New Internationalist

War criminal seen watching tennis!

I watched the Men's Tennis Final at Wimbledon on the BBC. Not sure why. I mean I like tennis but, as with football, it's a game dominated by money, glitz - and an obsession with celebrity. And predictably the BBC commentator took great delight in pointing out a dazzling array of celebs basking in the July sunshine watching Federer and Roddick battle it out on Centre Court. There's Russell Crowe, Woody Allen, Alex Ferguson… 'And who's that?' cooed commentator Andrew Castle, declaring, without a hint of irony: 'It's Henry Kissinger, ex-Secretary of State. A man who certainly looked after US interests.' 

I sat, incredulous. Did he really say that?

Kissinger is a war criminal! With President Richard Nixon he unleashed 100,000 tons of bombs (equivalent to five Hiroshimas), illegally and secretly, on a neutral Cambodia in the early 1970s blasting that beleaguered country to smithereens and paving the way for the horrors of Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge. In 1973 he, again with Nixon, instructed the CIA to bring down the democratically elected Allende Government. Thousands of Chileans were tortured and murdered (Allende among them). In 1974 Kissinger gave the green light to Turkey's invasion of Cyprus. There was more, much more. Was Kissinger arrested? Was he interned for life as a mass murderer? No, he was - wait for it - given the Nobel Peace Prize!

And here's Kissinger in 2009, a free man, sitting pretty at Wimbledon, no doubt enjoying a Pimms and a helping of strawberries and cream.

Truly, the world has gone mad.

When Kissinger won the Nobel Peace Prize, the US musical satirist Tom Lehrer decided that he could no longer perform. 'It was at that moment that satire died,' says Lehrer, 'There was nothing more to say after that.'

Unless, it seems, you are a BBC sports commentator.

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About the author

Alan Hughes a New Internationalist contributor

Alan Hughes was a graphic artist at New Internationalist. He retired in 2014. He is a life-long socialist and trade unionist and is currently involved in the Keep Our NHS Public Campaign. He is passionate about The Beatles and has supported Aston Villa FC for over 50 years. He lives in Oxford with his daughter.

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