If you wink at torture, if you dont mind mass slaughter, if lying is of no concern to you, you can go far in this world.
Just ask John Negroponte.
He served as a political officer in Saigon from 1964 to 1968, and then he headed up the Vietnam desk at the National Security Council from 1971 to 1973. During that decade of time, the Johnson-Nixon war was killing two to three million Vietnamese, along with 58,000 U.S. soldiers.
But Negroponte did not want the war to end. In fact, as an aide to Henry Kissinger at the Paris Peace Talks, he urged Kissinger not to come to terms so readily.
A decade later in Central America, Negroponte essentially ran the illegal Contra War against Nicaragua from his post as U.S. ambassador to Honduras.
This war cost the lives of some 30,000 people.
An inescapable feature of U.S.-Central America policy in the 1980s was support for torturers. Here, Negroponte did his part.
In particular, he knew about and supported Battalion 316, the Honduran intelligence unit, trained by the CIA that killed at least 184 people. One of those was the former secretary to Archbishop Oscar Romero of El Salvador, himself the victim of a CIA-funded death squad in 1980. The secretary, who fled to Honduras, was abducted by Battalion 316, and they threw her from a helicopter to her death.
In 1995, the Baltimore Sun ran a prizewinning series on Battalion 316. It concluded that Negroponte knew about the tortures and murders and covered them up. Under his direct supervision, the embassy prepared reports to Congress that never mentioned the brutality of the Honduran military, the Sun reported. This omission allowed Honduras to keep getting U.S. funding.
I do not believe that death squads were operating in Honduras, Negroponte testified before Congress in 2001.
Oscar Reyes begs to differ. He was living in Honduras at the time. On July 8, 1982, some military people went to our home, ransacked it, detained us, and brought us to the torture house, he told me last year. There were a lot of people being tortured that night. You could hear the screaming. They used electrical shock on my body and my genitals, and they hanged me by my hands and were hitting me almost all night long. Then they put me in front of a tree and gave me a fake execution. . . . On my wife, they used electrical shock in her vagina. It was so bad that she had permanent damage to her ovaries, and she had to have a hysterectomy. (See Americas Amnesia, The Progressive, July 2004.)
George W. Bush plucked Negroponte to be US ambassador to the United Nations.
There Negroponte led the diplomatic offensive for the war on Iraq, trumpeting the now-discredited claims about weapons of mass destruction and bullying other nations to go along.
For his hard work, he was rewarded the post of US ambassador to Iraq, and from there he has risen now to be Bushs nominee for director of national intelligence.
Negroponte has served the empire his whole life.
To do so properly, you need to get some blood on your résumé.
Negroponte has plenty. For Bush, that makes him the ideal man for the job.
© 2005 The Progressive