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View Full Version : Did Kissinger say this?


Monty
02-21-2008, 09:17 AM
On another board I frequent, a rabid anti-Semite has asserted that Kissinger made a comment that American military men are stupid animals. All I can find on it is a large number of websites all referring to a Woodward & Bernstein book. Is there perhaps some reputable website that either confirms or refutes the assertion that the man made the remark?

Let's leave the politcs out of it, please. Just the facts.

Sage Rat
02-21-2008, 09:32 AM
Quotes about Kissinger

* In Haig's presence, Kissinger referred pointedly to military men as "dumb, stupid animals to be used" as pawns for foreign policy.
o Woodward and Bernstein, The Final Days, chapter 14
(http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Henry_Kissinger)
Which doesn't seem to settle anything since at the same time it says that it's a quote "about" him, but then says it is "by" him. Perhaps they meant to say "non-verifiable quotes by" rather than "about."

Monty
02-21-2008, 09:46 AM
That's what I got, too. A bazillion websites all referring to either the wiki article or just mentioning the book.

The bloke I'm dealing with is firmly convinced not only that it's a fact Kissinger said that but also that Kissinger is is a dual US/Israeli citizen, and that "Jews are running the US." As I said, a rabid anti-Semite.

Sage Rat
02-21-2008, 10:08 AM
Dunno. I'd say it's plausible for him to have said, and plausible that some whitehouse aide made it up. All the writers of the book can do is report what they've been told. But even if Kissinger was a manipulative bastard, that doesn't have anything to do with whether Jews are running the world or are as a race all manipulative bastards. I don't feel any need to feel like Fred Phelps' existence is painting me, another white guy, as homophobic.

Facts aren't going to help you make your argument.

I'm Googling to see if there's any way to get an e-mail to Mr. Haig.

ETA: Well, there's some chance he'll reply if you word your query well, and assuming he actually checks this email address: [email protected]

flurb
02-21-2008, 10:12 AM
I would simply point out that Al Haig is not quite an unbiased source on Kissinger, or anything else for that matter.

Monty
02-21-2008, 10:14 AM
If Kissinger really did say that, I would love to see the entire conversation, not just one snippet.

Sage Rat
02-21-2008, 10:25 AM
Well, the only other route is to hope that Woodward and Bernstein recorded whatever interview that little snippet was in, still has it, and would be willing to let you listen/read it.

According to the book (according to Wikipedia), everything they used was confirmed by at least two people. "As stated in the book's foreword, all the information and scenarios depicted were taken from interviews with 394 people who were involved. All that was stated in these interviews was considered on the record but the identity of the sources remained confidential. Every detail was thoroughly checked and any information that could not be confirmed by two separate accounts was left out of the book."

But, that depends on your trust in them as reporters.

I don't see an email for Woodward, though apparently he's listed in the DC phonebook. Bernstein is at http://carlbernstein.com/contact.php

Monty
02-21-2008, 10:43 AM
Kind of convenient that the book has two authors, huh? ;)

Sage Rat
02-21-2008, 10:44 AM
*laughs*

Wee Bairn
02-21-2008, 10:44 AM
I don't see how you could prove this definitively one way or the other, unless it was recorded, or someone recorded him admitting to it.

Tyrrell McAllister
02-21-2008, 06:05 PM
On another board I frequent, a rabid anti-Semite has asserted that Kissinger made a comment that American military men are stupid animals. All I can find on it is a large number of websites all referring to a Woodward & Bernstein book. Is there perhaps some reputable website that either confirms or refutes the assertion that the man made the remark?

Let's leave the politcs out of it, please. Just the facts.

Can't you just point out that believing the quote amounts to trusting Woodward and Bernstein, who are themselves Jewish*? Not that that addresses the truth of the original claim, but perhaps it will give him pause.

*According to this list (http://adherents.com/largecom/fam_jews.html) on adherents.com.

Monty
02-21-2008, 06:09 PM
Tyrrell McAllister,

This...individidual and his cohorts have now proven themselves fond of referring to Wikipedia as Jewpedia. I realize that they're obviously not rational (after all, what bigot is?), but I would love to see something give them pause.

bonzer
02-21-2008, 06:38 PM
Cracks open my copy of The Final Days ...

Chapter 14 is the one in which Woodward and Bernstein introduce Kissinger as one of the major figures in the book. (Since he becomes an increasingly important figure in their tale as the aides fall one-by-one and Nixon becomes increasingly distracted, they seem to make a deliberate choice to delay his entry until rather far into the story.) It's a wide-ranging background discussion of his style and dealings in the White House, rather than part of their day-to-day narrative of events. His difficult relationship with Haig, who was initially his deputy, is central to the chapter.
The specific passage is:

[Haig] tolerated with superhuman strength the abuse that Kissinger heaped on him.
'Only someone schooled in taking shit could put up with it,' Hicks observed to his colleagues.
In Haig's presence, Kissinger referred pointedly to military men as 'dumb, stupid animals to be used' as pawns for foreign policy. Kissinger often took up a post outside the doorway to Haig's office and dressed him down in front of the secretaries for alleged acts of incompetence with which Haig was not even remotely involved.

... and more of the same.

Various observations:

There's nothing to really narrow the comment down to a specific time or place. Though it's implied it's from the period where Haig was still Kissinger's deputy, i.e. before January 1973.
It's anybody's guess who Woodward and Bernstein's "two witnesses" for the quote might be. Their notes etc. for the book are all in the Harry Ransom Center (http://hrc.utexas.edu/research/fa/woodstein.hp.html), but are unsurprisingly not yet fully available.
It's also anybody's guess whether even Haig or Kissinger remembers the incident. Or can now be trusted if they were to say whether or not they do.
However, to me, the most crucial aspect is that there's no reason to believe that anyone - Haig, Kissinger, Woodward and Bernstein included - ever thought that Kissinger meant what he said. The passage's whole point is that it was abuse, said to try to get a rise out of Haig.

Thus even if we accept the account at face value, about all we can conclude is that Kissinger could be a bit of an asshole in dealing with subordinates. Which surely isn't that much of a surprise to anyone.

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