Issues

John Bolton Was Wrong About Iraq WMDs But Says Trust him on Iran Nukes

Last updated on April 8th, 2018 at 04:46 pm

Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton, currently employed as a crank for hire by Fox News, who was all-in for George W. Bush’s 2003 invasion of Iraq for having weapons of mass destruction it didn’t, in fact, have, wants President Barack Obama to bomb Iraq and begin yet another Middle Eastern War.

The last one – yes, I will say this again, the one undertaken because Iraq allegedly had weapons of mass destruction but didn’t – went on for nearly a decade, as you might remember, and destroyed Iraq and destroyed the American economy.

Bolton was catastrophically wrong then, and you might remember Megyn Kelly, in one of her finer moments of 2014, lacerating him with, “You know that a lot of people are out there tonight saying, ‘Well, weren’t you one of the people who was in favor of going into Iraq in the first place. Is that why you don’t want to discuss the past ten years and whether they were worth it?'”

Yet Bolton wants us to trust him now. Writing in a New York Times op-ed today, he claims that “to stop Iran’s bomb [we] must bomb Iran.” Not only does this sound childish (“if you hit your brother again, I’m going to hit you!”) but its flat-out stupid.

The man who was dead wrong about Iraq wants us to believe that logic is on his side. He says we are facing a “nuclear-arms race if Iran ever acquire[s] weapons capability.”

As it happens, President Obama is actually engaged in trying to stop Iran from acquiring those nuclear weapons, and if Republicans would give him a minute and stop trying to sabotage those efforts, they might actually bear fruit.

Not only can we not know until we’ve tried, but we can’t go around bombing everybody simply because we don’t think talking will work.

Bolton, like other right-wing chicken-hawks, wants to get right to the bombing he won’t have to risk his own life for, and skip negotiations. If someone were to do that to us, we would call it an act of war. John Bolton has a peculiar way of wanting to reduce tensions, since wars don’t generally do that. The war he still loves so much didn’t do that, and accusing us of having “a propensity to admire totalitarianism” if we disagree with him on that score, doesn’t change the facts.

The last war, the one he was also for (and was wrong about then too), destroyed the stability of the region and gave rise to ISIL. Does Bolton think destroying Iran is going to restore stability to the region? Well, he hasn’t considered those implications, just as he failed to consider the implications of destroying Iraq.

Having learned nothing from the abject failure of the Bush Doctrine, the man who lacked proof of Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction but wanted to invade Iraq anyway, now speaks of the absence of “palpable proof” of Iran’s possession of nuclear weapons as no reason not to bomb the crap out of them – just because.

But even 2002’s National Security Strategy of the United States, which describes the Bush Doctrine, a “just-because” strategy if there ever was one, states that The United States will not use force in all cases to preempt emerging threats, nor should nations use preemption as a pretext for aggression.”

A 2006 update of the document rephrased it thusly in its summary of the 2002 National Security Strategy: “The United States will not resort to force in all cases to preempt emerging threats. Our preference is that nonmilitary actions succeed. And no country should ever use preemption as a pretext for aggression.”

Perhaps John Bolton did not read these appeals to “nonmilitary actions.” Like not bombing people before you’ve tried to talk to them.

In fact, the Institute for Policy Studies’ (IPS) Right Web details Bolton’s hawkish stance, saying,

Bolton has also remained unapologetic about the U.S. war in Iraq. “Despite all the criticism of what happened after Saddam’s defeat,” he argued in February 2013, it is “indisputable” that the U.S.-led coalition “accomplished its military mission with low casualties and great speed, sending an unmistakable signal of power and determination throughout the Middle East and around the world.”

Bolton, who apparently thinks sending “signals of power” are what count, claims President Obama’s “frantic efforts” are “empowering Iran” and “effectively handed a permit to Iran’s nuclear weapons establishment.”

The man who was wrong about Iraq’s WMDs now claims that “the inescapable conclusion is that Iran will not negotiate away its nuclear program” and that sanctions will not work, even though sanctions have worked, again, according to the experts.

Bolton’s hardline stance and inability to think clearly is nothing out of the ordinary. His love of knee-jerk reactions to world events is nothing new. Appearing on Fox News, Bolton previously called Obama’s Cuba deal “appeasement” and a “very, very bad signal of weakness and lack of resolve by the President of the United States. It is no surprise that his complaints now also point to Obama as a weak-willed leader.

Back in 2013, as Media Matters points out, he called “a historic diplomatic deal between Iran and six world powers ‘abject surrender’ even though experts (actual experts as opposed to Fox News shills) said that Obama’s 2010 sanctions are to be credited with bringing Iran to the bargaining table in the first place, with Madeleine Albright stating plainly that “the sanctions are working.”

The man who was wrong about Iraq’s WMDs but insists we should trust him now about Iranian nuclear weapons, breezily asserts now that “Mr. Obama’s fascination with an Iranian nuclear deal always had an air of unreality.” The man who eschewed diplomacy for war – a war that destabilized the entire region – now claims that “by ignoring the strategic implications of such diplomacy, these talks have triggered a potential wave of nuclear programs. The president’s biggest legacy could be a thoroughly nuclear-weaponized Middle East.”

You would think one so discredited by his own blinkered thinking on Iraq would not be offered the veneer of legitimacy of an op-ed by The New York Times. Sadly, the Times seems to think crackpot thinking (this is the man who claimed back in 2012 that Obama was planning blasphemy laws to protect Islam) ranks higher than clear, well-thought out analysis by experts.

If the Times is not careful, it risks its own veneer of journalistic integrity by becoming no better than a New York franchise of Fox News.

Hrafnkell Haraldsson

Hrafnkell Haraldsson, a social liberal with leanings toward centrist politics has degrees in history and philosophy. His interests include, besides history and philosophy, human rights issues, freedom of choice, religion, and the precarious dichotomy of freedom of speech and intolerance. He brings a slightly different perspective to his writing, being that he is neither a follower of an Abrahamic faith nor an atheist but a polytheist, a modern-day Heathen who follows the customs and traditions of his Norse ancestors. He maintains his own blog, A Heathen's Day, which deals with Heathen and Pagan matters, and Mos Maiorum Foundation www.mosmaiorum.org, dedicated to ethnic religion. He has also contributed to NewsJunkiePost, GodsOwnParty and Pagan+Politics.

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