Mick writes in with some interesting observations of his own about the 'humanitarian crusader', so beloved by Washington's neo-conservatives.
Fine piece on Kouchner--well written, well felt. I was intrigued by your correspondent's ('stinky', was it?) attachment to Dr K's career with MSF. As if it somehow redeemed this French version of Vuk Draskovic or Dr Strangelove. K was not, in fact, a founder of MSF--though he oft passes himself off as such. MSF was formed in 1968 in response to the situation in Biafra. K joined up in 1971--and left in 1979 after some differences with the board, probably regarding billing (i.e., should it be 'MSF with Bernie Kouchner' or the other way round). Besides being a self-confessed war criminal, he seems to have had trouble getting along with the collectivity. He started out in the PCF in the late 50s and got kicked out; then the 8 year MSF dalliance; now his break with the Socialists over a little 'pull up the ladder, Jacques, I'm aboard-ism'. Opportunism? Careerism? My favorite K story is the one told in the French documentary, Kigali: images contre une massacre, by this bought-off journalist J-P Klotz. Kouchner was sent to Kigali by Mitterand to rescue some orphans who were in danger because of the very hot war going on between the French-backed Forces armées ruandaises and the US/UK-backed Front patriotique ruandaise. As soon as he hit town in June of 1994, he fell into the hands of some 'humanitarians' (like Klotz and Gen Dallaire) who tried to convince him that all the killing (including the recent double assassination of the Hutu presidents of Rwanda and Burundi) were the result of French interference in the just struggle to return Rwanda to its medieval originals with a new Tutsi monarchy (King Paul Kagame?). The scenes with K trying to explain to his accusers how he really wasn't an agent of the genocidal French are the purest examples of man being reduced to slithering reptile that I have ever seen on film. Il va en soi that K winds up sucking off the whole RPF lobby--and I frankly don't know what became of the orphans he was to rescue. But the whole Kigali film is predicated on the killing of some orphans in a church in Kigali. Evidence shows that all organized massacres were carried out by the RPF and its agents. So now that K is revealed to have even more innocent blood on his hands, and the evidence of his collaboration with yet another imperialist nation-o-cide is incontrevertible and overwhelming, how is he judged and punished? By being elevated to Foreign Minister of France. The good news (or not) is that Sarkozy probably won't get off of enough authority to keep K interested--and where do you go after you've been kicked out of the French Communist AND Socialist Parties? But MSF and K have never been that far apart policy-wise--both believe strongly in humanitarian gun running and the right to interfere wherever Western business interests are threatened--and paying their mercenaries long retainers. So maybe Doctors Without Scruples will take him back. But who cares, really? Again, joli travail.