The Trials of Henry Kissinger
dir. Gibney & Jarecki
Opens Fri Nov 29 Cinema 21
Thanks to a lesson taught by our pappy, George W. Bush, we have learned in recent times that the United States must not be held accountable to the same standards as the rest of the world--especially when said standards, laws, or treaties obstruct the golden egg of capitalism. It's a pretty sweet deal, for now. It's pretty cool that we can run around like a bunch of lunatics, polluting whatever environment we hate, shooting whatever dudes piss us off, and then laughing in their faces with no repercussions (for now). It's just like Grand Theft Auto, but in reality!
One guy who gets to do whatever the hell he wants is Henry Kissinger. He was the Secretary Of State under Richard Nixon, but before that he was a noted scholar who wrote a book about nuclear weapons in the modern age, recommending that everyone build a bomb shelter in their basement, because one day the Commies were gonna blow us all to shit.
Well, he should know something about bombs, because he was instrumental in the continuation of the Vietnam War. It could have ended six years earlier than it did, but Kissinger, hired by LBJ as an adviser to the process, was allegedly playing prez-hopeful VP Humphrey against the Republican candidate for prez, Richard Nixon, in order to procure a position in the future cabinet. It worked; Nixon won the election, and we kept our troops in Vietnam for four more years. Subsequently, Kissinger amassed an assload of power, orchestrated the willful bombing of Cambodia, ordered the CIA to overthrow Chilean president Allende to protect U.S. corporate interests, and did a bunch of other shit for which he's never had to stand trial.
This is all according to The Trials of Henry Kissinger, a documentary inspired by the book The Trial of Henry Kissinger, by Christopher Hitchens. Like Hitchens's book, the film makes the case for bringing Kissinger to trial for his war crimes--and he's already been subpoenaed in five separate countries. By using old footage, declassified documents, and interviews with peers, scholars, and Hitchens himself, the directors attempt to prove Kissinger's guilt (both direct and by association) for the massacre of millions of civilians--in Cambodia, Vietnam, East Timor, Chile. Like a closing deposition from a prosecuting attorney, the film unfolds within the framework of a character profile (Kissinger was charming, and beloved even by those who hated him). And not only does it shed light on Kissinger's actions, but illustrates 20 years of immoral, genocidal, and secretive action on the part of the United States Government. It's very BBC, but still fascinating. At this point, unfortunately, Kissinger must answer only to his conscience.