View From Lodi, CA: Kissinger: No Regrets, No Remorse, No Apologies, No Wavering and No Compassion


As a

critic
of the Iraq War since the first bomb was
dropped and one of the first American journalists to say
that President Bush`s Middle East policy was misguided
and doomed, I thought I could not be more skeptical
about the conflict`s future.  


Then I learned that former-Secretary of State

Henry Kissinger
acts as a primary advisor on Iraq to
Bush and

Vice President Dick Cheney.


What worse news could there be that the man who still
holds steadfast to his position that, if he had it to do
over again, he wouldn`t change a thing in his Vietnam
policy.


Mike Wallace of CBS`

“60 Minutes”
interviewed Bob Woodward,

Washington Post
editor and prolific author about
Washington presidential politics about his new book “State of Denial.”


Among other things, Woodward revealed that Kissinger is
a frequent White House visitor.


Woodward to Wallace:

“He`s back.  In fact Henry
Kissinger is almost like a member of the family.  If
he`s in town, he can call up and if the President`s
free, he`ll see him.”


And Cheney on Kissinger:

“Of the outside people that
I talk to in this job I probably talk to Henry Kissinger
more than just about anybody else.  He just comes by and
I guess at least once a month I sit down with him.”


Bush, according to Woodward, is a “big fan” of
Kissinger`s.


That the three are so cozy given Kissinger`s utterly
failed policies in Southeast Asia and Bush`s
determination to fight on in Iraq, rarely making even a
token acknowledgment that the war is going poorly, will
lead to no good.


And sure enough, Kissinger told Bush and Cheney that: “Victory
is the only meaningful exit strategy
.”


Bush`s core supporters on Iraq are: Cheney, Secretary of
Defense

Donald Rumsfeld
, Secretary of State

Condoleezza Rice
and now Kissinger, an 83-year-old
Washington, D.C. lobbyist with a selective memory.


According to Woodward, we cannot count U.S. military
leaders as war advocates since they are “the parrots
on Rumsfeld`s shoulders.”


The lone exception is

General John Abizaid,
commander of all U.S. forces
in the Middle East, who according to Capitol Hill
insiders, advocates getting out of Iraq at the earliest
moment.


The thought of Kissinger playing an active role in how
the Iraqi War is carried out is the most depressing
possible news.


Just

look back
at

Vietnam
to get a sense of what might await us if
Kissinger influences the administration.


Starting in 1959 when combat troops were first sent and
ending in 1975 when South Vietnam capitulated, the
Vietnam War was the longest in U.S. history. During
nearly two decades of fighting, approximately 2-3
million Vietnamese, many of them civilians, were killed.


America lost 58,000 soldiers for a cause that remains
unclear today more than 30 years after the U.S. withdrew
its troops.


Kissinger remains one of the few who insist that the
U.S. won the war. In Kissinger`s view, America won on
the battlefield but lacked the domestic resolve to carry
on with the war. Congress caved in to the anti-war
sentiment that swept over the nation in the early 1970s.


Despite it all, Kissinger is unrepentant. Even one of
the Vietnam War`s architects, former Secretary of
Defense Robert McNamara, hinted that he made mistakes in
his book, “The
Fog Of War
.”


But here, from a 1999 “60 Minutes” segment titled “Kissinger
Talks About His Past Decisions
,” is what he said
about the Southeast Asian War.


When asked if he regretted escalating the bombing of

Cambodia
1969, Kissinger flatly answered “No.”  


That policy led to the rise in power of the Khmer Rouge
and

Pol Pot`s
killing fields where 20 percent of
Cambodia`s population—-nearly 2 million people—- were
tortured and executed.


And when asked by CBS co-host Leslie Stahl if, given the
chance, he would do “anything” differently in
South East Asia, Kissinger replied: “Looking back on
it, I have no second thoughts
.”


Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice and now Kissinger: no
regrets, no remorse, no apologies, no wavering and no
compassion.


These are the people in charge of America`s future.

Joe Guzzardi [email
him], an instructor in English
at the Lodi Adult School, has been writing a weekly
column since 1988. It currently appears in the


Lodi News-Sentinel
.