-eminent man of letters. In The Trial of Henry Kissinger, Hitchens’ verve, style and firebrand wit are on show at the height of their potency.
The Trial of Henry Kissinger is certainly an eye-opening read and a devastating attack on both his character and many of his actions – which had a significant impact on thousands of lives around the world – showing him (with supporting documents) to be a morally bankrupt man. As the quote on the back cover of the book from the Literary Review says:
‘This book is so stupidly defamatory that if Kissinger values his reputation, he really must sue’
The silence on this matter, from the Nobel Peace Prize winner himself really does speak volumes.
Chronicling the different events Kissinger was a part of – a litany of manufactured, supported and prolonged wars, and sabotaged peace talks, all a tale of so many lives ruined and lost needlessly, – it is frightening to see how he moved through successive U.S. governments with his power intact. Hitchens is clearly no lover of the man but as ever, his arguments are reasoned, razor-sharp and not afraid to court controversy. There is a term ‘Hitchslap’ that does the rounds that is often used for his most incisive commentary and this is certainly a good example of the term.
One of the most telling pieces of information is that Kissinger’s papers (the ones he classified as personal, when it is suspected many are incriminating) are under lock and key at the Library of Congress and can only be opened after Kissinger dies thanks to the agreement beforehand. Of course being in the public interest a subpoena would most likely open it up (and a huge can of worms) but there in lies the issue. Read the rest of this entry »