The Trials of Henry Kissinger depicts the former Secretary of State as a warmonger responsible for military cover-ups in Vietnam, Cambodia and East Timor, as well as the assassination of a Chilean leader in 1970. Based on a book by journalist Christopher Hitchens, the film includes interviews with historians, political analysts and such journalists as New York Times writer William Safire, a former Nixon speechwriter. It doesn’t assume the viewer already knows a great deal about Kissinger, one of the most beloved, hated and controversial US diplomats in history. Some have criticized Kissinger’s policies (while with Nixon) over Vietnam, the ouster of Allende’s government after a bloody coup in Chile, bad policies in Indonesia and Cambodia. Others have criticized his opinions on the use of double dealing diplomacy and nuclear weapons. Now journalist Christopher Hitchens claims that Henry Kissinger should be brought to answer charges of war crimes. He is almost certainly a war criminal and this documentary spells it out in no uncertain terms. The documentary is a fine exposé on the very questionable actions and decisions made by Dr. Kissinger for which history will be a judge and an unkind one at that. This presents some of the evidence which makes it clear that Kissinger is a war criminal on a scale exceeding most if not all of the current targets of the ‘war on terrorism’. As such, it is essential viewing. Yes, Kissinger compromised American laws and lied regarding East Timor, Cambodia, and again on Chile. These are not questions, these are facts, contended by only the misinformed and the irrevocably distant Right, who have yet to read the transcripts at the National Security Archive (available on the web). Certainly the man could be convicted were he to be placed on trial for war crimes. This is a fascinating look at Kissinger’s lust for and abuse of power, the consequences of Kissinger’s actions and the growing application of international law to the Pinochets and Kissingers of the world. This film proves that in an International Tribunal they would stand equally guilty as the Nazi war criminals were adjudged in Nuremberg after WWII. If you are intrigued by the darkest side of political gamesmanship that gets people killed, you will enjoy this exposé. Finally a documentary that treats Henry Kissinger in a fair and objective way. For too long the media have had a lopsided bias towards Kissinger that blindly ignored his myriad shortcomings. This movie presents an honest and candid appraisal of this most influential of men. Anyone who watches this is at least seeing something of the truth, that the person widely considered to be the US’s greatest diplomatic mind is so widely reviled that he before he travels abroad he consults his lawyers to see if he’ll be arrested. The film has no call to action; its conclusion, that the International Criminal Court might be interested in Dr. Kissinger is provocative, but scarcely an irrational or extreme position. Dr. K. seems indeed to have much to explain, and there was villainy aplenty in the Nixon White House, more than enough to go around. I had always heard how bad Nixon was but never really understood why. Watergate seems no worse than what most presidents do. But when you bring Kissinger into the picture and reveal what was really going on behind closed doors, it becomes clear that they were in fact both crooks — and this film explains why Kissinger was the director and manager of some of the worst decisions by the worst administration we have seen. I highly recommend the Hitchens book for an even broader profile of Kissinger’s actions. Toward the end of the film, Kissinger defends himself by stating, “The average person thinks that morality can be applied as directly to the conduct of states to each other as it can to human interaction. That is not always the case, because sometimes statesmen have to choose among evils.” In other words, geopolitics is not for boy scouts, do-gooders or pacifists. It is about staying alive, or getting an edge. But when Kissinger admitted breaking the laws of the USA, that was acknowledgment that his actions were outside of acceptable behavior, even for a statesman. Those ignorant/uninformed Americans who have faith in American politics should really examine current trends as this man set the trend and mentored many of the crooks still profiting from the war/death profit scheme he established. I feel anyone who was raised with American values of believing in America of the home of the free and the brave will be greatly enlightened to see the depths of depravity to which we will go. If America wants to retain any respect or dignity, the American people should be first in line trying to expose such tyrannical murderers, as Christopher Hitchens has done here, even when the culprits are our fellow Americans–in fact, especially when they are our fellow Americans. This film should be titled An American War Criminal. This is an excellent presentation of a rotten story. It is interesting and worth watching. I recommend it highly. It should be required viewing in all schools. Anyone who still thinks that the U.S. government is always the good guy, and does what it does for the sake of truth, justice and freedom, should watch this film. Documentary 2002 NR 1hr 19m.
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