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Don't Blame Kissinger for 'Orgy of Violence'

March 12, 2001

As described in "A Belated Skewering of Henry Kissinger" (Feb. 27), the attacks on Kissinger by Christopher Hitchens and other yes-people for the Old Left prove that the best defense of their sordid ideological enthusiasms is a dirty offense.

New scholarship suggests that by late 1972 the Nixon-Kissinger policy had transformed the Indochina war into a potentially winnable proposition for anti-communist regimes in Saigon and Cambodia. Then the Democratic Watergate Congress slashed aid to both governments while the Soviet Union dramatically increased its aid to communist forces. In April 1975, as Hanoi's and the Khmer Rouge's murderers began their work, former Sen. William Fulbright said that he was no more depressed by Saigon's fall "than I would be about Arkansas losing a football game to Texas."

Eventually at least a million men, women and children would be murdered by the communists in Cambodia and 600,000 lost in the South China Sea fleeing Vietnam's new communist government. Both the Khmer Rouge and North Vietnam had attracted broad support from the U.S. antiwar movement.

So Hitchens wants to try Kissinger for war crimes. Others might choose to call to account those former senators and U.S. representatives who with their votes intentionally caused American allies to run out of bullets, bringing on precisely the orgy of violence that the Nixon administration had fought to prevent.

JOHN TAYLOR

Executive director, Richard

Nixon Library & Birthplace

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