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TalkingPointsMemo

Henry Kissinger "Regrets"

by
Todd Gitlin

That is, he regrets the intrusion of moral questions into professional matters best conducted by wise men like himself; regrets, in other words, that human beings everywhere consider him to have conducted himself barbarously in prosecuting the Vietnam war with reckless disregard for human life and health.

According to HuffPost, Kissinger said in Washington this week that

he regretted that what should have been straightforward disagreements over the U.S. approach to Vietnam became transmuted into a moral issue - first about the moral adequacy of American foreign policy altogether and then into the moral adequacy of America."

Next, I suppose that Kissinger "regretted" that irritating way in which the sun keeps rising in the east.

The HuffPost reporter scrambles over Kissinger's typical evasion. Consistently, tenaciously, for forty years, Kissinger has insisted that it would be unseemly to judge his policies--policies that cost the lives of (at least) hundreds of thousands of people in Southeast Asia--as morally debased. And he has done so without losing his wise man status in the eyes of official Washington.

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Todd Gitlin is the author of twelve books, including, most recently, The Bulldozer and the Big Tent: Blind Republicans, Lame Democrats, and the Recovery of American Ideals; other titles include The Intellectuals and the Flag; Letters to a Young Activist; Media Unlimited: How the Torrent of Images and Sounds Overwhelms Our Lives; The Twilight of Common Dreams: Why America Is Wracked by Culture Wars; The Sixties: Years of Hope, Days of Rage; Inside Prime Time; The Whole World Is Watching; Uptown: Poor Whites in Chicago (co-author); two novels, Sacrifice and The Murder of Albert Einstein; and a book of poetry, Busy Being Born.

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