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Monday 5 December 2011

Breakfast with Kissinger

File:Henry Kissinger.png

Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger uses the telephone in Deputy National Security Advisor Brent Scowcroft's office to get the latest information on the situation in South Vietnam, 29 April 1975: photo by White House Photographic Office; image scanned by Tom, 27 November 2008 (National
Archives and Records Administration)

To Kissinger

The amoeba is mountainous Hank!

It dwarfs yr think tanks you neoid!

So jack off my octopus!

I don't care if you did make it with Barbara Walters of the Today Show!

Hit the deck 4 eyes!

The meat train won't be late for the grave and you're on it!

Jelly arms are coming for you across the black glyphs!

The cellophane is crinkling!

Earmuffs won't be enuf!

You big donkey made out of orlon!

Spirochetes et yr Mom!

Ach Nein!

When the storm of time movies hits the protein sources

Popeye'll take you one-on-one you shell of Frankenstein!

You'll climb off the food chain soon enuf anyhow Henry!

The gods of death live in yr shoes!

5 November 1972

Doodle from Breakfast Comix #1: Tom Raworth

As National Security Adviser to President Richard M. Nixon, Henry Kissinger played a key role in a secret bombing campaign in Cambodia.

Doodle from Breakfast Comix #1: Tom Raworth

The American bombing of Cambodia killed an estimated 40,000 combatants and civilians.

Doodle from Breakfast Comix #2: Tom Raworth

In his diary in March 1969, Nixon’s chief of staff, H.R. Haldeman, noted that the final decision to carpet bomb Cambodia ‘was made at a meeting in the Oval Office Sunday afternoon, after the church service’.

Doodle from Breakfast Comix #7: Tom Raworth

In his diary on 17 March 1969, Haldeman wrote:

Historic day. K[issinger]’s “Operation Breakfast” finally came off at 2:00 pm our time. K really excited, as is P[resident].

Doodle from Breakfast Comix #7: Tom Raworth

And the next day:

K’s “Operation Breakfast” a great success. He came beaming in with the report, very productive. A lot more secondaries than had been expected. Confirmed early intelligence. Probably no reaction for a few days, if ever.

Doodle from Breakfast Comix #17: Tom Raworth

The bombing began on the night of 18 March with a raid by 60 B-52 Stratofortress bombers, based at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam. The target was Base Area 353, the supposed location of COSVN in the Fishhook. Although the aircrews were briefed that their mission was to take place in South Vietnam, 48 of the bombers were diverted across the Cambodian border and dropped 2,400 tons of bombs. The mission was designated Breakfast, after the morning Pentagon planning session at which it was devised.

Doodle from Breakfast Comix #17: Tom Raworth

Breakfast was so successful (in US terms) that General Abrams provided a list of 15 more known Base Areas for targeting. During the next 14 months the operation continued. The five remaining missions that made up the operation and their targets were: Lunch (Base Area 609), Snack (Base Area 351), Dinner (Base Area 352), Supper (Base Area 740), and Dessert (Base Area 350). SAC flew 3,800 B-52 sorties against these targets, and dropped 108,823 tons of ordnance during the missions. Due to the continued reference to gastronomic situations in the codenames, the entire series of missions was referred to as Operation Menu. Assessment of bomb damage to the targets was difficult to obtain, due to the covert nature of the operation. Instead of utilizing Air Force aircraft for the missions, SOG forward air controllers were tasked with obtaining intelligence on target damage.

Nixon and Kissinger went to great lengths to keep the missions secret. The expansion of the US effort into "neutral" Cambodia was sure to cause serious debate in the US Congress, provoke negative criticism in the media, and spark anti-war protests on US college campuses. In order to prevent this, an elaborate dual reporting system covering the missions had been formulated.

National Security Adviser Henry Kissinger, aboard Air Force One. expresses happiness at being chosen
TIME Magazine's "Man of the Year," along with President Richard Nixon. 1972: White House office photo from H.R. Haldeman: The Ends of Power (1978); image scanned by Happyme22, 30 September 2011

In 1973 Kissinger received the Nobel Peace Prize, and was appointed Secretary of State of the United States.

File:Reagan with Henry Kissinger.jpg

President Ronald Reagan meeting with Henry Kissinger in the White House residence, 10 June 1981
: White House office photo, scanned by Happyme22, 10 August 2008


TC said...

The poem which kicks off this little swatch of nostalgia for historical genocide was writ two days before the 1972 US Presidential election.

It came out in some obscure mimeo magazine somewhere, was then "pirated" and appeared variously on postcards and posters elsewhere around the US, as the bombing campaigns continued.

I was reminded of it yesterday, when the good fairy and I were pondering just how many sets of human bones, the remains of the "disappeared" during the military dictatorship of of General Augusto Pinochet in Chile, might be scattered beneath the surface of the Atacama Desert.

As the subsequent release of once-secret government records has revealed, Henry Kissinger played a central role in overthrowing the democratically elected government of Salvador Allende and then establishing and supporting the Pinochet regime.

To refresh the facts a bit:

"The CIA, acting under the approval of the 40 committee (which Henry Kissinger chaired), was involved in various covert actions in Chile during this period: it devised what in effect was a constitutional coup, and, when that failed, remained in contact with anti-Allende elements. The CIA learned of a number of plots to establish a military dictatorship. Although it pointedly refused to materially assist any of them, and actually worked to prevent several of the more unlikely plots for fear they would fail and strengthen Allende; it also encouraged several of the plots and did nothing to prevent them. It assured the plotters that such an event would be welcomed in Washington and that the US would not cut off aid over potential human rights violations.

"On September 11, 1973, Allende died during a military coup launched by Army Commander-in-Chief Augusto Pinochet, who became President. A document released by the CIA in 2000 titled 'CIA Activities in Chile' revealed that the CIA actively supported the military junta after the overthrow of Allende and that it made many of Pinochet's officers into paid contacts of the CIA or US military, even though many were known to be involved in notorious human rights abuses, until Democratic challenger Jimmy Carter defeated President Gerald Ford in 1976.

"On September 16, 1973, five days after Pinochet had assumed power, the following exchange about the coup took place between Kissinger and President Nixon:

Nixon: Nothing new of any importance or is there?

Kissinger: Nothing of very great consequence. The Chilean thing is getting consolidated and of course the newspapers are bleeding because a pro-Communist government has been overthrown.

Nixon: Isn't that something. Isn't that something.

Kissinger: I mean instead of celebrating – in the Eisenhower period we would be heroes.

Nixon: Well we didn't – as you know – our hand doesn't show on this one though.

Kissinger: We didn't do it. I mean we helped them. [garbled] created the conditions as great as possible.

Nixon: That is right. And that is the way it is going to be played."

The play's the thing at these sort of aethereal diplomatic levels.

This one might have been called Operation Brunch, to rhyme with crunch, the sound of bones being broken.

Conrad DiDiodato said...


thanks for the reminder of the murderous prick this man was. Here's what happens when you marry 'theory' to Nixon politics.

Add Friedman to that mix, too

TC said...

"In the Eisenhower period we would be heroes"

Am I going nuts, or is that a line from a David Bowie song?

TC said...

Nixon: Isn't that something. Isn't that something.

Kissinger: I mean instead of celebrating – in the Eisenhower period we would be heroes.

Nixon: And I, I will be king.

Kissinger: And you, you will be queen.

Nixon: We can be heroes.

Kissinger: Just for one day.

ACravan said...

Nice turn on the Bowie-style lyric. You write better lyrics than he does, although the sounds he makes can be quite effective. The persistence of Henry Kissinger has always amazed me. And now we're experiencing a kind of Zbigniew Brzezinski renaissance, who for my money is just Kissinger playing for the other team. KAOS and Control. They logroll and meet for drinks after the game. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss. Now there's a lyric. Curtis

TC said...

A bit of what that Royal Couple wrought.





"Isn't that something. Isn't that something"


lines of pink clouds in sky above still
black ridge, silver of planet by branch
in foreground, wave sounding in channel

being it comes between this,
same ‘present moment’

sound, as to be somewhat in
person, many of which

orange edge of sun rising above ridge,
white cloud in pale blue sky above it

Curtis Faville said...

Reagan was Howdy-Doody.

And in this shot, with his checked shirt, western belt buckle, and rooty-toot smile, he exactly resembles him. Reagan was going Alzhie even before the end of his first term. The first fully-handled President. He'd twinkle, tilt his head jauntily, and amble into a memorized riff, "Well, to be perfectly honest, I was born without a brain. So, you see, it's been easy, right from the start. All they had to do was put the notions into my script and I just played it back, I was born to do it. A natural. Buffalo Bob and I fooled'em all. With my little red kerchief, rouged cheeks and smart little forelock stickin' up, I was ready-made."

Another caricature was S.I. Hayakawa in his little Tam'O'Shanter, scurrying around the periphery of crowds sticking pins in holiday balloons.

Our public figures are cartoons. God love'em.

TC said...

That's dead-on, Curtis.

Little Howdy, in the lovin' arms of Dr. Buffalo Bob Strangelove.

vazambam (Vassilis Zambaras) said...

From a 1994 speech by Kissassinatoringer:

The Greek people are a difficult if not impossible people to tame, and for this reason we must strike deep into their cultural roots. Perhaps then we can force them to conform. I mean, of course, to strike at their language, their religion, their cultural and historical reserves, so that we can neutralize their ability to develop, to distinguish themselves, or to prevail; thereby removing them as an obstacle to our strategically vital plans in the Balkans, the Mediterranean, and the Middle East.

No need to ask why he is one of persons most hated by the Greeks, no need even to inquire about his shady dealings vis-à-vis the Greek junta and the subsequent sellout of the island of Cyprus.

The guy just wanted people to kiss his ass and if they didn’t, he would eat them--preferably fried or even as mashed potatoes.

TC said...


What an incredible piece of Strangelovespeech that is, forsooth. It's a good thing he didn't say what he REALLY thought.

About the "taming" of Greece... I'll never forget the view, in the long-ago summer of 1964, from my wee apartment in the red dirt white house poverty hills above the city of Athens, out to the harbor at Piraeus, where, of all things, the US Sixth Fleet was parked.

Had they taken a wrong turn at Newport News?

The Taming of the Greek, the Taming of the Shrew, the Taming of the Me, but never yet the Taming of the ...

But moving right along from the fascinating precincts of personal reminiscence.

Odd that it was the U.S. which provided all the heavy-hitting jurisprudence at the Nuremberg Trials, and yet the Xinger's crimes against humanity, told and untold, seem to have entirely escaped the scrutiny of the same eagle-eyed U.S. international imperial judicial system.

(Well, there HAVE been a few glances under the rug, re. the Letelier matter, and other aspects of the Chilean Operation... but we all know what came of that. Exactly nada. Surprise!)

TC said...

PS. Funny flashback rears its clown-masked head here, Vassilis. Just when one had forsworn reminiscence... but the hour grows late... and as it's Just Us and The Company listening...

I was once the unpaid poetry lackey, er poetry editor of George Pimpleton's Paris Review, and in that odd role, was permitted for the better part of ten years to do exactly as I pleased.

As I look back on it, I now see that the things I then pleased to do -- that is, introducing nonacademic American Poetry (yes, Virginia, such a thing once existed!) to the pages of that august journal -- must have been duly "vetted" and permitted by "the Agency".

By the way, the journal was a Company front, "run" via Peter Matthiessen, the novelist, then the Paris Editor, out of the legendary Paris Office. (As Matthiessen proudly revealed in a filmed interview of much later epoch, his "real" "editorial" task was to snoop out and report on Expat Commies, or perhaps indeed Commies of any stripe, there in Gay Paree.)

George later claimed not to have known. I believe Stephen Spender, the stooge editor of another toney Agency-front journal of the period, Encounter, made the same claim.

"I never knew!!"

Anyway, I got away for five years with publishing poets a few people out in the wilderness had heard of (even if George hadn't).

Then for five more years I pushed my luck by forcing the transom so far open that I was publishing poets nobody anywhere had ever heard of. In fact some of them did not even exist (minor technicality).

In the august central sanctum of the Paris Review this was known as "Tom Clark's over-the-transom phase".

Indeed over the transom, over the top...

Around this time (early Seventies) the Xinger was all over the front pages of the tabloids as a result of his propensity for "dating" hot babes from Hwd and other sectors of the "Entertainment Industry".

The names all run together, now... let's see, Jill St. John, would that ring a bell?

Charming public figures all, every day of the week, on every supermarket magazine rack in America, in all their front page tabloid glory.

And then it came to pass that a poem appeared in the Paris Review which seemed to be an assemblage cut-up from tabloid headlines, snipped into haiku length. The author of this curious masterpiece was one Dave Mokshi, whom I had never met.

(By that time I made it a principle never to publish a poem by anyone I had ever met... a sort of giddy fantasia of anti-networking!)

And in that long strange cut-up poem, of which I can say verily I have not had a glimpse for lo these many decades (both literally and figuratively, I threw it all away), one of the sub-haiku-lets went (as I dimly recall) something like this:

Fucked in ass
By starlet

Shortly after that issue reached New York, Lord Pimpleton wrote a letter faintly acknowledging my ten years of service, but saying that, regrettably, it was time to move on... and Sayonara.

(Some lab pixie seems to have willfully misrepresented history by inserting the "regrettably", there... must be that phantom smidgeon of pixie pride acting up again!)

Robb said...

"So jack off my octopus!"

Love it.


TC said...

Robb, that's multi-tasking.

(From ancient biking days, I remember that useful "third-hand tool"...)

TC said...

A perspicuous senior staffer has just turned up this perhaps-relevant citation:

"In 1972, during a working session on Air Force One, Nixon gave Haldeman an odd instruction. Henry Kissinger was working too hard, he said. Haldeman was to call a friend and 'have him give Henry all of his phone numbers of girls that are not over thirty.'"

-- Anthony Summers, The Arrogance of Power (2000)

Elmo St. Rose said...

I remember reading that poem
when it was new and then
listening to Kissinger on TV
some 20 years later about the
burdens of those who have to manage
the world. Part of my perception
was colored by having read the
historian Robert Conquest on the
bloodshed that occurred in the
Soviet Union under Stalin. As Yeats
said the poet has no gifts for
politician. On the other hand
there has not been a thermonuclear
war. We were all willing to be
naked in every possible way to drop
pretense so the human race could
come together and not destroy itself,starting with the "Beats."
The poets beyond nationality were
the "soft power" the politicians
speak of now. The Clock of the
Bulletin of Atomic Scientists may
have been set back. Fortunately
the poets were spared the burden
of Realpolitik...they had the burden of being in front of the
issue and encountered madness,
outcast status, and poverty. Despite those I believe they did
their task well.

TC said...


A. is reading Anthony Summers: The Arrogance of Power. Quite a tale, as she retells it, and then too, as... and I'm sure you too will/would recognize/remember it.

Bebe Rebozo, Tom Pappas ("the Greek bearing gifts" -- that is, gifts from the Greek junta), Agnew (the weirdest political appointment since Caligula named his horse a consul, said the Washington Post at the time)...everybody on the take, hiring out death and "regime change" all over the planet... "mobsters... it's unbelievable what crooks they were!"

In short, if it's that gang that saved us from the fate of the vaporized souls on the bridge at Hiroshima, it can only be because they thought they had something more interesting in store for us.

(A Thousand Year Hike?)

Robb said...

Was this the issue with the headline haiku?

Quite expensive to read galley notes written to you. Probably worth it, though.

TC said...

Indeed it was. Death Soup by Dave Mokshi. The literary equivalent of a botulism sandwich!