THE RHETORIC of academic freedom with which Columbia administrators have defended their decision to offer Henry A. Kissinger '50 a tenured position obscures the real issues involved in the matter. Kissinger's desirability stems not from his academic qualifications, but from his experience in directing American foreign policy over the last decade.
It is a grim irony that the very experience that makes Kissinger so attractive to university administrators seeking big names for their faculties brought death and destruction to millions of people around the world, teaching them to hate and fear the U.S. Among other things, Kissinger can be held responsible for the expansion of the Indochina War into Cambodia in 1970, the Christmas carpet bombing of Vietnam in 1972 and the CIA-supported coup in Chile in 1973.
Kissinger's domestic record is scarcely cleaner, if somewhat less murderous. He apparently directed the illegal wiretapping of aides' conversations, and misled Congress on crucial points of foreign policy.
That someone with such blatant disregard for human life and democratic procedure could teach political science would be laughable if it were not so tragic. Columbia's use of the academic freedom argument to defend its desire to hire Kissinger is a hypocritical perversion of a worthwhile ideal; Columbia administrators should listen to the students and faculty members there who have protested the university's offer and withdraw its offer to Kissinger.