Chicago—On March 29 people from a dozen or more anti-war organizations gathered in front of the Hyatt Regency Hotel to confront former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, named keynote speaker for the Awards Banquet of the Illinois Holocaust Museum. Kissinger deserves to face protests wherever he dares to speak publicly. But a museum dedicated to remembering victims of the Nazi Holocaust cannot honor the man who created fresh holocausts by invading Cambodia in 1970 and overthrowing Allende in Chile in 1973.
Speakers at the Hyatt denounced Kissinger’s war crimes during the Vietnam era, and his installing the Pinochet regime and its reign of terror in Chile. But Kissinger, now four decades out of office, still sows seeds of future atrocities through his corporate connections.
His March 7 Washington Post article suggested that Putin could use the pretext of self-determination for Russian speakers in Ukraine to undermine Ukraine’s self-determination. Kissinger dismisses support for anti-Assad revolutionaries in Syria as saying that Assad “is killing his own people, and we’ve got to punish him. But that’s not what’s going on. It may have been started by a few democrats. But on the whole it’s an ethnic and sectarian conflict. It is now a civil war between sectarian groups. If we get rid of Assad, then we form a coalition government. Inconceivable.”
Unfortunately Kissinger’s views line up with a portion of the anti-war activists who ignore the Syrian revolution. Rally organizers cut off the open mike just as a News and Letters Committees speaker was about to make that point.