I could not resist, the following is Maureen Dowd's Op-Ed piece in today's
New York Times.
By MAUREEN DOWD
ASHINGTON — It's an inspired choice. Bold, counterintuitive, edgy, outside
Who better to investigate an unwarranted attack on America than the man who
used to instigate America's unwarranted attacks?
Who better to ferret out government duplicity and manipulation than the man
who engineered secret wars, secret bombings, secret wiretaps and secret
coups, and still ended up as a Pillar of the Establishment and Nobel Peace
It was Dick Cheney's brainstorm, naturally. Only someone as pathologically
opaque as the vice president could appreciate the sublime translucency of
Henry Kissinger. And only someone intent on recreating the glory days of the
Ford and Nixon White Houses could have hungered to add the 79-year-old Dr.
Strange — I mean, Dr. Kissinger to the Bush team.
There will be naysayers who quibble that the president's choice to lead the
9/11 commission is not so much a realist as an opportunist, not so much
Metternich as Machiavelli.
They will look askance at Mr. Kissinger's résumé: keeping the Vietnam War
going for years after he realized it might be unwinnable; encouraging the
illegal bombing of Cambodia; backing Chile's murderous Pinochet; playing
Iago to President Richard Nixon, telling him he'd be "a weakling" if he did
not prosecute newspapers running the Pentagon Papers; wiretapping
journalists and his own colleagues to track down leaks on the Cambodia
If you look for the words "Kissinger" and "secret" in the same sentence in
Nexis, the search cannot be completed; there are too many results. When he
was dating Jill St. John and Liv Ullmann and preaching that power is an
aphrodisiac, he even coyly called himself "a secret swinger."
In Walter Isaacson's biography, "Kissinger," the same words cascade:
"deceitful," "disingenuous," "paranoid," "insecure," "temper tantrum,"
"flatterer," "two-faced" and "secretive." The über-diplomat has even been
criticized for dissembling in his own memoirs. But secretiveness is not a
disqualification for jobs in this White House. Quite the contrary: only the
clandestine and the conspiratorial need apply.
Mr. Bush, after all, worked very hard to suppress any investigation of 9/11.
He had to cave to the victims' families, who were hellbent to hear what the
president learned in his August 2001 briefing about Al Qaeda plans, and what
wires were crossed at the C.I.A., F.B.I. and I.N.S.
Now Mr. Bush can let the commission proceed, secure in the knowledge that
Mr. Kissinger has never shed light on a single dark corner, or failed to
flatter a boss, in his entire celebrated career. (He was one of Mr. Bush's
patient tutors in foreign policy during the campaign.)
If you want to get to the bottom of something, you don't appoint Henry
Kissinger. If you want to keep others from getting to the bottom of
something, you appoint Henry Kissinger.
Mr. Bush learned about the diplomat's black belt in the black arts long ago,
when he made a patsy of Bush père. As the ambassador to the U.N. in 1971,
Bush 41 was accused of aggressively making the case for Taiwan and against
Beijing, even as Mr. Kissinger, the national security adviser, was secretly
traveling to Beijing and undercutting Taiwan.
Afterward, Mr. Kissinger told George H. W. Bush he was "disappointed" that
Beijing had gotten Taiwan's seat in the U.N. "Given the fact that we were
saying one thing in New York and doing another in Washington," Mr. Bush
drily observed, "that outcome was inevitable."
Fortunately, Bush Jr. was not held back by the revulsion that many in his
generation have for Mr. Kissinger's power-drunk promotion of bloody American
adventures abroad. As the former fraternity president told GQ magazine, he
stayed a retro 50's guy through the roiling 60's: "I don't remember any kind
of heaviness ruining my time at Yale."
Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney are in tune with Mr. Kissinger's principles: that
the greatest enemy of U.S. policy is the U.S. media, that American diplomacy
may be happily indifferent to American public opinion, that the great
unwashed masses of our democracy are just a big old drag on the elites who
know what's best, and that corporate pals are a help, not a hindrance, in
For this administration, outside the box is inside the box.
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