In case you’re wondering whether a man in a nominal democracy could really become so devoid of morality, so out of touch with post-WWII geopolitical norms; and in case you’re imagining that Kissinger just wanted to rattle Castro but not actually start a war, with all the innocent civilian death that inevitably comes, allow Henry himself to disabuse you. “If we decide to use military power, it must succeed,” the Times quotes Kissinger saying in one secret meeting. “There should be no halfway measures,” he added, “we would get no award for using military power in moderation.” The goal, he said, was to be “ruthless and rapid and efficient.”
Coming from the man who once said that a hypothetical second anti-Jewish genocide in the Soviet Union would be “not an American concern” (though, to be fair, he granted it would “maybe” be a “humanitarian concern”), fantasizing about “clobbering” Castro by killing many Cuban citizens may not register so high on the richter scale. But if we keep in mind that Kissinger’s saving grace, especially in contrast with Nixon, was supposed to be his pragmatism, rationality and lack of sentiment, it is appalling.