Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me. I am guessing that this is the sentiment that went through the minds of the protesters who interrupted the appearance of Henry Kissinger at a Senate Armed Forces Committee last Thursday. Senator from Arizona and the man who introduced us all to Sarah Palin was incensed when members of Code Pink showed up carrying handcuffs and anti-Kissinger signs and called for his arrest for "war crimes." Channeling his inner Clint Eastwood, the former Republican presidential candidate snarled, "Get out of here, you low-life scum."
It should be pointed out, for clarity's sake, that Senator McCain was addressing the Code Pink contingent at that point, and not Doctor Kissinger. In a somewhat more reflective moment, he expanded on his grumpy old man act: “No American citizen testifying before the U.S. Congress should be subjected to such treatment, particularly not a ninety-one-year-old former secretary of State who has served our nation with great honor and distinction." Interestingly, this is the former secretary of State who served during the Nixon and Ford administrations, and specifically during the latter years of America's involvement in Vietnam. That part of history we tend to refer to as "The Vietnam War." This may begin to explain why members of Code Pink were there to make a citizens' arrest of Doctor Kissinger for war crimes. Code Pink is calling Kissinger a war criminal? That's gotta sting.
Unless there was some truth to it. Christopher Hitchens would like us to believe that. Crimes against humanity is a pretty steep charge, but there are those in addition to Mister Hitchens who would make these claims.
Maybe Henry Kissinger is seen by John McCain as a kind of savior, since the senator spent time in a prisoner of war camp during the Vietnam War. Without the Paris Peace Accords, there might never have been a McCain/Palin ticket. It is possible that the "low-life scum" that showed up in his presence rubbed him in a particular way that set him off. Not unlike the way that Henry Kissinger showing up to speak to the Senate Armed Forces Committee rubbed Code Pink raw. Since the members of our Armed Forces "solemnly swear (or affirm) that they will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that they will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that they will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over us, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice," maybe that should include the parts of the Constitution that mention freedom of assembly and speech.
Or maybe he just wants those kids off of his lawn. Really.