Monday, February 02, 2015

Not Such An Impressive Elder Statesman

Huffington Post reported  on Sunday

Code Pink brought signs and handcuffs into the hearing to protest the presence of former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, demanding that he be arrested for his role in alleged war crimes during the Nixon and Ford administrations. The protesters objected to the U.S.'s use of the poisonous chemical Agent Orange in the Vietnam War, the bombing of Cambodia and other issues.

Fox News later would note "US Capitol Police spokeswoman  Kim Schneider said later the force did not 'meet the standards expected of the USCP'" during the disruption (video below).

That came on the heels of the rudeness of Code Pink and the reaction of committee chairperson John McCain (R-AZ).  The protesters came, made their point, and were ushered out of the hearing room within minutes. Unacceptable, to management of the US Capitol Police; democracy, to some of us. Would it that law enforcement in Ferguson, MO, Cleveland, OH, Staten Island, NY, or Bridgeton, NJ had adopted such a measured response.

After- and only after- the protesters were contained and under control- the guy who endured torture at the Hanoi Hilton (decades ago) was bold enough to assert (video below)

You know what I'd like to, uh, say to may colleagues, uh and to our distinguished witness this morning - I have been a member of this committee for many years and I've never seen anything as disgraceful and outrageous and disrespectful as the last demonstration that just took place about- you know, you're going to have to shut up or I'm going to have you arrested... Get out of here, you low-life scum.

Sunday on CNN, McCain defended his response (video below) on CNN:

I'm used to people popping up at these these hearings and yelling, and they're escorted out -- that's at least some version of free speech, These people rushed up, they were right next to him, waving handcuffs. He's a 91-year old man with a broken shoulder who was willing to come down and testify before Congress to give us the benefit of his many years of wisdom.

Far less impressed by Kissinger's comments was Digby, who commented 

And no they didn't threaten him. They held up signs behind him and chanted. I'm sure it was unpleasant to be publicly called a war criminal.  Not as unpleasant as being bombed, tortured and "disappeared" but unpleasant nonetheless: If that's the only punishment he receives for his deeds over the past 50 years, he's one very lucky man indeed.

On his Saturday program on CNN, Michael Smerconish had remarked that as he was watching the event, he was thinking the same thing as McCain- but that the Senator should not have uttered it. Though fair, that  does not get to the heart of the matter. Code Pink observes that Kissinger- who believed "the illegal we do immediately, the unconstitutional takes a little longer"-  is a war criminal whose influence led to the death of countless human beings. Still lost is that the venture in Vietnam- for which the  former National Security Adviser and Secretary of State is most remembered- was a failure.  The war was lost.

Senator McCain is impressed his committee called to testify a man who could "give us the benefit of his many years of wisdom." Kissinger, however, was a  failure as a foreign policy adviser.   Moreover, a legislator exorcised that a 91-year-old man was harassed might consider that the latter might have lost a little off his fastball on his way to 91- even assuming there was considerable wisdom initially. If the age was no impediment to Kissinger wisdom, perhaps McCain needn't have been aghast that handcuffs were waved in the witness' face.

Henry Kissinger himself is certainly no low-life scum. He is quite wealthy, distinguished, and pleased to be treated as royalty by fawning politicians.

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