Daily Show Faux-Debates ‘America’s Greatest War Criminals’

News & Politics

Comedy Central’s tempt host of The Daily Show, Michelle Wolf welcomed correspondents Ronny Chieng and Michael Kosta for a “debate” on who is “America’s greatest war criminal” after the death of former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. As Chieng and Kosta fake fought over Kissinger and former Vice President Dick Cheney, Wolf offered up President Andrew Jackson.

Wolf set up the fake ESPN-style debate, “But look, no matter how you feel about Henry Kissinger, ya gotta agree that he is one of America’s greatest war criminals. The question is: Is he America’s greatest war criminal? So, to have that debate, let’s turn to Ronny Chieng and Michael Kosta. Thank you, guys. What do you think? “

Chieng began:

Henry Kissinger is the GOAT of war criminals. You know the last few weeks in high school where you skim like 40 years of terrible American history in, like, two days? That’s all him, baby. Vietnam, Cambodia, Chile. Shall I continue? Pakistan, East Timor. This dude was doing massacres in countries that Americans didn’t even know were countries! He was putting them on the map, and then carpet bombing them off the map. He’s like a genocidal Carmen Sandiego. 

Kosta replied by arguing that responding to 9/11 and detaining terrorists means that Cheney is the correct answer, “Sure, Kissinger’s in the conversation, but this debate starts and ends with Dick Cheney. His prime years were fire. Afghanistan, Iraq, Guantanamo. The man shot his friend in the face. And it was one of the nicest things he’s ever done!”

Chieng then fired back, “To quote the great man himself, go [bleep] yourself, Michael! Yeah, sure, Dick Cheney lied about WMDs, but my boy Kissinger was using WMDs. Plus, he was in the game for over 60 years! Dick Cheney had, what, five good seasons? Maybe?”

“Lied” is a word that goes too far, but Kosta still “defended” his choice:

Kissinger stayed in the game just to juice his stats. When you look at the season splits, Cheney’s numbers were better. Not to mention, Kissinger came in after Vietnam started! I mean, he was chasing wars the way Durant chases rings, you know. Anyone can just join a super team. But Cheney built his wars from the ground up! He carried George W. Bush on his back! Also, how can Kissinger be the war crimes GOAT when he won the Nobel Peace Prize, you [bleep] Idiot?”

As Kosta ignored decades of pre-2003 Saddam history, Chieng continued his case for Kissinger, “That’s what makes him the goat, you [bleep] moron. Do you know how good a war criminal you have to be to win a peace prize for wars you escalated? The dude has got the numbers and the hardware. Count the rings, bitch.”

At this point Wolf interrupted, “let me throw this out to you guys. Andrew Jackson?”

Kosta sort of concurred, “Look, Michelle, you do have to adjust for that era, okay, but credit where credit is due, I mean, Jackson was massacring people back when you had to do it with muskets and carrier pigeons. We’ll never know what kind of records he could’ve set if he had had drones and Google Maps.” 

After Chieng got in one more argument for Kissinger, Kosta wrapped up, “I think we can all agree, no matter who the GOAT is, what is important to remember is, Kissinger’s passing really puts things into perspective. So, listen, everyone, if there’s a war criminal in your life, tell them how you feel about them now. Because you never know when they’re going to unexpectedly die of being 100 years old.”

But what if that means dumbing down the definition of war criminal to somebody you don’t like? 

Here is a transcript for the November 30 show:

Comedy Central The Daily Show

11/30/2023

11:05 PM ET

MICHELLE WOLF: But yes, Henry Kissinger is dead. Which just goes to show that if have zero morals, you will lead a long, stress-free life. He committed massacres and lived to be 100! While the rest of us over here are dying at 47 because we can’t stop stressing over the time we waved to a person who is actually waving to somebody behind us. 

But look, no matter how you feel about Henry Kissinger, ya gotta agree that he is one of America’s greatest war criminals. The question is: Is he America’s greatest war criminal? So, to have that debate, let’s turn to Ronny Chieng and Michael Kosta. Thank you, guys. What do you think? 

RONNY CHIENG: Oh, there’s no question, Michelle. Henry Kissinger is the GOAT of war criminals. You know the last few weeks in high school where you skim like 40 years of terrible American history in, like, two days? That’s all him, baby. Vietnam, Cambodia, Chile. Shall I continue? Pakistan, East Timor. This dude was doing massacres in countries that Americans didn’t even know were countries! He was putting them on the map, and then carpet bombing them off the map. He’s like a genocidal Carmen Sandiego. 

MICHAEL KOSTA: Can I get a chance to talk over here? Ronny, you’re clowning yourself. Sure, Kissinger’s in the conversation, but this debate starts and ends with Dick Cheney. His prime years were fire. Afghanistan, Iraq, Guantanamo. The man shot his friend in the face. And it was one of the nicest things he’s ever done! 

WOLF: That’s a good point. Ronny, maybe this is a tie. 

CHIENG: To quote the great man himself, go [bleep] yourself, Michael! Yeah, sure, Dick Cheney lied about WMDs, but my boy Kissinger was using WMDs. Plus, he was in the game for over 60 years! Dick Cheney had, what, five good seasons? Maybe? 

KOSTA: Exactly! Exactly! Kissinger stayed in the game just to juice his stats. When you look at the season splits, Cheney’s numbers were better. Not to mention, Kissinger came in after Vietnam started! I mean, he was chasing wars the way Durant chases rings, you know. Anyone can just join a super team. But Cheney built his wars from the ground up! He carried George W. Bush on his back! Also, how can Kissinger be the war crimes GOAT when he won the Nobel Peace Prize, you [bleep] Idiot? 

CHIENG: That’s what makes him the goat, you [bleep] moron. Do you know how good a war criminal you have to be to win a peace prize for wars you escalated? The dude has got the numbers and the hardware. Count the rings, bitch. 

WOL: Okay, okay, okay, okay, guys let me throw this out to you guys. Andrew Jackson? 

KOSTA: That’s a good point, good point. 

CHIENG: Oh, yeah, I mean, he did the numbers. 

KOSTA: Look, Michelle, you do have to adjust for that era, okay, but credit where credit is due, I mean, Jackson was massacring people back when you had to do it with muskets and carrier pigeons. We’ll never know what kind of records he could’ve set if he had had drones and Google Maps. 

CHIENG: Okay, look, we can throw around hypotheticals all day, but the bottom line is, Andrew Jackson wasn’t an international player the way Kissinger was. Jackson only put up decent numbers at home. He wasn’t strong on the road. 

KOSTA:  Ronny, just because you speak loudly doesn’t make it more true, all right? Look, look, look. I think we can all agree, no matter who the GOAT is, what is important to remember is, Kissinger’s passing really puts things into perspective. So, listen, everyone, if there’s a war criminal in your life, tell them how you feel about them now. Because you never know when they’re going to unexpectedly die of being 100 years old. 

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