Henry Kissinger gave his approval to the “dirty war” in Argentina in the 1970s in which up to 30,000 people were killed, according to newly declassified US state department documents.
Mr Kissinger, who was America’s secretary of state, is shown to have urged the Argentinian military regime to act before the US Congress resumed session, and told it that Washington would not cause it “unnecessary difficulties”.
The revelations are likely to further damage Mr Kissinger’s reputation. He has already been implicated in war crimes committed during his term in office, notably in connection with the 1973 Chilean coup.
As time passes and documents are released more and more evidence will emerge of of the bloody role of the United States governments and individuals such as Kissinger in repression and human rights abuses throughout the cold war.
In Eastern Europe, the end of the cold war resulted in people being jailed for their crimes and many, many more were barred from holding public office. Some apologised and sought forgiveness for their past actions, others remained defiant.
I don’t buy the argument that those who were put in trial in East Germany and elsewhere were victims of ‘victor’s justice’. Their crimes were committed primarily against their own people. It was democratic justice when they were made to answer for those crimes and come before the instruments of justice of the newly formed democracies.
But in the United States there have been few calls for justice, for apologies or for trials of those whose ‘green lights’ and in some cases direct orders helped lead to the deaths of thousands of people.
And it is not just Henry Kissinger to blame for that.